Thursday, 8 November 2007

Southern Cone offers safe haven for American dioceses

Dioceses that wish to secede from The Episcopal Church because of disputes over doctrine and discipline will be given an ecclesiastical home in the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone.

Meeting Nov 5-7 at St. Paul’s Church, Valparaíso, Chile, the Southern Cone synod voted to extend the province’s jurisdiction to North America, allowing dioceses and other ecclesial entities to affiliate with the province.

The Provincia Anglicana del Cono Sur de América is comprised of the dioceses of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Northern Argentina. The Diocese of Bolivia already has provided pastoral oversight to several dozen congregations in the United States comprised of former members of The Episcopal Church. In addition, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone exercises a personal prelature over former members of the Diocese of Recife (Brazil).

Bishop Venables told The Living Church the offer of a provincial home for traditionalist American dioceses merely recognized the existing splits within the church. He said the Southern Cone was not precipitating a crisis or invading The Episcopal Church, but was offering a safe haven within the Anglican Communion for those wishing to flee.

By a supermajority, delegates to the Valparaíso synod voted to permit traditionalist North American dioceses to affiliate with the province. The vote goes a step beyond Bishop Venables’ intervention in Brazil, and marks a major shift in the ecclesial structures of the Anglican Communion. Read more
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