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Should The Episcopal Church Create a Missionary Diocese in Europe?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2020

Abstract

There are four Anglican jurisdictions in continental Europe. Two are national churches, Spain and Portugal; two are non-geographical jurisdictions serving persons not geographical regions. These four have overlaps among themselves; they also overlap with full-communion partners. The Episcopal Church’s Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe is not officially a diocese, though it acts like one. Like the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, its mission is not limited geographically. The competition unwittingly engendered creates conflict that detracts from the part of God’s mission accorded to each Church. This essay argues that creating an official Episcopal diocese in Europe is not the way forward, if common care for that mission is and should be the primary concern of all.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Journal of Anglican Studies Trust 2020

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Footnotes

1

Pierre Whalon is the resigned Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Church in Europe.

References

2 For a definition, see the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church: Articles V and VI of the Constitution; Canons I.10, 11; also III.9.11 (c).

3 See tec-europe.org (accessed 3 October 2019).

4 It should be noted that unlike the several dioceses, General Convention has never approved the name itself.

6 http://www.willibrord.org/bonn_en.html (accessed 3 October 2019).

8 This process has happened elsewhere, for example, in the transition of the English chaplaincies in Uruguay to the Spanish-language Diocese of Uruguay, as well as in Central and South America.

9 The Preface to Bishop John Hobart’s collection of sermons reads: ‘On [Hobart’s] arrival in England, he found that, in various publications, some of them extensively circulated, the charge is alleged against the great body of the Bishops and Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, of not faithfully inculcating the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel …’ (Sermons on the Principal Truths of Redemption, vol. 1 [London, 1824], p. x).

10 Francisco Serrano Olivarez, Contra vientos y mareas (Barcelona: Editorial Clie, 2000), pp. 7-11. Interestingly, Episcopal Bishop Henry Riley, just consecrated in 1879 as missionary bishop to the Mexican Iglesia de Jesús, presided at the first meeting in 1880.

11 https://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/127719/1878.pdf (accessed 3 October 2019). See Resolutions 10-12.

12 The Episcopal chaplaincy then present in Lisbon seems to have had some influence. Bishop Riley again was involved. See the relevant passage from Resolution 12 of the 1878 Lambeth bishops’ encyclical, https://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/127719/1878.pdf (accessed 3 October 2019).

13 Others presently are Bermuda, Ceylon and the Falkland Islands.

14 The classic text remains C.S. Moss, The Old Catholic Movement: Its Origins and History (Berkeley, CA: Apocryphile Press, 2005).

15 There are also legitimate Old Catholic groups in America, which by agreement The Episcopal Church is responsible for certifying. The Polish National Catholic Church, despite its roots in the Old Catholic movement, seceded from the Union of Utrecht in 2003.

16 The Episcopal Church has not yet asked to sign it, for theological reasons having to do with concerns about episcopacy.

17 The Anglican Bishop of that city is called ‘The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem’.

18 Many English and Episcopal congregations meet in buildings belonging to other churches.

19 Surely it should be clear that the same concerns are being raised all over again around the Communion: what if anything can justify planting an overlapping jurisdiction into an existing one; questions of doctrinal sufficiency or even heresy; and destructive proselytism, this time among Anglicans. See Pierre Whalon, ‘Anglicans in Europe: A Model?’ at http://anglicansonline.org/resources/essays/whalon/europemodel.html (accessed 3 October 2019).

20 Roughly, average Sunday attendance of 200 or less.

21 As first executive of the Anglican Communion, Bayne was the architect of ‘Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence’ the landmark agreement of the 1963 Anglican Congress that transformed the Anglican Communion. See his biography by John Booty, An American Apostle: The Life of Stephen Fielding Bayne, Jr. (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International, 1997).

22 Similarly, I provided episcopal ministry to a house church of several Episcopalians in Almaty, Kazakhstan for several years. They have since moved on.

23 Bishop Innes is the first priest from the Diocese to be appointed bishop, and the first bishop consecrated specifically for the Diocese. The possibility of a ‘hard Brexit’ would vastly complicate matters, however.

24 Perusing Canon I.15, which allows for the establishment of congregations of The Episcopal Church where no Anglican jurisdiction exists, and comparing it with the mission and ministry of the Convocation, clearly demonstrates this.

25 For instance, four of the five suffragan bishops of the Diocese of London have, as area bishops, specific geographical oversight, and function like a diocesan in many respects.

28 At this time of writing, the Bishop of West Virginia represents The Episcopal Church to the International Bishops Conference.

29 The first use of the term in governing bodies is in the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992, creating the European Union. Its origin as defined is in Catholic social teaching, although the basic idea has existed since antiquity. See Pierre Whalon, ‘The Key to Understanding The Episcopal Church’, Sewanee Theological Review 61.2, pp. 523-546.

30 The Book of Common Prayer 1979, p. 855. Note that this is a gloss of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, ch. 5.

31 Cardinal Karl Koch, the present head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, has stated that this goal cannot be met by the Roman church alone, but must be undertaken ecumenically. There is now a new dicastry for ‘New Evangelization’.

33 A jurisdiction that obtains everywhere that there is no Anglican province is amorphous, and so is responsibility for it.

34 The 2003 General Convention decided to study signing the Reuilly Agreement. The 2018 Convention approved entering into an official dialogue with the Evangelische Lutherische Kirche in Bayern (resolution C-059).

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