Skip to comments.[Canada] Caledonia bishop to face disciplinary action
Posted on 03/10/2004 10:37:05 AM PST by ahadams2
Caledonia bishop to face disciplinary action Conservative prelate licensed a priest outside his diocese
SOLANGE DE SANTIS
Mar. 9, 2004 - Bishop William Anderson of the northern British Columbia diocese of Caledonia is facing potential disciplinary action after licensing a conservative, former Episcopalian priest, in the United States diocese of Wyoming.
"Bishop Anderson is acting improperly," said Archbishop David Crawley, metropolitan (senior bishop) of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and the Yukon and Bishop Anderson's superior.
"The canons of our church state that a bishop is not allowed to interfere in another diocese," said Archbishop Crawley in an interview, adding that he is "gathering documentation" and that the matter could be cause for discipline.
In a letter dated Jan. 28, Bishop Bruce Caldwell of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming lodged a formal complaint with Archbishop Crawley against Bishop Anderson. As metropolitan (senior bishop) of the province of British Columbia and Yukon, Archbishop Crawley is Bishop Anderson's superior.
The letter notes that on Dec. 31, 2003, Rev. Hume "Skip" Reeves of Cheyenne, Wyo., retired and subsequently renounced his orders as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States.
"On Jan. 18, 2004, he started a congregation in Cheyenne St. Peter the Apostle and Confessor, a parish of the diocese of Caledonia," wrote Bishop Caldwell, who is based in Laramie, Wyo.
"Bishop Anderson has in fact licensed (Mr.) Reeves and is assuming oversight of the congregation. This action is clearly in violation of church order," wrote Bishop Caldwell. "He is violating the jurisdiction of this diocese," said Bishop Caldwell in an interview, "the same as if I decided to go to Caledonia and start a church there."
Bishop Anderson, in an interview, said Mr. Reeves left the Episcopal Church because he disagreed with Bishop Caldwell's approval of the consecration last year of openly-gay bishop Gene Robinson. "I got a request from a colleague in the American church that an orthodox priest wants to preach the gospel and perform the sacraments within the Anglican church and is looking for an orthodox bishop to support him," said Bishop Anderson.
He wrestled with the issue of jurisdiction, he said, but believes that it is Anglicans with more liberal views of homosexuality who are "playing fast and loose with the canons of the church." Approving gay relationships is "contrary to Scripture and contrary to the current teaching of the church," he said.
Mr. Reeves' congregation of about 140 meets in rented space, he said, and is "not interested in getting into a property battle with the bishop of Wyoming." Bishop Anderson said he intends to visit the congregation this year, but a date has not yet been set. On the church's Web site, a newsletter states that Bishop Anderson is scheduled to visit in late June.
As for the possibility that he could be disciplined, he said, "if it is, it is." However, he added, "the use of discipline and canon law seems to be awfully one-sided." Bishop Michael Ingham of the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster "has pushed the envelope" by approving a 2002 synod vote allowing the blessing of gay unions, he said.
The Canadian house of bishops and many Anglican primates have asked for a delay on moves towards liberalizing church attitudes toward homosexuality "and the Episcopal Church and Bishop Ingham have thumbed their noses at those bodies and done it anyway," said Bishop Anderson. Conservatives, he said, are fed up.
Recently, Bishop Anderson declined to participate fully in the Jan. 25 consecration of Bishop James Cowan of the diocese of British Columbia. Though listed in the order of service as a co-presenter, he remained in his pew rather than stand with Bishop Ingham, who, together with Bishop Terrence Buckle of Yukon, presented Bishop Cowan to the congregation. Bishop Ingham, said Bishop Anderson, "is doing profound damage to the church and I couldn't pretend everything is all right."