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Uruguay ‘adrift’ after transfer bid thwarted

07 December 2012

By a staff reporter

THE diocese of Uruguay has said that it has been "cut adrift" by the Anglican Communion after its request to transfer out of the Province of the Southern Cone of America was referred back to the Province.

The diocese had asked the Anglican Consultative Council standing committee to transfer it to the Episcopal Church of Brazil, which it says is more "compatible" with its theology and mission.

Uruguay has made repeated requests, for more than a decade, to the conservative Province of the Southern Cone to allow it to ordain women to the priesthood.

In 2010, the diocese voted to seek another jurisdiction after a proposal to allow dioceses individually to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood was turned down by the tenth synod of the Southern Cone.

The Province also twice rejected the diocesan appointment of a bishop coadjutor, the Ven. Dr Michael Pollesel, former general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, a fact that he described as the "last straw" in relations between the diocese and the Province.

Dr Pollesel said: "Following the release of the Report of the Sub- Committee of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, that offers suggestions for a way forward for the small diocese of Uruguay and the Province of the Southern Cone, the diocese feels totally misunderstood and unsupported.

"The report seems to focus on the election of a bishop coadjutor, a process which the diocese went through last year. . .

"The diocese saw this as the 'last straw' in its attempts to move forward in its understanding of mission. For over ten years, the diocese has been requesting that the Province allow it to ordain women to the priesthood. These requests have been rejected.

"The diocese sees itself as being called to express its ministry and mission in ways and means that appear to be unacceptable to the Province. And for this reason, it had requested transfer to another metropolitical jurisdiction that would support its attempts at carrying out mission rather than thwart them."

The secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said on Wednesday that the Standing Committee was unable to respond positively to the request under the canon law of the Province. It had offered pastoral advice, instead.


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