Despite or because the Church of England is part of the Porvoo Communion, four Anglican and eight Nordic and Baltic churches, Rowan Williams has declined the invitation to attend the ordination of the openly gay woman Eva Brunne to be the next Bishop of Stockholm. The Church of Sweden is not a part of the Anglican Communion, several provinces of the latter are in full communion with it, by virtue of the Porvoo Agreement.
Five bishops from various levels within the Anglican Church, including Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, have decided not to attend the November 8th ceremony, the Dagen newspaper reports.
“The Anglican Church has a moratorium right now concerning the ordination of bishops who live together with someone of the same sex,” Alan Harper, a bishop from Armagh in Northern Ireland, told the newspaper.
Back in July, two UK bishops warned that allowing homosexuals to be married in Swedish churches would lead to “an impairment of the relationship” between the Church of England and the Church of Sweden.
In addition to bishops from the Churches of England and Ireland, the churches of Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have also elected to skip the ordination, although without providing any specific reason. Representatives from the churches of South Africa, the Philippines, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Germany are among the international representatives who have accepted the Church of Sweden’s invitation to attend Sunday’s ceremony.
Read it all at Sweden’s English language The Local.
H/T Jonathan Hagger.
No word on whether Williams is preparing a Lutheran Constitution or a Lutheran Ordinariate. Or whether he believes the Church of Sweden is tearing the fabric of the full communion of the Porvoo Churches.
Addendum, November 5. The story in The Local/Dagen has been rewritten. Here’s the key passage. Make of it what you will:
Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd, who will conduct the ordination of Brunne and Koivunen Bylund, disputed the claim that the Church of England was somehow boycotting the ceremony.
“That’s not true at all,” he told the Kyrkans Tidning newspaper.
“We send invitations to those with the highest rank. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury received an invitation, but no one expected him to say yes.”
He added that the Church of England would be represented by the Reverend Karen Schmidt, who serves as the Bishop’s Chaplain for the Portsmouth Diocese, with which the Stockholm Diocese has a twinning relationship whereby church leaders from both diocese conduct reciprocal visits with one another.
“The bishop (sic), David Bingley (sic) of Portsmouth [see comment below], couldn’t make it but will attend Eva Brunne’s reception the following Sunday,” Wejryd told the newspaper.
Addendum 2, November 6.Church of Ireland Gazette:
The Gazette understands that none of the Anglican Porvoo Communion Churches (the Church of Ireland, the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales) will be represented at the 8th November consecrations of two new Swedish bishops – Dean of Uppsala, the Very Revd Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund for the Diocese of Härnösand, and the Revd Eva Brunne for the Diocese of Stockholm.