Briefly noted: UCC supports Jeremiah Wright, etc.

May 20, 2008

In a unanimous voice vote, the 90-member Executive Council of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution April 14 supporting Trinity UCC in Chicago and its recently retired senior minister Jeremiah Wright, whose videotaped, politically charged comments stirred sustained criticism of the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama, a longtime member of the congregation. “We affirm the longstanding Protestant and African-American practice of pastors exercising their prophetic roles in the pulpit,” the resolution said in part, adding that UCC members and others should consider the full context of Wright’s remarks, which questioned the U.S. commitment “to be a land free from racial, economic and social division.” The resolution called on churches to conduct “a sacred conversation about race,” noting that the Cleveland-based UCC is providing resources for such a study.

For the first time, a woman bishop has been appointed in the Anglican Church of Australia, making it the fourth Anglican province to have an active woman bishop. Kay Goldsworthy, 51, was named assistant bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Perth. She will be consecrated May 22. “In making this announcement, I am delighted that we in the church of Perth continue our unwavering commitment to Christ’s gospel by recognizing women and men as equal,” said Roger Herft, archbishop of Perth, on April 11. Fourteen of the 38 provinces in the Anglican Communion allow women bishops, but women are currently serving in only three areas—the U.S., Canada and New Zealand/Polynesia. In a setback, however, Welsh Anglican clergy narrowly voted April 2 against a measure, supported unanimously by their bishops and overwhelmingly by the House of Laity, to allow women to be appointed to the episcopate. The Church of Wales clergy voted 27 to 18 in favor of the ordination of women bishops, but that was three votes short of the two-thirds majority required.