Canadian bishops block consecration of diocesan bishop over his views

By Tali Folkins
Posted May 16, 2017

The Rev. Jake Worley, elected bishop of Caledonia April 22, will not be consecrated after a decision by the provincial house of bishops that he holds “views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.” Photo: Anglican Journal

[Anglican Journal] The Rev. Jake Worley, elected bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia April 22, will not be consecrated, after a ruling by the House of Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon.

“As the Provincial House has registered its objection, the Rev. Worley will not be consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada,” reads a statement released May 15 by the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada. The statement specifies that, according to the canons of the province, the decision is final. The diocese will now proceed to hold another synod to elect another bishop, it adds.

Last month’s election was held to find a successor for Bishop William Anderson, who announced in late 2015 his plans to retire.

The house’s decision has to do with Worley’s views on his involvement with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a collection of theologically conservative churches that was originally a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda.

In 2007, Worley, who was born and raised in the U.S., planted a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a missionary for the Anglican Province of Rwanda. (At some point after Worley left, that church joined the Anglican Church in North America, another grouping of conservative Anglican churches.)

The bishops began to discuss Worley’s views after a review of his service for AMiA, which, according to the statement, he performed “under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church without permission of the Episcopal Church.”

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded that within the past five years the Rev. Worley has held—and continues to hold—views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the province, is quoted as saying.

According to the canons of the diocese, the House of Bishops can object to the election of a bishop if “he or she teaches or holds or has within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.”

“The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church,” Privett continues.

The bishops made their decision, according to the statement, after they “reviewed the Rev. Worley’s past actions, what he has written directly to the House, and what he said when meeting with the Provincial House of Bishops.”

The bishops, the statement says, met several times after Worley’s election last month, to “review the materials before them” and meet with Worley.

The statement concludes with a request by the House of Bishops for prayers, “especially for the Worley family, for the Diocese of Caledonia and all those who worship and minister there.”

Neither Privett nor Worley was immediately available for comment as of press time.


Comments (9)

  1. Richard Basta says:

    That’s too bad. I understand that he broke rules but the ACC has tolerated views from bishop candidates in the past that did not conform to established norms. If otherwise qualified I don’t see the problem here. I must be missing something.

    1. Fr. John H. Cawthorne+ says:

      Richard: The problem is that as a Church with Catholic roots and beliefs the Bishop of a particular Dios. is charged with, among many things, ensuring that ALL Priests preaching Christ’s wor of redemption, love and salvation are actually preaching the same message. It’s one of the earliest and most important of a Bishops duties. If a Priest fails to ask (and receive) the permission of the Local Bishop, there is no way that Bishop is able to carry out His/Her screening for truth from the pulpit. I’ve blessed marriages in another Dios. than my home and always sought permission from the local Bishop. It’s part of my job description.

  2. Steve Catanich says:

    This goes beyond “norms.” It is against Canon Law and is behavior typically exhibited by people who think that rules are written for everybody else butnot for them.

  3. Karen Birr says:

    Please say this again in ‘layman’s terms’. I don’t understand what he did. Please, someone, state it differently. Thanks.

  4. Nancy Mott says:

    I can’t imagine the Diocese of Caledonia electing as bishop someone who had planted a church in New Mexico — in the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church — but as part of the Anglican Province of Rwanda! Was this information kept from the electing diocese? How sad.

    1. Nancy Eustace says:

      I agree with you, Nancy. What a thing to put him, his family, and the Diocese through, based on a “view” of one piece of canonical law that he had, and how that view supposedly played out with what happened between the Amercian Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of Rwanda.

  5. Margaret Scott says:

    It is not just one piece of canonical law. Have you ever felt betrayed? Has your congregation ever been split by a priest who chose to take his flock (buildings and all) to different oversight than your diocesan bishop…and this oversight then coming from a bishop in Rwanda (Africa) or Brazil? For clarification, you might read the Ordination vows for a priest in the Episcopal Church which Worley took when he became a priest. He then became a loose canon by disregarding the Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church. I have experienced this betrayal and it is very painful. In its worse form, it lines people up against one another, taking sides. It has broken communities and friendships. I am glad the bishops of the Anglican Church in Canada could perceive the damage that could occur by allowing this election to proceed

  6. William Russiello says:

    The Anglican Church of Canada has the right to nforce its own rules. In this case, they saw that Worley chose to undermine TEC by playing by his own rules. The ACC rightly saw his actions a red flag and chose to preclude giving Worley the power to inflict similar damage on the ACC.

  7. Richmond Parker says:

    Many bishops in PECUSA perjure themselves because they preach ” strange and erroneous doctrines ” contrary to Scriptures . PECUSA seems to be committing suicide ! We had 3,600,000 members in 1966 , and now have about 1,800,000 and are still losing members . Canon Law ( in this case ) be damned ! Richmond Parker

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