Bishop William Anderson of the northern British Columbia diocese of Caledonia is facing possible disciplinary action after licensing a former Episcopalian priest in the United States diocese of Wyoming .
“The canons of our church state that a bishop is not allowed to interfere in another diocese,” said Archbishop David Crawley, metropolitan (senior bishop) of the province of British Columbia and the Yukon and Bishop Anderson’s superior. He said 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.
The letter notes that on Dec. 31, 2003, Rev. Hume “Skip” Reeves of Cheyenne , Wyo. , retired and renounced his orders as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA). On Jan. 18, 2004, he started a congregation in Cheyenne : St. Peter the Apostle and Confessor.
“Bishop Anderson ? has in fact licensed (Mr.) Reeves and is assuming oversight of the congregation,” wrote Bishop Caldwell.
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 ECUSA bishop Gene Robinson. The Caledonia bishop acknowledged that 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.”
The use of discipline and canon law “seems to be awfully one-sided,” said Bishop Anderson. Bishop Michael Ingham of the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster “has pushed the envelope” by approving a synod vote allowing the blessing of gay unions, he said.
Conservatives, said Bishop Anderson, are fed up.
Bishop Anderson also 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.”