A majority of delegates to the 131st annual synod of the Diocese of Quincy voted on November 7 to leave the Episcopal Church and realign the diocese under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which covers the southern portion of South America.
The action was carried out by the passing of two resolutions. The first formally annulled accession to "the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America."
The resolution stated that the General Convention and leaders of the Episcopal Church "have failed to uphold the teaching and authority of Holy Scripture, have challenged or belittled core doctrines of the Christian faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican Communion, and have rejected the godly counsel of the leaders of the Communion."
Members of Quincy's leadership, including former diocesan bishop Keith Ackerman, who retired on November 1, have been at odds with the wider church over such theological issues as the church's attitude toward homosexuality.
The vote on the resolution to leave the Episcopal Church was taken by orders. Members of the clergy voted 41 to 14 in favor of the resolution. Lay delegates voted 54 to 12 in favor of the resolution.
The second resolution stated that the Diocese of Quincy "wishes to accept the gracious invitation extended by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone in November, 2007, to offer membership to extra-provincial dioceses on an emergency basis."
On the resolution to join the Southern Cone, clergy voted 46 to 4 in favor. Lay delegates voted 55 to 8 to approve the resolution.
Immediately following the vote, delegates were read a letter from Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate, or national bishop, of the Southern Cone, welcoming the Diocese of Quincy into his jurisdiction.
In the letter, Venables announced that he has appointed the Rev. Canon Ed den Blaauwen, a member of Quincy's governing standing committee, as Vicar General of the diocese, in the absence of a sitting bishop.
The Southern Cone includes the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. It also includes former members of the San Joaquin and Pittsburgh dioceses of the Episcopal Church.
Episcopal News Service will update developments as warranted. A full story covering the convention will be posted on November 8.