Uruguay wants out of the Southern Cone

Anglican News Service, via Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia, has reported that the Diocese of Uruguay wants to leave the Province of the Southern Cone (PSC) and seek another provincial community. The issue concerns the ordination of women.  PSC voted down a resolution put forward by Uruguay at their last Synod meeting to allow diocesan option. Uruguay,  according to Lyons cited a "very difficult agnostic milieu" as part of the reason for wanting to allow the ordination of women. Read the release HERE.

It will be important to have direct comments from Uruguay on all this. The diocese has strong roots in the contemporary missionary activities of the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada and Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. Its first bishop, Bishop William Godfrey established a missionary program for the diocese that has resulted in significant expansion since the formation of the diocese in 1989. The current bishop, The Rt. Rev. Miguel Tamayo is Cuban by background and began his ministry in Uruguay with help from the Anglican Church of Canada. In turn Bishop Tamayo has provided episcopal ministry in Cuba during its recent interim period. 

On the surface it seems that the Diocese has acted in a responsible manner, requesting of the PSC permission to seek other provincial oversight. They have not simply left.  Further, if PSC does not give that permission, Uruguay will take the matter to the Anglican Consultative Council.  This is quite different from the pattern in those dioceses in The Episcopal Church and Brazil that voted to leave and where the leadership (bishop and others) took that as a mandate to claim that the diocese had left, complete with its patrimony, down to the chalice and patten from the local altars.  In TEC and  IAEB there was no asking permission to realign, no back up of going to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) with a request for new placement.

The Diocese of Uruguay is making a legitimate request to be part of a Province other than the Southern Cone. I suppose, given its proximity to Brazil and the fact that some of its clergy have ties to Brazil it might make sense for it to become part of a larger IAEB, a church that includes a neighbor country. 

Should Uruguay's request be turned down I would expect that it would remain part of the Southern Cone and continue to be a light to that Province as it determines its future inclusion of women in the priesthood. If it is allowed to find a new home, I hope it will be with a Province contiguous to it, in this case Brazil.

Here is a short video from Trinity Church on the work of the Church in Uruguay.


  1. Under the episcopacy of +Miguel in Cuba and with the Metropolitan Council*, a women was elevated to the episcopacy to assist +Miguel in that diocese and become the first female Anglican bishop in Latin America. +Nerva was consecrated in 2007, retired in 2008 and died earlier this year at age 71 of severe anemia. Late last year the Metropolitan Council appointed the Revd Griselda Delgado Del Carpio as bishop coadjutor with +Miguel. She was consecrated bishop last FEB and is scheduled to succeed him as bishop of the diocese at the end of this month as +Miguel retires from Cuba. She will be the first female Anglican bishop diocesan in Latin America.

    Something to keep in mind is that the canons of the church of the Southern Cone makes provision for a process for dioceses to follow to separate from the province. Whereas TEC has no such provision in its canons outside of missionary diocese. Uruguay is strictly following that process at this time. It is reported that Uruguay made a similar motion at General Synod 9 years ago regarding the ordination of women. The diocese has patiently waited all these years and thought this time things would be different. They were not, so it is ready to join with a province where these ordinations are allowed.

    *The Metropolitan Council of the Episcopal Church of Cuba is composed of of the primates of ACCanada, TEC and the AC of the West Indies.

  2. This is such a wonderful example of Christian charity and love.

  3. From the canons of the Southern Cone;

    11.4 "A Diocese with sufficient reason and with the consent of the Provincial Synod may move to another Metropolitan Jurisdiction."

    11.5 "A Member Diocese with sufficient cause and with consent of the Provincial Synod may withdraw from the Province. If the condition for such a withdrawal has been completed, the President of the Province shall notify the president of the Anglican Consultative Council and will ask that a provision for Metropolitan Jurisdiction be made for said Diocese. If the prior procedure is not possible, the Diocese may go directly to the Anglican Consultative Council."

  4. The Anglican Communion lists the members of the Metropolitan Council as the primates of the Canadian, West Indian and Central American Provinces.


    The Cuban Church's website still lists the primate of the EC, but it hasn't been updated since 2006.


    Actually, the proponents of women's ordination in the Southern Cone made some progess. The local option measure got the necessary 2/3 approval by the bishops and by the laity. It was the clergy that prevented it from passing.

    The comparisons between the Southern Cone and the EC aren't all that apt. The SC is a very young Province: about 22 years old. It doesn't have the same long institutional history as the EC does. Also, the SC is a multinational Province where, except for Argentina and Northern Argentina, all the dioceses are in different countries. (I realize the EC is a multinational Province too, but in the EC you have one country that is predominant). It's also interesting to note that while most of the individual dioceses in the SC have their own websites (Paraguay and Northern Argentina being the exceptions), there is no Provincial website. Also, the Church in those dioceses refers to itself as the Anglican Church of Argentina (or Chile, or Peru, etc.) All indicates that the diocesan identity is much stronger than the Provincial one.

    Of course, even if the SC agrees to let Uruguay leave, the ACC may have to arrange for some sort of oversight unless another Province lets it in.

  5. Perhaps then Paul the Anglican Communion should correct their website. The primate of the AC of the Central American Region, the youngest province in the Americas (1 JAN 1998), has never been on the Metropolitan Council. It has always been the primates of the three oldest provinces in the hemisphere since Cuba separated from TEC in 1967 as an extra-provencial diocese as a direct result of the bad US - Cuba relations.

    However, Archbishop Gomez the last number of years of his primacy did not participate in the Council. So the primates of TEC and ACCanada alone chose the two bishops suffragan for Cuba in 2007.

    I was not able to find online evidence that +Gomez's successor actually took part in electing +Delgado Del Carpio

  6. PS -
    Paul, as Father Mark points out in his post, I am sure Brazil would be happy to accept Uruguay as a diocese.

  7. Perhaps you should let them know, so they can correct their website.

    As for the Iglesia de Uruguay and the IAEB, I don't know enough about either to say whether it would be a good fit or not. Still, I hope the Southern Cone lets them go in peace (and that the "tramites" aren't too complicated) and that another Province (whether IAEB, the EC, or whoever) is able to accept them.

  8. Or perhaps Uruguay can be invited to join the ACNA, which already has the local option that the Southern Cone House of Clergy failed to approve.

  9. Paul,

    I think Uruguay wishes to remain within the Anglican Commuinion. That could tip the diocese toward Brazil.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.