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.