AN APPEAL TO THE CONSCIENCE OF CANADIAN ANGLICANS
The Rev. Jacob (Jake) Worley was elected as Bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia last May and then his election was overturned by the Bishops of the Province of British Columbia/Yukon. (Articles about this have been published in the Anglican Journal and the Anglican Planet.)
The only reason stated for these actions is that Mr. Worley planted a church in the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church (U.S.) while he was under the authority of a bishop of the Anglican Church in Africa, and that his refusal to renounce this action constituted holding a view that was contrary to the discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Mr. Worley fully disclosed this history to his Archbishop before the election and both he and the electoral synod were assured that he was “a priest in good standing” and fully eligible to be elected.
He was also subject to an extraordinary investigation regarding this matter before the decision to withhold concurrence was made by the House of Bishops.
Not only was Mr. Worley’s election as bishop annulled but also he was subsequently fired “without cause” as rector of his parish by his archbishop. He was not given any reason for this drastic and devastating action.
In any event, his firing made it necessary for Mr. Worley and his family, as U.S. citizens, to leave Canada within a few weeks, his life in turmoil and his reputation under a cloud. He has received a severance package of three months salary, a good deal of which will go just toward moving costs.
It is instructive that, in a previous episcopal election in Toronto, that of the Rev. Kevin Robertson, a partnered homosexual, serious objections to his eligibility based on the doctrine of the church were swept aside with the statement that he was a “priest in good standing”. Please read the story as reported in The Anglican Planet.
Meanwhile a number of diocesan Bishops are moving ahead on same sex marriage in open defiance of the church’s doctrine expressed in the present marriage canon while the official church does nothing and remains silent.
It is difficult not to conclude that our church hierarchy is willing to turn a blind eye to canon law in a serious doctrinal matter while at the same time having no tolerance for a clergyman who has, in its opinion, transgressed in a jurisdictional matter. There seems to be one standard for those of liberal conviction and another for those of conservative conviction. This surely does not bode well for our future.
- We, as members of the Anglican Church of Canada, are deeply embarrassed and apologize to Mr. Worley for the treatment he has suffered at the hands of our church.
- We strongly protest the double standard this sad episode has exposed in the governance of our church.
- We call upon our Primate publically to offer his explanation of these events and why he does or does not see a double standard at work.
- We call upon all members of the Anglican Church of Canada to pray for our church that it might be filled with “…all truth; in all truth, with all peace.” (BCP p. 39)
In due course, the Primate will receive a copy of this document with all signatures.
(Email addresses will be used only to keep signers up to date on any developments with the petition or to send them one-time basic information regarding other Anglican issues they might be interested in. Our email list will not be given to other organizations or to anyone else.)
This appeal has been initiated by concerned Anglicans who have attempted to exercise due diligence in ascertaining the facts of the matter and who do not have a personal relationship with Mr. Worley. Mr. Worley, besides clarifying a few details at our request, has had nothing to do with this effort.
A GoFundMe account, Worley Love Offering, has been initiated for those who wish to express their solidarity with Mr. Worley and his family in a more tangible fashion. Donations are not tax-deductible. This initiative is unrelated to a previous short term GoFundMe campaign for the Worleys’ immediate moving expenses.