The Diocese of Chile should become a province in its own right, the Anglican Consultative Council’s standing committee has decided.
Before the change can be made, the ACC’s constitution requires the assent of two-thirds of Anglican Primates. David White, chief operating officer at the Anglican Communion Office, told standing committee members that a quarter of primates had responded with affirmations so far, and more notifications are expected in the coming weeks.
Chile’s journey toward becoming the 40th province of the Anglican Communion began in response to significant growth of the Anglican Church in the country. It has the support of Province of the Anglican Church of South America, whose bishops affirmed the election of new bishops to serve the new province, should the change occur.
In July, Samuel Morrison was consecrated as bishop of the new Diocese of Valparaíso and Enrique Lago for the new Diocese of Concepción. The current Assistant Bishop of Chile, Abelino Apeleo, will lead the new Diocese of Temuco and the current bishop, Héctor Zavala, will lead the new Diocese of Santiago and serve as primate of the new Anglican province.
A working party from the standing committee visited Chile in August to assess whether the diocese was ready to become a province. The visitors adopted guidelines approved by a number of ACC meetings on provincial status, including the effect on mission of the new and existing provinces, financial stability, and organizational sustainability.
Members of the working party unanimously recommended provincial status for the diocese, and their recommendation was supported by the standing committee.
The diocese, known as Iglesia Anglicana de Chile (IACH) — the Anglican Church of Chile — “clearly takes very seriously the need to develop church leaders with strong biblical and theological knowledge and good formation for ministry,” the working group members said in their report. “We believe that IACH has developed appropriate training for ordination and for laity. We welcome the commitment that we have heard describe to develop more teaching around understanding the Anglican Communion and Anglican identity.”
Members of the working group added: “IACH has convinced us of its strong sense of belonging to the Anglican Communion and that it wants this to be maintained and developed. We very much welcome its vision of the Anglican Church as a focus for unity and its desire to understand differences and remain in Communion despite these.”
Adapted from ACNS