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VIRGINIA: Bishops Lee, Minns reach agreement on Truro Church


The Rt. Rev. Peter Lee  

[Episcopal News Service]  Bishop Peter James Lee of Virginia has licensed the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns to serve as priest-in-charge of Truro Church through January 1, 2007. The decision is the result of conversations with the Truro parish vestry, diocesan Standing Committee, diocesan Chancellor "and others seeking their counsel on this question," Lee explained in an October 2 letter to the Diocese of Virginia.

Minns has served as rector of Truro Church since 1991 and was consecrated August 20 as bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), originally called the Convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America.

Lee noted that although Minns had been consecrated a bishop in the Church of Nigeria -- an action which ended his canonical residence in the Diocese of Virginia -- the decision to license him "responds pastorally to the needs of Truro Church and maintains the integrity of the Canons of the Diocese and of The Episcopal Church with respect to ordained service, diocesan and provincial boundaries and episcopal authority."

The vestry "desired that he be allowed to serve in an ordained leadership capacity while they continue their search for a new rector," Lee explained in his letter.

"The details of the license also establish that Martyn will perform no episcopal acts in the Diocese of Virginia through January 1, 2007 and that Martyn will exercise his ministry in compliance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and The Diocese of Virginia," the letter continued. "...I believe our response to this peculiar situation achieves the goal of discerning a resolution that expresses our concern for the pastoral needs of this congregation, honors the Church and glorifies God."

The full text of Lee's letter is available at:

In a September 29 letter to the members of Truro Church, Minns acknowledged Lee's  "understandable concerns about the canonical challenge" that the arrangement presents and said he had "assured Bishop Lee that I will not perform any 'episcopal acts' within the boundaries of the Diocese of Virginia through January 1, 2007. In other words, I will respect his jurisdiction and not conduct confirmations or ordinations in Virginia during this time."

Minns expressed his gratitude for Lee's "generosity in making these rather unusual arrangements" and said he is "pleased that we have found a way forward that brings glory to God and honors His Church."