By the Rt Revd Francis R Lyons
The Right Reverend Gregory Venables was elected and installed as the fourth presiding bishop of the seven dioceses that form the Province of the Southern Cone of America of the Anglican Communion on November 7. The seventh, triennial Synod met in Salta, Northern Argentina, to observe the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of Allen Gardiner and his companions, who launched Anglican mission to the unreached peoples of the area. Bishop Venables serves with his wife Sylvia in Buenos Aires. He previously was bishop of Bolivia and ministered in Paraguay and England.
A resolution to permit the dioceses of Argentina and Uruguay the local option of ordaining women to the priesthood failed to obtain a majority. A broader motion had failed three years earlier.
The Synod coincided with the triennial reunion of South American Missionary Society (SAMS) International, including Great Britain, Ireland, the United States and Canada, to promote greater on field assessment, communication and coordination of programs. Since their last meeting SAMS Australia and SAMS New Zealand have been incorporated into and represented by the Church Mission Society (CMS) of those countries. In addition, Latin area officers of the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) attended. SAMS International promised wholehearted support for local priorities: holistic mission, ministry formation, youth, and cross-cultural mission both inside and outside the Province.
The ministry of retiring bishops Maurice Sinclair and David Leake were celebrated as well. Sinclair, the outgoing Primate, was an important voice in the pastoral crisis facing the Communion. Leake, born of missionary parents in Northern Argentina, has labored devoutly for the development and autonomy of the Province. He is presently the longest serving Anglican Bishop with 33 years of episcopal ministry.