Three people were confirmed this week in the most southerly cathedral in the Anglican Communion – but the cathedral’s bishop, Tim Thornton, had to travel some 8,000 miles from his office in London, England, for the service, reports the Anglican Communion News Service.
The Falkland Islands are not within an Anglican Communion province but is an Extra Provincial area under the metro-political authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Bishop to the Falklands is a post held by the Bishop at Lambeth – the senior episcopal assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.
Despite the remoteness of the Christ Church cathedral on the South Atlantic islands, a full slate of clergy were present for to watch Denise Blake and Antonia and Stirling Harcus make their confirmation vows during what was described as a “joyous” service. In addition to Bishop Tim, the interim priest in charge of the Falkland Islands, Ian Faulds was joined by other Christ Church Cathedral clergy Kathy Biles and Betty Turner. Also present was the Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force, John Ellis, and Forces padre Alice McDermott.
There are currently six Extra Provincial areas in the Anglican Communion. In addition to the Falkland Islands, there are the Church of Ceylon, the Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba, Bermuda, the Lusitanian Church (Portugal) and the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain.
Most are under the metro-political authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury; except for Cuba, which receives metro-political authority from a Primatial council, comprising the Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Canada, and the Archbishop of the West Indies. Cuba will cease to be an Extra Provincial area when it resumes membership of the US-based Episcopal Church.
A new Rector will be sought for the Falkland Islands shortly after its previous Rector, Nicholas Mercer, returned to the UK in December to take up a new role in Bolton Abbey later this year.