The Australian leader of the Church of England in South Africa has
resigned in the wake of a conservative backlash against his leadership and
Bishop Dudley Foord, formerly Rector of Christ Church, St Ives, was
consecrated in St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, in February 1984.
In a statement to colleagues explaining his resignation, Bishop Foord said
he feels "a South African should lead the Church in view of the crisis
situation in our land".
Neither the bishop nor other Church officials would comment further.
Bishop Foord is coming to Australia "on holiday" in July. It is not known
if he will return to South Africa.
Bishop Foord's resignation was not entirely unexpected.
The Church of England in South Africa (CESA) has limited recognition in
the wider Anglican Communion, and is regarded as schismatic by the larger Church
of the Province of South Africa (CPSA).
Bishop Foord's consecration by Archbishop Donald Robinson was seen by many
as a "peace overture" to bring about the eventual reunion of the two bodies.
It was on this basis that other Australian bishops, including the Primate,
Archbishop Sir John Grindrod, agreed to participate in the ceremony.
In South Africa itself this view was resented by ecclesiastical
conservatives who oppose closer relations with the CPSA.
Their attitude hardened still further with the appointment last year of
Archbishop Desmond Tutu as Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of the CPSA.
Such was the strength of feeling on the issue that Bishop Foord was forced
to issue an affidavit denying having at any time "prior to my consecration ...
committed myself personally or the CESA to seeking reconciliation and a form of
full communion with the CPSA".
If Bishop Foord returns permanently to Australia, a dilemma could be
created concerning a future appointment.
Though validly consecrated as an Anglican bishop, he was consecrated
specifically for an overseas Church whose legitimacy is challenged by most