Parish of the Falkland Islands

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Christ Church Cathedral, Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

The Parish of the Falkland Islands - formerly a diocese of the Church of England known as the Diocese of the Falkland Islands - is an extra-provincial church in the Anglican Communion headed by the Bishop of the Falkland Islands. Until well into the 20th century the bishop of the Falkland Islands had episcopal authority over the whole of South America, until power shifted to the Bishop of Buenos Aires. In 1982, Argentinian episcopal authority over the Falkland Islands was abolished and the rector of the cathedral now reports directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury (who is concurrently also the Bishop of the Falkland Islands) while receiving pastoral guidance from the Bishop of Chile in Santiago.

History, 1869—1978[edit]

Waite Hockin Stirling was consecrated the first bishop of the diocese in 1869. After his tenure, the history of the Falkland Islands diocese largely followed the waxing and waning fortunes of the South American Missionary Society (SAMS). In 1910 the diocese was divided for the first time into "East Coast" and "West Coast". Bishop Every became Bishop of Argentina and Eastern South America, and Bishop Lawrence Blair became Bishop of the Falkland Islands, which included oversight of Chile, Bolivia and Peru. He resigned in 1914 and Bishop Every took the post. 1910 was also the year of the World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh.

Norman de Jersey was bishop for 15 years. In 1934 he was succeeded by John Weller. Financial constraints caused him to consolidate, becoming Bishop of Argentina and Eastern South America while retaining oversight of the Falkland Islands, which technically was a vacant see until 1946. Daniel Evans, formerly of Rio de Janeiro, took over in 1946 when the diocese was once more united as the Diocese of the Falkland Islands, covering nearly all of South America. He died of a heart attack in Southern Chile in 1962.

After a convention in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 1963, the Anglican Church underwent dramatic changes and the vast diocese was divided into three parts. The West Coast Diocese of Chile, Bolivia and Peru came under Bishop Kenneth Howell, a former South American Missionary Society (SAMS) missionary, and Cyril Tucker was consecrated under two separate mandates, one as Bishop of Argentina and Eastern South America, and the other as Bishop of the Falkland Islands. The SAMS played an important part in financing and establishing the two bishoprics.

As a result of increased SAMS activity, more dioceses were created: in 1973 Northern Argentina and Paraguay; the Diocese of Peru in 1977; Uruguay in 1988 and Bolivia in 1996 (now all part of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America). The South America Dioceses joined to form the Anglican Council of South America, which included the Falkland Islands. This proved unsuitable for the congregations of the Falklands, as proceedings were conducted in Spanish, and most of the residents were English speaking.[1][2]

History from 1978[edit]

In 1978, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Donald Coggan, assumed personal responsibility for the Falkland Islands, with episcopal oversight exercised by his commissary. The first Episcopal Commissary for the Falkland Islands was Bishop Richard Cutts in Buenos Aires, an Anglo-Argentine and former missionary in Africa, who had succeeded Bishop Tucker in 1975. In 1982, during the Falklands War many British troops came under the episcopal oversight of the Bishop to the Forces. The Archbishop of Canterbury decided to exercise his responsibility by giving his commission to any bishop visiting the islands. In January 2007 Stephen Venner was appointed Episcopal Commissary. The Episcopal Commissary is also known as Bishop for the Falkland Islands.

Since 1978, the clergy of the cathedral have adopted the office of rector. The post was held successively by Harry Bagnall (1979–1986),[3] John Murphy, Stephen Palmer (1991–1996), Alistair McHaffie (1998–2003), Paul Sweeting (2003–2007),[4] and Richard Hines (from 2007).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Millam, Rev. Peter J. (August 1997). "The Falklands - The World's Largest Diocese". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  2. ^ Vincent, Patrick (March 1983). The Geographical Journal, Vol. 149, No. 1, pp 16–17.
  3. ^ Bagnall, Rev. Harry (December 1988). "Cathedral Land Rover". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  4. ^ "Vicar prepares for Falklands". BBC. 2003-03-09. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  5. ^ "New Rector Appointed". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 

External links[edit]