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The Parish of the Falkland Islands - formerly a diocese of the Church of England 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 twentieth 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 today the Rector of the Cathedral reports directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury while receiving pastoral guidance from the Bishop of Chile in Santiagomarker.

History, 1869—1978

Waite Hockin Stirling was ordained the first Bishop in 1869. After him, the history of the Falkland Islands Diocese was very largely that of the waxing and waning fortunes of the South American Missionary Society. In 1910 the Diocese was divided for the first time into "East Coast" and "West Coast". Bishop Every became Bishop of Argentinamarker and Eastern South America, and Bishop Lawrence Blair Bishop of the Falkland Islands which included Chile, Bolivia and Peru, resigning in 1914 when Bishop Every resumed pastoral oversight. 1910 was also the year of the World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh whose misunderstood conclusions severely hampered Anglican efforts to reach the Spanish-speaking peoples of South America for several generations.

Norman de Jersey was Bishop for fifteen years until 1934 when he was succeeded by John Weller. Financial constraints caused him to move to become Bishop of Argentina and Eastern South America while retaining oversight of the Falkland Islands which technically became vacant until 1946. Daniel Evans, formerly in Rio de Janeiromarker, 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 on a coach in Southern Chile in 1962.

After a convention in Cuernavacamarker, Mexico, in 1963, the Anglican Church underwent dramatic changes and the vast diocese was divided into three. 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, two, the Falkland Islands. The SAMS again played an important part in financing and establishing the two bishoprics.

As a result of increased SAMS activity, two 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 formed themselves into the Anglican Council of South America, including the Falkland Islands. This proved inappropriate for the good church-people of the Falklands, as proceedings were conducted in Spanish, concentrating on the great Latin American Continent with which the Falklands felt no affinity.

History from 1978

In 1978, the Archbishop of Canterbury 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 Airesmarker, an Anglo-Argentine and former missionary in Africa, who had succeeded Bishop Tucker in 1975. Since 1982, when so many British troops came under the episcopal oversight of the Bishop to the Forces, the Archbishop of Canterbury can 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 Anglican Clergy of the Cathedral have adopted the title of Rector. The post was held successively by Harry Bagnall (1979–1986), John Murphy, Stephen Palmer (1991–1996), Alistair McHaffie (1998–2003), Paul Sweeting (2003–2007), and Richard Hines (from 2007).

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