Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, May 12, 2008

News for Week Ending 5/12/2008

Southern Cone to amend constitution and canons to ‘regularize’ admission of dissident North American dioceses

In a story for The Living Church written by the communications officer of the Diocese of Fort Worth, it is reported that Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the province of the Southern Cone has announced his intention to take the steps necessary to amend his province’s constitution and canons to allow admission of dioceses beyond the area approved by the Anglican Communion when his province was created. (Venables’ visit was covered in an earlier Pittsburgh Update post here.) “Despite articles of incorporation which seem to prohibit welcoming overseas dioceses and licensing deposed clergy and bishops for ministry in other Anglican provinces, Bishop Venables said he felt compelled to act so that brother and sister Anglicans can ‘get on with their ministry.’”

Canadian Court rules withdrawing parishes must share space with diocese

Three Canadian parishes in southern Ontario (in the Diocese of Niagara) that have tried to realign as part of the Southern Cone have been ordered by a court to share their facilities with the Anglican Church of Canada until higher courts resolve competing ownership claims. The diocese has suspended the realigning clergy and appointed new clergy to oversee the parishes. The trial judge, Jane Millanetti, ruled that title to two of the properties “rests with the diocese; the third appears to rest with them as well.” The court order requires the diocese to have access from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. on Sundays, and to have access on major feast days, as well as specified times during the week. One congregation has changed service times to comply with the order. The other two have announced that they will move to new locations rather than share their facilities. The Toronto Star has covered these developments here.

Settlement reached regarding ‘historic’ Central Florida parish

On May 7, the Diocese of Central Florida announced that all parties have reached a settlement regarding the historic Trinity Parish in Vero Beach, Florida, where a portion of the parish has decided to withdraw from The Episcopal Church. In 2003, the parish had around 1,300 members. The settlement provides that the “Leavers” will be paid $700,000, will get to remove the church’s bell carillon at their expense, and will cease using the parish facilities on July 1. During the next 10 years, they will have first refusal if the “Stayers” decide to “sell, transfer, lease, or otherwise convey interest in the historic Trinity property.” The Very Rev. G. Richard Lobs, retired dean of the Cathedral of St. Luke in Orlando, has agreed to serve as the interim of the Episcopal parish. The complete agreement can be read on the diocesan Web site. Stories from Episcopal News Service and The Living Church can be read here and here, respectively.

Connecticut diocese files suit against Bishop Seabury Church leaders

The Hartford Courant reported May 10 that the Diocese of Connecticut has filed suit against the Rev. Ronald Gauss and 12 leaders of the parish that, in November 2007, voted to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). (For additional details, see Pittsburgh Update story here). Gauss, who formally retired last year, but is serving as rector of Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, Connecticut, has been suspended by the diocese. He has refused to turn over the keys of the church to the diocese and has claimed that he will not surrender church records.

Colorado bishop asks 18 dissident priests to clarify status with diocese

The Diocese of Colorado has confirmed that letters were sent to 18 former diocesan clergy by Bishop Robert O’Neill informing them that they must either renounce their orders in The Episcopal Church or be inhibited for six months and deposed for abandonment of communion thereafter. The previous bishop of Colorado, Jerry Winterrowd, had granted 17 of the clergy letters dimissory to the Province of Southeast Asia in 2001. However, the clergy did not go to that province but remained active in the United States as part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas. The eighteenth recently affiliated with CANA. Bishop O’Neill and the diocesan Standing Committee (which certified that the clergy had abandoned the communion of the church) consider the steps a “housekeeping” process to clarify that these clergy are not under the jurisdiction of the diocese and not authorized to serve in Episcopal parishes. This story has not been widely reported, though one story about these events can be found here.

Pittsburgh bishops to attend Lambeth Conference

Both Diocesan Bishop Robert Duncan and Assistant Bishop Henry Scriven will attend the Lambeth Conference in July and August, as well as the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in June, the Diocese of Pittsburgh announced May 6. According to the diocesan statement, Bishop Duncan will attend the Lambeth Conference July 16–25, and Bishop Scriven will attend July 26–August 3, in a move to reduce costs. “Those who accuse us of abandoning the Anglican Communion will certainly be present and vocal. It is important for us to be able to respond directly to their claims about the situation in The Episcopal Church and our place in the Communion,” Bishop Duncan is quoted as saying. Other supporters of realignment that have announced their intention to be at Lambeth include Fort Worth bishop Jack Iker and Southern Cone primate Gregory Venables.