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 5, 2008

News for Week Ending 5/5/2008

Brazilian bishops see no need for Anglican covenant

In a statement released this past week reacting to the so-called “St. Andrew’s Draft,” members of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil said they continue to believe that an Anglican covenant is unnecessary to guide relationships between Anglican provinces. “The Covenant continues to be a mistaken proposal for the resolution of conflicts through the creation of curial instances absolutely alien to our ethos,” the bishops’ statement says. The full statement may be read here. Episcopal News Service has a story on the statement here.

Canadian diocese sends subtle message

Anglican Journal reports that the synod of the Diocese of Athabasca, in northern Alberta, has passed resolutions to “inform the parishes and the bishops who have joined the Anglican Network in Canada and the Province of the Southern Cone that we are in full communion with them” and to express dismay at bishops’ using the courts to retain property of congregations leaving the Anglican Church of Canada for the Anglican Network in Canada. The local bishop, Archbishop John Clarke, has written a letter to clarify the synod’s resolutions. In it, he asserts that members of the diocese believe that the communion table is the place for all Christians to come together “to find the wisdom, courage, and grace, to overcome our differences.” The Diocese of Athabasca has 3,500 members, scattered among 33 worshiping communities in 18 parishes, none of which has voted to leave the Canadian church.

Williams: Robinson can perform no priestly acts in England

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams informed Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire by e-mail on April 29 that he is prohibited from preaching or presiding at the Eucharist while he is in England. The archbishop had already refused to invite Robinson as a regular participant in this year’s Lambeth Conference, although the gay New Hampshire bishop plans to be on hand as an observer. Extensive coverage of this development is provided by Thinking Anglicans, a British Web site.

Bishops reportedly circulating charges against Jefferts Schori

On April 30, The Living Church reported that a group of (unnamed) bishops and other church leaders are circulating a legal memorandum arguing that charges could be brought against Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for the way she has handled the inhibition or deposition of Bishops Robert Duncan, of Pittsburgh; John-David Schofield, of San Joaquin (Calif.); and William Cox, a retired bishop now living in Oklahoma. The memo reportedly lists 11 counts of alleged violations of the church’s constitution and canons that could be included in a presentment, which might lead to an ecclesiastical trial. The Living Church quoted a spokeswoman as saying the Presiding Bishop declined to comment because she has not seen the memorandum.

Presiding bishop reviews canonical processes in letter to HoB

Also on April 30, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori e-mailed a letter to members of the House of Bishops reviewing and commenting on processes related to bishops’ deposition, inhibition, renunciation, and resignation. In it, she discussed the canon on temporary inhibition of a bishop pending a final decision by the full House, saying that her understanding is the one held by her chancellor, David Booth Beers, as well as by members of the Title IV Review Committee, an attorney who is an original member of the Committee, the chancellors of several dioceses who have been consulted, and the former chair of both the Standing Commission on the Constitution and Canons and the Legislative Committee on the Canons at the General Convention. The full text of the letter may be found here.

Loyalist Episcopal groups in Fort Worth diocese form umbrella group

Fort Worth area groups opposing “realigning” with another Anglican province have formed an umbrella organization named The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians. Groups within it are Fort Worth Via Media, North Texans Remain Episcopal, Remain Episcopal of Granbury, Steadfast Episcopalians, and several clergy members, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported April 30. The story quotes Bishop Jack Iker as calling the new organization “a self-selected vigilante group whose only stated purpose is ‘to remain in The Episcopal Church’ no matter what—and regardless of what TEC believes or practices. They espouse a blind institutional loyalty that borders on institutional idolatry.”

Venables visit draws PB’s protest, Iker defense

Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, drew a protest from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori regarding his May 2–3 visit to the Diocese of Fort Worth. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) In a letter dated April 29, Jefferts Schori called his visit “an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province [The Episcopal Church].” (The letter is reproduced in the Episcopal News Service story here.) Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker responded the following day with a letter to the presiding bishop calling her communication a “rude letter” and asserting that she had no say in the matter because a diocesan bishop is free to invite other bishops to visit and speak in his diocese. Venables’ visit to Fort Worth followed visits to Vancouver, where he licensed clergy to serve in the Anglican Network in Canada, and San Joaquin.

Iker going to Lambeth

Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker announced May 1 that he will attend the Lambeth Conference in England this summer, as well as the earlier GAFCON in Jerusalem. In a statement posted on the diocesan Web site, Iker said: “I stand in solidarity with all those Bishops who have decided, as a matter of conscience, that they are unable to be at Lambeth. However, given the situation the Diocese of Fort Worth finds itself in with the unfolding realignment that is taking place in Anglicanism, I think it is important for me to be there to make our case and to face our detractors.”