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.

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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, November 3, 2008

News for Week Ending 11/3/2008

Realigned ‘Diocese of Recife’ appeals for money for legal defense

In 2005, the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone’s Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables extended “recognition and protection” to the diocese of Recife, whose bishop, Robinson Cavalcanti, and a number of priests had been removed by the Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB). (See press release here.) The now “realigned” Diocese of Recife is appealing for funds to fight the attempt by the Anglican Church of Brazilian to recover diocesan property and establish its own claim to the diocese through the courts. The appeal, dated October 30, 2008, can be read here. (The long statement from the Standing Committee gets to the point only in the last paragraph.) We have seen no independent stories in English about these developments.

Covenant Design Group publishes Lambeth Commentary

Much of the discussion of Anglican bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference took place in private and was subject to little reporting. The Covenant Design Group has now published a 33-page document summarizing what bishops had to say about the proposed Anglican covenant. Titled “A Lambeth Commentary on the Saint Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Covenant,” and available here, the document consists primarily of a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, followed by commentary on specific provisions, giving both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the reaction of the bishops who attended Lambeth. (A more statistical analysis is available here.) Whereas much of the proposed covenant causes little concern among bishops, certain aspects of the proposed covenant do raise serious concerns. More details (and additional links) are available in the Episcopal News Story here.

Canadian bishops move cautiously on same-sex blessings

Despite increasing calls to permit the blessing of same-sex unions (see Pittsburgh Update story here), the Canadian House of Bishops, which concluded its meeting on October 31, 2008, has given its support to the moratoria, including one on the blessing of same-sex unions, requested at the last Lambeth Conference. As reported in the Episcopal News Service story here, however, certain diocese will continue to move in the direction of authorizing or expanding the blessing of same-sex unions. A more definitive decision may be forthcoming at the 2010 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Canadian bishops seem to have been more of one mind on the subject of border crossings. “No one is happy with these cross-border interventions,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz is quoted as saying.

According to The Gazette, same-sex blessing could take place in Montreal next year.

Sydney approves lay presidency

Church Times reported in an October 24, 2008, story that the Sydney, Australia, Diocesan Synod has passed a resolution allowing deacons or lay persons to preside at Holy Communion. The resolution will allow women deacons to celebrate. (Sydney does not ordain women to the priesthood.) According to The Living Church, a lay person would have to be licensed to preside, and Sydney’s Archbishop Peter Jensen has not shown a willingness to grant such a license. Allowing a lay presidency, of course, would be a significant break with Anglican tradition and could cause another row within the already divided Anglican Communion. In any case, the practical significance of the Sydney resolution is unclear. A helpful commentary can be read here.

Connecticut convention pleads for permission to perform same-sex marriages

The annual convention of the Diocese of Connecticut voted decisively October 25, 2008, to approve a resolution that “implores the Bishop to allow priests in this Diocese to exercise pastoral wisdom and care and follow the lead of their consciences in whether or not to participate in marriage ceremonies of same sex couples.” The move came two weeks after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples, as of October 28, must be given the same right to marry as mixed-sex couples. Details, including links to the resolution and to the Supreme Court decision can be found in the Episcopal News Service story here.

Bishop of Quincy retires

Bishop Keith Ackerman announced his retirement October 29, 2008, effective November 1. Ackerman has led the Diocese of Quincy, one of the smallest diocese of The Episcopal Church, since 1994. Under him, the diocese has declined to ordain women and has been prepared to vote at its upcoming synod November 7–8 to “realign.” Ackerman has experienced health problems and did not preside at the 2007 synod. He will address this year’s diocesan meeting but will not take part in the deliberations. Episcopal News Service reported on the Ackerman retirement here.

Presiding Bishop visits Pittsburgh

The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presided at an All Saints’ Sunday service at Calvary Episcopal Church November 2, 2008. A crowd of about 750 people attended the service, which included the baptism of six infants. Jefferts Schori answered questions from Pittsburgh Episcopalians at a session held in the church after the 11 AM Eucharist. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the visit here. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published a story here. Episcopal News Service has also provided a story on the Presiding Bishop’s visit and related matters, which includes a link to the text of her Calvary sermon.

Diocese announces convention site

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced that its December 13 special convention will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon. Details can be read on the diocesan Web site here.

Consulting bishop to make first episcopal visit

The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced on October 23, 2008, that the bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones will act as a consultant to the diocese until more permanent arrangements are made for episcopal services. The main tasks of Bishop Jones, who will retain his position with the Diocese of Virginia, will be to provide “practical advice on the details of diocesan administration, clergy deployment, and support for congregations remaining in the Episcopal Church in the United States.”

Bishop Jones’ first public appearance in his new role was announced November 3, 2008. He will participate in both the 9 AM and 11 AM services and will be the guest at the adult forum at St. Andrew’s, Highland Park on November 9. Members of the diocese are invited to meet Bishop Jones at St. Andrew’s later that afternoon. He will speak about his role at a 90-minute program that will begin at 2 PM.