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, December 8, 2008

News for Week Ending 12/8/2008

Common Cause Partnership declares new ‘Anglican province’

As expected, deposed Episcopal bishop Robert Duncan declared the advent of a new “Anglican province” in Wheaton, Illinois, on December 3, 2008. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The new entity has been named the Anglican Church in North America, and it now seeks recognition from the Anglican Communion. Coverage of the birth of what has been called a new denomination by many journalists has been extensive. (See, for examples, stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Be sure to listen to the audio interview with religion reporter Laurie Goodstein offered in a sidebar to the Times story.)

Anglican TV covered events in Wheaton live. Its video coverage can be seen here.

Commentary on the Wheaton announcement has been extensive. Beliefnet has collected comments from a variety of sources here. Among those quoted is Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Official recognition of the new entity will be difficult to achieve, especially as it is theologically, rather than geographically based, a matter taken up in an Episcopal News Service story. Although Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has made no comment on the announcement, his office did offer commentary on the proper protocol for gaining recognition of a new province. As usual, Thinking Anglicans has done a good job of collecting stories and opinion. See Thinking Anglican posts here, here, and here.

A number of GAFCON primates met with Rowan Williams on Friday, December 5. No statement about the meeting was forthcoming from Lambeth Palace, but the primates did issue this statement, which welcomed, but did not recognize, the new “province.” London Times religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill reported that “nothing happened.” Stay tuned.

Presiding Bishop accepts Iker ‘renunciation’

On December 5, 2008, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced that she had accepted former Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker’s renunciation of his orders in The Episcopal Church. Iker was recently inhibited after being certified as having abandoned the communion of the church for his support of diocesan “realignment.” (See Pittsburgh Update stories here and here.) Jefferts Schori interpreted Iker’s statement in response to his inhibition as a renunciation of his vows, but Iker’s communications director denied that Iker had made a renunciation. Iker later issued a statement over his own name here. Episcopal News Service reported the Iker story here.

Quincy story continues to unfold

The Diocese of Quincy, which voted November 7, 2008, to “realign” with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone—see Pittsburgh Update story here—continues to generate surprising news. The Living Church reported December 3, 2008, that former Bishop of Quincy Keith Ackerman became an assisting bishop in the adjacent Diocese of Springfield as of December 1. The move is especially surprising after Ackerman’s retirement and his statements that he would continue to be available “to perform episcopal acts and provide spiritual counsel to members of the [Quincy] diocese,” according to Episcopal News Service.

Meanwhile, Episcopalians in the Diocese of Quincy, who were not organized prior to the November 7 vote, are trying to find one another using, among other means, a new Web site. They have scheduled a meeting on December 13 to form a steering committee that can begin the process of reorganizing the diocese. Episcopal News Services reported on these efforts here. ENS also reported that St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Peoria, the largest church in the diocese, has chosen to stay in The Episcopal Church. Members of the cathedral voted 181 to 35 on December 4 to remain Episcopalians.

Los Angeles moves toward greater gay inclusion

The Los Angeles Times reported December 8, 2008, on the convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles, which was held in Riverside, Calif., the previous Friday and Saturday. At the convention, Bishop Jon Bruno announced that, as a matter of policy, he would allow the blessing of same-sex unions, a common practice in the diocese, but one that now has the full support of the diocesan bishop and an associated rite. According to a story on the diocesan Web site, Bruno “announced creation of ‘Sacramental Blessing for a Life-long Covenant,’ an order for blessing and honoring holy relationships. He said the rite conforms to General Convention 2003’s Resolution D051, which placed such blessings within the context of the local pastoral relationship.”

Coverage by The Press-Enterprise of Riverside emphasized the convention’s approval of a resolution encouraging the General Convention to remove the restrictions of B033, which was passed that the 2006 General Convention. B033 called on those who must approve the consecration of bishops to “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” (The list of resolutions to be presented at the Los Angeles convention can be read here.)

Integrity USA issued a press release expressing its approval of Bruno’s announcement and of the passage of the resolution requesting the repeal of B033. According to Integrity, seven other dioceses have passed similar resolutions.

Special diocesan convention meets December 13

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh meets in special convention at St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon, Saturday, December 13, 2008. The main business of the convention will be to elect people to positions vacated by members of the diocese who left The Episcopal Church to join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Four resolutions related to reorganizing the diocese will also be on the agenda. Evening Prayer and a reception will be held at St. Paul’s Friday night. The convention concludes Saturday afternoon with a Eucharist and ordination, followed by a final reception. Visitors are welcome. Details are available on the diocesan Web site.