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, March 16, 2009

News for Week Ending 3/16/2009

Nigerian primate supports anti-gay marriage legislation

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has issued a statement supporting Nigerian legislation criminalizing same-sex marriages. According to the BBC, homosexual acts are already illegal in Nigeria. Gay activists in Nigeria have spoken out against the bill, but various religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, have supported it. (See Pittsburgh Update story on the legislation here.) Archbishop Peter Akinola signed the Church of Nigeria position paper favoring the legislation. Thinking Anglicans has provided links both to the Akinola document and to the proposed legislation here. The church’s statement has not appeared on the Church of Nigeria Web site.

Akinola’s statment has been much criticized on the Web, but little has been heard from conservatives who have supported and received support from the Nigerian primate. Thinking Anglicans has links to many of the commentaries here. It also has a link to Akinola’s opening remarks at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria, which took place March 11–14, 2009. In those remarks, the Nigerian primate notes the attendance of American Bishops Bob Duncan and Martyn Minns at the meeting.

Bennison appeals conviction

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Bishop of Pennsylvania, has appealed his conviction by an ecclesiastical trial court for conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. The charges involved sexual misconduct by his brother, John Bennison. The appeal, reported by Episcopal News Service, comes after a request by the bishop that the sentence of deposition be reduced. The appeal was unsuccessful. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The case will now go before the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop. No date has been set for a hearing. Bennison has been inhibited since October 2007, when the charges were first brought against him.

Consent process controversial for Northern Michigan bishop-elect

The consent process following the election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester to become bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan has attracted controversy. After a diocese elects a bishop, that person must receive consents for his or her consecration from a majority of diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. Episcopal News Service reports that obtaining such consents for Forrester, who was elected February 21, 2009, will be more difficult than usual. Both the nature of the election—Forrester’s name was the only one submitted to the special convention convened for the episcopal election, though other candidates were considered—and Forrester’s practice of Zen Buddist meditation have proved controversial. According to the London Times, opposition to the Forrester consecration has largely come from conservatives. The Living Church has published a number of stories on Forrester, his election, and his practices (see here, here, here, here, and here).

Former Southern Virginia bishop joins ACNA in Pittsburgh

The Living Church reported March 12, 2009, that the Rt. Rev. David C. Bane, has been accepted into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone by its Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables. Bane stepped down from his position as Bishop of Southern Virginia in 2006 after a troubled episcopate that began in 1998. According to The Living Church, he has been frustrated by his inability to find another position in which to serve The Episcopal Church. He will now serve the Anglican Church in North America as an assisting bishop in Pittsburgh. (See Pittsburgh Update story here on the ACNA.) A story about Bane’s appointment was posted on the Pittsburgh Web site March 16, 2009. According to that story, Bane will continue living in North Carolina, but he “will be available when needed for parish visitations, confirmations and other ministry in the diocese.”