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         

Sunday, March 8, 2009

News for Week Ending 3/9/2009

Ottawa to study same-sex blessings

Episcopal News Service reported March 6, 2009, that the Diocese of Ottawa of the Anglican Church of Canada has formed a committee to decide whether the diocese should bless civil marriages of same-sex partners in that diocese on a trial basis. Bishop John Chapman has argued that the church needs experience with such blessings to discern whether the practice should be generally adopted. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Chapman will allow at most one church to experiment with same-sex blessings.

Other developments in the Canadian church are described in the ENS story. In particular, Bishop Michael Bird of the Diocese of Niagara is reported to have discussed developments related to same-sex blessings in his diocese with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams during a visit to Canterbury in January. Bird has asked his diocese for a rite for same-sex blessings and appropriate guidelines related to blessing civilly married same-sex couples. ENS also reports that Canadan primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz “has adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude” regarding the idea of professional mediation of church disputes that was raised at the recent meeting of the Anglican Primates.

Bishop Ackerman to be available to ‘realigned’ group

The February 2009 issue of Harvest Plain, formerly the newsletter of the Diocese of Quincy (and now of of the “realigned diocese”) reports that the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, the Quincy bishop who retired just before the diocese’s vote to leave The Episcopal Church, “will continue to be available” in Quincy for a variety of purposes. Moreover, the bishop, who became an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Springfield after his retirement (see Pittsburgh Update story here), “will be functioning in the diocese at the direction of the Standing Committee as liaison with various national and international bodies, including the emerging North American Province,” according to Harvest Plain.

Ackerman will be working under interim bishop selected by the breakaway group, the Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney. MacBurney, a former Bishop of Qunicy, was inhibited last year for performing unauthorized confirmations for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in the Diocese of San Diego. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori lifted the inhibition when MacBurney apologized to the Bishop of San Diego for his actions. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)

Fort Worth diocese chancellor requests ‘orderly transfer’ of property

The chancellor of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Fort Worth, Kathleen Wells, wrote to Bishop Jack Iker’s chancellor on March 3, 2009. In the letter posted on the diocesan Web site here, Wells appealed to the “realigned” group to preserve assets, to “cooperate with us to effect an orderly transfer of the possession and control of that church property to the proper officials in the continuing Diocese and its congregations,” and to stop using the names, logos, and seals of the Episcopal diocese and its congregations. Additional information is provided in an Episcopal News Service story here.

Clergy group elects leadership

When much of the Diocese of Pittsburgh chose to leave The Episcopal Church in October, the local Clergy Association decided that it would be impractical to try to maintain a single organization for clergy both within and outside of The Episcopal Church. As reported on the Diocese of Pittsburgh Web site March 7, 2009, the Pittsburgh Episcopal Clergy Association held a meeting February 26, 2009, and elected a slate of officers. The Rev. Cynthia Bronson Sweigert, rector of Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill, was elected president of the group. Additional information can be read here.