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, April 20, 2009

News for Week Ending 4/20/2009

GAFCON Primates’ Council issues statement

The GAFCON Primates’ Council met in London last week and issued a communiqué April 16, 2009. (The statement is labeled as being from the “GAFCON/FCA Primates’ Council.” See below.) According to Episcopal News Service, members of the Council were joined by deposed Episcopal bishops Robert Duncan and Jack Iker, as well asby several former priests who have been consecrated bishops by conservative Anglican provinces.

The communiqué suggests that the Fellowship of Confessing Anglican (FCA) that was announced at the GAFCON meeting last summer has been rethought somewhat. FCA finally has its own Web site and will establish regional chapters and networks. A U.K. branch is scheduled to launch in London on July 6, 2009. (Religious Intelligence has written about this event.)

What has received most notice is a statement on the developing Anglican Church in North America: “The FCA Primates’ Council recognizes the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA.”

Fort Worth diocese and Episcopal Church sues Southern Cone “diocese”

In a move similar to what was done by the Diocese of San Joaquin—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the Diocese of Fort Worth, along with The Episcopal Church, filed suit April 14, 2009, against former Episcopalians who claim to have removed the diocese from The Episcopal Church and transferred it to the Southern Cone. The action is aimed at restoring property and other assets to the Diocese of Fort Worth. Episcopal News Service reported the story here. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News also covered the development. The actual court filing can be read here.

Hearing to be held on whether stipulation was violated

As noted by The Living Church, a number of pleadings were filed this past week by both plaintiffs and defendants in the Calvary Church litigation against Bishop Duncan, et al. As a result of a hearing on April 17, 2009, Judge Joseph James has ordered a hearing on the significance of the October 2005 stipulation agreed to by all parties. Both the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the reputed Southern Cone diocese led by Robert Duncan issued press releases on the latest legal development. Each has its own take on the matter, but the hearing will be on the matter that the plaintiffs, rather than the defendants, asked the court to settle. The Episcopal News Service story on the latest hearing can be read here.

In particular, the defendants had tried to block the participation in the litigation of Andy Roman, chancellor of the Episcopal Church diocese. Attorneys for the defense claimed that Roman represented a “new” Diocese of Pittsburgh that had not properly entered the case as a plaintiff. Defense attorneys also objected to the entry of The Episcopal Church, although, in previous filings, the defense had argued that The Episcopal Church was an essential party. Judge James, at the April 17 hearing, allowed the entry both of Roman and of The Episcopal Church, in the person of Bishop John C. Buchanan, on the side of the plaintiffs. Whereas the defense wanted a hearing on whether a diocese could withdraw from the church—a matter the plaintiffs argued was beyond the power of the court to decide—the plaintiffs wanted the court to determine whether, in fact, the October 2005 agreement requires that diocesan assets be turned over to the diocese that remains in The Episcopal Church. This is the issue that the judge determined will be the subject of the next hearing, a date for which has not yet been set.