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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Monday, May 4, 2009

News for Week Ending 5/4/2009

Anglican Consultative Council begins meeting in Jamaica

The Anglican Consultative Council, the most representative of the four “Instruments of Communion” of the Anglican Communion, is meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, May 1–13, 2009. The group of bishops, clergy, religious, and laypeople from the various provinces of the Anglican Communion meets (in principle) every 2–3 years. The last meeting of the ACC, however, was in Nottingham, England, in 2005. At that meeting, at the request of the Anglican primates, representatives of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily agreed not to participate. The two churches will take part in the Jamaica meeting.

The most notable item on the agenda of the ACC is the matter of what to do with the Ridley-Cambridge draft of the proposed Anglican covenant. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The ACC could decide to send the draft to the Anglican provinces for their acceptance or rejection. Other actions, including sending the draft back to the Covenant Design Group, of course, are possible, though less likely. The circumstances under which the covenant would be sent to the provinces has yet to be determined. Secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon has said, according to Anglican Journal, that acceding to the covenant will be voluntary and that acceptance or rejection of the covenant will not affect membership in the Anglican Communion.

The program of the ACC meeting is available here. The agenda also devotes considerable time to the Windsor Continuation Group.

Initial news reports on the ACC meeting are available from Episcopal News Service and Anglican Communion News Service. (The latter link includes audio of the May 2 press briefing.) Continuing reports can be expected from ENS and ACNS. No doubt, The Living Church will also offer reports. Anglican Journal and Anglican Mainstream have both committed to systematic coverage of the ACC meeting.

Ugandan representative barred from ACC meeting

The Lead has reported that the designated clergy representative of the Church of Uganda has been barred from the Jamaica ACC meeting by the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the primates. The Church of Uganda chose the Rev. J. Philip Ashey, chief operating officer of the American Anglican Council and a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, as a replacement for a clergy delegate who was unable to attend. Over the protests of Ugandan primate Archbishop Henry Orombi, Ashey was deemed ineligible to represent the Ugandan church, as his position with the church is the result of an incursion into the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church. The Lead (see earlier link) reproduces the correspondence between the Church of Uganda and the Anglican Communion Office concerning Ashey’s attendance. The Living Church has written about the “credentials flap,” as has Episcopal News Service.

New York court: church not entitled to bequest

According to Episcopal News Service, a New York court has ruled that members of the former Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton, are not entitled to a bequest from Robert Branan, a deceased vestry member of the parish. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Members of the congregation left The Episcopal Church in November 2007, and the Diocese of Central New York has asserted that Good Shepherd parish no longer exists. Justice Ferris D. Lebous wrote, in his opinion, “While Good Shepherd may have abandoned the Episcopal faith, Mr. Branan never did, and his intent was clearly to benefit a local Episcopal church.” According to the justice, there is “simply no basis on which to find that Mr. Branan would want his money to go to those former members of the Church of the Good Shepherd that abandoned the faith that he, apparently, held so dear.”

Los Angeles moves to recover legal costs

Southern California newspaper Daily Pilot has reported that the Diocese of Los Angeles is attempting to recover legal costs of its battle with the breakaway congregation of St. James, Newport Beach. The California Supreme Court ruled in January that the parish property of St. James belongs to the diocese. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) A court hearing is scheduled for May 15. The breakaway congregation, now calling itself St. James Anglican Church, as well as individual vestry members may be liable for the considerable legal costs incurred by the diocese.