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, October 5, 2009

News for Week Ending 10/5/2009

Supreme Court declines to hear St. James appeal

As was widely expected, the U.S. Supreme Count announced on October 5, 2009, the first day of its new session, that it would not review the decision of the California Supreme Court favoring the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in its property dispute with the breakaway St. James’, Newport Beach. Lawyers for what is now called St. James Anglican Church had appealed to the high court on First Amendment grounds. The California case was one of thousands the Supreme Court declined to hear.

The court action was widely covered in the press. Episcopal News Service ran a story that includes links to statements by both sides in the dispute, as well as to the appeal to the Supreme Court.

The St. James congregation has vowed to continue its legal battle to retain the disputed parish property.

Pittsburgh Standing Committee allows departed clergy to avoid deposition

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has sent letters to all canonically resident clergy. According to the letter, clergy who declare by October 19, 2009, their desire to be released from their obligation to The Episcopal Church, as well as clergy who have not participated in the diocese since the October 4, 2008, “realignment” and who do nothing, will be removed from the rolls of Episcopal clergy without prejudice. As explained in a story on the diocesan Web site, the action is being taken now because it is expected that realigned clergy will take action at the upcoming November convention of the group headed by deposed Bishop Robert Duncan that will make it impossible not to depose the clergy for abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church. “We do not want to see our priestly brothers and sisters deposed,” explained the Rev. Jim Simons, Standing Committee president.

The Pittsburgh action stands in sharp contrast to the way a similar situation was handled in the Diocese of San Joaquin. There, Bishop Jerry Lamb asked diocesan clergy to affirm his authority over them. Those who failed to do so were deposed for abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church. (See explanation here.)

The Pittsburgh action was covered by Episcopal News Service, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

New resolution for convention introduced

At a meeting at Calvary Church October 4, 2009, copies of the resolution were distributed by which it is expected that the convention will accept the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr., as the provisional bishop of the diocese. Copies of the diocese’s new mission statement and goals were also distributed to convention deputies.

Local Presbyterian church wins property case

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported October 3, 2009, that a Washington county judge has awarded church property to the conservative Peters Creek United Presbyterian Church. In 2007, the church elected to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It is not clear if the Washington Presbytery, which hold that church property is held in trust for the PCUSA, will appeal the court decision.