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, February 15, 2010

News for Week Ending 2/15/2010

CoE General Synod makes news

As noted here last week, The General Synod of the Church of England met February 8–12, 2010. The General Synod made some news and avoided making other news. Most notable among what did not happen was the lack of progress on the implementation of women bishops. The failure of a committee to deliver a report on how this should be done required that the subject would be deferred to the next meeting of the General Synod in July.

In a move that was not necessarily anticipated, the General Synod voted to provide the same survivor benefits to partners of clergy in civil partnerships as is provided to surviving clergy spouses. Details may be found at the Christian Today Web site and elsewhere.

Of greatest interest to Episcopalians is the General Synod’s disposition February 10 of the resolution declaring that the Church of England desired to be in communion with Archbishop Robert Duncan’s Anglican Church in North America. The resolution was amended to acknowledge the desire of ACNA “to remain within the Anglican family” and to request a report on the implications of that desire from CoE archbishops in a year. The resolution was widely seen as a defeat for ACNA (see the Episcopal News Service story, for example), though both ACNA and Archbishop Robert Duncan managed to find a positive message in the General Synod measure.

San Joaquin initiates new litigation

According to a February 10, 2010, press release from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, the diocese has initiated a new round of litigation aimed at returning church buildings “that are currently occupied by former members of The Episcopal Church who have sought to affiliate with a different denomination.” The diocese reports that earlier invitations from Bishop Jerry Lamb to discuss the return of parish property have largely gone unanswered. The litigation is separate from the dispute over the proper episcopal authority in San Joaquin. A court declared that Lamb is the legitimate bishop in San Joaquin, but that decision is under appeal.

Rio Grande wins court victory

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande announced on its Web site February 11, 2010, that an El Paso, Texas, judge entered summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and The Episcopal Church in litigation involving St. Francis on the Hill Episcopal Church, El Paso. The congregation had voted to leave The Episcopal Church and went to court to retain the property for what was simply being called St. Francis on the Hill Church. Judge Gonzalo Garcia denied the request of the breakaway congregation and declared the property to be that of the Episcopal diocese.

S.C. bishop postpones diocesan convention

Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence wrote a letter to members of his diocese on February 9, 2010, announcing that the diocese’s annual convention is being postponed from March 4–5, 2010, to March 26. The reason given for the postponement is the need for more time to consider an appropriate reaction to the activities of a South Carolina attorney claiming to be acting on behalf of The Episcopal Church. Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr., has asked for various diocesan and parish documents. Tisdale has expressed concern about the threat of certain parishes to “withdraw” from the diocese and The Episcopal Church. Via Media alliance member Episcopal Forum of South Carolina has provided excellent summaries of the South Carolina dispute, along with links to material on the Web. Its two newsletters on the subject can be found here and here. The Post and Courier, of Charleston, S.C., offers additional perspective in its February 14 story.

Ninth annual Lenten Preaching Series features Episcopal Church bishops

For eight years, East End Episcopal Church have sponsored series of events during Lent involving dinners and Eucharist services on Tuesday nights during Lent. In 2010, the series will feature preaching by Episcopal Church bishops, beginning with our own bishop, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr. The theme of the series is “Ancient Wisdom, Modern Hope.” The first event takes place at St. Stephen’s, Wilkinsburg. Dinner begins at 6 PM, and the Eucharist begins at 7 PM. Details of the series can be read here.