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, May 3, 2010

News for Week Ending 5/3/2010

New mechanism created for listening process

Anglican Communion News Service announced the initiation of the Continuing Indaba process April 30, 2010. Additional information is given in an Episcopal News Service story about the new Web site created for discussion within the Communion. The Continuing Indaba project is sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury and endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council. Indaba is the name given to the African technique of consultation used by bishops at the most recent Lambeth Conference.

According to the ENS story, “Continuing Indaba grows out of requests to listen to gay and lesbian Christians that have been made intermittently since Anglican Communion bishops at the 1978 Lambeth Conference recognized ‘the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual’ and encouraged ‘dialogue with them.’” Initial funding for the project has been provided by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Marta Weeks.

Anglo-Catholics consult with Vatican

Anglo-Catholic bishops of the Church of England have conferred with representatives of the Pope concerning their possible conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. The supposedly secret meeting was reported by the Telegraph.

The Church of England faces a potential crisis as it moves toward accepting conditions under which women priests can become bishops. The Times reported that the proposal that will be put before the July meeting of the General Synod will be announced May 7, 2010. According to The Times, no statutory provision is to be made for opponents of women bishops, but a voluntary code of conduct is intended to appease Anglo-Catholics. If suggested provisions are accepted by the General Synod, some Anglo-Catholic clergy may simply convert to Roman Catholicism. Others may accept the Pope’s offer of joining the Roman Catholic Church while preserving limited Anglican traditions. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Large defections from the Church of England seem unlikely, however, and the leaking of information about the Vatican meeting may have been intended to influence the General Synod debate.

Canadian General Synod to meet next month

The main governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada will meet next month in Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 3–11. Anglican Journal ran a story summarizing the issues before the 2010 General Synod, including the blessing of same-sex unions and the adoption of the proposed Anglican covenant. The May issue of the Anglican Journal also carried an opinion piece suggesting that, given the church’s moving ahead with same-sex blessings, the Anglican Church of Canada cannot, in good conscience, sign on to the covenant.

Bishops come and go

Two bishops who have been critical of The Episcopal Church are experiencing professional changes.

The Church of England’s Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright, has announced that he will step down from his current post to return to an academic position at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews. New Testament scholar Wright is a prolific author and served on the Lambeth Commission, which produced the Windsor Report. The sample Anglican covenant in that report was largely written by Wright. Episcopal News Service ran a story on the Wright career change here.

Bishop Daniel W. Herzog, the retired Bishop of Albany who left The Episcopal Church in 2007 to join the Roman Catholic Church, has returned to The Episcopal Church. Herzog, a critic of the church’s consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, was welcomed back into the church by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who, according to Episcopal News Service, issued an order for Restoration of Ordained Ministry for Bishop Herzog.

Mandamus arguments heard in Fort Worth case

The Texas Second Court of Appeals heard arguments April 27, 2010, from both the reorganized Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and the breakaway diocese led by Bishop Jack Iker and also calling itself the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. The latter group is trying to get the court to reverse the decision of the trial court to let the case go forward, with both sides claiming to represent the same entity. (Iker, et al., are seeking a mandamus writ instructing the trial judge to reverse his decision on so-called Rule 12.) Issuing such a writ would greatly prejudice the case being pursued by the Episcopal Church diocese. Iker’s diocese wrote about the proceedings here. The Episcopal Church diocese has a brief note about the April 27 court appearance here, on a page that also reviews legal maneuvers to this point. Audio of the April 27 arguments can be heard here, and information about the litigation on the Court of Appeals Web site can be found here.