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, September 27, 2010

News for Week Ending 9/27/2010

Canterbury interview sparks spirited discussion

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gave an extended interview to Times reporter Ginny Dougary shortly before the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The interview appeared in The Times on September 25, 2010, and has caused a good deal of comment. (The interview is on the Web site of The Times here, but is available only to subscribers. It can be read for as little as $2, however.) The Lead has provided a good analysis, noting that the archbishop is for women bishops and sees no objection to gay but celibate bishops. Williams expressed regret for his role in denying Jeffrey John a bishopric but offered no apology for it. As he has done before, Williams made a distinction between his personal views and his stance as Archbishop of Canterbury. Moreover, he refused to offer a personal view on whether the church should change its view of gay clergy, saying that “I don’t want to put thumbs on scales.” He also said that he does not expect to be Archbishop of Canterbury when he is 70, in 2020. The Lead post links to other commentary, as do the Thinking Anglican posts here and here.

CoE sends legislation for women bishops to dioceses

According to Thinking Anglicans, the Church of England has now sent draft legislation that would enable women to become bishops to all the church’s dioceses. According to the September 27, 2010, post, dioceses have until November 14, 2011, to vote on the draft legislation. If a majority of dioceses approve it, the matter of women bishops will again be taken up by the church’s General Synod. The Church of England Web site explains the approval process for the measure and links to the documents sent to the dioceses here.

Bishops speak on immigration, Bennison

The House of Bishops completed its fall meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, September 21, 2010. (See Pittsburgh Update story here. Since last week, Episcopal News Service (ENS) has issued additional stories about the meeting here and here.) The bishops completed their work by issuing a 17-page statement on immigration reform intended as a theological resource, a story covered in some detail by ENS.

ENS reported September 21 that the bishops also called for the resignation of embattled Bishop of Pennsylvania Charles Bennison. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The very next day, however, ENS ran a story explaining that Bennison had rejected the bishops’ request, insisting on his innocence.

For readers preferring a brief summary of the House of Bishops meeting, The Living Church offers a story here.

South Carolina group calls for investigation of diocese

Pennsylvania is not the only diocese experiencing significant conflict. The Episcopal Forum of South Carolina (EFSC) sent a 5-page letter to the Executive Council and to the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church September 22, 2010, asking that the leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina be investigated. According to the letter, diocesan leaders have been “accelerating the process of alienation and disassociation of the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Church.” The letter was sent three weeks before the diocesan convention will meet to adopt resolutions to “protect” itself from the general church. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Episcopal News Service (ENS) ran a story on the letter the same day. Bishop Mark Lawrence responded to the letter the next day on the diocese’s Web site, saying that the letter presented a “teachable moment” and promising, in his response, to refrain from using “ecclesiastical language” or “unduly difficult theology.” Lawrence proceeded to answer the EFSC charges one-by-one, though not, one suspects, to the satisfaction of the authors of the letter. Comparing the task of the diocese to a military campaign, Lawrence declared that “we are called to resist what appears is a self-destructive trajectory by many within the Episcopal Church.” The ENS story on Lawrence’s response can be found here.

Fort Worth initiates trademark suit

In the latest skirmish in the ongoing struggle to determine in the courts what entity is the real Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Episcopal Church diocese filed a Federal trademark infringement suit against Bishop Jack Iker September 21, 2010, asserting that he and his diocese improperly used the diocesan name and seal registered to the plaintiff. Iker recently posted an appeal on his diocesan Web site intended to raise at least $1 million for the Anglican Church in North America’s diocese’s Legal Defense Fund. According to Iker, “At stake is everything we have as a Diocese—ownership of Camp Crucis and the Diocesan Center, our churches and property, our bank accounts and investments, our clergy and our Bishop. TEC wants it all!” The Lead posted the press release from the Episcopal Church diocese here, and a commentary on the legal strategy here. The Federal complaint is here. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram covered the story September 24, 2010.

Va. Supreme Court declines to rehear case

The Virginia Supreme Court, on September 24, 2010, rejected the request of the CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) congregations to reconsider the court’s decision of June 10, 2010, that sent the long-running property litigation back to the lower court for retrial. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia reported on the development on its Web site. The decision of the court can be found here.