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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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, November 8, 2010

News for Week Ending 11/8/2010

New international group opposes Anglican Covenant

Just after two British groups ran an advertisement opposing the Anglican Covenant—see Pittsburgh Update story here—a new international group has established a Web site offering anti-Covenant arguments. The new group is the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, and it includes members from England, Scotland, Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand. Its Web site is here. Episcopal News Service reported the story November 3, 2010.

After the Modern Church/Inclusive church advertisement ran, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Cameron, now Bishop of St. Asaph in Wales, but formerly the secretary to the Anglican Communion Covenant Design Group, wrote a letter to Church Times accusing the sponsoring groups of scaremongering and xenophobia. Cameron and the moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, the Rev. Dr. Lesley Fellows sparred on the subject of the Covenant on the BBC November 7, 2010. (The segment can be heard here, about 24 minutes into the program. The program is available only for seven days on the Web.)

CoE bishops resign to go to Rome

The Guardian reported November 8, 2010, that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has accepted the resignation of several bishops who plan to become Roman Catholics in response to the failure of the Church of England (CoE) to make concessions to opponents of women bishops. Two of the bishops are active “flying bishops,” holding positions created when the CoE began ordaining women. Flying bishops provide pastoral care to those who oppose women’s ordination. Lambeth issued a brief press release here. Additional details can be found in the Guardian story.

Canadian church returned to ACoC

According to press release from the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, the property and assets of St. Peter’s Church in Hamilton, Ontario, are being returned to the Anglican Church of Canada diocese. The property has been under the control of members of the Anglican Network in Canada. According to the November 1, 2010, statement, an “amicable agreement” has been reached to return the parish property to the Anglican diocese of Niagara after weeks of negotiation.

Zavala elected Southern Cone primate

Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported November 5, 2010, that the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has elected Bishop Hector “Tito” Zavala of the Diocese of Chile to replace Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables as the church’s primate. The election came at the triennial synod held November 4. Zavala received some of his theological training at Trinity School for Ministry. He was in the news most recently for having been removed from the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) News reports have not suggested that any representatives from North America participated in the Southern Cone synod.

ENS also noted that the synod rejected changes that would have allowed women to become priests. The measure was approved by bishops and laypeople, but not by clergy.

Local group supports Springfield bishop-elect

Just after Springfield bishop-elect Don Martins received a no-confidence vote from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin—see Pittsburgh Update story here—Concerned Laity of the Springfield Diocese, a group associated with the liberal-leaning Via Media USA—issued a letter saying that it is satisfied that a Bishop Martins will not try to remove the diocese from The Episcopal Church and urging bishops and standing committees to consent to Martins’ consecration. The Living Church published the letter November 3, 2010.

Bishop Gene Robinson to retire

New Hampshire’s Bishop Gene Robinson apparently surprised his diocese’s convention November 6, 2010, by announcing his decision to retire in 2013. It was Robinson’s election as bishop in June 2003 that set in motion the current chaos in the Anglican Communion. In making the announcement that the diocese should begin to look for a bishop coadjutor, Robinson said, “The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you. Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, YOU.” Robinson will retire after nine years of service at the age of 66. The story was covered by The New York Times here.

Philadelphia church withdraws financial support for bishop

Another chapter is being added to the ongoing conflict between Bishop Charles Bennison and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. (See most recent Pittsburgh Update story here.) Philadelphia’s Christ Church has decided not to pay its episcopal assessment to the diocese next year, contributing that money instead to the diocese’s program budget. The effect is to withdraw its financial support from the office of the bishop while still contributing its total assessment to the diocese. In a letter published by VirtueOnline November 5, 2010, the church explained that Bennison’s remaining as bishop threatens the program budget and that the vestry believes that to pay its episcopal assessment is to approve of Bennison’s remaining as bishop, which it does not do.