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, June 27, 2011

News for Week Ending 6/27/2011

Anglican Mission in England announced

On June 23, 2011, GAFCON reported the formation of a new missionary society called the Anglican Mission in England (AMIE). The goal of the new organization is explained this way:
AMIE has been established as a society within the Church of England dedicated to the conversion of England and biblical church planting. There is a steering committee and a panel of bishops. The bishops aim to provide effective oversight in collaboration with senior clergy.
The society appears to have no official connection to the Church of England nor to have coördinated its initiative with the English church.

CoE participant/observer attends ACNA meeting

Anglican eyebrows were raised when blogger Mark Harris observed that a representative of the Church of England attended Archbishop Robert Duncan’s State of the Church address in Long Beach, California, on June 21, 2011. The speech of the head of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) included this line:
It is also a privilege to welcome Fr. Thomas Seville, CR, of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England here as participant and observer, in partial response to the action of the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2010 regarding consideration of an appropriate form of recognition or relationship with the Anglican Church in North America.
Of course, ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion, and the Church of England rejected a resolution promoting communion between the two churches. Why, people are asking, was Seville in Long Beach?

Executive Council task force releases report

The report from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons that the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church planned to make public nearly four months from now has been released by the Council’s D023 task force. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The report suggests that substantial changes would need to be made to the church’s constitution and canons to comply with provisions of the Anglican Covenant, should that document be adopted by the General Convention. Pressure from bloggers and from General Convention deputies themselves caused the task force to reconsider its decision to issue the report it had commissioned in October of this year. The story was covered by Episcopal News Service. The report itself can be found here.

New York bishops applaud state gay marriage law

Episcopal News Service, in a June 27, 2011, story, indicated that four of the six diocesan bishops in New York state have expressed approval of the state’s new law allowing for same-sex marriage. The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island is expected to allow churches to conduct same-sex marriages as soon as the law allows. At least some other New York dioceses are expected to follow. Additional details can be found in the ENS report.

Quincy group to explore future of diocese

The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, one of the four Episcopal Church dioceses that experienced a split in recent years, is exploring possibilities for its future. Beginning July 5, 2011, members of the Committee on the Future of the Diocese of Quincy will be visiting every parish and mission of the diocese and exploring what sort of future Quincy Episcopalians want. Quincy had been a small diocese, and is now smaller still. It may choose to remain a diocese or may consider merging with an adjacent diocese. Announcement of the forthcoming meetings is on the diocesan Web site. A two-page description of the current situation in Quincy can be found here.

Fort Worth litigation takes interesting turns

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has posted a pair of reports on the property litigation with the breakaway “Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.” In the first report, the diocese reported on briefs filed with the Texas Supreme court to which the breakaway diocese has appealed. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) For reasons explained by the diocese, a successful appeal seems unlikely. In the same report, Fort Worth includes this information:
The evidence against the breakaway defendants is mounting: in May, defendants’ Director of Business and Finance admitted under oath that the breakaway defendants transferred funds across state lines, specifically to make these funds harder for a court to reach, and that these secret account(s) were kept off the books and not disclosed to the Court in prior sworn statements. In addition, despite their attorneys' assurances to Judge Chupp that the bank accounts subject to the lawsuit have grown since the schism, newly disclosed financial documents reveal that defendants have in reality dissipated extraordinary amounts of Church funds and that they selectively told the Court about only 6 of 18 accounts when wrongly suggesting that the bank account balances had gone up, not down.
In the second report, the diocese explains that the Episcopal parties have proposed that defendants put up a $950,000 bond pending appeal of the decision that diocesan property belongs to the Episcopal diocese. The defendants want to post no bond at all.