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, July 11, 2011

News for Week Ending 7/11/2011

Canterbury reacts to Anglican Mission in England

In a mildly worded statement, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams responded July 5, 2011, to the announcement of the formation of the Anglican Mission in England. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The statement says, in part
The Archbishop of Canterbury has had the opportunity to speak with the Archbishop of Kenya about the situation: the good faith and fraternal good intentions of our Kenyan colleagues are not at all in question, but it seems that there were misunderstandings of the precise requirements of English Canon Law and good practice as regards the recommendation of candidates for ordination and deployment in mission.
A Church Times editorial observed that “Dr Williams is no wiser about the intentions of the new Anglican Mission than the average observer.” Observers, apparently, are having a hard time determining just what AMiE is up to and, mentioning the Anglican Mission in America, the editorial suggests that the organization may be up to no good.

Church Pension Fund grants spousal rights to same-sex married partners

The Church Pension Fund has announced the decision taken at its June 16, 2011, board meeting “to amend the rules governing retirement benefits for spouses of eligible participants in the Church Pension Fund Clergy Pension Plan (Clergy Plan), the Episcopal Church Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan (Lay DB Plan), and the Church Pension Fund Clergy Post-Retirement Medical Assistance Plan (Medicare Supplement Benefit) to provide parity of benefits for legally-married same-gender spouses.” The decision apparently was a response to legislation in the state of New York. The Living Church ran a story on the change, which is explained on the Fund’s Web site. Episcopal priest and blogger Mark Harris has raised questions about the status of partners in civil unions in light of the action by the Fund.

Disciplinary Board for Bishops established

As of July 1, 2011, a new version of Title IV, the disciplinary canons for The Episcopal Church, takes effect. In particular, allegations of misconduct against bishops will now be handled differently, and the new Disciplinary Board for Bishops will have an important part in the process, as it has original jurisdiction. The Board has 18 members: 10 bishops, 4 clergy, and 4 laypersons. Additional details, including the names of the initial Board members, can be found in the Episcopal News Service story here.

Rio Grande settles dispute with breakaway El Paso congregation

Last week, El Paso Inc. reported that the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande has reached a settlement with the congregation occupying the parish property of St. Francis on the Hill Episcopal Church of El Paso, Texas. The congregation, which broke away from The Episcopal Church in 2008, lost a court action to the diocese last December. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Parishioners who remained in The Episcopal Church have been meeting in an El Paso synagogue. The current occupiers of the property have decided to forgo further litigation. They will leave the building by the end of July and style themselves St. Francis Anglican Church. Additional details can be found in the El Paso Inc. story, as well as a story from Episcopal News Service.

St. Philip’s agreement OK’d by court

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh announced July 7, 2011, that the agreement between the diocese and the congregation of St. Philip’s, Moon Township—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has been approved by Judge Joseph James. Details can be found on the diocesan Web site here.