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 26, 2011

News for Week Ending 9/26/2011

Episcopal Church reorganization proposed

Chief operating officer of The Episcopal Church Bishop Stacy Sauls has proposed a plan to reorganize the church to minimize administrative costs and provide more resources for mission. The proposal, in the form of a presentation titled “Becoming a Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society: An Adaptive Moment,” was made to Episcopal bishops meeting in Quito, Ecuador, September 20, 2011. Sauls proposed formation of a special commission that would lead to recommendations to be considered at a special General Convention to be held before the regular 2015 General Convention. Episcopal News Service reported the story September 20. In a follow-up story three days later, ENS provided more details and sampled the extensive discussion the proposal has spawned. Bishop Saluls’ PowerPoint presentation can be found here.

Fort Worth hearing date set

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has reported that a hearing has been scheduled for October 6, 2011, before District Judge John P. Chupp. Despite months of out-of-court negotiations, the Episcopal diocese and breakaway defendants have not been able to come to terms on conditions the defendants must meet to stay immediate implementation of the judgement against them pending appeal. It will therefore be up to the judge to set a bond and other conditions.

South Carolina amendments null and void

According to the recent newsletter of the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church has determined that the recent constitutional amendments passed by the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina weakening accession to general church canons are null and void. In particular, a committee, at the June meeting of Executive Council, determined that a resolution passed in 2007 aimed primarily at changes made by the Pittsburgh diocese, applies to the Diocese of South Carolina as well. Additional details are provided in the newsletter cited above.

Monday, September 19, 2011

News for Week Ending 9/19/2011

New Zealand dioceses vote for, against Covenant

Two more dioceses in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have passed resolutions regarding the Anglican Covenant. The Church as a whole will not make its decision about the Covenant until next year. According to Anglican Taonga, the Diocese of Wellington passed a resolution supporting the Covenant, and the Diocese of Dunedin rejected the covenant because of Section 4.2. (See Pittsburgh Update story about earlier diocesan actions in the New Zealand church here.)

Anglican Mission in England clarifies intentions

The Anglican Mission in England—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has published an essay titled “AMIE is a game-changer.” It is difficult not to read this essay as announcing a program of subversion of the Church of England (CofE), in the manner of the Anglican Mission in America (now the Anglican Mission in the Americas). The essay concludes:
The summer ordinations in Kenya were part of the process of saying that we will remain Anglican but not on the current terms of the CofE establishment. The process of welcoming the ordinands, launching the AMIE and now expanding its membership is a process of moving to the public square of Church of England life and saying: “We will not be robbed of our Anglican identity. We will not be marginalized. You are the usurpers. We will not allow you to deprive us of our Anglican heritage of faithfulness to the Bible. We will find a way of being faithfully Anglican in being true to the Bible which does not depend on you.”

Episcopal bishops meet in Ecuador

Episcopal News Service reported September 15, 2011, that the bishops of the Episcopal Church are meeting in Quito, Ecuador, September 15–20. Although ENS is reporting daily on the meetings, it is unlikely that any substantive news will be forthcoming from the meeting until it is ended.

Additional post-trial briefs posted in Virginia dispute

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia added additional post-trial briefs from both sides of the ongoing property dispute on its Web site September 16, 2011. The briefs can be read here. See Pittsburgh Update story here for background information.

Monday, September 12, 2011

News for Week Ending 9/12/2011

Archbishop of Canterbury may retire early

Not for the first time, it is being suggested that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will retire early. Williams, 61, is not required by the Church of England to retire before age 70. The Telegraph, however, reported September 10, 2011, that Williams is likely to take a position at Trinity College, Cambridge, after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next June and after the Church of England has approved women bishops. Other news outlets, such a the Daily Mail,  have also reported that friends of Williams have said that the archbishop is planning to retire. Lambeth Palace had not commented on the story, however. There is speculation as to who might become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Walter Righter dies

Retired Bishop of Iowa Walter C. Righter died September 11, 2011, at 87. Righter is best know for having been tried for heresy and cleared by The Episcopal Church for having ordained an openly gay man when he was an assistant bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. (The presentment against Righter can be read here. The final judgment can be read here.) For a number of years, Bishop Righter had been living in Export, Pennsylvania, in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, with his wife Nancy. For a time, he was a member of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, for whom he provided a visible connection to the wider church from which the diocese had been progressively isolated. Righter was an advocate for The Episcopal Church for lay and clergy alike. Episcopal News Service reported on Righter’s death September 12. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Righter’s death the same day and is expected to publish a longer story in the September 13 newspaper. The Pittsburgh diocese also published a story on the career of Bishop Righter.

There will be a service for Bishop Righter at Calvary Church on Thursday, September 15, at11:00 A.M.

Monday, September 5, 2011

News for Week Ending 9/5/2011

Two NZ dioceses reject Covenant

The diocesan synods of two dioceses of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have dealt blows to the attempt to have that church adopt the Anglican Covenant. The Diocese of Auckland passed a long resolution on the Covenant September 3, 2011, according to the New Zealand church’s Web site. The resolution noted that the church has passed the first three sections in principle. It calls section 4.2, which is the primary section relating to disciplinary procedures “contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, to our understanding of the way of Christ, and to justice.” The section was described as “unacceptable to this Synod.”

New Zealand priest and blogger Bosco Peters reported that another New Zealand diocese, the Diocese of Waiapu, has rejected the Covenant by an overwhelming vote. Its resolution affirmed a desire to remain in the Anglican Communion but expressed the belief that the Covenant would not “enhance the life of the Communion.”

Two other New Zealand diocese have already rejected the covenant. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)

Rosemont saga ends

Episcopal News Service reported in a story September 1, 2011, that a judge has ordered deposed priest David Moyer to vacate Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, near Philadelphia, and Moyer will, apparently, comply. This ends a battle that has gone on for nearly 10 years, one we will not attempt to summarize here. Pittsburgh Update has published many stories on the Moyer affair, the most recent being this one. In addition to the ENS story, Mark Harris has a good summary of the events which, at times, have involved our own diocese, on his Preludium blog.

Another church returned to Episcopal diocese

All Saints, Rosedale, has decided to turn over its building to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The congregation left the Episcopal Church in 2008 to join the diocese headed by deposed bishop Robert Duncan. Both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran stories on the development. The diocese and congregation could not reach agreeable terms that would have let the “Anglican” congregation remain in the building. The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh ran a story on the agreement, but, at least so far, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has not. Rector David Rucker wrote a letter to Episcopal chancellor Andy Roman August 29, 2011, to explain the decision of the congregation. The congregation issued a press release September 1.