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, October 17, 2011

News for Week Ending 10/17/2011

CoE Women bishops plan headed back to General Synod

Thinking Anglicans has reported that sufficient Church of England dioceses have voted in favor of proposed legislation to allow women to be made bishops of the CoE that the legislation will now be returned to the General Synod for final approval. Although it appears likely that the CoE will allow women to become bishops, it is unclear what provisions may be made for those opposed to women bishops. (Information about the road to approving women bishops in the CoE can be found on the church’s Web site. Details of the most recent votes can be seen here and here.

Trial use of same-sex rite to be proposed at General Convention

Episcopal News Service reported October 17, 2011, that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, which has been collecting and developing liturgical materials for same-sex blessings, will propose to the 2012 General Convention that the church adopt a trial liturgy for same-sex blessings to be used during the next three years. The Commission will also propose a three-year study of marriage..

Fort Worth hearing rescheduled

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth this week will finally get its hearing on its motion for a supersedeas bond and other limitations on the use of diocesan property still in the hands of the group that left the Episcopal Church. The hearing is now scheduled for Thursday, October 20, 2011. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The defendants, the breakaway diocese also styled as the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, is seeking to pursue its appeal to the summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Church diocese while avoiding limitations on its freedom of action. The court ruled in February that the property belongs to the diocese remaining in the Episcopal Church but did not transfer control to the diocese.

Mark Lawrence affair confused

Pittsburgh Update reported last week that charges of abandoning the communion of The Episcopal Church had been brought against Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence. On October 12, 2011, Lawrence met with South Carolina clergy to discuss the ongoing disciplinary process. (See story from The Living Church.) Now it is clear that a complaint has been lodged, but the complaint merely triggers an investigation which will determine if there is enough evidence to support a charge of abandonment. The church attorney handling the case, Josephine H. Hick, became the subject of controversy and soon recused herself, apparently over an undisclosed conflict of interest. (See stories from The Living Church here and here. J.B. Burch is now the church attorney for the case.) The Anglican Communion Institute—not an official Anglican body—has complained vigorously about procedures being followed in the Lawrence case. (See articles here and here.) Meanwhile, The Lead has contrasted the narrative of Bishop Dorsey Henderson, who heads the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, and that of Bishop Lawrence and his supporters.