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, March 26, 2012

News for Week Ending 3/26/2012

Anglican Covenant adoption derailed in England

Although voting continues by diocesan synods of the Church of England on whether adoption of the proposed Anglican Covenant should be returned to General Synod for final approval, the results of voting on March 24, 2012, assure that this General Synod (which continues through July 2015) will not consider the matter further. To date, 23 dioceses have voted against further consideration of the Covenant, whereas only 15 have voted in favor. A majority of the church’s 44 dioceses (that is, 23 dioceses) would have had to vote in favor of the Covenant for adoption to be voted on by this General Synod.

Episcopal News Service reported on the recent votes March 26. That story refers to a dispatch from Anglican Communion News Service dated March 24. In it, Anglican Consultative Council Secretary General Kenneth Kearon alludes to the defeat of the Covenant in the Church of England without actually admitting what happened. Instead, he emphasizes the churches that have adopted the Covenant.

Defeat of the Covenant in England has provoked a good deal of comment. A sampling is available in a post from Thinking Anglicans. Paul Bagshaw, with the help of Alan Perry, has analyzed the overall voting in English diocesan synods. Bishops voted overwhelming in favor of the Covenant. Clergy and laity were split about 50–50.

Episcopal election procedures explained

Judge of Election Jon Delano has written an explanation of the procedures that will be used next month to elect the next Bishop of Pittsburgh. “Electing the 8th Bishop of Pittsburgh: Some Frequently Asked Questions” can be found on the diocesan Web site.

St. David’s property to be returned

A March 26, 2012, press release from the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh announced that the congregation of the Peters Twp. church recently known as St. David’s Anglican Church will be returning the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh “by the end of May.” The congregation will meet temporarily in the former St. Genevieve Roman Catholic Church building at 120 East College Avenue in Canonsburg, Pa., and will change its name to The Anglican Parish of Christ the Redeemer. A permanent church plant is intended for Canonsburg, and the congregation, led by the Rev. David Wilson, plans to meet again in Peters Twp. when a suitable location can be found.

Later on March 26, the Episcopal diocese posted a story about St. David’s and anticipating an “amicable process.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted this story on the Web on March 26 as well. According to the newspaper, St. David’s could no longer afford to handle its debt, which will become a liability for the Episcopal diocese. (The $20,000/month mortgage payment cited by the Post-Gazette seems excessive, however.)

Video of nominees added to Web site

As promised, video of the nominees vying to become the next Bishop of Pittsburgh has been added to the diocesan Web site. The nominees were recorded answering the questions asked in the plenary session of the walkabout held March 20, 2012, at St. Brendan’s, Franklin Park. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) To view the video of a particular candidate, go to the Bishop Search page and click on the candidate’s name on the left. The video will be appear below the picture of the nominee.

Monday, March 19, 2012

News for Week Ending 3/19/2012

Archbishop of Canterbury announces retirement

On March 16, 2012, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announced that he will leave his Canterbury post at the end of the year to take a senior position at Cambridge University. The announcement on the archbishop’s own Web site is accompanied by a list of some of his accomplishments. A story from Anglican Communion News Service includes an outline of the procedure by which the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be chosen. ACNS has also compiled a collection of tributes to the departing archbishop. Also notable is a rather negative view of the current Archbishop of Canterbury from the primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) posted on his church’s Web site.

N.H. nominees includes gay candidate

On March 15, 2012, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire announced candidates to be its next bishop. Additional candidates may be nominated by petition until March 25. The New Hampshire election is scheduled to take place May 19.

The candidates are the Rev. Penelope Maud Bridges, the Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld and the Rev. William Warwick Rich. Candidate profiles are published here. Gene Robinson, the current bishop, is to retire in January 2013. His 2003 election caused a furor in the Anglican Communion because he was a gay man living with a male partner, whom he subsequently married. Candidate Rich is also a married gay man.

The Episcopal News Service reported the story March 15. Additional details were reported by the Concord Monitor on March 18.

Questions announced for walkabouts beginning March 20

On March 19, 2012, the Transition Committee announced the three questions that each of the five candidates to be the next Bishop of Pittsburgh will answer in two minutes in each of the walkabout plenary sessions. The questions deal with very small congregations, issues of sexuality, and experience with “the Triune God.” The Walkabouts, which give Pittsburgh Episcopalians an opportunity to meet and listen to the candidates, take place from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM on March 20–23. The questions and walkabout locations can be found here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

News for Week Ending 3/12/2012

CoE dioceses continue to reject Covenant

On Saturday, March 10, six additional Church of England dioceses voted on whether the General Synod should consider final adoption of the Anglican Covenant. Four of those dioceses voted against the referral, and only two voted for it. (Details can be read here.) To date, only 10 of the 44 dioceses have voted to consider the Covenant further, whereas 17 have voted against it. A complete tally of the voting can be found here.

There have been a couple of video responses to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s video talk “Why the Covenant Matters”—see Pittsburgh Update story here. Episcopal Church gay activist and past Executive Council member Louie Crew questioned Rowan Williams’ contention that the Covenant is not punative in this video. Oxford history professor Diarmaid MacCulloch also responded to Williams in a video.

Covenant not doing well in Scotland

Although the Church of England has received the most attention as its dioceses vote on the Covenant, a similar process is ongoing in the Episcopal Church of Scotland. Paul Bagshaw has published a report from Hugh Magee. That church has only seven dioceses, and five of those have already voted against Covenant adoption. Magee believes the other two will do so also. Additional details can be read on Bagshaw’s blog.

SCLM releases excerpts of ‘Blessing Same-Gender Relationships’ report

Episcopal News Service reported March 8, 2012, that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has released excerpts of a report prepared for the 2012 General Convention. The report is titled “I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing: Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.” Included in the material available here is a liturgy, “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” intended for trial use during the coming triennium. The released material also includes theological resources related to same-gender relationships and two resolutions for the General Convention. The ENS describes the material and its importance is some detail.

Blog invites budget feedback

As the 2012 General Convention approaches, attention is being focused on the proposed budget for 2013–2015. Perhaps in response to the unhappiness over the last-minute changes to the proposed budged in 2006, a blog has been established to collect feedback on the budget. The blog can be found here. The proposed budget can be found here. Episcopal News Service discussed the budget and the new blog here.

Candidate walkabouts next week

The five candidates being considered as the next Bishop of Pittsburgh will meet the people of the diocese in so-called “walkabouts” next week. The Q&A sessions are being held in each of the diocese’s four districts March 20–23, 2012. Deputies should attend at least one of the sessions, but anyone may attend. For various attendance-related purposes, people are being asked (though not required) to register for the session they wish to attend. Information and a brief registration from can be found on the diocesan Web site here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

News for Week Ending 3/5/2012

IASCUFO members reinstated

Two former members of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) who were demoted to consultant status in 2010 for perceived infractions of their churches have been reinstated as full members of the Commission. Professor Katherine Grieb of Virginia Theological Seminary had been reduced in status because of the consecration of lesbian Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles. Bishop (now Archbishop) Tito Zavala had been demoted because the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone had failed to explain its interventions in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. The Southern Cone has recently declared that it no longer is involved in North American churches. Professor Grieb recently was featured in a pro-Covenant video. Additional details can be found in a March 1, 2012, story from Episcopal News Service.

Covenant fight heats up in England

Church of England dioceses continue to vote on whether adoption of the Anglican Covenant is to be considered further by the General Synod. On March 1, 2012, the Diocese of Sodor and Man voted to reject the Covenant. On March 3, the dioceses of Chelmsford and Hereford did so also. The Diocese of Bradford, on the other hand, voted for the Covenant. (See Thinking Anglican posts here and here.) As of now, 13 dioceses have voted against the Covenant, and only 8 have voted for it. For the matter to return to the General Synod, 23 dioceses must vote in favor.

As the Church of England approaches a decision on the Covenant, the rhetoric has been stepped up on both sides of the question. The Archbishop of Canterbury has just released a video in support of the Covenant. Thinking Anglican has been following major statements both for and against the Covenant. You can find links to the arguments herehere, here, and here.

Va. churches ordered to deliver property to diocese

Seven breakaway congregations in the Diocese of Virginia were ordered March 1, 2012, by Judge Randy Bellows, to deliver real and personal property to the diocese by April 30, 2012. In issuing his final order, Judge Bellows rejected the petition by the congregations to reconsider requiring funds contributed before they split from The Episcopal Church to be surrendered. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Additional details are provided in a March 2 story from Episcopal News Service.

Diocese releases candidate information

On March 1, 2012, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh released a report on the candidates to become the next Bishop of Pittsburgh. In addition to the candidates selected by the Nominating Committee—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the report (and accompanying story) revealed that Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn, rector of Nativity, Crafton, was nominated by petition. A long story on the upcoming episcopal election was published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 4.

A special convention will be held April 21 to elect a bishop from among the five nominated candidates. Deputies and other people in the diocese have an opportunity to meet the candidates at four “walkabouts” being held across the diocese between March 20 and March 23. (See story on diocesan Web site.)