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, July 23, 2012

News for Week Ending 7/23/2012

Global South conference issues communiqué

A meeting of Global South leaders was held in Bangkok, Thailand, July 16 – 21, 2012. The Global South Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking issued a communiqué on July 20. Unusual for Global South conferences, the statement did not much attack Western churches, though it did mention General Convention’s approving a provisional liturgy for same-sex blessings. It also acknowledged Communion Partner Bishops within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). Nonetheless, the conference seems to have concentrated on issues specifically relevant to Global South Churches. Episcopal News Service wrote about the conference July 23, 2012.

A small number of observers were invited to the conference from the Communion Partners and ACNA. One of those invited was the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins, Bishop of Springfield, a Communion Partner Bishop. Martins blogged about his experience. You can read his blog posts about the conference beginning here.

Woman bishop elected in Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Episcopal News Service reported July 19, 2012, that, on July 18, the Rev. Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, 61, became the bishop-elect of Swaziland, part of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Wamukoya thereby becomes the first woman to be selected as bishop by any of the Anglican churches in Africa. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa will celebrate 20 years of women’s ordination in that province in September.

S.C. bishop writes to diocese about General Convention

Among the stories emerging from the recently concluded General Convention was the early departure of most of the South Carolina deputation in response to decisions taken by the convention. (See Episcopal News Story here.) Episcopal News Service reported July 20, 2012, that a letter from Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence was read in South Carolina churches on Sunday, July 15. Lawrence complained about actions taken in Indianapolis, particularly the authorizing of same-sex blessings, which, he said “mark a significant and distressing departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” Lawrence made it clear that he will not authorize the use of same-sex rites in South Carolina. He will be consulting with members of his diocese to see how the diocese should respond to the 2012 General Convention.

Upper S.C. bishop also writes to diocese

Episcopal News Service reported July 20, 2012, that the Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop of Upper South Carolina, has also written to his diocese in light of the developments at the 2012 General Convention. Waldo voted against both same-sex blessings and canonical changes banning discrimination against transgendered persons. In his letter, he charges that the church has failed to articulate clearly the theological positions implied by the decisions made in Indianapolis.

Waldo’s response is more conciliatory that that of Bishop Lawrence. His intention is set forth in his letter as follows:
Now that General Convention 2012 is over, I will appoint a task force by the end of August to articulate theologically and practically—in much the way Bishop Doyle of Texas has done—the boundaries within which we might live together, including congregations that will have opened their doors to same-sex blessings, and protecting congregations whose conscience demands standing firmly within the tradition.

N.Y. bishops authorize same-sex marriage

Even before the 2012 General Convention, Bishop of New York Mark Sisk had authorized the blessing of same-sex unions in his diocese. That diocese, of course, is in a special situation, in that the State of New York has enacted marriage equality, and gay couples can be married in New York in the same sense that heterosexual couples can. According to a July 19, 2012, article from Episcopal News Service, Sisk has informed his clergy that they are free to perform legal marriages in the State of New York, even though this seems contrary to the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer. An accompanying letter from Bishop Coadjutor Andrew M.L. Dietsche explains that no clergy are required to perform such rites.