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, August 27, 2012

News for Week Ending 8/27/2012

English bishop announces support for gay marriage

The London Evening Standard reported August 23, 2012, that Church of England Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson has posted a YouTube video supporting gay marriage. The video is part of the Out4Marriage campaign. The Evening Standard noted that Wilson is married and father of five, suggesting that he is not gay.

The Wilson statement was denounced as “a disgraceful and disingenuous distortion of biblical teaching by someone who ought to know better” by a spokesman for Keep Marriage Special. A representative of the Church of England emphasized that the church maintains that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Roman Catholic archbishop breaks off discussions with Scottish first minister

In response to the government’s plan to introduce a gay marriage bill—see Pittsburgh Update story here—Cardinal Keith O’Brien has broken off talks with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. On Sunday, August 26, 2012, a letter on same-sex marriage from the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland was read in all Roman Catholic churches. The letter criticizes the government and announces the formation of the Commission for Marriage and the Family to support the church’s position on marriage.

The BBC covered this story here. In an August 27 profile, The Independent suggests that O’Brien, with his strongly worded statements supporting the letter of official church doctrine, may be campaigning to become the next Pope.

Monday, August 20, 2012

News for Week Ending 8/20/2012

A quiet week

Mid-August is usually a slow time for news in general, and we could find no Anglican news relevant to Pittsburgh Episcopalians this week. Check back next week. Surely the lack of relevant news cannot go on for two consecutive weeks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

News for Week Ending 8/13/2012

Global South letter to Crown Nominations Commission available

In an earlier story, we noted that The Lead published the text of a letter from Global South primates to the Crown Nominations Commission, which is responsible for identifying the next Archbishop of Canterbury. A PDF version of the letter, dated July 20, 2012, is now on the Web, complete will all signatures. (The Lead indicated that one signature was missing on the copy of the letter that it had obtained.)

Forward in Faith calls for moratorium on ordaining women

Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA), the Anglo-Catholic organization described as a partner of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), held its 2012 Assembly in Belleville, Illinois, July 11–13. Among the resolutions passed at the gathering was one calling on ACNA College of Bishops to initiate a moratorium on the ordination of women “until a comprehensive theological inquiry is undertaken and completed on the question of the ordination of women as it relates to the wider question of the nature of faith and order of the church (ecclesiology).” The groups that formed ACNA hold differing positions on the ordination of women, but ACNA has agreed to consecrate no women bishops. A summary of the FIFNA Assembly can be found here. Resolutions adopted at the Assembly can be found here.

AMiA chaos strikes Pawleys Island church

The ongoing disintegration of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) has now disrupted the AMiA’s flagship parish, All Saints, Pawleys Island. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) VirtueOnline reported August 10, 2012, that the vestry of the church is split over whether the Rev. Rob Grafe, rector of All Saints, should stay or go. Last month, Grafe sent out a letter, apparently without consulting the vestry, suggesting that All Saints should join the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The vestry, however, is divided on the matter. See the VirtueOnline story for additional details.

General Convention Summary published

Episcopal News Service announced August 10, 2012, that a summary is now available of all the actions taken by the 77th General Convention. The document also includes other information about the General Convention. “A Summary of the Actions of the 77th General Convention,” as well as the Episcopal Church budget for 2013–2015 can be found here.

Groton church being returned to Connecticut diocese

After years of legal battles to retain the parish property, the congregation of the Bishop Seabury Church of Groton, Connecticut, a congregation that left The Episcopal Church for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), held its final service in the Groton building August 6, 2012. The congregation is returning the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut after its final appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Episcopal News Service covered the story here. A press release from the diocese is here. The Web site of Bishop Seabury Anglican Church is here.

Connecticut to allow same-sex blessings/officiating at civil marriages

The three bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut issued a letter to diocesan clergy August 3, 2012, granting permission to use the recently approved liturgy “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” in the diocese. Additionally, clergy have been given permission to officiate at civil marriages of same-sex couples. Episcopal News Service reported this story August 6. The ENS story includes the text of the bishops’ letter.

Monday, August 6, 2012

News for Week Ending 8/6/2012

Nigerian primate to inaugurate new diocese in Indianapolis

The primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh, will visit the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Resurrection in Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 16, 2012, to inaugurate the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity.The diocese, which claims congregations both in Canada and the United States, is associated both with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Archbishop Robert Duncan of ACNA will also be in attendance. Additional information, including Okoh’s itinerary, can be found at VirtueOnline and on the CANA Web site.

PB reflects on General Convention

On August 3, 2012, Episcopal News Service published a message to the church from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reflecting on the recently concluded General Convention. She reviews the various actions taken in Indianapolis with satisfaction, declaring, “We have moved beyond the entrenched conflict of recent years.” You can read the primate’s full message here.

Church solicits nominations for structure task force

The passage of Resolution C095 has the potential to become one of the most important acts of the 77th General Convention. The resolution calls for the creation of a task force of up to 24 people to devise “a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration” for consideration by the 78th General Convention. Episcopal News Service has now published a call for nominations to that task force. Nominations are being accepted until August 23, 2012, and can be made using an on-line nomination form. Resolution C095 declares that the task force “shall include some persons with critical distance from the Church’s institutional leadership.”

Bishop Little: Go elsewhere for same-sex blessings

According to an August 1, 2012, story from The Living Church, Bishop of Northern Indiana Edward S. Little II has written to his diocese that he will not allow the use of newly authorized provisional liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. “I believe that every sacramental act in the diocese is an extension of my own ministry; and, by theological conviction, I cannot extend my ministry to include the blessing of same-sex unions.” Although Little will make no exceptions to this policy, his letter explained that he has arranged for priests wishing to use the rite to do so in churches in the neighboring dioceses of Chicago, Western Michigan, Michigan, Ohio, and Indianapolis. The full text of Little’s letter can be found here.

Sexuality issues front and center in S.C.

Issues related to sexuality are dominating the news from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary in the diocese, recently sent a letter to South Carolina Clergy describing the July 25, 2012, meeting of Bishop Mark Lawrence with diocesan clergy. According to Lewis, Lawrence believes that, in passing non-discrimination legislation and authorizing a provisional rite for  blessing same-sex unions, “the Episcopal Church has crossed a line [Lawrence] cannot personally cross.” Therefore,
He left yesterday evening, July 29, to begin several weeks of vacation. It will be a time spent on mountaintops and in deserts where the Bishop will seek refreshment and discernment. Upon his return at the end of August he will meet with the Standing Committee and the clergy of the diocese to share that discernment and his sense of the path forward.
In other South Carolina news, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported July 29, 2012, that the Sierra Club has written to inform the diocese that it will no longer hold events at the diocese’s Camp St. Christopher. (Both national and local Sierra Club events have been held there in the past.) The reason given for the Sierra Club’s abandoning the use of the camp is the diocese’s opposition to gay marriage. According to The Post and Courier, Camp St. Christopher brought in $3 million in revenue last year.