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, September 24, 2012

News for Week Ending 9/24/2012

Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order issues communiqué

The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) issued a communiqué September 20, 2012, following its meeting in Dublin September 12–19. The commission has prepared a report for the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) to be held in New Zealand October 27–November 7, 2012, but the report has not been released. According to the communiqué, the commission “reflected on the on-going consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant within the churches of the Communion.” It will also present “an interim study” on the Instruments of Communion to ACC-15 “for consultation and discussion.”

Mark Harris, on his blog Preludium, has raised the question of whether the IASCUFO meeting may be as important for who did not attend than for what was actually accomplished. He points out that members from the core GAFCON churches were, according to the communiqué, “[u]nable to attend,” suggesting that their absence was deliberate and indicative of continuing disintegration of the Anglican Communion.

Missouri to proceed carefully with same-sex blessings

Bishop Wayne Smith, of the Diocese of Missouri, has written to his diocese regarding implementation of General Convention’s Resolution A049, which authorizes provisional use of a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. Smith’s message can be found on the diocese’s Web site and diocese’s quarterly newsletter Seek. (The message in Seek is on page 1. The issue also includes a reflection on the A049 debate at General Convention on page 6.)

Smith intends to convene a group of local Episcopalians to help develop guidelines for the use of the new rite. He emphasized, however, that both a parish using the rite and couples availing themselves of it need to be prepared carefully.

S.C. bishop mum about plans

Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence has written a perplexing letter to the people of his diocese. (The letter, dated September 22, 2012, is posted on the diocesan Web site, but it is more reliably accessed at VirtueOnline.) According to the letter
We announced last month on August 20th that the Standing Committee and I were in agreement on a course of action regarding the future of the Diocese of South Carolina and the challenges many of us face because of decisions by the recent General Convention of The Episcopal Church. However, for many reasons it was then and is now, imprudent to reveal that course of action. Things are progressing—we have not stopped or dropped the ball. 
He goes on to counsel patience, despite the anxiety many may feel.

It is widely feared that Lawrence will attempt to remove the diocese and its property from The Episcopal Church. Mark Harris, on his blog Preludium, argues that: “This is not a time for prudent non-communication. It is a time for candor.”