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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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, October 15, 2012

News for Week Ending 10/15/2012

Final judgments entered in two L.A. cases

On October 12, 2012, Episcopal News Service reported that the Orange County Superior Court  has entered final judgments in favor of  the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in the property disputes between the diocese and the congregations of All Saints’, Long Beach, and St. David’s, North Hollywood. Members of the two churches, as well as those of St. James’, Newport Beach, voted to leave The Episcopal Church eight years ago. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The court will take up the case of St. James’, Newport Beach, on October 24. The ENS story includes links to the judgments.

Omaha church ordered to surrender assets

The Omaha World Herald reported October 9, 2012, that St. Barnabas Church, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska located in Omaha, has been ordered by Douglas County District Court Judge Joseph Troia to surrender its property by the end of October. Members of the Anglo-Catholic parish voted in 2007 to leave The Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Church in America. The congregation is now planning to join the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which has been established by the Vatican to accept U.S. Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. (See Pittsburgh Update Story here.) The diocese sued to retain the property following the 2007 vote. The congregation may appeal the court order, but the two sides are discussing an agreed-upon resolution of the dispute.

In a message on the home page of the the church, St. Barnabas’s rector, the Rev. Robert Scheiblhofer, disputes that the congregation objected to the Episcopal Church’s position on homosexuality. He writes, “St. Barnabas severed its connection with TEC because the Episcopal Church had over time departed so far from the historic Catholic Faith (some would say “Christian Faith”) as to become unrecognizable as a part of the Church.”

Bennison to Retire

The Rt. Rev. Charles Bennison, the controversial bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, has announced his intention to retire at the end of 2012. After surviving an ecclesiastical trial in 2010, the bishop and Standing Committee continued to fight over financial and other issues. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Standing Committee expects the diocese to select a provisional bishop early next year. The Living Church has published an exchange of letters between the bishop and Standing Committee here.

Diocese, Shepherd’s Heart announce deal

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship issued a joint statement October 9, 2012, detailing a resolution of property and other issues. Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship, formerly part of the Episcopal diocese, is now associated with the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, though a number of Episcopal churches have continued to support its ministry to the homeless, veterans, and others in need. The statement says, in part, “Key features of the agreement pave the way for Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship to take full title to all property at its present location at Pride Street and Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood, including the portion of that property currently held by the Episcopal Diocese, and allow Shepherd’s Heart to seek a more favorable financing of its debt on this property.” The diocese has allowed its equity in the property to become an investment in the homeless ministry, thus giving it a formal stake in the outreach to the homeless. The release noted that “the parties have agreed that this agreement should not be interpreted as a model for resolving other property disputes.” The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas will have to approve the agreement.

McConnell consecration to be Webcast October 20

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced that the consecration of the Rev. Dorsey McConnell as the next Bishop of Pittsburgh will be Webcast October 20, 2012. Those who want to watch the ceremony but who cannot attend can view the proceedings on their computers by going to http://www.episcopalpgh.org/webcast/. The schedule for the day can be found here.