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 18, 2013

News for Week Ending 3/18/2013

Anglicans welcome new pope

It is unlikely that readers are unaware that Roman Catholic cardinals elected a new pope this past week. Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected March 13, 2013, after just five ballots and took the name Pope Francis I. (See, for example, this story from The Washington Post.) Anglican Communion News Service reported on good wishes sent to the new pontiff by various Anglican leaders. Episcopal News Service ran a story on the same subject. Our own Bishop McConnell offered his congratulations to the new pope.

We won’t try to link to even a small number of the many stories about Pope Francis. Of particular interest to Anglicans, however, is an article from Christianity Today. In it, the former primate of the Southern Cone, Argentinian Gregory Venables, is quoted as as saying that Bergoglio once told him that the Ordinariate created under Pope Benedict to bring disaffected Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church is “quite unnecessary.”

A number of news stories have suggested that the new pope has maintained very good relations with other those of other faiths. A notable example of such a story was published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 18.

Anglican Church of Canada to vote on resolution to delay decision on Covenant

The Rev. Alan T. Perry reported on his blog March 16, 2013, that the General Synod will be presented with a resolution that would have the Anglican Church of Canada study the Anglican Covenant and monitor its reception, reporting to the next General Synod, which meets in 2016. Perry’s post, which includes relevant links, can be found here. The Canadian Anglican Journal also posted a story about the Covenant on March 16. That story suggests that the Covenant is not of much concern in Canada. (Ottawan Ron Chaplin is quoted as saying, “I’ve tried to begin conversations in Ottawa and its neighbouring dioceses, but there’s simply no interest.)

Colorado legislature passes civil unions bill

The Colorado legislature has passed a bill allowing for civil unions for same-sex couples in that state. Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill within two weeks. An AP story on the bill can be found here. The Washington Post published a story on the bill’s passage that includes a map indicating the status of same-sex partnership laws by state. The Denver Post published a story March 17, 2013, reporting that many gay couples have a wait-and-see attitude about the new law, particularly in light of the cases now before the Supreme Court.

Episcopal bishops write to church

We noted last week that the bishops of The Episcopal Church were conducting their spring retreat March 8–12, 2013. The report on the final day of meetings can be found here. As usual, the bishops wrote a letter to the church at the conclusion of their meeting. The letter urges Americans to have a conversation about guns, but it does not take a position on gun legislation.

Virginia friendship comes to abrupt end

Pittsburgh Update took note last week of the somewhat unlikely friendship between Bishop of Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston and Rector of Truro Anglican Church Tory Baucum. According to The Living Church, that friendship has come to an abrupt end at the insistence of Bishop John A. Guernsey of the Anglican Church in North America’s Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. Guernsey objected to the recent visit of theologian John Dominic Crossan as a clergy day speaker at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring, Virginia. Crossan is best known as co-chair of the Jesus Seminar. Bishop Johnston issued a statement March 15, 2013, indicating that he disagrees “with many facets of Dr. Crossan’s theology.” He went on to say that “I will not be a censor of ideas, a roadblock to inquiry that is grounded in a search for ‘God with us.’” (Note that the link to the bishop’s statement in the Living Church story is incorrect.) The Lead has also written about this story, and the post there has attracted some interesting comments.

Oral arguments heard in San Joaquin case

According to Anglican Curmudgeon, a hearing was held March 13, 2013, in Fresno County Superior Court before Judge Jeffrey Hamilton on the  judge’s tentative ruling against the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin entered earlier this month. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The judge can affirm, modify, or vacate his previous ruling. Note that the author of Anglican Curmudgeon, A.S. Haley is an attorney involved in the litigation on the side of the self-styled Anglicans.

In separate developments in the San Joaquin diocese, The Modesto Bee reported March 7 that two incorporated parishes that split from The Episcopal Church are negotiating the return of their properties to the Episcopal diocese. The parishes are St. Francis, Turlock, and St. James, Sonoro.

PEP donates courses to Resource Center

In a March 15, 2013, press release, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh announced its donation of nine courses on DVDs to the Resource Center, which is shared by Southwestern Pennsylvania Lutherans and Episcopalians. Topics represented among the courses are the Old and New Testaments, non-canonical texts, mysticism, and the relationship of science and religion. The press release is here, and the list of courses is here. Any congregation in the diocese can borrow these courses or other material from the Resource Center.