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, May 27, 2013

News for Week Ending 5/27/2013

Church of Scotland agrees in principle to allow clergy in civil partnerships

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland reached a compromise May 20, 2013, that should allow the ordination of gay clergy in civil partnerships. (Recall that the Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, not Anglican.) A long debate involved affirming a traditionalist view of marriage or allowing the blessing of same-sex unions and clergy in civil partnerships while allowing individual congregations to opt-out of such activities. What was finally passed reaffirmed the traditionalist position while allowing congregations to opt-in to the more progressive position. It is hoped that this will head off defections from the church. Final approval of the compromise cannot be achieved before 2015. Thinking Anglicans offers various links to information about the Church of Scotland decision, some of which may be perplexing for Anglicans. Law & Religion UK offers an especially helpful perspective. Scotsman.com has published an even more approachable analysis.

Irish church forms human sexuality committee

The General Synod of the Church of Ireland, which met May 9–11, 2013, has established a Select Committee on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief to consider sexuality issues in relation to the church. The story is reported on the church’s Web site.

U.K. marriage equality bill moves to House of Lords

The House of Commons approved a bill May 21, 2013, to allow for same-sex marriage. The bill, which is not supported by the Church of England but which protects the established church’s traditionalist view of marriage, is now being taken up by the House of Lords. Passage there is by no means certain. CNN reported this story, and Thinking Anglicans links to recent news and commentary on the measure. Information on the current text of the bill and the debate in the House of Commons can be found here.

English bishops offer legislative proposals for women bishops

The Church of England issued a press release May 24, 2013, announcing a report from the House of Bishops containing proposals for allowing women to become bishops. (Recall that the General Synod rejected a controversial women bishops measure last November. See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The report itself offers four legislative options to be considered at the July General Synod. The bishops strongly support the first proposal, which is the most straightforward and seeks to make female bishops the equivalent of male bishops. It is hoped that women will be allowed to become bishops as early as 2015. Episcopal News Service covered the story here. Andrew Brown provides a helpful (though perhaps optimistic) analysis of the bishops’ report here. Heretics Anonymous has described the options set out by the bishops particularly clearly.

BSA votes to admit gay scouts

CNN reported May 24, 2013, that the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, meeting in Grapevine, Texas, voted to reverse its policy and allow gay boys to join scouting. BSA did not change its ban on gay leaders, however, and has no plans to revisit the matter. VirtueOnline reported May 21 that a number of conservative religious leaders sent a letter to the Boy Scouts of America urging the organization to retain its policy against “open homosexuality.” Signers included Bishop David C. Anderson, Sr, and the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council; and Archbishop Robert Duncan and Bishop Ray Sutton of the Anglican Church in North America.

Dayton Episcopal and Baptist church combine worship

Progressive Episcopal and Baptist churches in Dayton, Ohio, combined services for five weeks when renovations restricted access to the Episcopal worship site. Episcopal News Service reported on the unusual ecumenical experiment involving Christ Episcopal Church and First Baptist Church May 23, 2013.

Two San Joaquin properties being returned

The Modesto Bee reported May 24, 2013, that two church properties are being returned to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin absent a court decision favoring the diocese. Apparently, the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, Eric Menees, has decided that the cost of fighting for these particular churches cannot be  justified. The Modesto Bee story describes the final service at St. Francis, Turlock, before the Anglican congregation turned over the church and moved to a temporary worship site. St. James, Sonora, is also being returned to Episcopal control.