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, June 10, 2013

News for Week Ending 6/10/2013

Welby to visit Pope

Vatican Radio has announced that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will pay an “informal, brief courtesy visit” to Pope Francis on June 14, 2013. Details can be found here.

Effort to kill gay marriage bill fails in House of Lords

Despite negative votes from a number of Church of England bishops, including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the same-sex marriage bill—see Pittsburgh Update story here—was approved on second reading in the U.K. House of Lords. The critical vote was on an amendment by Lord Dear that would have killed the bill. The vote against the amendment was 390 to 140. According to Thinking Anglicans, of 14 Church of English bishops present, 9 voted for the amendment; none voted against it. (The current Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech is here. Lord Carey, who held the office before Rowan Williams and one who seldom fails to offer his opinion, suggested that passage of the bill would lead to sibling marriage and polygamy.) The BBC has published a helpful story on the vote.

Both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in the U.K. have conceded passage of the same-sex marriage bill and have vowed to work toward making it more acceptable.

There has been much commentary following the June 4, 2013, vote, and, as usual, Thinking Anglicans has done a fine job of tracking it, beginning with a post here.

Executive Council meets in Maryland

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council met June 7–10, 2013, at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, near Baltimore. Episcopal News Service has reported opening remarks by President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings and by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. It has also posted Jefferts Schori’s Sunday sermon.

On June 10, ENS posted a number of stories on the results of the meeting. Among the actions reported was the expansion of lines of credit offered to the dioceses of San Joaquin and South Carolina. Executive Council also selected a new representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, a former Executive Council member from the Diocese of the Virgin Islands. She replaces Josephine Hicks, whose term has expired.

Of particular interest to Pittsburgh Episcopalians was the awarding of a $30,000 Constable Grant to the Diocese of Pittsburgh for its sexuality dialogue.

The ENS stories posted late June 10 are the following: “Ballentine named lay representative to Anglican Consultative Council,” “Executive Council awards Constable Fund Grants,” “A summary of Executive Council resolutions,” and “Council members expand support to South Carolina, San Joaquin.”

Villanova to host Episcopal Youth Event

Villanova University in suburban Philadelphia has been selected to host the 2014 Episcopal Youth Event, scheduled for July 9-13, 2014. The five-day event is open to students in grades 9–12 during the 2013–2014 academic year and their adult leaders. Episcopal News Service made the announcement June 8.

Quincy and Chicago dioceses agree to merge

Meeting in separate conventions June 8, 2013, the dioceses of Quincy and Chicago agreed, as expected, to reunite with the Diocese of Chicago absorbing the schism-diminished Diocese of Quincy. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Episcopal News Service covered the story here.

South Carolina litigation to proceed first in state court

The two sides in the South Carolina property dispute resulting from the schism of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina argued about the venue for the next round of litigation in federal court June 6, 2013, before Judge C. Weston Houck. At issue was whether the suit brought by the Episcopalians in federal court will be litigated or whether legal maneuvering will return to the state court where Mark Lawrence and his dissident followers have sued those who chose to remain in The Episcopal Church. The Associated Press reported the story, which suggested that Judge Houck would likely issue a written opinion within a week. In fact, the opinion came in four days, and Houck returned the dispute to state court, which likely is unfavorable to the cause of The Episcopal Church. SCNow reported that story here.

Church Pension Group responds to South Carolina complaints

The Church Pension Group has responded to complaints about delays in allowing pension rollovers by lay employees who left Episcopal Church employment when the Diocese of South Carolina split. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Citing “the complexity of the current situation,” the CPG, in a statement on its Web site, has indicated that it is working to avoid “any adverse consequences for the participants in the plans” and should complete its work shortly.

Omaha church dispute nears resolution

The property dispute involving the former St. Barnabas Episcopal Church of Omaha, Nebraska, appears to be approaching its conclusion. The Anglo-Catholic congregation voted to leave The Episcopal Church in 2007 and was sued by the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska for return of the property. In October 2012, a judge ordered the property returned to the diocese. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) A June 3, 2013, report by Sean W. Reed, president of the St. Barnabas Church Parish Council and senior warden of St. Barnabas Parish, indicates that the congregation and the diocese agreed on a sale of the property to the congregation last December. The congregation has raised the necessary funds to buy the church, and the sale is expected to be completed soon. St. Barnabas anticipates becoming part of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. Reed notes in his report that the church is awaiting approval of the sale by The Episcopal Church.

PEP to sponsor panel on the state of the diocese

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh will meet at Calvary Church June 17, 2013. The 7:00 PM program is a panel discussion on the state of the diocese. All are invited. Details can be found here.