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 17, 2013

News for Week Ending 6/17/2013

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Pope

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby paid a visit to Pope Francis and the Vatican June 14, 2013. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Anglican Communion News Service ran a long story on the visit here.

Anglican Communion News Service debuts new Web site

Anglican Communion News Service, which reports on developments throughout the Anglican Communion, announced its new Web site June 13, 2013, which is distinct from the Anglican Communion Web site, of which ACNS material had been a part. The URL for the new site is http://www.anglicannews.org/. Lionel Deimel, reviewing the new site, reports that most links to the old site continue to work. The new site is more interactive and attractive than the old site, and includes multimedia elements.

Archbishop of Sydney to retire

ABC News (the Australia one, not the U.S. one) reported June 15, 2013, that a retirement party was held for Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen, who will step down from his post on his 70th birthday next month. The prominent evangelical archbishop was among the organizers of the Global Anglican Futures Conference.

Falls Church request for rehearing denied

The request of The Falls Church Anglican for a rehearing by the Virginia Supreme Court was rejected June 14, 2013. The court had earlier refused to reverse a lower court decision awarding real and personal property held by the breakaway congregation to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Fairfax County Circuit Court can now enter a final judgment in this last case involving the 11 congregations that withdrew from the Episcopal diocese in 2006. Episcopal News Service covered this story. The diocese issued a statement on the court decision. A response to the Supreme Court decision by the Falls Church Vestry was posted June 17 on VirtueOnline.

South Carolina litigation returned to state court (update)

Last week, Pittsburgh Update reported that, on June 10, 2013, Federal Judge C. Weston Houck ruled that the dispute between South Carolina Episcopalians and the group led by former Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence should be returned to state court. In his opinion, Judge Houck emphasized the high bar for removing a case from a state to a federal court. The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (i.e., the group the church believes is the proper Diocese of South Carolina) issued a press release about the development. The group that left The Episcopal Church and that first brought the case to a state court commented on the decision, which can be read here.

San Joaquin Update

Several San Joaquin properties have recently been returned to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin from the breakaway Anglican diocese. Pittsburgh Update reported earlier that St. Francis Episcopal Church, Turlock, was returned. The Modesto Bee covered a Festival Homecoming Eucharist at the church June 9, 2013. St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest, has also been returned, and has announced that a similar celebration will take place at that church on June 23.

The name of St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest, crops up in a post by A.S. Haley on his Anglican Curmudgeon blog. Haley, an attorney representing breakaway congregations in church property litigation, asserts that different judges have reached different conclusions regarding similarly situated churches that chose to leave the San Joaquin diocese. Haley raises some interesting points that we will not try to analyze here. Readers should know, however, that there are multiple cases in the courts trying to resolve the property disputes in San Joaquin, with no end to the process in sight.