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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Monday, October 21, 2013

News for Week Ending 10/21/2013

Church of Sweden elects first woman archbishop

Episcopal News Service reported that Bishop Antje Jackelén was elected the first woman archbishop of the Church of Sweden, a church in the Lutheran World Federation. The October 15, 2013, election will make Jackelén the first woman to head the Swedish church. Anglican Ink also reported on the election, adding that Jackelén has said that belief in the virgin birth is inessential to Christianity.

GAFCON II begins in Nairobi

The second Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) is now underway in Nairobi, Kenya. It runs from October 21 to October 26, 2013. Extensive reporting is being done by the conservative site, Anglican Ink. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited Nairobi briefly on October 20, staying with Kenya’s Archbishop Eliud Wabuka, preaching at two services at All Saints Cathedral, and meeting with the Primates’ Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Anglican Ink reported that Welby greeted Archbishop Robert Duncan, of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), before preaching at the cathedral, but had to report the next day that Duncan was flying back to the U.S. for emergency dental surgery. (ACNA is also covering GAFCON II here.)

Anglican Ink wrote about Welby’s visit to Nairobi, suggesting that Welby gave at least a partial endorsement to the the GAFCON movement. Video of one of Welby’s two sermons is available here, although it is not clear whether it is Welby’s first sermon or his second.

Ballarat votes to have women priests

The Anglican Diocese of Ballarat, in the Anglican Church of Australia, has voted to ordain women priests. Ballarat is a Victoria town about 70 miles west of Melbourne. The story was reported by The Courier of Ballarat on October 20, 2013.

PB, UTO president issue joint statement

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and United Thank Offering (UTO) president Barbara Schafer issued a joint statement October 18, 2013, declaring that all involved parties will work to heal “recent challenges.” The statement comes after four members of the UTO board resigned over proposed UTO bylaw changes. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)

Executive Council meets in Chicago

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council met in Chicago October 15–17, 2013. Opening remarks by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies can be found here. A summary of resolutions passed by Executive Council is here.

Seitz declares conservative defeat in Episcopal Church sex wars

The Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz, Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto and president of the Anglican Communion Institute, has declared that traditionalists have been defeated in the sex wars within The Episcopal Church. The question now, Seitz declared at the conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Toronto Anglican Congress, is whether The Episcopal Church will make room for traditionalists. George Conger wrote about Seitz’s views on his blog, reproducing a story he wrote for The Church of England Newspaper.

N.J. bishops to allow priests to perform same-sex marriages

As a result of a decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court and the decision of New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie not to appeal the decision further, same-sex couples began getting married in New Jersey October 21, 2013. Bishops in both the Episcopal Diocese of Newark and the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey will allow priests to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies, Episcopal News Service reported.

Fort Worth appeals

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has, as expected, made an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court October 18, 2013, for a reconsideration of the August 30 decision that vacated the trial court finding that awarded diocesan property to the Episcopal diocese. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Anglican Ink reported the story here.

PEP lists questions for convention

The pre-convention information meetings for the November 1–2, 2013, annual convention were held this past week. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The PEP board prepared a number of questions, primarily about the proposed budget, and these were largely asked and (to a degree) answered, though not always satisfactorily and definitely not on the record. Lionel Deimel has posted the questions from the board on his blog, and interested people can read them there.

Bishop delays decision on same-sex issues yet again

In a letter to clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Dorsey McConnell announced his intention to delay his announcement of his decisions regarding same-sex blessings and the ordination of partnered homosexuals until after the annual diocesan convention. The bishop offered three reasons for the delay. His most important reason for the delay, according to McConnell, is to be able to offer “all active assistance and support” to clergy “fielding questions and ministering to a variety of responses from your people.” Lionel Deimel published and commented on the letter on his blog.