Monday, April 29, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
News for Week Ending 4/22/2013
São Paulo clergy deposedAccording to Anglican Ink, the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) deposed five São Paulo clergy April 16, 2013, following secession of their congregations from the Diocese of São Paulo. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The congregations claim to have resumed their status as overseas chaplaincies of the Church of England that they had prior to 1975. According to Anglican Ink, the dispute is among liberals over money and power.
New Zealand approves marriage equalityThe Huffington Post reported April 17, 2013, that the New Zealand Parliament has approved marriage equality, thereby becoming the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
Scottish Episcopal Church releases marriage documentThe Doctrine Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church has issued what it calls an essay titled “Marriage and Human Intimacy: Perspectives on same-sex relationships and the life of the church.” Unlike the document recently released by the Church of England on marriage, “Men and Women in Marriage,” offers arguments both for and against retaining the church’s current position on marriage.
Quincy trial continues April 22The trial pitting the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy against the breakaway Quincy diocese continues on April 22, 2013. This news comes via The Anglican Curmudgeon, whose author, A.S. Haley, is one of the attorneys representing those who left The Episcopal Church. The court allocated three days to hear the testimony of historian Dr. Jeremy Bonner in advance of the scheduled starting date for the trial. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Until recently, Bonner lived in Pittsburgh. He was brought to Pittsburgh by then bishop Bob Duncan to write a history of the diocese.
Virginia Supreme Court affirms decision in favor of Episcopal dioceseThe Washington Post reported April 18, 2013, that the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the lower-court decision awarding the property of The Falls Church to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The court opinion (and a concurring opinion by one of the justices) relies heavily on the Dennis Canon and will therefore become a possible influence on church property litigation elsewhere. The court remanded to the trail court the question of how certain funds will be distributed, as the Supreme Court ruled that the lower court erred in determining just when the Falls Church congregation left the diocese.
The Diocese of Virginia commented on the decision on its Web site. To date, no comment has been posted on the Web site of The Falls Church. Anglican Ink, however, posted a letter from rector John Yates to the church’s congregation. The Falls Church Anglican web site does have a statement from Truro Anglican about the decision. Episcopal News Service also covered this story.
Bishop McConnell initiates blogBishop of Pittsburgh Dorsey McConnell now has his own blog. The menu on the diocesan Web site (near the top of the page) now includes the item “Bishop’s Blog.” Clicking on this takes you to the “Iron City Bishop” blog, whose URL is http://www.episcopalpgh.org/bishopsblog/. Blog pages include links back to the diocesan Web site, to the bishop’s visitation schedule, and to a page about the bishop.
Monday, April 15, 2013
News for Week Ending 4/15/2013
Bishop Michael Ingham to retireMichael Ingham, who has been the Bishop of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada since 1994, has announced his intention to retire effective August 31, 2013. Ingham is currently the longest serving bishop in the Canadian church. He is perhaps best known for his authorizing liturgy for blessing same-sex unions in his diocese in 2003, an act that, along with the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, led to still-unresolved conflict within the Anglican Communion. Ingham has also had to deal with property disputes involving clergy and congregations leaving the diocese for other Anglican jurisdictions. (See, for example, the Pittsburgh Update story here.) Ingham’s announcement is reported on the Web site of the Diocese of New Westminster.
CoE issues marriage reportThe Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England issued a report on marriage, “Men and Women in Marriage,” on April 10, 2013. The report, which was approved by the House of Bishops for publication and carries a foreword by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, is described in a Church of England press release. The report largely repeats assertions about marriage previously articulated by the church. It describes marriage as “an exclusive commitment of one man and one woman” and as a “creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation.”
The report has elicited a good deal of commentary, much of it negative. Church Times advised ignoring “Men and Women in Marriage.” Other commentary has been collected by Thinking Anglicans here, here, here, and here.
Developments continue in South CarolinaThe provisional bishop of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Charles G. vonRosenberg, has written to approximately 140 priests and deacons who have not participated in the recent Episcopal conventions. The letters essentially ask whether recipients are in or out of The Episcopal Church. The action is similar to what was done in Pittsburgh after the 2008 split in the diocese. Details can be found here.
On the legal front, the South Carolina faction that left The Episcopal Church have filed papers with the U.S. District Court arguing that its lawsuit should be litigated in state court. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The April 10, 2013, filing can be found here.
Monday, April 8, 2013
News for Week Ending 4/8/2013
Welsh church to discuss women bishopsThe Church in Wales will entertain arguments for and against women bishops when its Governing Body meets April 10–11, 2013. Additional details can be found here.
South Carolina groups vie for legal advantageThe split in the Diocese of South Carolina has resulted in litigation in state court instigated by the schismatic group led by former Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence and litigation in federal court instigated by those who have remained in The Episcopal Church. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Presumably, each group has chosen the court thought to be more sympathetic to its case. That has became more apparent as each side has sought to have its favored court take the lead in the legal dispute.
On March 28, 2013, the Lawrence faction filed a motion with the Charleston District of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina asking the court to either dismiss the federal suit brought by the Episcopalians or defer any action on the litigation pending adjudication by the South Carolina court. On April 3, the Episcopal parties filed a notice of removal with the U.S. District Court. The notice is essentially a request for the federal court to assert jurisdiction over the action originally brought by the Lawrence faction in the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas, County of Dorchester, First Judicial Circuit.
The latest legal moves are described in a press release from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Links to other legal documents related to the state and federal litigation can be found here.