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, April 14, 2014

News for Week Ending 4/14/2014

Justin Welby remark continues to draw fire

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s assertion on a radio call-in show April 4, 2014, that allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages in England could lead to violence against Christians elsewhere in the world continues to be controversial. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Commentary on the remark continues largely to be negative. Notable reactions include these letters to the editor, and essays by Jim Naughton, Kelvin Holdsworth, and Bishop Gene Robinson. Bishop Marc Andrus (Diocese of California) and Marcus Halley (Diocese of West Missouri) have also criticized the archbishop.

Welby visited both the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church this past week, each of which gave him an opportunity to mollify those upset with his on-air remarks. If that was his objective, he was unsuccessful. Welby was interviewed by Anglican Journal on April 8. He gave an address in Oklahoma City at the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace conference, which was covered by The New York Times.

CoE sees first clergy same-sex marriage despite pastoral guidance

The Telegraph reported April 12, 2014, that Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a Church of England hospital chaplain, has married his long-term partner, Laurence Cunnington, in defiance of the pastoral guidance from the House of Bishops forbidding same-sex marriages by clergy. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Predictably, progressives have celebrated the event, and traditionalists have called for Pemberton to be disciplined. The wedding, which occurred only weeks after same-sex marriage became legal in England, is expected to be only the first of many same-sex clergy weddings among CoE clergy. Thinking Anglicans has collected links to news stories and commentary here. The ultraconservative Anglican Mainstream, meanwhile, has called for the law allowing for same-sex marriage to be repealed.

S.C. Episcopalians make legal moves

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina made two independent legal moves this past week. On April 7, 2014, attorneys for Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg filed an opening brief with the Fourth Circuit of Appeals asking the court to reverse the decision of the U.S. District Court in Charleston that sent vonRosenberg v. Lawrence back to state court. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The brief focuses on false advertising under the Lanham Act, namely on the allegation that Mark Lawrence is improperly representing himself as the bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. The brief argues that the District Court should have adjudicated the Lanham Act claim and should not have rejected the request for a preliminary injunction against Mark Lawrence. This story was reported by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

On April 8, South Carolina Episcopalians asked the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas, County of Dorchester, First Judicial Circuit, to halt the issuing of subpoenas by the breakaway group while the case is stayed pending appeal. They charged that the subpoena power is being abused. Details are here, and the court filing is here.

Court returns another San Joaquin parish to Episcopal diocese

Episcopal News Service reported April 14, 2014, that a judge has granted the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin’s motion for summary judgment awarding the property of Saint John the Evangelist, Stockton, to the diocese. Because of differences in the legal status of the various parishes in the California diocese, the continuing Diocese of San Joaquin has had to file multiple lawsuits against similarly situated parishes.