News for Week Ending 7/28/2014
Kenya nearly ready for first woman bishopAccording to Anglican Ink, the Anglican Church of Kenya, in the wake of the approval of women bishops in England—see Pittsburgh Update story here—is preparing to change its constitution to clarify that women can become bishops in the Kenyan church, which has had women priests since 1990.
More rulings go against same-sex marriage bansUSA Today reported July 28, 2014, that a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court ruling that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The judgment is stayed pending appeal.
Meanwhile, Federal District Judge Raymond P. Moore issued an injunction July 23, 2014, prohibiting Colorado from enforcing that state’s same-sex marriage ban. That order, too, is stayed pending appeal. According to USA Today, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is asking the state’s Supreme Court to enjoin the the Boulder County clerk from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, arguing that doing so is “causing Coloradans to lose faith in their government.”
TREC plans churchwide meetingThe Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) has announced a churchwide meeting at Washington National Cathedral on October 2, 2014. The meeting, intended to gather opinion from across the church regarding possible changes to the church, will be Webcast. Representatives from all Episcopal Church dioceses are encouraged to attend in person. Details can be found here.
Churches file amicus brief in support of Fort WorthThe Episcopal Church in South Carolina has joined with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth’s appeal for a review of the recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court. This is explained in a press release from the South Carolina Episcopalians. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)
40 years of women’s ordination celebratedJuly 29, 2014, will be the 40th anniversary of the first ordinations of women priests in The Episcopal Church. Eleven women were ordained July 29, 1974, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a ceremony not sanctioned by church canons. The historic event was celebrated July 26 at North Philadelphia’s Church of the Advocate. The sermon given by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the occasion can be read in the Episcopal News Service story here, which includes a link to video of the entire service. ENS has also provided this story on the celebration, as well as an interactive timeline of women’s ordination. Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe Pierre Whalon wrote a helpful meditation on women’s ordination for the Huffington Post.
South Carolina trial endsAfter three weeks, the trial resulting from the lawsuit brought by former bishop Mark Lawrence and the South Carolina parishes that left The Episcopal Church against the continuing Episcopalians and The Episcopal Church ended in Judge Diane Goodstein’s courtroom July 24, 2014. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Mark Lawrence himself was the final witness, called in rebuttal by the plaintiffs. Throughout the trial, Judge Goodstein has appeared to favor the plaintiffs, and, on Thursday, July 24, Goodstein went on a tirade against mild-mannered defense lawyer Mary Kostel. The judge indicated that the parties should not expect a decision before 90 days, and it seems fair to say that the Episcopal parties are expecting to be handed a defeat at the trial court level.
The State reported on the completion of the trial. As reported earlier, daily summaries of the trial are available from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, South Carolina Episcopalians, and the breakaway plaintiffs.