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, July 7, 2014

News for Week Ending 7/7/2014

KJS: No justification for distinguishing priest from bishop ordination

Presiding Bishop Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was interviewed by Church Times in anticipation of the Church of England’s General Synod that is expected to vote to allow women bishops in that church. According to the primate of The Episcopal Church, “There is really no theological justification for dividing access to ordination as a priest and ordination as a bishop. It was very unfortunate that the Church of England took that decision to divide them early on.” More surprising is this comment: “I think you’re more fortunate in the UK, in that you don't elect your bishops.” The interview can be read here.

The General Synod meets in York, England, from July 10 through July 15, 2-14.

Hobby Lobby fallout continues

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision—see Pittsburgh Update story here—there have been several important developments. Over the vigorous objections of the women justices, the court granted an injunction preventing conservative Wheaton College from being forced by the Affordable Care Act to provide contraceptive services to its female employees pending adjudication of its objections to the act. The significance of this development is in dispute and is discussed in an essay from The Washington Post. Also, immediately after the Hobby Lobby decision was announced, a number of conservative Christian leaders wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to allow for a religious exception in the yet-to-be issued presidential directive regarding nondiscrimination against LGBT persons by government contractors. (See story by PoliticusUSA.) It is unclear just how far-reaching the Hobby Lobby decision will be.

Mid-year report shows substantial support of church by dioceses

A report from N. Kurt Barnes, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of The Episcopal Church, shows that nearly all dioceses are supporting the church in 2014, though not necessarily at the 19% level requested by the General Convention. Of dioceses within the United States, 42 have committed to sending the full 19% of their income to the general church. There is a good deal of non-obvious differences in support provided by dioceses, however. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, support ranges from 21.4% by Central Pennsylvania to 4.8% by Pennsylvania. (Pittsburgh has committed to sending 11.1% of its income to the church, Bethlehem 5.9%, and Northwestern Pennsylvania 19%.) Springfield, a diocese that has exhibited a good deal of hostility toward the church, is contributing only 1.9%. Dallas, another conservative diocese, has sent no money to The Episcopal Church in recent years. It is contributing 0.7% in 2014, however, and intends to contribute 10% by 2022. Of the other dioceses that have experienced schisms, Fort Worth and South Carolina are committed to 19% contributions. San Joaquin, whose finances are strained, is contributing 3.9%. (Quincy, of course, has been united with Chicago, which is contributed 16.6%) Episcopal News Service covered this story here.

PB nominating committee describes process

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop issued a brief report July 2, 2014. In it, the committee described three brief essays it will offer in the coming weeks. The first essay is included in the press release from the committee and describes the process that will lead to the election of the next presiding bishop.

S.C. Episcopalians again loose round in court

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina was rebuffed on July 3, 2014, by the South Carolina Court of Appeals. The Episcopalians wanted to add four individuals, including Mark Lawrence, to the lawsuit brought against the Episcopalians by those who left the church and claimed real and personal property of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein denied a request by the Episcopalians for a court delay and ordered that trial begin July 8, 2014. Details are given in a press release from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Scott Quinn is new interim dean at Cathedral

Without fanfare, the Rev Canon Scott Quinn, who serves as rector of Nativity, Crafton, has been installed as interim dean of Trinity Cathedral and has given up his position as canon to the ordinary. The Rev. Tim Hushion, Jr., who had been priest-in-charge at the cathedral, is now vicar. The changes appear in the recently released diocesan directory. Although the changes have not appeared on the cathedral’s Web site, a Facebook post welcomed the new interim dean July 6, 2014.

Bishop allows same-sex marriages in Pittsburgh churches

Bishop Dorsey McConnell issued a letter July 3, 2014, indicating that Pittsburgh clergy can perform same-sex weddings that will fulfill the requirements for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has issued guidelines for such ceremonies and has published a letter from the chancellor setting out the rationale for the legality and canonicality of such ceremonies. Everything can be found here.