News for Week Ending 9/8/2014
Episcopal bishop is first woman bishop to preside at Welsh cathedralAccording to Episcopal News Service, Gayle Harris, suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, became the first female Anglican bishop to preside at a Welsh cathedral August 31, 2014. The Church in Wales has voted to allow women bishops, but has postponed the effective date of the decision to allow time for the church prepare a Code of Practice.
Courts go in opposite directions on gay marriage frontAfter so many federal court decisions declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, such decisions seem to be becoming routing. On September 4, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled bans in Indiana and Wisconsin unconstitutional. Details can be found here.
The day before, a federal district judge, Martin L.C. Feldman, ruled that the state of Louisiana could indeed ban same-sex marriage. The decision will, no doubt be appealed to the 5th Circuit. The Washington Post covered the story here.
Same-sex blessings approved in two diocesesThe Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported September 3, 2014, that Bishop of Milwaukee Steven A. Miller has approved use of a blessing rite for same-sex couples that have already been married in a civil ceremony. The move comes after the courts struck down Milwaukee’s same-sex marriage ban, though the decision is stayed pending appeal. Miller’s August 29 letter to his diocese sets out his guidelines and a rite different from the one approved by the 2012 General Convention. Miller acknowledged the contribution to his thinking of Bishop Dorsey McConnell’s letter to the Pittsburgh diocese.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth reported August 29, 2014, that Bishop Rayford B. High, Jr., has also written a letter setting forth conditions for using what he calls “Covenant Blessings.”
TREC issues letter to church, elicits flood of commentsThe Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) has issued a letter to the church suggesting changes to the way the church is governed. The letter has been met with rather non-specific praise and with vigorous denunciations. The letter appears on the TREC Web site and has attracted numerous comments on the Episcopal News Service site. The Lead published the letter under the title “TREC recommends a powerful Presiding Bishop, weakened Council and Convention, replacing much staff with contractors,” which communicates a sense of the content of the TREC letter. The Lead has also published a story summarizing and offering links to comments in the blogosphere. Lionel Deimel has also written about the letter and suggests specific essays that might be of interest to Pittsburgh Episcopalians.
TREC is holding a churchwide meeting on October 2, 2014. People can attend the meeting at Washington National Cathedral or participate via the World Wide Web. TREC meets for the final time immediately the October 2 meeting to work on its final report, which is due in November.