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.

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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, October 20, 2014

News for Week Ending 10/20/2014

Vatican gathering backpedals on gays, divorce

On October 18, 2014, Pope Francis’s Synod on the Family, a two-week-long gathering, stepped back from the earlier draft report that had been released to the public five days earlier. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) A conservative backlash led to weakening overtures to gays and divorced Catholics. Because actual vote tallies were disclosed, it has become obvious that there were significant disagreements among participants. A follow-up meeting will be held in a year. Detail can be read here.

Women bishops measure passes parliament

The Church of England is closer to consecrating women bishops. The measure to allow women bishops was approved by the House of Lords on October 14, 2014. Similar action was taken by the House of Commons on October 20. The measure now goes to the Queen for the Royal Assent. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has indicated that there will be a plan to fast-track women in order to put female bishops in place as soon as possible. Details can be found in posts on Thinking Anglicans here and here.

Beckwith accepted into ACNA College of Bishops

The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, was received by the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) at its October 10, 2014, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the ACNA Web site. Beckwith became an assisting bishop in the ACNA Great Lakes diocese in May. (See post on Robert S. Monday’s blog.) Seemingly, however, Beckwith is still considered an Episcopal church bishop, an anomaly  that needs to be corrected. (Beckwith is listed here among Episcopal clergy.)

General Seminary upheaval continues

As reported by Pittsburgh Update last week, the so-called GTS 8 met with members of the General Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees October 16, 2014. The eight faculty members had been fired September 30 for asking the seminary’s Board of Trustees for a meeting to discuss grievances against the school’s dean and president, the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle. The full board conducted an open meeting October 17, which resulted in a press release that asserts that
  1. Since there is insufficient evidence to fire Dunkle, the board reasserts its support for him.
  2. The Executive Committee will “hear requests of any of the eight former faculty members for reinstatement and to negotiate the terms of their provisional employment for the remainder of the academic year.”
  3. The board commits “to foster greater accountability, repentance, reconciliation, and healing” in light of the damage that has been done.
The GTS 8 issued a statement indicating that they need to consider their next move.

Public reaction to the decision of the board has been exceedingly negative, and the fund to support the fired faculty has raised more than $41,000 as of October 20. The Lead collected some of the early reactions to the board’s decision. Episcopal News Service has collected reaction from several bishops, some of whom are on the Board of Trustees and are having buyer’s remorse. One member of the board has resigned.

Interesting commentary on the GTS situation continues to appear, e.g., here, here, and here.

Pre-convention journal available, just in time for information sessions

At long last, the pre-convention journal is available from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Web site. It is, of course, background material for the information meetings being held October 21, 23, and 26, 2014. The schedule for the meetings, as well as links to the entire journal and parts thereof can be found here. The full journal can be downloaded here.

Changes coming for Grace Happens

In a recent but undated post on the Web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Ven. Jean Chess, who is now Director of Administration, has declared her attention to publish Grace Happens, the diocesan electronic newsletter, on an announced and regular schedule, with submission guidelines and fixed deadlines.