News for Week Ending 10/20/2014
Vatican gathering backpedals on gays, divorceOn 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 parliamentThe 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 BishopsThe 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 continuesAs 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
- Since there is insufficient evidence to fire Dunkle, the board reasserts its support for him.
- 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.”
- The board commits “to foster greater accountability, repentance, reconciliation, and healing” in light of the damage that has been done.
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.