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 27, 2014

News for Week Ending 10/27/2014

Anglican churches doing what they can to deal with Ebola in West Africa

Two stories surfaced this week of Anglicans in West Africa helping their countrymen deal with the Ebola epidemic. NPR reported on the work of the Very Rev. Herman Browne in Monrovia, Liberia, who has preached about how to avoid Ebola and who was nearly infected himself.

In Sierra Leone, meanwhile, the Anglican church has provided land for the construction of an isolation unit. The request for the land was made by a German NGO. The building will be razed and the land returned to the church when the isolation unit is no longer needed. The story was reported by Awoko Newspaper.

Women bishops bill gains Royal Assent

To the surprise of no one, Queen Elizabeth II has given her Royal Assent to the legislation that will allow the Church of England to begin creating women bishops. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The final step in the approval process comes next month at the General Synod. Details can be found in a post by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes.

CoE bishop allowed to marry following divorce

It may not seem remarkable that a divorced bishop plans to remarry. The case of the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker, however, a bishop of the Church of England, is special. The Bishop of Fulham is also the chairman of Forward in Faith (UK), the Anglo-Catholic organization whose public position is contrary to Baker intends to do. Anglican Ink explains this odd situation in a October 26, 2014, article.

Canadian primate suggests a postponed Lambeth Conference

Following the normal schedule, a Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world would be held in 2018. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made news last month when she suggested that a 2018 conference was unlikely. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Earlier this month, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was less than forthcoming regarding the Lambeth Conference schedule and seemed to put the issue in the hands of the Primates. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Now, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has declared that it is “pretty obvious” that a 2018 conference will not be held. His comments came in an interview published by Anglican Journal October 23, 2014.

In his October Chairman’s Pastoral Letter, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, seemed to relish the apparent postponement “perhaps indefinitely” of the Lambeth Conference. He declared it a sign that “the old institutions of the Communion no longer command confidence.”

Former Connecticut Episcopal church sold to Muslim Center

Episcopal News Service reported October 23, 2014, that a closed Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Connecticut—the diocese styles itself as the Episcopal Church in Connecticut these days—has been sold to to the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center, Inc. (FVAMC). In a meeting of community leaders seeking a use for the shuttered former Christ Episcopal Church in Avon, it was learned that the local Muslim community needed a gathering place for its programs, including ecumenical efforts. The property was first leased to the Muslims a year ago and was sold on October 21, 2014. ENS quoted Bishop of Connecticut Ian Douglas: “I thank God that through the stewardship of our property in Avon we have come into relationship with our Muslim neighbors in the Farmington valley. Together we are learning about what it means to be people of faith working together for peace and understanding. It is a blessing to cooperate with the FVAMC in the development of their new home.”

Executive Council meets October 24–27

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council met in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, October 24–27, 2014. A summary of the resolutions passed by Executive Council can be found here. Opening remarks by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies are also available.

GTS situation still unsettled

On October 21, 2014, it appeared that arrangements had been made to reinstate the eight faculty members of the General Theological Seminary who had been dismissed by the seminary’s Board of Trustees on September 30, 2014. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Lead published a post that suggested that cooler heads had prevailed, and the so-called GTS 8 would soon be back to work. That optimism was apparently premature, however. An October 24 statement from the board made it sound as though agreement had been reached between board and faculty. In truth, however, negotiations were continuing, and, on October 27, it appeared that negotiations had stalled.  (See post on The Lead.)

New editor named for Episcopal Café

The future of the popular Episcopal Café collection of blogs is apparently secure. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Rev. Jon White was named editor to succeed Jim Naughton on October 23, 2014. White will assume his post on November 25. The announcement was made on The Lead, the flagship blog of the Café.

PEP to screen documentary on income inequality

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) announced October 27, 2014, that it will offer a free screening of the award-winning documentary on income inequality in America, Inequality for All. The showing will take place at St. Andrew’s, Highland Park, at 7 PM on Friday, November 14, 2014. The Social Justice and Outreach Committee and the Commission on Race and Reconciliation of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh are co-sponsors. PEP’s press release and flyer for the event can be found here.