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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Monday, November 17, 2014

News for Week Ending 11/17/2014

General Synod gives final approval for CoE women bishops

On November 17, 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England took the final step to allow women to become bishops. The event was announced in a church press release. The BBC noted that women likely to be appointed to the episcopate are being given special training to be prepared for the selection process. It is anticipated that the first female diocesan bishop will be appointed early next year. More on the vote and the long road to a mixed-gender episcopate can be found here.

Archbishop of Canterbury address reviews state of Communion

Archbishop of Canterbury delivered his presidential address to the meeting of the Church of England General Synod November 17, 2014. Little of the address related directly to the English church, excepting the comment that “nothing we say is heard only by us.” The full address can be read (or seen) here.

Welby’s address was essentially a report on the state of the Anglican Communion, a report he is in a particularly appropriate position to deliver, having now visited all the churches of the worldwide fellowship. Welby sees the Communion as flourishing, but extremely diverse and beset by conflict. The challenge is to find unity within the extraordinary diversity.

Welby indicated that the next meeting of the primates will be scheduled and its agenda set by the primates themselves. Whether and when there is to be another Lambeth Conference should, ideally, be decided by the Primates’ Meeting. He noted that the conference of Anglican bishops “is so expensive and so complex that we have to be sure that it is worthwhile.”

Texas senator introduces amendment to enshrine the ability to discriminate in state constitution

Texas state senator Donna Campbell (R) has proposed an amendment to the Texas constitution that would allow Texans to refuse to provide goods or services to anyone if they believe that to do so would violate their religious beliefs. Although enacting the amendment would largely harm sexual minorities, the wording is broad enough to justify discrimination against almost anyone for any reason. This story was reported November 12, 2014, by Raw Story.

Washington National Cathedral hosts Muslim prayer service

Washington National Cathedral hosted a Muslim prayer service November 14, 2014. According to The Washington Post, there were several hundred invited attendees to the first-ever event. The idea for the service grew out of the relationship developed between the cathedral’s director of liturgy, the Rev. Canon Gina Gilland Campbell, and Muslim scholar and South Africa’s ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, who worked together on a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Rasool preached a sermon urging Christians and Muslims to fight together against Islamic extremism. Despite heavy security, the service was disrupted by a white Christian woman who shouted, “America was founded on Christian principles … Leave our church alone!” before being escorted out of the cathedral. The story of Christine Weick’s protest is told at WND.com

Presiding Bishop names delegates to U.N. Commission on the Status of Women

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named Episcopal Church delegates to the 2015 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meeting, which will be held March 9–20, 2015. The list of delegates, who will be led by the Rev. Joan Grimm Fraser of the Diocese of Long Island, can be found here. Among the delegates is Erin Morey, a parishioner of St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon. (Morey is miss-identified as “Erin Morey-Busch” in the Office of Public Affairs press release.)

Florida priest vows to fight for right to feed homeless

The Rev. Canon Mark H. Sims, an Episcopal priest who was arrested in Fort Lauderdale for violating a new ordnance while feeding homeless people, has vowed to fight the ordnance, which he calls unconstitutional. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) An already large homeless population in Florida swells as winter approaches and the homeless flee colder climes. Sims has hired two attorneys to help him maintain his ability to feed the homeless. Details can be read in a story from Episcopal News Service.

Cranksgiving supports Episcopal food pantry

Episcopal churches find many ways of supporting their charitable efforts. Cranksgiving, described as “part bike ride, part food drive, part scavenger hunt,” began in New York City in 1999 and is held there annually. The 2014 Cranksgiving in Hartford, Connecticut, will support the Grace Episcopal Church Food Bank. The event has a Facebook page, and information about it can be found on its registration page.

Incoming editor describes changes coming to Episcopal Café

The Rev. Jon M. White, who will shortly assume editorial duties at Episcopal Café from founder Jim Naughton, has written a description of the changes coming to the popular collection of Episcopal blogs. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) White also notes that the Café will be soliciting funds to keep it going. White’s remarks can be found here.

Advent resources available

The Episcopal Church is offering a variety of resources for Advent 2014. The resources, which include Advent calendars and devotions, are described here. The complete list of resources is here.

Convention voting posted

The results of the voting at the November 7 & 8, 2014, diocesan convention are now online. A list of winners of elections can be found here. All resolutions were adopted as presented.