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, December 22, 2014

News for Week Ending 12/22/2014

Christian-Muslim summit held in Rome

A summit of Christian and Muslim leaders was held in Rome December 2–4, 2014. This was the third of four such meetings emphasizing dialogue and reconciliation. The program was launched by Washington National Cathedral in 2010. The theme of the recent meeting was “Christians and Muslims: Believers in Society.” Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopalian, Sunni, and Shi’a representatives participated. Details can be found on the Washington National Cathedral Web site.

First CoE female bishop chosen

The Church of England has chosen its first female bishop a month after final approval of changes that opened the episcopate to women. The Rev. Libby Lane, as 48-year-old mother of two will become the next Bishop of Stockport in Greater Manchester, a suffragan bishop post. Lane is a well respected priest but was a surprise pick as the first woman bishop. The Telegraph covered this story.

In a related move, a bill has been introduced in Parliament to allow women bishops to serve in the House of Lords sooner than would otherwise be possible. (Seniority largely determines which bishops become Lords Spiritual, which would ordinarily put women bishops at the end of the line.) Details and related links can be found in a post on Thinking Anglicans.

Green Report released

The Green Report, which maps out a program to develop clerical talent in the Church of England—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has been released earlier than expected. A press release about the report dated December 16, 2014, can be found here. The 34-page report itself is here. Thinking Anglicans has collected a good deal of commentary on the report.

Diocese of Peshawar cancels Christmas celebrations after school attack

The Bishop of Peshawar, Humphrey Peters, has announced that the usual Christmas celebrations have been cancelled in light of the December 15, 2014, Taliban attack on an army-run school that resulted in the death of 132 children and 9 adults. The church will instead emphasize visiting victims in hospitals and supporting the bereaved, whatever their religious affiliation. Anglican Communion News Service covered this story.

IASCUFO pressures Canadian Church to continue marriage discrimination

The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO), the body that has become the chief cheerleader for the Anglican Covenant, has exhorted the Anglican Church of Canada to forgo changing the church’s marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage when the General Synod next meets in 2016. Such a change would “cause great distress for the Communion as a whole, and for its ecumenical relationships” according to the IASCUFO. The advice came as a response to an inquiry from the ACoC’s Commission on the Marriage Canon. Details on this story were reported by Anglican Journal.

Australian Anglican church proposes generous program for sex abuse victims

Australia is seeking a plan for the treatment of victims of sex abuse at the hands of churches. The Anglican Church of Australia has offered a generous plan that would provide medical and psychological help, remove abusers, offer financial compensation, and not preclude using the courts to seek restitution. Details can be read in a story from The Sydney Morning Herald.

U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations holds promise of expanded possibilities for Cuban church

Anglican Journal published a story December 17, 2014, suggesting that the resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba may open up unanticipated possibilities for the Episcopal Church of Cuba. Prior to the Cuban Revolution, Cuba was part of Province IX of The Episcopal Church, a relationship that quickly became untenable as relations between Cuba and the U.S. soured. As explained in the Anglican Journal story, the Cuban church separated from The Episcopal Church and is now overseen by the Metropolitan Council of Cuba, which consists of the primates of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Province of the West Indies. Because Canada never broke relations with Cuba, the Cuban church has had particularly close ties to Canada. Anglican Journal also ran a story of a statement by the Episcopal Church of Cuba on the occasion of the resumption of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba.
the Metropolitan Council of Cuba
the Metropolitan Council of Cuba

Supreme Court refuses to stay Florida same-sex marriage decision

On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from the State of Florida to extend the stay of a federal district court order striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in the state. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The effect is to allow such marriages beginning January 6, 2015. The Miami Herald covered this story. Additional details can be found in a SCOTUSblog post.

More commentary on final TREC report

Last week, the final report of the Task Force on Reimagining The Episcopal Church had just been released, and not much response to the 73-page report had been published. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Episcopal Café has collected excerpts of and links to later commentary, which can be found here.

JNCPB issues another progress report

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) issued another progress report on its work December 16, 2014. Interviews with candidates have been conducted electronically, and the JNCPB will conduct in-person interviews with a selected group of bishops in the spring. The JNCPB will meet in January.

S.C. provisional bishop admonishes retired suffragan

Bishop William J. Skilton, retired suffragan bishop of the formerly unified Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has released correspondence between the provisional bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Charles G. vonRosenberg, and himself, along with an introduction to the correspondence. Skilton, apparently, had undertaken the project of trying to reconcile the two sides in the diocesan schism. Bishop vonRosenberg, in a letter dated December 2, 2014, called such a role confusing and advised Bishop Skilton that he should neither function as a bishop in the diocese nor represent himself as speaking for the diocese in any official capacity. (Skilton perhaps saw his role as akin to that of Pittsburgh’s Trinity Cathedral during the period during which it attempted to be the cathedral for both sides of the diocesan schism.) Skilton replied to vonRosenberg on December 11, denying that he had attempted to represent the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and agreeing not to function sacramentally in the diocese. Oddly, although Skilton describes himself as a bishop of The Episcopal Church, his posting appears on the Web site of Mark Lawrence’s breakaway diocese.