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, March 16, 2015

News for Week Ending 3/16/2015

Final approval given to bill to allow women to enter House of Lords soon

The Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill passed its final hurdle in the House of Lords March 12, 2015. The bill provides for women bishops to take seats in the British House of Lords sooner than they would have under normal circumstances, since women bishops will have little seniority for some time. Details are explained in a post on Thinking Anglicans.

Delegates from across Communion participating in U.N. Conference on the Status of Women

The 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is meeting in New York City March 9–20. Delegates from across the Anglican Communion will be participating. For the first time, The Episcopal Church will be sending its own delegation to the commission meeting, including a representative from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Details can be found in this press release from The Episcopal Church and a story from Anglican Communion News Service.

Episcopal Church of Cuba votes to return to The Episcopal Church

Anglican Journal reported March 16, 2015, that the Episcopal Church of Cuba Synod, in a close vote, decided to return to its former relationship with The Episcopal Church. Affiliation with The Episcopal Church became unworkable after the Cuban Revolution, and the Metropolitan Council of Cuba was developed to provide oversight of the Cuban church. The thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations is again making affiliation with The Episcopal Church viable.

Episcopal Urban Caucus meets in Connecticut

The Episcopal Urban Caucus met in Meriden, Connecticut, February 25–28, 2015, a location chosen because of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Caucus had a particular focus on gun violence, but also discussed other issues, such as income inequality. Episcopal News Service reported on the annual meeting.

Iker tries to strong-arm parish

As Pittsburgh Update reported last week, the new trial in the Fort Worth case granted partial summary judgment to the breakaway faction led by Jack Leo Iker. The court’s action did not apply to All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, however. According to a story on the Web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Iker wrote a letter to All Saints’ March 6 announcing a meeting at the church March 26 and asserting that a Canon 32 process would be used to resolve differences between the parish and the breakaway diocese. In response, Tom Leatherbury, attorney for the Episcopal Parties, wrote to David Weaver, attorney to the Iker faction, on March 9 indicating that Iker had no authority to initiate a Canon 32 process, that the parties had agreed to mediation with a neutral mediator—Canon 32 gives Iker extraordinary power over the final result—and that no meeting would take place on March 26. Additional details can be read in the letter reproduced in the aforementioned story.

Direction of Lawrence’s S.C. diocese uncertain

South Carolina Episcopalians posted two reports/commentaries March 13, 2015, on the convention of Mark Lawrence’s breakaway South Carolina diocese. In a convention workshop, Mark Lawrence and his longtime Canon Theologian, Kendall Harmon, hinted that the Lawrence group might become an independent church and accept parishes into the fold from outside South Carolina.

San Joaquin appeal to proceed

The breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin is appealing its apparent loss in the litigation with the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) In a February 23, 2015, letter, Anglican Bishop Eric Vawter Menees noted that an opening brief in the diocese’s appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeal will be filed April 2. The Episcopal diocese, meanwhile, is trying to move ahead with reclaiming its property, and a hearing is to be held at the trial court April 7. Menees expressed hope for the cause of the Anglican diocese, given the results in the Quincy and South Carolina cases, as well as a possible positive result in Fort Worth.

Another woman bishop elected in Episcopal Church

On March 14, 2015, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania elected the Rev. Canon Audrey Cady Scanlan as its 11th bishop. Episcopal News Service covered this story March 15. Scanlan was elected on the second ballot from a field of three candidates, two of whom were male.

Integrity scales back

Integrity USA, the group advocating for LGBT people within The Episcopal Church, announced March 15, 2015, on its blog, that it has dismissed its two full-time employees as it re-evaluates its priorities. The blog post on Walking with Integrity emphasizes that its goals for LGBT people have not yet been met. The post notes that “much of the discrimination against LGBT people has shifted.”

Bishops meet in spring retreat

Bishops of The Episcopal Church are meeting in a retreat held at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, March 13–17, 2015. The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs is issuing daily press releases on the retreat. Press releases for the first four days of the retreat can be found here, here, here, and here.