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.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

News for Week Ending 3/30/2015

Bishops speak out on environmental issues

Anglican Communion News Service reported March 30, 2015, that Anglican bishops from 17 provinces met in South Africa in February to address climate matters. They issued a declaration, “The World is Our Host: A Call to Urgent Action for Climate Justice.”

On March 24, The Episcopal Church held a form on the climate change crisis in North Hollywood, California. Episcopal News Service reported on the event, which is now available for viewing on the Web. The event was a kickoff for 30 Days of Action, which concludes on Earth Day, April 22. In her keynote address, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori attacked climate change deniers as sinful. Huffington Post reported on her address.

CAPA issues communiqué after meeting

The primates of CAPA (Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa) met in Cape Town, South Africa, March 9 and 10, 2015. The group issued a communiqué, which has been published by Anglican Ink. The African group seems less than united, except for their opposition to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

CoE appoints first female diocesan bishop

The Church of England’s Diocese of Gloucester has announced that its next diocesan bishop will be the Ven. Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney in the Diocese of London. Treweek thus will become the first diocesan bishop in the Church of England. Details can be found on the Diocese of Gloucester Web site. According to a March 26, 2015, Church of England press release, the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act has received the Royal Assent, and Treweek will become the first woman bishop in the House of Lords.

The appointment of Treweek comes shortly after the second woman English bishop was appointed. The Rev. Canon Alison White will become Bishop of Hull, which is not a diocesan position. White, however, will become half of the first husband-and-wife episcopal team. Her husband, Bishop Frank White, is an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Newcastle. The Telegraph covered this story March 25.

Indiana ‘religious freedom’ bill becomes law, ignites controversy

As expected, Republican Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law March 26, 2015. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Although there has been a firestorm of criticism of the new law—The Atlantic, among other media outlets,  has pointed out the uniquely objectionable features of the new law—the governor has defended it and refused to admit its potential for mischief. On March 31, the Indianapolis Star printed a front-page editorial urging repeal of the Indiana law. Bishop of Indianapolis Catherine Waynick has written a pastoral letter about the new law.

PB&F seeking budget comments

According to a March 23, 2015, press release, the church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance is seeking comments on the proposed triennium budget that will be presented to the 2015 General Convention. Comments must be received by June 21, 2015. The budget and related information is available here.

Blue Book continues to expand

Reports for the 2015 General Convention continue to appear on-line. Episcopal Café has reported on the latest batch of reports.

Northern Indiana bishop to retire

Bishop Edward S. Little II, who has served the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana for 16 years, has announced that he will retire next year. Little has been one of the church’s more conservative bishops and is a member of the Communion Partners. Episcopal News Service covered this story March 27, 2015.

South Carolina Episcopalians appeal to Supreme Court

As expected, the Episcopalians left behind when Mark Lawrence and most of the Diocese of South Carolina split from The Episcopal Church have appealed the court decision that found in favor of the breakaway group. (See Pittsburgh Update story here. A request had to be made to reconsider the original decision before that decision could be appealed.) The Episcopalians have appealed directly to the South Carolina Supreme Court rather than going through the usual appellate court process. This is explained in a March 24, 2015, press release from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Perspective on the current litigation landscape is provided by South Carolina Episcopalians in a March 24 post.

Second departed priest returns to S.C. diocese

Episcopal News Service reported March 27, 2015, that a second priest who departed with Mark Lawrence has returned to The Episcopal Church. The Rev. H. Jeff Wallace has returned to the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, following procedures set out by the diocese.

St. David’s to host breakaway conservative Presbyterians

St. David’s, Peters Township, a parish that joined Robert Duncan when the diocese split but whose congregation eventually abandoned the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, has agreed to provide temporary facilities for the congregation of Peters Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church beginning May 3, 2015. Peters Creek was once Peters Creek United Presbyterian Church, but the congregation voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) for a more conservative Presbyterian denomination. Alter a long legal battle, the Washington Presbytery and the remnant congregation were granted the church property on appeal. (Earlier victories by the breakaway congregation were reported by Pittsburgh Update here and here.) The Almanac covered this story March 26.