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, April 27, 2015

News for Week Ending 4/27/2015

English bishop charged with border crossing

According to a story from Anglican Ink, Assistant Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. John Ellison, has been charged by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Holtam, of exercising jurisdiction over a a non-Church of England church within the Diocese of Salisbury. The church in question is Christ Church Salisbury, which is affiliated with the Anglican Mission in England. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The GAFCON primates expressed support for Ellison in their recent communiqué (see Pittsburgh Up date story here):
We support Bishop John Ellison in resisting the unjust and uncharitable charges brought against him by the Bishop of Salisbury, and in view of the Great Commission, we note the sad irony that this former missionary bishop to South America now finds it necessary to defend himself for supporting missionary activity in his own country. We continue to encourage and support the efforts of those working to restore the Church of England’s commitment to Biblical truth. Equally, we authenticate and support the work of those Anglicans who are boldly spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and whose circumstances require operating outside the old, institutional structures.

Archbishop of Canterbury offers Earth Day message

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent a two-minute video message to the Global Citizen Earth Day rally in Washington, D.C. Welby urged the will and effort to reduce injustice, inequality, and poverty, and to improve the environment. The video can be viewed here.

Gay marriage case to be argued in Supreme Court April 28

In an unusually long session, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges, April 28, 2015. At issue is whether states must allow same-sex marriages and acknowledge such marriages performed in other states. The Washington Post has offered an explanation of what is at stake and what will happen if the high court rules that same-sex marriage is an issue for states to decide.

On April 23, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and a number of other conservative religious groups issued a letter asserting that marriage as a union of a man and a woman must be preserved as a matter of religious freedom.

GTS report omits mention of faculty conflict

One of the Blue Book reports prepared for this summer’s General Convention is from the Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church (GTS). (Read the report here.) The page-and-a-half report alludes only briefly and obliquely to the work stoppage by eight faculty members that resulted their firing, their rehiring on a temporary basis, and the ongoing unrest at the Episcopal Church’s oldest seminary. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Lionel Deimel pointed out the glaring omission on his blog, a post that was picked up by Episcopal Café.

On April 21, 2015, GTS announced that Dr. Deirdre Good, one of the eight GTS faculty members involved in last year’s work stoppage, will leave the seminary effective May 25, 2015. She is not the first of the GTS-8 to leave the school and will likely not be the last. Good joined the faculty in 1986.

In yet another development in the GTS drama, a group mostly of alumni of the seminary have written to the New York attorney general asking the the General Theological Seminary be investigated for financial mismanagement. Episcopal Café reported about the letter April 20, 2015. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has recently questioned the finances of Cooper Union. (See story here.)

Three parishes to allow same-sex blessings in West Texas

In what has generally been viewed as a conservative diocese, three parishes have been authorized to conduct same-sex blessings. Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas will allow a church in Corpus Christi and two churches in San Antonio to use the liturgy for blessing same-sex couples. Episcopal Café reported this development April 24, 2015.

Anglican Ink notes that Lillibridge has moved to the left recently. He had been one of the Communion Partner bishops, a conservative group advocating for strong ties to the Anglican Communion and adoption of the Anglican Covenant (see here). Lillibridge is no longer listed among the Communion Partner bishops. A page obtained from the Internet Archive has him listed as a Communion Partner bishop as recently as November 3, 2012 (see here). Anglican Ink suggests that Lillibridge has created a problem for Bishop Coadjutor David Reed, who has opposed same-sex blessings. Reed has also disappeared form the list of Communion Partner bishops, however.

Help available to understand General Convention reports

Two presenters at the Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) April 20, 2015, meeting—see Pittsburgh Update post here—have provided versions of their notes for a wider audience. Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, in Highland Park, the Rev. Bruce Robison, gave a presentation concerning the Report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage. His notes are here. (Rector of Church of the Redeemer, in Squirrel Hill, Michael Foley also spoke on the marriage report but has not yet edited his notes for PEP.) PEP vice president Dr. Joan Gundersen spoke on the Report of the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church. Her notes are here. Whereas Gundersen summarized the entire report, PEP board member Lionel Deimel has written about various aspects of the TREC report on his blog here, here, and here.

St. Paul’s to allow same-sex blessings

Lionel Deimel reported April 27, 2015, that the Rev. Lou Hays has written a letter to his parish indicating that St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon will allow the blessing of same-sex unions. His blog post includes a link to Hays’ letter.