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, September 29, 2015

Week Ending 9-28-15

South Carolina Supreme Court Hears Property Arguments

The SC Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the church property cases on September 23. Both sides faced numerous questions from the judges.  Several justices made comments suggesting that the original trial court had been less than balanced.  Both sides have issued press releases about the hearings.  Those who remained in the Episcopal Church stated that they finally felt as if they had been able to present their case. The group following Bishop Lawrence used much of their press release to restate their case. While those supportive ( see September 23 post on scepiscopalians.com) of TEC were generally pleased with what happened in court, opponents of TEC’s legal position have raised issues of bias, asking why justice Kaye Hearn had not recused herself since she is a member of the Episcopal Church. The day before these hearings, the federal judge who was supposed to hear the federal trademark case again stayed the case until after the state court issues had been resolved.He had already ruled this way once and had been ordered by the appeals court to hold the trial.

Conciliation Fails in Los Angeles 

The conciliation process asked for by the panel of review in the Charges filed against Bishop Bruo of Los Angeles for actions taken to close the parish of St. James in Newport Beach and sell the property to a developer was unable to resolve the issues. The parish continues to meet on the grass in a park across from the church. Bishop Bruno’s lawyers continued to depose people throughout the process, despite orders from the panel to both sides to do nothing that would further inflame the situation. The matter goes back to the panel or review which can either dismiss the case or proceed towards further gathering of information and a full hearing by the panel elected at General Convention to hear bishop’s cases.

Anglican Communion Loses Two Prominent Lay Members

Death has claimed two lay members of the Anglican Communion who had made prominent contributions to religion. Choir members around the world are familiar with the many arrangements, compilations and choral works by David Willcocks who died September 17 at age 95. Willcocks had a long association with Kings College, Cambridge serving for many years as organist and choir director. He also headed the Royal College of Music. Phyllis Tickle, an active lay member of the Episcopal Church, founding editor of the religion department for Publisher’s Weekly and author in her own right of numerous books on theology , faith and spirituality died from lung cancer on September 22. Tickle, frequently sought out as a speaker for retreats, and for comments on religious issues by the media, had spent her last several years exploring emerging churches.

Rwandan Churches in USA Affiliate with ACNA

The border-crossing efforts in North America by the Anglican Church of Rwanda have now been officially released by that province to be part of ACNA. Rwanda is one of the provinces in the Anglican Communion that has rejected the Episcopal Church and supports making the Anglican Church in North America a member of the Anglican Communion. PEARUSA formed in 2012 from parts of the Anglican Mission in America who remained attached to both ACNA and Rwanda following a split in group.  (See Update story from 2012.)

Top Level Talks

Several different meetings concluded this last week which involved the Episcopal Church and leaders of other denominations. The International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Buffalo, New York September 19-25. The Church of the Annunciation (Greek Orthodox) served as host. Although there is no member of TEC on currently on this commission, the group attended evensong at St. Paul’s cathedral and received a greeting from Bishop Franklin of Western New York. Top Evangelical Lutheran bishops met in Washington, D.C. with their counterparts in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. Their main topic of conversation was lay presidency. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has recently made limited provision for this in remote parishes. (see Update Story here.) This meeting coincided with an ecumenical meeting on faith and the environment being held at the National Cathedral in Washington at which Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori also spoke.

Anglican Communion Continues to Explore Global Warming Issues

The provincial council of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has voted to study divestment from fossil fuel companies. The study is to result in a report to the Provincial Synod in 2016. In their discussion, they noted that churches in Britain, New Zealand and the U.S. had already divested. In England, Archbishop Justin Welby endorsed the United Nations goals for a sustainable environment.

European Churches Continue to Deal with Refugee Crisis

While a gathering at St. Michael’s College in Cardiff, Wales of the Anglican Communion bodies in Europe were grappling with the refugee crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced that he would host two refugee families at Lambeth Palace in London. The regional meeting of Anglican leaders from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England (and its churches in continental Europe) was looking for ways to cooperate in dealing with a variety of social justices issues, of which the refugee situation loomed large. The meeting was the first regional meeting of the churches.