Episcopal Briefs filed in Fort Worth Appeal
On December 3, lawyers for the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth filed briefs
appealing the decision by Judge Chupp awarding all property to the breakaway group in Fort Worth. Notice had been filed in August promptly after Judge Chupp issued his final decision. (See Update Stories here
, and here
.) Both briefs stress that the court violated the First Amendment because it decided ecclesiastical questions (determining membership in the Episcopal Church) without deferring to the church's own determinations. The clock now starts ticking for filings from the breakaway group.
Diocese of Uruguay Ordains Three Women as Priests
When Bishop Pollesel of Uruguay ordained deacons Audrey Taylor Gonzalez, Cynthia Myers Dickin, and Susana Lopez Lerena as priests on November 22, his diocese became the second
in the Province of South American (formerly the Province of the Southern Cone) to have women serving as priests. The Diocese of Bolivia ordained the first women anywhere in the province earlier this year. The Province of South America has seven dioceses, two in Argentina and one each in Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Uruguay has wanted to ordain women as priests for sometime, and had even sought a means of joining another Latin American province that was more open to women's ordination. (see Update Stories here
.) Those who have followed closely the battles within the Anglican Communion will remember that the province under its old name and previous primate had tried to extend membership
to the breakaway dioceses in the Episcopal Church, four of which opposed women's ordination as well as inclusion of LGBTQ individuals in ordained ministry.
St. James, Newport Beach Comes Up 24 Votes Short at Los Angeles Convention
Supporters of St. James the Great, Newport Beach came within twenty-four votes
at diocesan convention of passing a series of canonical changes designed to prevent future sales of property by a bishop acting as corporate sole. In the week leading up to convention, the parish published both a Thanksgiving statement
and a direct open letter
to convention deputies. The convention has over 500 voting members. Bishop Bruno's attempts to sell the property of St. James and the lock-out of its parishioners prompted the proposals and several resolutions being offered at convention. What this vote outcome will mean for the parish, the presentment against Bishop Bruno, and the on-going legal action concerning the title of the property is unclear. Pittsburgh Update has been following the St. James story closely. The most recent story is here
Japanese Episcopal Church Joins In Statement Urging an End to Racism and Discrimination in Japan
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Episcopal Church in Japan) has joined
with 20 other churches in calling on the government to end practices of racial discrimination. The most pressing concern in Japan was the unequal treatment of those of Korean descent living in Japan.
Free On-line Resource Available for New Marriage Rites
Church Publishing has released on-line
the revised rites for marriage approved by General Convention in July. The resource is free. The ceremonies, designed to be inclusive of same-sex unions, were approved by General Convention on a trial basis beginning in Advent. A handful of diocesesan bishops have refused to allow use of the rites in their diocese.
Sudan Episcopalians in the News
While the House of Bishops in the Sudan was deciding to cut ties
with The Episcopal Church and recognize ACNA
instead, one of the Sudanese "Lost Boys" was being ordained a deacon
in Utah. The deacon in Utah has been acting as lay minister to a congregation of Sudanese in Salt Lake, leading services in their native Dinka language. The most immediate impact of the action by Sudan's bishops may be felt at the January meeting of primates called by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The vote in the Sudanese House of Bishops is not the last word, however, their vote was a recommendation to the Church Synod which has not yet voted on severing ties with the Episcopal Church because of General Convention's vote to allow same-sex marriages.