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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Monday, January 18, 2016

Week Ending 01/18/16

Anglican Primates Draft Communique and Statements

The conclusion of the recent meeting of Anglican Primates fully pleased no one, and has led to numerous responses and commentaries on two of the documents drafted by those at the meeting.  The third, a statement on evangelism, has been lost in the focus on the statement aimed at the Episcopal Church (which also sends a message to other provinces of the communion who might be thinking of allowing same sex marriage or blessings of unions) and the final "Communique" which appeared the day after the statement on the TEC was leaked.  Justin Welby opened the meeting with a message that tried to make room for disagreement with the Anglican Communion while stressing the importance of remaining in that communion. After the meeting Welby tried to draw a distinction between "sanctions" which he said were beyond the power of the primates and "consequences." Despite much talk about a walkout by primates from the "Global South," only one, the Archbishop of Uganda, left.  He did so when a vote requesting the primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada "voluntarily" to withdraw from the meeting until their churches repented of their positions on GLBTQ inclusion failed decisively.  (The Ugandan version of this event is here and other news stories on his departure are here and here.) Although the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America participated in the meeting as a guest, ACNA was not admitted to the Anglican Communion.  The primates have referred that decision to the Anglican Communion Council.

The ACNA archbishop, Foley Beach, was disappointed in the final statement of this meeting as well as by the lack of action on his denomination's request for membership, but he characterized the outcome as a "step forward." TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued a statement reiterating the church's inclusive nature and focusing TEC on moving forward.  A number of diocesan bishops have also made statements on this meeting including the Bishops of Pittsburgh, New York,  and Washington.  Support for TEC has also come from bishops in other parts of the Anglican Communion, including Westminster, Canada. Other Anglican primates have issued statements showing a range of reactions. Those include New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, and Rwanda.  For thoughtful commentary, consider Mark Harris (and his previous post) and Lionel Deimel.

Update on St. James Newport Beach

The St. James Newport Beach congregation, locked out of their former building by Los Angles Bishop Jon Bruno, has announced that their priest, the Rev. Cindy Voorhees, has been named one of  Newport Beach's 4 most influential people for the past year .  The congregation has also filed further charges with TEC in the ongoing complaint against Bishop Bruno.  These document a series of real estate dealings planned and under-way by the bishop which are inconsistent with his public statements.  Much of the information came from a discovery process that is part of a legal suit filed as a result of the efforts to sell the building.

Fixed Date for Easter?

The BBC and Christianity Today have reported that Archbishop Welby is in conversations with Pope Francis,  the leader of the Coptic Church and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew to see if it is possible to create a fixed date for Easter.  The recent meeting of Anglican primates lent their support to this effort.  Welby would like to see an agreement reached before his term as Archbishop of Canterbury is over.  There have been previous attempts to do this, but none have been accepted by all the major Christian traditions.   One major divide is between the orthodox churches still using the Julian calendar and the western churches using the Gregorian calendar.