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, April 26, 2016

Week Ending 4/25/16

Property Cases in Fort Worth and San Joaquin Continue

The Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese had its day in court, April 19 when it presented oral arguments in its appeal of a lower court decision awarding all property to the break-away group. The trial court had originally awarded everything to those who stayed in the Episcopal Church.  The break-away group, also claiming to be the Episcopal Diocese, appealed and the Texas Supreme Court ordered a re-trial using so-called "neutral principles." (See the Update Story here).  This time the same judge awarded everything to the break-away group, declaring them to be the continuation of the original diocese. (See Update story here.)   The Episcopal Church and the loyal diocese then appealed.   The short article about the hearing on the site of the diocese in the Episcopal Church includes a 39 minute recording of the arguments. The break-away group issued only a short statement.  Meanwhile the break-away group in San Joaquin has announced it is going to ask for both a rehearing and file an appeal to the California Supreme Court after the appeals court issued a preliminary opinion awarding all diocesan holdings to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

Former Presiding Bishop Has New Post

The Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefferts-Schori, the former Presiding Bishop, has accepted a visiting professorship at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, which was where she studied for the priesthood.  She is the third occupant of the St. Margaret’s Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry chair. St. Margaret's was the name of the church training school for women which merged into CDSP.  She will teach  a course on the role of religious leaders in public issues, especially those related to the sciences.

North Carolina Episcopalians Among Leaders Opposing North Carolina Law on Transgendered People

The Star-Tribune of Wilmington, NC has published a story showing that while Baptists and Roman Catholics have issued no official statement on the so-called "bathroom" law passed in North Carolina, Episcopalians have been among those speaking out in opposition.  So far North Carolina is the only state to have a law go into effect requiring transgendered people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender designation on their birth certificate.  The Episcopal Cafe has a good graphic showing the status of such laws in the various states.

More Reaction to the Anglican Consultative Council

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the GAFCON bishops from Africa traded contradictory assessments of the recently concluded Anglican Consultative Council meeting.  GAFCON primates complained that the ACC had failed to follow up or enforce the "sanctions" that the Primates meeting in January had outlined. (See both the Episcopal Cafe story and the GAFCON bishop's communique.)  Archbishop Welby countered with an Facebook post saying that while the ACC did things in its own way,  those in attendance had followed and implemented the "consequences" outlined in the Primates' communique.  Meanwhile, the three American members of the ACC issued their own statement stressing the wonderful spirit they had found at the meeting, and that they had participated fully in the meeting, although Bishop Douglas had withdrawn from consideration as president of the ACC.  The Church Times article also stressed the unity felt by those in attendance, although it ended with the information on the GAFCON leadership meeting held just after the ACC concluded.

Pittsburgh's ACNA Diocese Chooses Successor to Bishop Duncan

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh met on Friday and Saturday of this last week to choose a successor to Bishop Robert Duncan who is retiring in June.  The search committee had announced 8 candidates, but 3 dropped out before the special convention convened.  At the convention, things also took a different turn when the rector of Ascension Parish in Pittsburgh, Jonathan Millard was nominated from the floor.  Bishop Duncan warned those attending that Millard's divorce might well prevent his approval by ACNA bishops.  Millard was the early front runner on the first three ballots. He withdrew after the fourth and the Rev. James Hobby was elected.  Hobby currently serves both as the congregational development officer for the ACNA diocese serving the south east corner of the U.S. and as rector of a parish in Georgia, just a short drive from Tallahassee, FL where Hobby was serving when he left the Episcopal Church in 2005. He and his wife were among the 22 clergy deposed by Bishop Howard in 2008 for abandonment of the communion.   For those who are interested, his written candidate statements are here, his parish biography is here, and the Episcopal Cafe story includes the actual vote totals for each round.