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         

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Week Ending 11/13/17

Los Angeles Diocese and St. James Sign Agreement

Last week the Update noted that the Save St. James the Great Facebook page was gone and the web page had removed references to the dispute with the Los  Angeles diocese.  The reason why became clear this week.  The diocese and congregation announced this last week that talks they began in mid October had produced an agreement that will let the congregation return to the building Bishop Jon Bruno had tried to sell.  The agreement provides a path for the congregation to be recognized as a mission and to keep the priest who had helped them grow in the building and maintain their community once homeless.  The joint agreement is here.  Bishop Taylor made an additional statement.   The Living Church reported that hours before the agreement was announced, the congregation agreed to drop their legal actions against Bruno as Corporate Sole.  He agreed not to pursue them for malicious prosecution, and tried to cast it as a legal victory.  No matter how Bruno tries to spin it, the offer by the congregation was clearly part of the behind the scenes steps taken leading to the agreement with the diocese. 

Two Women in the News as Bishops

The Episcopal Church of Scotland has seven dioceses, but for the last year there were only six bishops.  The Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney had been unable to identify three candidates to replaced their retired bishop.  Under the Church's canons the matter then moved to the House of Bishops for the Church and they chose Canon Anne Dyer, rector of Holy Trinity Parish in Haddington which is in South East Scotland. Aberdeen and Orkney was the only diocese with a majority voting against the canon change this year that allows same sex-marriage.  Dyer has presided at such marriages in Haddington, and she realizes that the diocese is divided on the matter.  She hopes to focus on the things that could bring her diocese together.  Among the first women ordained deacon and priest in the Church of England, Dyer will now become the first woman ordained bishop in the Scottish Church.

New Zealand is about to lose a woman as bishop.  Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Waikato, has been named the Bishop of Ripon in England.  Hartley came to New Zealand from Ripon College, and when consecrated in 2014 as a bishop in New Zealand, she became the first woman ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop. In England she will be a suffragan bishop in the diocese of Leeds, formed in 2014 by merging four existing dioceses including Ripon. The announcement from the Anglican Church in New Zealand has more information on her ministry in New Zealand.

With EDS Gone, Boston University Seminary Announces an Anglican Episcopal Track

 As the remnant of the Episcopal Divinity School settles in as part of Union Theological Seminary in New York, Boston University has announced a program that will partially fill the gap left by the departure of EDS.  The Boston University Theological Seminary announce that it was opening two new tracks, one for Anglicans and Episcopalians and the other for United Church of Christ students. The Boston School was founded by Methodists in 1838.  They hope to attract both Anglicans from other parts of the Anglican Communion and Episcopalians to the new track.  Meanwhile EDS, which  had closed due to financial and leadership issues, and then reinvented itself as a partner of Union,  held its first board meeting at Union.  The board includes a number of high visibility Episcopalians, and seems likely to offer a strong challenge to the venerable, but troubled General Theological Seminary which is still recovering from the mass firing of its faculty in 2014.  General Convention in 2015 was displeased enough with GTS ( the only Episcopal Seminary formed by General Convention) that it created a task force to look into the relationship of the seminary to the General Convention.

Nashotah House Loses Another Faculty Member

Nashotah House, still coming to terms with the loss of Professor Daniel Westberg in a boating accident, is now also grieving the loss of Associate Dean of Student Services and Professor Richard Hartley.  He died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep.  The 48 year old Hartley had started his ministry as a Baptist, became a Congregationalist in 2006 and was ordained priest in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2013.  These deaths add to a set of rapid changes at the seminary beginning with the departure of Professor Gabig for Trinity School for Ministry and the decision not to re-elect Bishop Daniel Martin as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Amica Brief Filed in Support of South Carolina Schismatics

The group headed by Bishop Mark Lawrence announced that it had filed an amica brief signed by 106 religious leaders supporting their request to have the South Carolina Supreme Court rehear the case decided largely in favor of the Episcopal Church. The accompanying statement by the group casts the signers as a diverse group of distinguished religious leaders.  The brief argues that neutral principles were not followed and that church property ownership is threatened by the decision.  A scanning of the signers shows that 62 of the signers were pastors at churches with "Baptist" in their title.  One signer is actually a party to suit (the Rev. Greg Kronz at St. Luke's Hilton Head), many of the rest are from Pentecostal or Community Churches.  In other words almost all the signers are from non-heirarchical churches with a polity that means the decision does not apply to them.

Canadian Bishop Fires Former AMiA Priest

In 2016 Update reported on a controversy that erupted when a Canadian Diocese initially elected the Rev. Jacob Worley as their bishop.  Worley was a former Episcopal priest who left the church to start an AMiA congregation.  He later moved to Canada and was settled in a parish there.  However, the other bishops in the  regional synod of the Yukon and British Columbia refused to approve his elected because Worley supported border-crossing.  The diocese eventually elected a new bishop.  The new bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia has now removed Worley from his parish. He has given no reason, but speculation is that it is because Worley's position on border crossing is contrary to canon law.  Under Canadian law, Worley must leave the country within 10 of the end of his employment.  His last Sunday is November 19, 2017.  

Prominent GAFCON Supporter Resigns Posts in Church of England

The signs that GAFCON intends to set up an ACNA type group in England continue to grow.  Not only did they authorize ACNA to consecrate Andrew Lines as a missionary Bishop for GAFCON in England, but now one of the strongest lay supporters of GAFCON in the Church of England has resigned all of her official positions including her General Synod seat and the Archbishop's Council. Her statement makes clear she is cutting ties with the Church of England to work with GAFCON groups outside the Church of England.  Bishop Lines used the occasion to praise her decision and call the Church of England to task for being "revisionist."  The Thinking Anglicans web site has a compilation of other responses.