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, December 15, 2008

News for Week Ending 12/15/2008

Network begins shutdown in favor of ACNA

The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (Anglican Communion Network), meeting at its Annual Council on December 9, 2008, in Overland Park, Kansas, decided to transfer Network assets and operations to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), whose organization was announced less than a week earlier. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The enabling resolution, posted on the Network’s Web site, indicates that resources used for moderator Robert Duncan’s office are to be given to the “Diocese of Pittsburgh” (i.e., those former members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh claiming to be part of the Southern Cone) to create a primate’s office. Resources supporting the Common Cause Partnership are to be handed over to the ACNA provincial office when it is created next year. The resolution leaves the fate of “that part of the membership of the Anglican Communion Network remaining in The Episcopal Church” subject to future conversations.

At least one of those “parts” has decided to leave the Network. On the same day the Network resolution was passed, December 9, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Rio Grande voted unanimously to disaffiliate from the Network and to reaffirm its commitment to The Episcopal Church. The story was reported by Episcopal News Service here.

Washington bishop writes to reassure diocese

Bishop of Washington (D.C.) John Chane wrote to his diocese December 9, 2008, on the subject of the newly declared Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Chane declared the acceptance of the ACNA as part of the Anglican Communion “highly unlikely” and chided the media, especially The New York Times, for giving so much play to the ACNA story. He also suggested that the Archbishop of Canterbury has inadvertently fostered confusion by meeting with Bishop Robert Duncan and his allies. Chane’s letter can be read in its entirety here.

Archbishop of Canterbury expected neither to encourage nor discourage ACNA

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams met with five primates of the GAFCON Primates' Council on December 5 in the wake of the announce about the Anglican Church of North America. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Quoting unnamed sources, priest and reporter George Conger wrote in the Church of England Newspaper last week that the “Archbishop of Canterbury will not block the creation of a third Anglican province in North America,” nor will he “give it his endorsement.” According to Conger, who reproduced his Church of England Newspaper story on his blog, the archbishop believes he has the legal right to do neither. The Living Church has a story on Williams’ position that identifies the primates who met with him on December 5 as the source of the information reported in the Church of England Newspaper.

Diocese of Quincy begins reorganization

A group of Episcopalians met at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Peoria, Ill., on December 13, 2008, to begin planning for the future of their diocese after the diocesan synod voted November 7 to leave The Episcopal Church for the Southern Cone. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The group voted to organize as the Committee to Reorganize The Diocese of Quincy. An Executive Committee was chosen to lead the group. A special synod will likely be held in February 2009 to elect a Standing Committee, though whether Quincy will ultimately remain an independent diocese of The Episcopal Church is unclear. The meeting is reported on the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy Web site.

Diocese reorganizes; ordains new priest

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh held its special convention to reorganize the diocese on December 12–13, 2008. The convention, held at St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon, approved four resolutions to affirm actions taken to facilitate the early conduct of a special convention, to consolidate the eight diocesan districts into six, and to affirm that the accession clause and diocesan boundaries remained as they were 2003. before any attempts were made to improperly amend this article. The convention elected more than 50 people to positions abandoned by those who have left The Episcopal Church for the Southern Cone.

In a State of the Diocese Report, the Rev. Jim Simons, Standing Committee president, spoke of “a culture of fear and control” that was fostered in the diocese. “It was a culture of throwing stones,” he said, “and I stand before you now to say, 'Today that culture ends.’” His report ended with the announcement that the Rt. Rev. Robert H. Johnson, retired bishop of Western North Carolina, will become a half-time assisting bishop in the diocese until the end of July. (A press release from the diocese is available here.)

The convention ended with a Eucharist at which St. Paul’s curate, Kris Opat, was ordained to the priesthood. A gala reception followed.

Additional details of the convention can be found on the Web sites of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.