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         

Monday, May 25, 2009

News for Week Ending 5/25/2009

CoE bishop supports Canadian church in property litigation

Church of England Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali is the most prominent signer of a letter of support to St. John’s, Shaughnessy, in the Canadian diocese of New Westminster. Nazir-Ali, who is stepping down from his position to work with “persecuted Christians” (see story here), has been a strong supporter of GAFCON and related “orthodox” movements within Anglicanism. The letter was published here on the Anglican Mainstream site on May 25, 2009. The letter follows by one day a similar letter of support from Anglican Mainstream itself.

Nazir-Ali said, in part
We have grave concerns regarding your diocese’s departure from orthodox Christian teaching which is held by the majority of the Anglican communion, and pray that this will not distort the nature of our proclamation of the gospel of transformation which we are all called to declare.
The Shaughnessy church is one of four churches that brought suit against the Diocese of New Westminster to keep parish property when they reputedly left the Anglican Church of Canada for the Anglican Network in Canada. Additional information can be found on the St. John’s Web site, on the Diocese of New Westminster’s Web site, and in a story from Canadian Christianity.

As was The Episcopal Church for ordaining Gene Robinson, the Diocese of New Westminster was criticized in the Windsor Report for authorizing a rite for same-sex blessings.

Virginia recalls missionary from Sudan

Bishop of Virginia Peter Lee has recalled the Rev. Lauren Stanley from her missionary position in Sudan’s Diocese of Renk. According to examiner.com, Archbishop of Sudan Daniel Deng Bul Yak had requested the removal of Stanley as a result of remarks in support of same-sex blessings she had made last January at the Annual Council of the diocese. The Archbishop has been critical of The Episcopal Church and, at the last Lambeth Conference, suggested that Bishop Gene Robinson should resign.

Episcopal Church regains building in Petaluma

The property of St. John’s Episcopal Church of Petaluma, California, is to be returned to parishioners remaining in The Episcopal Church by July 1, 2009. The Diocese of Northern California announced a negotiated settlement of the dispute with members of the congregation who voted to leave The Episcopal Church in 2006 and are now calling their congregation St. John’s Anglican Church. The diocese filed suit to regain the church property in February 2008. Litigation was put on hold while other church property issues were decided by the Supreme Court—see Pittsburgh Update Story here—after which the judge in the St. John’s case ordered the parties into mediation. Few details of the outcome of the mediation have been made available. The May 20 press release from the diocese and other material related to the St. John’s controversy is available on the diocese’s Web site. The Living Church has a brief story about the settlement here.

Defendants dispute Episcopal Church assertions in Calvary case

In response to the May 12, 2009, filing by The Episcopal Church in the ongoing Calvary lawsuit against former Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan and other former diocesan officials—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the defendants filed a brief May 19, 2009, in which virtually every assertion made by attorneys for The Episcopal Church, including that the church is headquartered in New York City, is disputed. As noted in an earlier Pittsburgh Update post, a important hearing in the case is scheduled for May 27, 2009.