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         

Monday, November 9, 2009

News for Week Ending 11/9/2009

Vatican issues rules for accommodating disaffected Anglicans

On November 9, 2009, the Vatican issued a press release, as well as other documents detailing how the Roman Catholic Church can establish a full-communion relationship with Anglican groups that have asked to maintain elements of their Anglican identity while becoming Roman Catholics. (See Pittsburgh Update story here on the October announcement that the Vatican would accommodate such groups.) A brief statement has been issued by the Church of England. National Catholic Reporter provides an initial analysis here, and more commentary should be forthcoming from both Roman Catholic and Anglican groups in the coming days. Religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill of The Times suggests that the Vatican plan is generous indeed.

Apparently, the first Anglican group to accept the Vatican’s offer of a Personal Ordinariate is the Traditional Anglican Communion in the U.K. (See story here.) The Traditional Anglican Communion is not in communion with the Anglican Communion.

More on Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill

Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill continues to cause controversy. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Pink News reports a statement from the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office expressing concern about the bill. Thinking Anglicans, which has published a number of posts about the Ugandan legislation, has posted a press release from the Church of Uganda asserting that the church has not yet expressed an opinion on the bill. The press release makes it clear, however, that the Church of Uganda strongly opposes both the death penalty and homosexuality. Human rights activists cannot be encouraged by the quotation from Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi in the statement: “I am appalled to learn that the rumours we have heard for a long time about homosexual recruiting in our schools and amongst our youth are true. I am even more concerned that the practice is more widespread than we originally thought. It is the duty of the church and the government to be watchmen on the wall and to warn and protect our people from harmful and deceitful agendas.”

Episcopalians identify goals

A survey of Episcopalians conducted by a strategic planning committee established by the church’s Executive Council has identified five goals for The Episcopal Church. In order, those goals are
  1. Reaching youth and young adults
  2. Evangelism/Proclaiming the Good News of Christ
  3. Worship, music and liturgy
  4. Leadership
  5. Strengthening congregations
More information and links to the survey report can be found in the November 5, 2009, story from Episcopal News Service.

Maine bishop laments rejected marriage law

Episcopal News Service reported November 4, 2009, that Bishop of Maine Stephen T. Lane was “deeply grieved” by voters’ rejection of Maine’s same-sex marriage law in the November 3 election. The law, which had been passed by the Maine legislature, had never been put into effect.

Dioceses move forward on blessings

The Lead reports that Bishop of Southern Ohio Thomas E. Breidenthal has announced that priests will be allowed to offer public blessing of same-sex unions in the Diocese of Southern Ohio after Easter next. Full guidelines have not yet been written, but every such ceremony will have to be approved by the bishop. In the same post, The Lead notes that the convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts has passed a resolution urging Bishop Thomas Shaw to allow priests to not only bless same-sex unions, but actually perform civil marriages.

Anglican Diocese holds convention

The newly named Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh—see Pittsburgh Update story here—had its annual convention November 6–7 at St. Stephen’s, Sewickley. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the convention voted to be part of the Anglican Church in North America, rather than the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, but bishops and clergy will be in both entities in order to maintain connection to the Anglican Communion. (It is unclear how this is supposed to work. The proposed changes to the constitution and canons of the diocese are posted on the diocese’s Web site here, and they were presumably passed without amendment.) The convention welcomed several churches from outside the historic boundaries of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh into union with the diocese, and it adopted an anti-abortion resolution. Additional stories on the convention were published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.