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, April 12, 2010

News for Week Ending 4/12/2010

Irish primate laments Glasspool approval

In a statement to The Church of Ireland Gazette, Irish primate and Archbishop of Armagh Alan Harper lamented the decision of The Episcopal Church to consecrate the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as a suffragan bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)

Archbishop Harper was responding to a letter sent by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to her fellow primates explaining the Glasspool situation. “The decision of The Episcopal Church in respect of the confirmation of an election and subsequent consecration of a partnered gay person to the episcopate has clearly signalled the end of ‘gracious restraint’. This is a development which I deeply regret,” Harper said.

Harper also decried continued border crossings and the blessing of same-sex unions. He noted that “extraterritorial interventions” “have now been added to by the setting up of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), an overtly extra-territorial province-in-embryo, embracing the national integrities of both the United States of America and Canada.” He concluded, “It is very hard to see how these developments may shape the future of the Anglican Communion.”

Uganda primate wants to discipline ‘unbiblical’ churches

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, of the Church of the Province of Uganda, wrote a three-page, angry letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury last week. Orombi, who visited the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh a number of times under Bishop Robert Duncan, wrote, “I stand with my brother Primate, Bishop Mouneer Anis, in his courageous decision to resign from the Standing Committee.” In standing with Anis, however, Orombi, apparently, was not resigning from the Standing Committee, even though he has not been attending its meetings.

Anis, primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and The Middle East, resigned from the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion in January, declaring that his presence has “no value whatsoever.” His letter can be read here. The story was covered by Episcopal News Service February 1, 2010.

Orombi’s letter expressed frustration with the failure of the Anglican Communion to discipline The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, which he described as engaging in “unbiblical practices that contradict the faith of Anglicanism.” Orombi also complained about how the Archbishop of Canterbury has managed the ongoing crisis. He called for a meeting of the primates to deal with the crisis, but he wants primates of The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada to be excluded from the meeting.

Episcopal News Service, Church Times, and other media outlets have covered the Orombi letter.

GAFCON Primates Council issues statement

The GAFCON/FCA Primates Council issued a communiqué April 10, 2010, following their meeting in Bermuda in advance of the Fourth Global South to South Encounter to be held in Singapore April 19–23, 2010. The statement notes the retirement of Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola, and reports that Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has been elected chairman of the group. Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, of the Church of Rwanda, and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya have been elected vice chairmen. Continuing as general secretary is Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney, in the Anglican Church of Australia.

The Primates Council asserts that the decision to consecrate the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool—see Pittsburgh Update story here—makes it clear that there is no longer any pretense of “gracious restraint” on the part of The Episcopal Church. The communiqué expresses no faith in the efforts to restructure the Anglican Comununion. “The Anglican Communion will only be able to fulfill its gospel mandate if it understands itself to be a community gathered around a confession of faith rather than an organisation that has its primary focus on institutional loyalty,” the statement asserts.

The communiqué was signed by a number of primates. Uganda’s Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi was apparently not present and was represented by another Ugandan bishop. Archbishop Peter Jensen signed, but he is not actually a primate. Another signatory, Archbishop Robert Duncan, of the Anglican Church of North America, is, of course, not a primate of the Anglican Communion.

SAMS changes name, expands mission

The South American Missionary Society, headquartered in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, announced April 10, 2010, that it is changing both its name and its mission. It will now be the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders and will expand its mission field beyond South America. The name change is designed to reflect the broader goals of the society while retaining the familiar SAMS acronym.

The announcement was covered in an April 12 story from Anglican Communion News Service. ACNS quotes Stewart Wicker, the SAMS president, as explaining, “As the board considered our identity as a community, it became increasingly clear that we should become known more by who we are than by what we do. We are a society of missionaries, serving in partnership with the Anglican Church [sic] globally. We are also, vitally, a society of senders of these missionaries through giving, praying, and supporting.”