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, June 28, 2010

News for Week Ending 6/28/2010

Standing Committee membership in flux

George Conger, in The Church of England Newspaper (not an official organ of the Church of England) reported June 25, 2010, that another member of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (as the former Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and Primates Meeting is now being called) has resigned. According to Conger, Bishop Azad Marshall of Iran has resigned his membership.

In the same article, Conger suggests that the position of Bishop of Connecticut Ian Douglas on the Standing Committee is in doubt. Douglas had been elected to the Standing Committee when he was a priest representative of The Episcopal Church on the Anglican Consultative Council. He is now a bishop and has been elected as such to the Anglican Consultative Council. The Anglican Communion Institute has argued not only that Douglas cannot be on the Standing Committee but that he cannot now even be on the Anglican Consultative Council. Its position on the matter can be found here.

Women bishops controversy heats up as General Synod approaches

As we reported last week—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have proposed a change in how women bishops will be introduced into the Church of England. This has been done on the eve of the General Synod meeting that will be called upon to approve an implementation plan. Church Times has published a story that provides a reasonably clear description of the archbishops’ proposal, given that the final wording has not yet been released.

A group representing Anglo-Catholic clergy—not all Anglo-Catholic clergy are aligned with or in sympathy with this group—has released a statement supportive of the new proposal. On the other hand, a letter having the backing of Watch, a group lobbying on behalf of female clergy, roundly criticized the plan.

CoE bishops endorse covenant

Thinking Anglicans reported June 26, 2010, that the House of Bishops of the Church of England agreed in its May meeting “to commend [the draft Anglican covenant] for adoption by the Church of England.” Details are available here.

More on ‘Mitregate’

Additional information and commentary is now available on “Mitregate,” the controversy over the dress of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for her visit to London’s Southwark Cathedral. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Church Times offers perspective on the affair in its story of June 25, 2010. Two days earlier, The Lead published a letter from Lambeth Palace to an American corresponding, explaining the incident from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s point of view.

The Presiding Bishop is now traveling in New Zealand and Australia (see next story). According to Anglican Taonga, while in New Zealand, Bishop John Gray spoke to Jefferts Schori about building a cathedral. “It clearly won’t be as big, say, as Southwark Cathedral in London,” he said. “But in my cathedral, you can wear your mitre.”

Presiding Bishop continues world tour

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori continues her world travels by visiting New Zealand and Australia. Her two-week sojourn in the Southern Hemisphere is described in an Episcopal News Service report. According to ENS, the trip is “all about building relationships.” The New Zealand leg of the trip is described here. The Presiding Bishop preached a sermon on freedom June 27, 2010. Her Sunday visits to New Zealand churches are recounted here.

“Orthodox Anglican” reporter David Virtue wrote about the Presiding Bishop’s travels July 14. He described her as “traveling the globe shoring up her base of support among liberal Anglican provinces for what many believe is a back-up plan to exit the communion should the Archbishop of Canterbury take the logical step of not inviting her to the next meeting of the Anglican Primates.”

Follow-up: More information about Executive Council/Kearon dialogue

We reported on the meeting of Executive Council last week. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, attended the meeting and was asked questions about his decision to dismiss certain Episcopalians from service on ecumenical Anglican bodies. Katie Sherrod, a member of the Council, has posted a detailed report of the dialogue with Kearon on her blog. The Living Church also published an account of the encounter.

Congregation to return to San Diego church

St. Anne’s, Oceanside, returns to service as an Episcopal church in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego on July 4, 2010. The church is one of several in the diocese whose congregations voted to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church, taking parish property with them. A San Diego judge ruled in November that the Oceanside property is properly held by the Episcopal diocese. All disputed properties have now been returned to the San Diego diocese. Bishop James Mathes has invited the entire diocese to the celebration at St. Anne’s next Sunday. He will preside at the service, which will be followed by a picnic. More information is available from Examiner.com and Episcopal News Service.

Episcopal diocese handed setback in Fort Worth case

According to a press release from the breakaway Fort Worth diocese led by Bishop Jack Iker, the Texas Second Court of Appeals ruled June 25, 2010, that attorneys for the Episcopal Church diocese and for The Episcopal Church itself cannot represent “The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth” and its related Corporation. Arguments were made before the appellate court April 27. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The appellate court was troubled by a corporation seemingly suing itself. The court declared that both sides agreed “that there is only one Corporation and one Fort Worth Diocese.” According to the press release, the court “declined to settle the question of ‘identity.’” Episcopal Church supporters are concerned that the decision will prejudice the ongoing litigation. The full decision can be found here.

Largest Episcopal parish ‘affirms’ covenant

The Living Church reported June 23, 2010, that the largest parish of The Episcopal Church, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church of Houston, Texas, has “affirmed” the proposed Anglican covenant. The action came in the form of a unanimous vote of the vestry. Only provinces (national and regional churches) of the Anglican Communion have the power to adopt the covenant, so the vote is only symbolic. The rector of St. Martin’s, the Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr., is a member of the advisory committee of Communion Partners.