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, January 17, 2011

News of Week Ending 1/17/2011

Former CoE bishops ordained Roman priests

Three former Church of England bishops unwilling to tolerate woman bishops were ordained Roman Catholic priests January 15, 2011, in a ceremony in London’s Westminster Cathedral. The ceremony that saw John Broadhurst, Keith Newton, and Andrew Burnham become priests in what is now called the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a kind of church within a church, was attended by the wives of the former bishops. The event is seen by some as a chill on ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The Guardian both reported and editorialized (“to be consumed in bickering about whether women can be priests is the stuff of satire”) on the ordinations. The BBC suggested that the new Ordinariate is problematic in a number of ways. Anglicans converting to Rome will not be able to take their churches with them and likely cannot share them. Moreover, liberal Catholics may not appreciate the influx of conservatives “more Catholic than the Catholics.” The effect on the Church of England will likely be to make it more liberal and more Protestant.

CoE General Synod to consider super-majority vote on Covenant

The Church of England General Synod meets again next month and will consider a motion respecting the Anglican Covenant for which there was insufficient debate time at the November meeting. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The motion, from John Ward, seeks to require a two-thirds vote of General Synod for the Church of England to adopt the Anglican Covenant. That the motion is to be considered is indicated in item 8 of this report from the Synod’s Business Committee.

Dissident Canadian congregations appeal to Supreme Court

The four congregations in Vancouver’s Diocese of New Westminster that left the Anglican Church of Canada to join the Anglican Network in Canada—now a diocese of Robert Duncan’s Anglican Church in North America—have filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Lower courts have ruled that the congregations must return parish property to the diocese.

The application is not a surprise—see Pittsburgh Update story here—but is clearly a disappointment to New Westminster’s Bishop Michael Ingham, who observed that the move would “consume even more of the time, energy and money that should be used for the mission of the Church.”

The story was reported January 17, 2011, by Anglican Journal. The diocese commented on the legal move January 14 here. The brief filed by the 4 dissident congregations is available on the ANiC website.

Liturgy and music commission publishes blessing principles

The Living Church reported January 11, 2011, that the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of The Episcopal Church has published liturgical and theological principles that will inform its work of collecting resources for the blessing of same-sex unions. The Commission is also conducting an on-line survey to help decide whether the current 1982 Hymnal needs to be revised. The survey can be answered through January 31. Additional details are available in the story from The Living Church.

Hearing held on Fort Worth summary judgment motions

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth reports that arguments were heard in the District Court of Tarrant County January 14, 2011, pertaining to competing motions for summary judgment in the ongoing litigation between the Episcopal Church diocese and the parties that left the Episcopal Church for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. A summary judgment may be issued when a judge is convinced that the facts and law are clear based on the written and documentary record, and there is no reason to hold a trial to determine the facts. According to the report by the diocese, Judge John P. Chupp “indicated he would issue a ruling soon after spending more time with the parties’ summary judgment motions, briefs and evidence.”

Georgia Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Appeal

The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of the breakaway congregation of Christ Church, Savannah. An announcement is on the congregation’s web site. In July 2010, a Georgia Court of Appeals decision awarded the historic colonial property to the Diocese of Georgia and The Episcopal Church. Another appeals court in the state recently reversed a lower court decision awarding a breakaway Presbyterian congregation’s property to the presbytery. With conflicting appeals decisions, the Supreme Court could use the Christ Church case to settle both matters. Pittsburgh Update covered both earlier stories here and here.