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 4, 2011

News for Week Ending 4/4/2011

Standing Committee meeting ends

As we reported last week, the Standing Committee, which includes representatives from the Anglican Consultative Council and Primates’ Meeting, has concluded its business. In addition to the news releases reported last week, Anglican Communion News Service has issued two additional reports on the meeting here and here. We cannot improve on the characterization of the meeting offered by Anglicans Online, which we reproduce below:
30 March 2011: Some important meeting ends
We have dim memories that there’s a Standing Committee meeting going on somewhere. They never have told us where, nor just what the goal of these meetings was, nor what the authority of the Standing Committee might be. But the Anglican Communion News Service has faithfully released the fourth and final despatch from that committee, the bulk of which seems to be announcements of future meetings of that and other committees. A lot of people are going to earn Gold Tier status in their Flying Clubs.
It is now clear that our own Presiding Bishop did not attend the meeting because it conflicted with the meeting of the church’s House of Bishops. (See next story.)

House of Bishops meets

Bishops of The Episcopal Church met for six days in North Carolina, concluding their work on March 30, 2011. Episcopal News services has issued a number of stories on the event here, here, here, here, and here. Primate visitors from three Anglican churches—Congo, South Korea, and Canada—attended the meeting. The visitors participated in a discussion of the proposed Anglican Covenant, which offered a rare window into episcopal conversations because Arizona’s Bishop Kirk Smith was tweeting during the discussion. (Neither the visitors nor the moderator of the panel discussion, Bishop Neal Alexander, was very enthusiastic about the Covenant.) Alas, the window did not stay open for long out of concern for “confidentiality.”

In a post-meeting news conference, the Presiding Bishop, ducking the question of whether the Covenant will “have a prayer” of being approved by the 2012 General Convention, suggested that the Windsor Process has “deepened and expanded” relationships within the Anglican Communion.

Readers are referred to the aforementioned ENS stories, particularly the final one, for more details about what the bishops discussed.

Washington nominates five episcopal candidates

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington has nominated five candidates to replace retiring bishop John Chane, who is widely considered to be one of the more liberal bishops of The Episcopal Church. The Living Church ran a story March 31, 2011, that includes brief quotations from candidate statements and links to the diocese’s Web site. Candidates can also be nominated by petition through April 15. The episcopal election is scheduled to be held June 18 at Washington National Cathedral.

Fort Worth parties back in court

The contending Fort Worth dioceses were back in court March 31, 2011, before Judge John P. Chupp in the 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas. At issue was the order in which decisions would be made by the court, when appeals could begin, and whether additional evidence could be introduced. Those parties who left The Episcopal Church want to halt additional proceedings and appeal the court decision that declared that the Episcopal Church diocese is the proper custodian of church property. (Their motion is here.) Both sides have offered their view of what happened in court (see here and here). The judge made no immediate decision.

Even as the parties were stating their case before the court, the Episcopalians were introducing additional evidence and complaints. In particular, they asked that Jude Funding, Inc., be added as a defendant, and that additional judgments and injunctions be forthcoming. In other words, the Episcopalians are trying to move the case along and keep the so-called Southern Cone parties from misusing the property in dispute. In another explanation on its Web site, the Episcopalians noted that Jude Funding was formed only last year and granted the diocese run by Bishop Jack Iker a $3.5 million loan by mortgaging diocesan real estate. (See deed of trust here.)

See Pittsburgh Update story here for more background on the Fort Worth litigation.

Commonwealth Court nixes Duncan appeal

To the surprise of no one who knows the Pennsylvania court system, Commonwealth Court rejected the request of Archbishop Robert Duncan to rehear the appeal of the lower-court decision awarding diocesan property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The March 29, 2010, court decision was announced April 1 on the diocesan Web site. According to an April 4 story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Duncan will appeal the March 29 decision.