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, May 7, 2012

News for Week Ending 5/7/2012

AMiA saga continues

The future of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) continues to be uncertain. (See most recent Pittsburgh Update story here.) VirtueOnline reported May 1, 2012, that two AMiA bishops, John E. Miller III and T.J. Johnston are now assisting bishops overseeing former AMiA parishes as part of the Anglican Church in North America. According to VirtueOnline, “The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) is in the midst of refocusing as a missionary society.” and Virtue quotes Bishop Charles Murphy as saying, “This decision demonstrates our commitment to being a multi-jurisdictional entity.”

Also on May 1, Murphy announced on the AMiA Web site that plans were in place for transforming the AMiA into a missionary society. Those plans were clarified during Murphy’s attendance at the recent meeting in London of Fellowship of Confessing Anglican leaders. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Five African primates—Archbishop Henri Isingoma (Congo), Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya), Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda, retired), Archbishop Yong Ping Chung (South East Asia, retired), and Archbishop Moses Tay (South East Asia, retired)—agreed to serve on an oversight body, the College of Consultors. On May 5, however, George Conger, writing for Anglican Ink, reported that Archbishop Wabukala had withdrawn his support for reasons that were unclear. Anglican Ink reported the same day that Murphy asserted that, despite the Wabukala withdrawal, governing documents for the new missionary society will be ratified formally on June 4.

Church structure to be big topic at General Convention

Episcopal News Service, in a story dated May 2, 2012, reported that debate on proposals involving changes to the structure and operating procedures of The Episcopal Church will be prominent at the upcoming 2012 General Convention, which meets July 5–12 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Concern about decreasing membership and high administrative costs have long been the concern of many, but the possibility of a major restructuring of the church was raised by Bishop Stacey Sauls, church CEO, at a meeting of church bishops last September. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The ENS story reviews some of the proposals and discusses organizational changes proposed in other Christian denominations.

Note that General Convention resolutions, which are still being accepted, are available on the World Wide Web here.

Final settlement reached with Savannah church

On May 3, 2012, the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia announced that all legal issues have been resolved with the breakaway congregation of Christ Church, Savannah. The Georgia Supreme Court had affirmed a decision in favor of ownership of parish property by the diocese, but the Christ Church congregation had joined an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Episcopal Church’s trust interest in diocesan property. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Christ Church congregation has withdrawn from the Supreme Court appeal, and the diocese has dropped its motion for a contempt judgment against individual leaders of the Anglican church.

Diocese settles property dispute with another Virginia church

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced May 4, 2012, that a final settlement has been reached with the breakaway Church of the Apostles Anglican of Fairfax, Virginia. Real property will be conveyed to the diocese, along with the sum of $230,000. Some personal property will be returned to the diocese, but the congregation will be allowed to keep other materials. Church of the Apostles will withdraw its appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court of the Fairfax County court decision in January in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) A more complete accounting of the agreement is provided by Church of the Apostles here. VirtueOnline also reported this story.

Appeals court rules against Tennessee parish

The Tennessean reported May 1, 2012, that the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Nashville ruled April 25 on the appeal of St. Andrew’s parish to a lower court decision in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. The court upheld a lower-court decision awarding the parish property to the diocese after the congregation claimed to have left the diocese for the Diocese of Quincy, which, itself, claimed departure from The Episcopal Church. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)

Episcopal Fort Worth diocese comments on amicus brief

The chancellor and the president of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have commented on the amicus brief filed with the Texas Supreme Court by seven Episcopal Church bishops and three priests. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The statements are reproduced on the Web site of The Living Church.

Chicago, Quincy explore reunion

According to a May 7, 2012, Episcopal News Service story, the dioceses of Chicago and Quincy, which were created by a division of the Diocese of Illinois into three dioceses in 1877—the Diocese of Springfield was also a product of the division—are continuing their dialogue about possible reunion. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Leaders of the two dioceses met April 28, 2012, in Chicago. They agreed to develop a plan and timeline for future reunion talks. Another meeting is scheduled for August 18. Quincy is the smallest of four dioceses that saw many congregations leave The Episcopal Church for what has become the Anglican Church in North America, led by Archbishop Robert Duncan.