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, June 18, 2012

News for Week Ending 6/18/2012

Uganda archbishops support anti-gay bill

The Kampala Daily Monitor reported June 10, 2012, that religious leaders in Uganda have urged that the infamous anti-gay bill first introduced in parliament by David Bahati be moved forward with dispatch. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican archbishops endorsed a resolution to that effect at a conference organized by the Uganda Joint Christian Council. The resolution declared that the bill needed to become law to prevent “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage.” Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, who is soon to retire—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has, according to The Living Church opposed the bill in the past.

U.K. proposal on gay marriage sparks controversy

The government of the U.K. recently proposed that same-sex couples be allowed to enter into civil marriages. (They can presently only enter into civil partnerships.) A Web page describes the proposal and solicits comments, which were due by June 14, 2012. The proposal would not affect the understanding of marriage by any church and would not require any church to perform same-sex marriages. Near the end of the comment period, the Church of England submitted a 13-page paper whose summary begins: “The Church of England cannot support the proposal to enable ‘all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony.’” The submission has set off a firestorm of protest because the paper did not indicate its authorship and because many in the Church of England argue that they were neither consulted on the matter nor agree with the points made in the paper. The paper was accompanied by a cover letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Two articles from Church Times (here and here), in addition to the links above, provide some insight into the controversy. Thinking Anglicans has extensive coverage beginning with a June 12 post and continuing in later posts, with no end in sight.

High court rejects Bishop Seabury appeal

On June 18, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a list of orders involving pending cases. Two cases are of special interest to Episcopalians, both involving church property disputes between departing congregations and the wider church being abandoned. In both cases, decisions favoring the wider church were being appealed by the dissident congregations. The cases are Timberridge Presbyterian Church v. Presbytery of Greater Atlanta (listed as case 11-1101) and Ronald S. Gauss, et al. v. Episcopal Church of Connecticut, et al. (listed as case 11-1139). Both appeals were denied. These denials strengthen the cause of Episcopal Church dioceses in property cases involving departing congregations.

Gauss v. Episcopal Church is the appeal of the congregation of the former Bishop Seabury Episcopal Church of Groton, Connecticut. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) It appears that the Groton congregation has exhausted it legal options, and  the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has established its right to the parish property. A story from The Living Church includes additional information and useful links.