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, February 18, 2013

News for Week Ending 2/18/2013

Archbishop of Canterbury appoints Director for Reconciliation

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced February 18, 2013, that Canon David Porter will join his personal staff as part-time Director for Reconciliation. Porter will retain his position at Coventry Cathedral as Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry. According to the press release, he will initially focus on “supporting creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.”

New Zealand church to examine theology of same-sex blessings

Anglican Taonga reported February 15, 2013, that the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia will appoint a doctrinal commission to explore the “theological rationale for the liturgical blessing of people in permanent, faithful same-gender relationships.” The story notes that “if the church arrives at a point where it is ready to bless the unions of same-sex couples, then ordaining people in such relationships may automatically follow.”

Structure task force holds first meeting

Episcopal News Service reported February 14, 2013, on the start of the first meeting of the Task Force on Structure. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The 26-member group met in Maryland February 14–16. The ENS story includes links to remarks made by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Gay Clark Jennings.

Task Force on the Study of Marriage appointed

The Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies have appointed 12 people to the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, as required by Resolution A050 passed by the 2012 General Convention. According to the Presiding Bishop, “This task force is charged not only to take the pulse of our current theological understanding of the meaning of marriage, but to assist the faithful in conversation and discernment about marriage, in particular what the Church might hold up as “holy example” of the love between Christ and his Church.” The February 14, 2012, press release on the appointments can be found here.

Revised church governing documents available

General Conventions of The Episcopal Church usually result in changes to church canons and, often, to its constitution (strictly speaking, the constitution of the General Convention). The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs announced February 14, 2013, that the version of the constitution and canons that became effective on January 1 can now be downloaded. The paper version can be pre-ordered from Church Publishing Inc.

Scottish bishops visits South Carolina

According to Episcopal News Service, Robert Gillies, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, visited Grace Church in Charleston, South Carolina, February 10, 2013, for its “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan” service. The bishop spoke of longstanding ties between the Scottish Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church. Gillies reported to his church about his American trip. Reporting on his South Carolina experience, he wrote
I have come away from a truly awesome experience in Charleston with appreciation for having met some truly remarkable people doing some remarkable things. I have also come away having encountered at first hand the awfulness of a modern day schism in the church. Nothing in what I saw and heard of in the decision taken by the Diocese of South Carolina to split from The Episcopal Church (of the USA) convinced me that the will of God was being heard or listened to.
In other news related to what The Episcopal Church still considers the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, conservative commentators have continued to criticize Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for her sermon at the January 26 special convention held in Charleston. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The hysteria about the sermon seems to have reached its peak in a George Conger story in The Church of England Newspaper titled “Disloyal Episcopalians are murderers and terrorists, Jefferts Schori claims.” Note that The Church of England Newspaper is not a publication of the Church of England, but is an independent journal. The story is reprinted on Conger’s blog.

Briefs filed with Virginia Supreme Court in support of The Falls Church

Briefs were filed with the Virginia Supreme Court February 12, 2013, by The Falls Church and by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty supporting the position of The Falls Church that Virginia law supports its claim to parish property and that the Dennis Canon should not be considered. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)