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, March 4, 2013

News for Week Ending 3/4/2013

Nigerian primate: homosexuality and gay marriage the work of the Devil

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), preached March 3, 2013, against homosexuality and gay marriage. According to Gay Star News, Okoh made his remarks at a service ordaining three new Nigerian bishops. He spoke against the “homosexual agenda” originating in the “Western world.” “The Biblical understanding of marriage,” he asserted, ”will continue to be the basis of our teaching; we will not change that position. So … please, resist the Devil and all his works, and he will flee from you.” Additional remarks of Okoh may be found in the March 4 Gay Star News article.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation issued a press release March 4 about Okoh’s remarks. It includes links to additional press reports.

Additional contributions made to CoE women bishops consultation

Thinking Anglicans has published information on a number of submissions commenting on how the Church of England should proceed with legislation to provide for women bishops. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Interested readers should consult Thinking Anglicans posts here, here, here, and here.

Welby continues to consolidate his position as Archbishop of Canterbury

Episcopalians can be forgiven a degree of amazement at the number of steps a new Archbishop of Canterbury must take before he has fully established himself in his new post. For example, it was announced on his Web site February 26, 2013, that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has “made an oath to acknowledge Her Majesty [Elizabeth II] to be Supreme Governor of the Church of England.” This ceremonial action dates from the sixteenth century. The post includes pictures.

In a more practical action, Archbishop Welby has appointed a woman, the Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, as his chaplain at Lambeth Palace. This was also reported on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Web site.

House of Deputies officers write to deputies on gun violence

According to a press release, the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, and the Vice President of the House of Deputies, the Hon. Byron Rushing, wrote to deputies February 28, 2013, informing them that the Executive Council passed a resolution on February 27 “that reaffirms the General Convention’s longstanding support of restrictions on the sale, use and ownership of guns and its commitment to adequate funding for mental health services.” The resolution advocates making gun trafficking a federal crime. The letter writers ask deputies to “help lead the church to fulfill this resolution.”

Episcopal bishops submit amici curiae briefs supporting marriage equality

Episcopal bishops have submitted amici curiae briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in the two same-sex marriage cases before the court. In a brief filed in connection with Hollingsworth v. Perry, California bishops are joined by an ecumenical collection of religious groups arguing the unconstitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which rescinded same-sex marriage in California. (Proponents of Proposition 8 are asking the court to overturn a lower-court decision that found the ballot measure improper.) In a brief filed in connection with United States v. Windsor, 29 Episcopal bishops joined other groups in arguing for the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Oral arguments in the two cases will be conducted later this month.

Both the Episcopal Diocese of California and Episcopal News Service reported this story. The brief in the Proposition 8 case can be read here; the DOMA brief can be read here. Other briefs in the two cases may be found here and here, respectively.

Episcopal bishops to meet March 8–12

Episcopal bishops will meet March 8–12, 2013, at a retreat held at the Kanuga Conference Center, near Hendersonville, North Carolina. The theme for the spring gathering of the bishops is “Godly Leadership in the Midst of Loss.” Additional details are available in the Episcopal News Service story reported on February 28, 2013.

Report on church headquarters presented to Executive Council

The 2012 General Convention passed Resolution D016, which, as passed, declared:
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That it is the will of this Convention to move the Church Center headquarters away from the Church Center building at 815 2nd Avenue, New York City.
In light of this resolution, there was, no doubt, substantial consternation over a report presented to Executive Council February 26, 2013. The report, “Locating the Episcopal Church Center For Missional Strategy,” is the product Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls and the Executive Oversight Committee. “Locating the Episcopal Church Center For Missional Strategy” recommends against moving the headquarters of the church. The authors assert
We believe the real answer is not in relocation but in reorientation of the DFMS [Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society] staff to supporting mission at the local level, regardless of where the Church Center itself is located.
The story was reported February 27 by Episcopal News Service.