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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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, February 3, 2014

News for Week Ending 2/3/2014

Norway clergy union asks for gay marriage rite

The executive council of the clergy union of the Church of Norway has voted unanimously to call for a liturgy for same-sex marriage. (The Church of Norway, a Lutheran church, is a state church.) Same-sex marriage is legal in Norway, but the Church of Norway has not created a new marriage rite. Details can be found here.

Church of Nigeria will not change course

Writing on his Web site VirtueOnline, David Virtue reported January 28, 2014, that Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) House of Bishops have warned Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby that their church will continue to maintain fellowship with “Bible-based” churches such as Robert Duncan’s Anglican Church of North Armerica (ACNA) “not necessarily on the basis of history.” The bishops reaffirmed their support for the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and for the Jerusalem Declaration.

ACNA issues catechism

The Anglican Church in North America has announced the availability of a new catechism. The new document contains 345 questions and answers. Associated introductory and explanatory matter have also been made available. The Catechism and associated material in various forms are available here.

Li Tim-Oi honored in Toronto

Anglican Journal reported January 25, 2014, that a choral Eucharist was held in the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto celebrating the ordination of women on the 70th anniversary of the ordination of the first woman Anglican priest, Li Tim-Oi. On January 31, Anglican Journal published a story about the challenges, past and present, faced by ordained women in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Anglican leaders speak out against anti-gay legislation

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote a letter January 29, 2014, addressed to all Anglican primates and to the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria regarding the rights of LGBT persons. The letter declares that it is in response “to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction.” Curiously, the letter does not criticize the behavior of anyone or, for that matter, offer any moral judgment on the part of the letter writers. Instead, it cites the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005 as expressing “the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion” with regard to the treatment “of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex.” (The excerpt of the communiqué quoted in the letter is from the same section—section 6—that criticizes The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada for their actions.) It is not known if the Internet petition asking the archbishops to speak out against human rights abuses in Nigeria influenced the writing of the letter. (PEP also asked for a statement—see story below.)

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, answered the archbishops’ letter and criticized the facilitated conversations called for in the Pilling Report.

Two days earlier (January 27), Gay Clark Jennings, president of the General Convention’s House of Deputies and a member of the Anglican Consultative Council, published a strong denunciation of anti-gay actions, including those of the primates of the Anglican churches in Uganda and Nigeria. The criticisms were in the form of a commentary written for Religion News Service and posted on the RNS Web site.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued a “statement on LGBT rights” on January 30. Without naming any guilty parties, she decried “current attempts to criminalize LGBT persons and their supporters.” She declared that the Episcopal Church’s “advocacy for oppressed minorities has been vocal and sustained.” Her statement can be read here.

Uganda anti-gay bill “likely” to become law

Whereas anti-gay legislation was recently signed into law in Nigeria—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the likely fate of the notorious legislation in Uganda has been unclear. Some press reports have suggested that President Yoweri Museveni has decided not to sign the bill. In a story written for Political Research Associates, however, the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia in a Boston University doctoral program, suggests that it is likely that the president will eventually sign the bill. His piece includes a scanned copy of a letter written by Museveni that reveals a negative attitude toward sexual minorities.

On January 30, the primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali commented on the anti-gay bill, on the Pilling Report, and on the letter from the Church of England archbishops. (See previous story.) Ntagali praised the Uganda Parliament for reducing sentences in the bill and for removing reporting requirements, thereby allowing clergy to counsel homosexuals seeking “help and healing.” Ntagali goes on to attack The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. He also threatens to break communion with the Church of England if it does not change its current path.

SCLM offers new proposal for dealing with saints

The Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music (SCLM) has offered a proposal for “a new approach to commemorations [of worthy historical figures] tentatively entitled A Great Cloud of Witnesses. The proposed new direction is set out in a blog entry posted February 1, 2014. The proposal grew out of dissatisfaction with Holy Women, Holy Men, and the SCLM is asking for comment (by February 22) on whether work on perfecting Holy Women, Holy Men should be continued or whether a somewhat different direction should be pursued. Feedback on the proposal should be left as comments on the blog post.

Resources for Black History Month available

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs has noted that materials appropriate for use during Black History Month and for Absalom Jones Day are available on the Episcopal Church Web site. The press release, with links to materials, can be found here.

Church notes growth in use of electronic communications

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs has published statistics about the use of electronic communications in 2013. The information includes number of page views on the church’s Web site, likes of the church’s Facebook page, etc. Growth was noted in all areas of electronic communications. The numbers can be found here.

PEP writes to archbishop about Baucum, anti-gay legislation

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) wrote to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby January 23, 2014, protesting the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum to be one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The letter also asked the archbishop to speak out against the newly enacted anti-gay law in Nigeria. Mark Harris wrote about the letter on his blog January 29, as did PEP board member Lionel Deimel on his blog. A PDF version of the letter is here.