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, April 28, 2014

News for Week Ending 4/28/2014

GAFCON primates meet, issue communiqué

The GAFCON Primates Council met in London April 24–26, 2014. Anglican Church of North America archbishop Robert Duncan is listed in the communiqué released at the end of the meeting as one of the attending primates. The statement declares, among other things:
  • “[T]he GAFCON movement is emerging as a faithful instrument of unity capable of gathering the majority of faithful Anglicans [emphasis added] in communion globally.”
  • “We are equally concerned for … the backlash from the international community in Uganda from their new [anti-homosexual] legislation. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to sustain families and churches.
  • “Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens.”
  • “We are particularly concerned about the state of lay and clerical discipline. The House of Bishops’ guidance that those in same sex marriages should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the church is an abandonment of pastoral discipline.”
  • “Finally, we gave thanks for the faithfulness and visionary leadership of Archbishop Robert Duncan who is shortly to retire as the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.”

Welsh archbishop says church must evolve or be seen as homophobic

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan has declared that the church must evolve with changing attitudes or be seen as homophobic. The comment was made in a presidential address to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. The church can change its attitude about same-sex relationships as it has done about remarriage after divorce. This story was reported by Wales Online on April 23, 2014.

ARC-USA issues paper on moral discernment

Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the U.S.A. has issued a paper titled “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness.” The 23-page paper describes how The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church go about the process of moral discernment and the teaching of the conclusions of that process. The differences between the churches are illustrated with case studies of migration/immigration and same-sex relations. The paper is interesting from an educational viewpoint and does not try to achieve the unified moral witness mentioned in the title. A press release about the paper was issued by the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs. The paper itself can be found here.

UCC sues North Carolina over anti-gay marriage amendment

According to a press release from the United Church of Christ, the General Synod of the UCC has sued the state of North Carolina. The suit contends that Amendment One, approved by voters in 2012, restricts the First Amendment rights of UCC clergy to bless same-sex unions. The amendment effectively prohibits issuance of marriage licenses to other than male-female couples, and clergy performing a blessing for a same-sex couple not intended as a marriage, according to the UCC, could be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. The lawsuit was filed April 28, 2014.

Fort Worth litigation proceeds on two fronts despite legal setbacks

The Episcopal parties in the ongoing litigation resulting from the split of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have been unsuccessful in halting proceedings in the trial court pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. On April 24, 2014, Judge John P. Chupp, of the 141st District Court, rejected the plea to stay proceedings in the district court and ordered the $100,000 bond required of the defendants when they appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to be refunded. The case will now be re-litigated based on neutral principles of law while the Episcopal parties appeal to the U.S. high court. All this is explained in press releases from the Episcopalians here and here. See also the Pittsburgh Update story here.