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 7, 2014

News for Week Ending 4/7/2014

Archbishop of Canterbury offers surprise explanation on English call-in show

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby became the first sitting English primate to answer questions on a radio call-in show April 4, 2014. He was the sole guest on a one-hour program hosted by James O’Brien on LBC radio. Welby answered questions from the host and from listeners about the nature of God, economic inequality, women bishops, and other topics. Several questions touched on same-sex marriage, which has recently become legal in England and Wales. Welby’s performance sparked controversy because of his assertion that acceptance of same-sex marriage by the Church of England could result in violence against Christians elsewhere in the world.

News and commentary about the remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury have been extensive. Anglican Communion News Service ran a story on the event. Thinking Anglicans has collected links to related material here, here, and here. A story from LBC includes a brief video of the most controversial segment of the show. A video of the program is available here; a transcript is here.

Canadian commission begins study of marriage canon

The Commission on the Marriage Canon of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Toronto April 3–4, 2014, for the first time. According to a General Synod Communications press release, the commission has been given the task of “determining a way to amend the marriage canon ‘to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples’ while at the same time ensuring that no one ‘should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.’”

Runnels, Woodliff-Stanley again paired in episcopal election

The Rev. Dr. R. Stan Runnels and the Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, both candidates for bishop in Pittsburgh’s most recent episcopal election, are standing for bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi. Both Runnels and Woodliff-Stanley have roots in Mississippi. They are joined by three other candidates. The election is scheduled for May 3, 2014. The diocese has created a special Web site for the bishop search process. The candidates are listed here.

Marriage task force offers progress report

The Task Force on the Study of Marriage recent concluded its second face-to-face meeting, and has issued a brief report on its ongoing work. The task force was established by the 2012 General Convention  and is to report to the 2015 General Convention. According to its report, issued April 7, 2014, the group is inquiring into “the historical, biblical, theological, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage, as well as the ever-changing social norms around marriage.” Additional details can be found in the report.

Fort Worth Episcopalians file motion to stay case pending Supreme Court appeal

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth reported April 2, 2014, that the Episcopal parties petitioned the Texas Supreme Court March 25, 2014, to stay the return of the Fort Worth property case to the trial court pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See Pittsburgh Update Story here.) Details, including a link to the appeal to the state Supreme Court can be found here. The breakaway Fort Worth group commented on the request here.

South Carolina appeal moved to S.C. Supreme Court

The South Carolina Supreme Court has taken jurisdiction of the appeal made by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina over its attempt to discover legal documents generated on behalf of the undivided diocese before the diocese split. The breakaway group asked the Supreme Court to remove the appeal from the appeals court in order to speed up litigation, charging that the appeal was a delaying tactic. Details can be found in an ECSC press release.