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.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, July 21, 2014

News for Week Ending 7/21/2014

Welby writes ecumenical partners

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to ecumenical partners, including Anglican Communion churches, on the subject of the Church of England’s approval of women bishops. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Of course, Welby had no need to offer any reassurance to churches that accept the concept of ordained women. To everyone else, he apparently wanted to send the message that (1) the Church of England would be kind to those within the church who oppose women bishops, and (2) there are more important issues that unite the Church of England with ecumenical partners. Episcopalians may find that the English bishops are “committed to enabling [opponents of women’s ordination] to flourish within its life and structures” of the Church of England troubling. The letter can be read on the archbishop’s Web site.

Of course, ecumenical partners are not necessarily happy. (It is impossible to review all reactions here.) The Russian Orthodox Church, for example, accused the Church of England of surrendering to “the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society.” The Anglican Ordinariate established by the Roman Catholic Church is hoping to attract more disaffected Anglicans. (See story here.)

Oklahoma same-sex marriage decision affirmed

NPR reported July 18, 2014, that a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower-court ruling declaring Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The court stayed its ruling pending appeal.

Presidential order bans LGBT discrimination

President Barack Obama took action July 21, 2014, to ban discrimination against LGBT in hiring by the federal government or by federal contractors. The New York Times provides background here. The AP story on the signing is here. In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, there was a question as to whether President Obama would allow a religious exception to his new orders. Conservative religious and civic leaders wrote to the President July 1 urging him to allow such an exception. Liberal religious and civic leaders, including former Integrity president Susan Russell and retired bishop Gene Robinson, wrote a letter urging the opposite policy July 8. (More details about the policy conflict can be read here.) Both the Rev. Canon Susan Russell and the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson attended the White House signing ceremony.

PB Nominating Committee issues second essay

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop (JNCPB) has issued its second essay. This essay enumerates the duties and powers of the Presiding Bishop. (See Pittsburgh Update story here concerning the first JNCPB essay.) A forthcoming essay will document how the office of Presiding Bishop has changed over the years.

South Carolina trial continues

Although Judge Diane Goodstein had originally expected the trial in South Carolina—see Pittsburgh Update story here—to last two weeks, two weeks of testimony have now been completed, and the trial has entered its third week. The Episcopal defendants began presenting their case last week and continue to do so this week. It seems fair to suggest that, although lawyers for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and The Episcopal Church have scored some points, Judge Goodstein has not been receptive to the church’s position. In particular, she has blocked the entrance of evidence of the hierarchical nature of the church. Readers who want to follow the trial closely can read daily summaries from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, South Carolina Episcopalians, and the breakaway plaintiffs.

Dallas begins search for new bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas has formed a search committee to find a replacement for Bishop James Stanton, who has retired. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The diocese describes the search process on its Web site.

Diocese announces personnel changes

Two weeks after personnel changes at Trinity Cathedral were noted here, the diocesan office has made those and other changes public. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Jean Chess is now Archdeacon and Director of Administration. Although he is no longer Canon to the Ordinary, Scott Quinn retains the title of Canon Pastor. According to a story on the diocesan Web site, “[t]he duties of Canon to the Ordinary will be assumed by Archdeacon Jean Chess, with support from Canon Missioner Cathy Brall and Canon for Formation Jay Geisler.” Additional details can be found here.