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, September 22, 2014

News for Week Ending 9/22/2014

African theologians, scholars declare support for LGBT equality

MambaOnline reported September 12, 2014, that an August 28–31 gathering of African theologians and scholars has called for the protection of sexual minorities in Africa. The call to protect the human rights of sexual minorities came in the form of a statement dubbed the KwaZulu Natal Declaration.

Church in Wales issues Code of Practice for Women bishops

The Church in Wales, which approved women bishops last year—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has announced a Code of Practice that purports to allow women bishops to be fully bishops while making provision for those who cannot accept women bishops. The development is described on the Web site of the Church in Wales, where links are provided to the Code of Practice itself and to an explanation of it.

CoE College of Bishops begins ‘shared conversations’

The Church of England’s College of Bishops, in its meeting from September 15 to September 17, 2014, began the shared conversations on Sexuality, Scripture, and Mission, which are to continue throughout the church for the next two years. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) According to a press release, the conversations are not designed to reach consensus regarding contentious issues of human sexuality, but are to address how the gospel can be proclaimed in a changing culture. A second objective is “to create space and an environment for the Church of England to live together as a family who disagree with one another.” Church Times covered this development in a September 18 story.

Archbishop of Canterbury admits to doubts

Archbishop Justin Welby has admitted that he sometimes doubts the existence of God. The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion declared that he never doubts the existence of Jesus, however. Details can be found in a story from The Guardian, which includes video. Andrew Brown has suggested that Welby’s admission isn’t as bad as it sounds.

AMiE as conservative escape plan?

We don’t often refer to speculative essays, rather than actual news, but a piece from Isabel Hardman in The Spectator provides an excuse for an exception. In “Conservative Anglicans’ emergency plan to escape women bishops,” Hardman suggests that the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE)—see Pittsburgh Update story here—could become a lifeboat for conservative Evangelicals who cannot accept a woman bishop. If so, the Church of England could experience the sort of schism that has plagued The Episcopal Church in recent years, a schism aided and abetted by ultraconservative foreign Anglican bishops.

Scottish bishops call for reconciliation

In response to the historic vote in Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom, the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church has called for reconciliation and healing. Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth, spoke on behalf of the bishops, acknowledging the disappointment felt by many Scots and offering resources for reconciliation. The story was covered by Anglican Communion News Service September 19, 2014. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also issued a statement in response to the Scotland vote, which can be read here.

Church of England overpowers Vatican

A Church of England cricket team bested a team fielded by the Vatican September 19, 2014, at the Kent County Cricket Ground. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby presented a trophy to the winning cricketers. The match was in support of the Global Freedom Network, a joint Anglican–Roman Catholic effort to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking. Additional details can be found here.

Episcopal Church bishops meet in Taiwan

Episcopal Church bishops are meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, September 17–23, 2014. The September 17 sermon of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the bishops’ meeting can be read here, and a description of the first day of the meeting is here. Jefferts Schori also preach on September 21, and her sermon is here. The meeting is being held in the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan, and Episcopal News Service ran a story September 19 about challenges to the church in Asia. Daily accounts of the bishops’ activities are being posted on the ENS Web site. To date, summaries have been posted for September 17, 18, 19, 20–21, and 22. ENS has also published sermons delivered in Taiwan by the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, chaplain to the House of Bishops, and by Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Diane Bruce.

Bishop McConnell blogging from the Far East

Pittsburgh bishop Dorsey McConnell is attending the House of Bishops meeting in Taiwan. Our bishop has been a desultory blogger, but he seems intent on documenting his Far East travels on his blog, Iron City Bishop. His September 17, 2014, post begins with his arrival in Taiwan. You can find that post here and follow newer posts by clicking on the links below each post.

South Carolina Episcopalians accept returning priest through reconciliation process

The Rev. H. Dagnall Free, Jr., a priest who left The Episcopal Church when Mark Lawrence and much of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina split from the diocese, has been accepted back to the church by Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg. Bishop vonRosenberg formally removed Free, along with scores of other clergy, from The Episcopal Church in April 2013. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) In allowing Free to return to the church, vonRosenberg created a reconciliation process that is potentially a model for re-integrating other clergy who left with Lawrence. Episcopal News Service offers details here.

SCLM seeks input for new publication

In response to comments received about Holy Women, Holy Men, the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has proposed a new publication under the title A Great Cloud of Witnesses. According to a story from the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs, the SCLM is attempting to respond to “the desire of General Convention for a revision of the calendar of the Church that reflects the lively experience of sainthood, especially on the level of the local community.” Comments on the project are being solicited either by e-mail or from the SCLM blog. The blog offers an extended post about the project here.

Marriage task force issues report

The Task Force on the Study of Marriage issued a report on its work September 22, 2014. The report does not reveal any conclusions of the task force, concentrating instead of the nature of its work. The report includes links to various resources related to the study, which was required by General Convention 2012 Resolution A050.