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 8, 2014

News for Week Ending 9/8/2014

Episcopal bishop is first woman bishop to preside at Welsh cathedral

According to Episcopal News Service, Gayle Harris, suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, became the first female Anglican bishop to preside at a Welsh cathedral August 31, 2014. The Church in Wales has voted to allow women bishops, but has postponed the effective date of the decision to allow time for the church prepare a Code of Practice.

Courts go in opposite directions on gay marriage front

After so many federal court decisions declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, such decisions seem to be becoming routing. On September 4, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled bans in Indiana and Wisconsin unconstitutional. Details can be found here.

The day before, a federal district judge, Martin L.C. Feldman, ruled that the state of Louisiana could indeed ban same-sex marriage. The decision will, no doubt be appealed to the 5th Circuit. The Washington Post covered the story here.

Same-sex blessings approved in two dioceses

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported September 3, 2014, that Bishop of Milwaukee Steven A. Miller has approved use of a blessing rite for same-sex couples that have already been married in a civil ceremony. The move comes after the courts struck down Milwaukee’s same-sex marriage ban, though the decision is stayed pending appeal. Miller’s August 29 letter to his diocese sets out his guidelines and a rite different from the one approved by the 2012 General Convention. Miller acknowledged the contribution to his thinking of Bishop Dorsey McConnell’s letter to the Pittsburgh diocese.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth reported August 29, 2014, that Bishop Rayford B. High, Jr., has also written a letter setting forth conditions for using what he calls “Covenant Blessings.”

TREC issues letter to church, elicits flood of comments

The Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) has issued a letter to the church suggesting changes to the way the church is governed. The letter has been met with rather non-specific praise and with vigorous denunciations. The letter appears on the TREC Web site and has attracted numerous comments on the Episcopal News Service site. The Lead published the letter under the title “TREC recommends a powerful Presiding Bishop, weakened Council and Convention, replacing much staff with contractors,” which communicates a sense of the content of the TREC letter. The Lead has also published a story summarizing and offering links to comments in the blogosphere. Lionel Deimel has also written about the letter and suggests specific essays that might be of interest to Pittsburgh Episcopalians.

TREC is holding a churchwide meeting on October 2, 2014. People can attend the meeting at Washington National Cathedral or participate via the World Wide Web. TREC meets for the final time immediately the October 2 meeting to work on its final report, which is due in November.

Yale chaplain resigns over letter to NY Times

The Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, priest-in-charge of the Episcopal Church at Yale, resigned his post September 4, 2014, following a firestorm of criticism occasioned by a letter he wrote to The New York Times. The letter asserted that the rising tide of violence against Jews in Europe has been encouraged by Israel’s dealings with Palestinians. Shipman wrote that “the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.” The Lead covered this story extensively here.