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, February 23, 2015

News for Week Ending 2/23/2015

Anglicans worldwide express agreement on gender-based violence

In its Erasmus blog, The Economist, reported on a February 11, 2015, Webinar sponsored by Anglican Alliance on sexual and gender-based violence. The Economist story asserted that opposition to gender-based violence is something that both liberal and conservative Anglican churches can agree on. The Webinar was conducted in conjunction with a meeting in London on gender-based violence. Details can be found here.

CoE bishops issue letter on upcoming elections

On February 17, 2015, Church of England bishops issued what they described as a pastoral letter regarding elections scheduled for May. The letter, officially titled “Who is my Neighbour? A Letter from the House of Bishops to the People and Parishes of the Church of England for the General Election 2015,” is actually 56 pages long. While ostensibly nonpartisan, the document urges Christians to consider their vision for society and suggests that the major political parties have failed to articulate the sort of vision that most people would welcome. Not surprisingly, the advice of the bishops has proven controversial. Thinking Anglicans has covered both the letter and comment on it here, here, here, and here.

New Zealand same-sex blessing motion challenged

Anglican Ink reported February 20, 2015, that three clergymen of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have filed an official challenge to a motion passed at the church’s General Synod in May 14, 2014. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Motion 30, while affirming the churche’s traditional view of marriage, nonetheless allowed clergy “to recognise in public worship a same-gender civil union or state marriage of members of their faith community.” The church’s Judicial Committee is expected to take up the challenge in its March 2 meeting.

Ugandan president calls for day to honor Anglican martyr

Anglican Communion News Service reported February 16, 2015, that Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni pledged to declare February 16 a national holiday to honor Janani Luwum, the second archbishop of the Church of Uganda. The pledge came at a rally honoring the martyred archbishop and after a call by Archbishop Stanley Ntagali for such a declaration. Luwum was critical of the policies of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He was accused of treason and killed, possibly by Amin himself.

Two Episcopal seminaries named as seminaries that change the world

For the second year, the Center for Faith and Service at Chicago’s McCormick Theological Seminary has released its list of Seminaries that Change the World. Two Episcopal seminaries, Virginia Theological Seminary and the University of the South’s School of Theology, made the Center’s list. According to the February 23, 2015, press release from the Center for Faith and Service, the list “represents a collection of institutions that came forward on their own initiative and who have demonstrated that they welcome idealistic and committed individuals who have demonstrated their engagement in the world or who seek to gain experience in justice work.” Additional information is here. The Living Church also covered release of the list.

Phase I earthquake repairs completed at Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral hosted a press conference February 18, 2015, to announce that phase I earthquake repairs have been completed on the cathedral. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake of August 23, 2011, did an estimated $32 million damage to the church. The phase I repairs were concentrated in the nave and on the flying buttresses around the apse. Details, including video of the press conference, can be found on the Washington National Cathedral Web site.

Central Gulf Coast passes prison resolution, elects new bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast met in convention February 19–21, 2014. AL.com reported that the convention passed a resolution unanimously to end abuse in Alabama and Florida prisons. (The diocese spans the two states.) Specifically, the resolution urged officials in both states to “continue to take necessary actions to end all forms of abuse in prisons, and to uphold the fundamental dignity of every human being.” The 44th annual convention of the diocese also elected the diocese’s fourth bishop, the Rev. James Russell Kendrick, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Kendrick will succeed the retiring Bishop Philip M. Duncan. AL.com covered this story as well.

Fort Worth case returns to Tarrant County court

A 90-minute hearing was held in the 141st District Court of Tarrant County, on February 20, 2015, in the Fort Worth property case. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Although the Episcopal diocese prevailed at the original trial, the Texas Supreme Court ordered that the case be reconsidered on a neutral-principles-of-law basis. According to a letter from Bishop Rayford B. High, Jr., Judge John P. Chupp asked both sides to submit proposed orders.

Episcopal Church admonished by Illinois judge

After The Episcopal Church and the successor to the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, lost the legal battle to prevent the departure of most of the diocese and its property—see Pittsburgh Update story here—the church made a claim on some of the funds the court had awarded to the Anglican Diocese of Quincy. On February 20, 2015, Judge Mark A. Drummond ordered all the funds to be distributed to the Anglican diocese and for The Episcopal Church to cease and desist from further legal action. The judge also required The Episcopal Church to pay the legal costs of the Anglican diocese resulting from the recent action. Anglican Ink covered the story and published Judge Drummond’s order.

South Carolina judge denies motion to reconsider her decision

According to Anglican Ink, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein, on February 22, 2015, denied the motion of Episcopal defendants to reconsider her decision in favor of the breakaway group headed by Mark Lawrence. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The denial was expected; the motion had to be filed in order to appeal Judge Goodstein’s decision to a higher court.

Bishop McConnell offers Lenten message

Bishop Dorsey McConnell has posted a Lenten message on the Diocese of Pittsburgh Web site. It is a meditation on sin and repentance, based on the story of Joseph and his brothers. You can read it here.