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, June 22, 2015

News for Week Ending 6/22/2015

Church of Nigeria distances itself from Josiah Idowu-Fearon

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has posted a letter on its Web site indicating that Nigerian Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who has been appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, will be retiring from the church on July 1, 2015. The letter oddly cites an Anglican Ink story about Idowu-Fearon’s appointment in making the point that the bishop does not hold the same position on homosexuality as does the Church of Nigeria. The letter states
The Most Rev’d Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s statement: ‘I have never supported the law in Nigeria that criminalizes the gay community and I will never support it,’ clearly indicates that he is not in accord with the theological and doctrinal posture of the Church of Nigeria.
The letter asserts that Idowu-Fearon does not represent the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Legal challenge to CoE women bishops dismissed

Church Times reported June 19, 2015, that a legal challenge to the election of the Archdeacon of Hackney, the Ven. Rachel Treweek, as Bishop of Gloucester has been dismissed. The selection of Treweek was opposed by Priest-in-Charge of St, George’s, Hanworth Park, London, the Rev. Paul Stewart Williamson. Williamson had earlier challenged the legality of the ordination of women to the priesthood, and Church Times reported that his arguments before the Court of the Vicar-General of the province of Canterbury rehashed the same arguments.

Newport Beach parish fighting sale of property

The June 1, 2015, Pittsburgh Update reported that the congregation of St. James the Great, Newport Beach, was looking for a new home after the diocese, without warning, announced that it was selling the building to a developer to build upscale town homes. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Parishioners have now set up a Web site and a Facebook page to seek support for reversing the sale. Also, they have organized against the zoning variance necessary for the town homes to be built. They have enlisted the original donor of the land who specified it was to be used only for a place of worship.  On June 21, the congregation posted a statement of facts by the vicar in charge that counters almost all the claims of the diocese concerning the financial and parking situations cited by Bishop Jon Bruno as the reason for the sale. They have taken their cause beyond the diocese by writing Episcopal Church bishops and posting a letter from their vicar on an House of Bishops and Deputies e-mail list.

Six Hmong among 33 ordained by in Minnesota

The ordination of 33 deacons and priests by Bishop Brian Prior on June 20, 2015, has to be among the largest ordinations ever held in Minnesota. It also is a landmark in the growth of an Episcopal ministry to the Hmong, as seven members of the Hmong congregation, Holy Apostles Church, were among the ordinands. Six of those, three men and three women, are Hmong. Two of the Hmong women and the one non-Hmong from Holy Apostles were ordained as vocational deacons. The other woman and three men were ordained as transitional deacons. That woman is on track to be the first Hmong woman to become a priest. The seven will all be part of a shared ministry team at Holy Apostles that also includes 7 commissioned lay ministers. The Minnesota diocese is not only leading the way in Hmong ministry but in shared ministry in general.  Twenty-one of the 33 ordinands are part of shared ministry teams who will serve as non-stipendiary priests in parishes around the diocese. Anglican Communion News Service covered the ordination story. The actual ordination can be viewed here.

Breakaway South Carolina group files argument with Supreme Court

The breakaway group led by former Episcopal bishop Mark Lawrence filed a brief with the South Carolina Supreme Court June 16, 2015. The Episcopal Church in South Carolina appealed the trial court decision awarding property to the breakaway group. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Supreme Court will hear arguments September 23. The Post and Courier covered this story. The press release from the Lawrence group, which includes a link to the brief, can be found here.

Episcopal Church General Convention begins June 25

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church officially begins June 25, 2015, in Salt Lake City. The convention will elect a new Presiding Bishop and deal with resolutions that could change the polity of the church and its position on marriage. As noted here last week, Episcopalians wishing to follow events in Salt Lake City can visit the General Convention’s Media Hub. There is also a Guidebook for the convention, available for computers, cell phones, and tablets that provides information on hearing schedules and other events. The main General Convention page on the Web is here. Episcopalians may also want to check out the new unofficial Web site House of Deputies News and its corresponding Facebook page.

PEP board member takes leave of absence after financial mismanagement charged

Lionel Deimel, the first President of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh and a current board member, has taken a leave of absence from the PEP board after being accused of mismanagement of the financial affairs of an elderly woman for whom he had power of attorney. The story was covered by Episcopal Café, which contains links to newspaper stories.