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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Does Pittsburgh Have a Prayer?

From the Faithburgh blog of Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter Ann Rodgers posted on Friday April 22

It does each Holy Saturday. Each year on the day before western Easter (which this year is also eastern Easter), local leaders of the Catholic, Orthodox and many Protestant churches gather on the Mount Washington overlook to pray for the city. They also bless it with holy water.
This tradition goes back 19 years, and is a ministry of the Christian Leaders Fellowship. That's a group of these same bishops and their equivalents who gather once a month for breakfast at each other's homes. There they study the Bible, pray together -- and commiserate

about the difficulties of being a church leader. The annual blessing of the city stemmed from their desire to show unity in their care for all of the people of Pittsburgh.
Close friendships have grown up between some leaders of these churches. Even where close friendship may be difficult, it's a setting where barriers are broken down. One Christian leader recently told me how moved he was to see Anglican Archbishop Robert Duncan and Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price -- whose rival dioceses are locked in property litigation --holding hands in prayer and asking the others to pray that they would be able to resolve their difficulties in a manner that honors Christ. The Christian Leaders Fellowship also sponsors the Pittsburgh Creche, the world's only replica of the Vatican creche, that is on display each Advent and Christmas in USX Plaza.
The Christian leaders will gather at 10 a.m. Saturday April 23, on the Mount Washington Overlook just east of McArdle roadway, to pray and bless the city. It's a very short service. If you want to witness it, be on time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Luther: "by the power of 'free-will' none could be saved"

Made may day! h/t to the blogger Northwest Anglican

I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want 'free-will' to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavor after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversaries, and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground and hold fast my 'free-will' (for one devil is stronger than all men, and on these terms no man could be saved); but because, even were there no dangers, adversities, or devils, I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success, and to beat my fists at the air. If I lived and worked to all eternity, my conscience would never reach comfortable certainty as to how much it must do to satisfy God. Whatever work I had done, there would still be a nagging doubt as to whether it pleased God, or whether He required something more. The experience of all who seek righteousness by works proves that; and I learned it well enough myself over a period of many years, to my great hurt. But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working and running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. 'No one,' He says, 'shall pluck them out of my hand, because my Father which gave them me is greater than all' (John 10.28-29). Thus it is that, if not all, yet some, indeed many, are saved; whereas, by the power of 'free-will' none at all could be saved, but every one of us would perish.

- Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pee Bee Visit to TEC-Pgh 2011

Presiding Bishop Visit 2011

Perhaps newly reinstated TEC priest Whis Hays will report on the "private discussion" at the afternoon meeting with the clergy. From

The Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, will make her first official visit to the Diocese of Pittsburgh on Tuesday of Holy Week.

All are invited to join her on April 19 for a short worship service and open forum beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral, 328 Sixth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. A reception will follow, at which the Presiding Bishop will be available to sign her most recent book, The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything. Calvary's Bookstore will make copies available at the event at a discounted price of $20.00.

Earlier that day, the Presiding Bishop will celebrate the Eucharist and preach at the annual Renewal of Ordination Vows. That service, at 10:00 a.m at St. Stephen's, Wilkinsburg, is also open to the public. During the afternoon she will have a private discussion with the clergy of the diocese.

Clergy are reminded that the color for the day is red and to please register for lunch and healing oil by clicking here.

Bishop Katharine previously visited Pittsburgh as a guest of Calvary Church on November 2, 2008.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Appeal

Statement from Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Posted on the Anglican Curmudgeon blog on April 6, 2011 11:54 AM EDT

"On March 29, the Appellate Court issued an order denying the Anglican Diocese's request for a re-hearing. The Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese had previously determined that they would exhaust all legal avenues to defend diocesan assets and parish property. The Anglican diocese will petition for a hearing to the State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Negotiations with TEC

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

The Pittsburgh Episcopal diocese and 41 breakaway Anglican parishes scattered throughout Western Pennsylvania are ready to discuss their financial differences.

"At this point, negotiations are the way forward," said Bishop William Ilgenfritz of St. Mary's, the Anglican parish in Charleroi, which is waiting for the Episcopal diocese to set a starting date for talks.

Negotiations over property issues are expected to take place on a parish-by-parish basis, church leaders said, although it's not clear when negotiations will begin.

The split in the Pittsburgh diocese developed over disagreements involving biblical teaching on salvation and other issues, including homosexuality. The diocese called a special convention after the election of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Clergy and lay members of the Pittsburgh diocese voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to cut ties with the theologically liberal national church.

In February, Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. invited the individual Anglican parishes to "contact me to begin a conversation seeking an amicable resolution" of property issues.

For the 24 parishes whose church building titles are held by the Episcopal diocese, the negotiations will revolve around the buildings themselves. The remaining parishes have bank accounts and other property, such as sound systems and office equipment, that could figure in reaching a financial arrangement with the Episcopal diocese.

Price's letter to the parishes cited agreements the diocese reached with St. Philip's in Moon Township and the Somerset Anglican Fellowship in Somerset.

"In reaching these two very diverse agreements," Price wrote, "we believe we negotiated in good faith to balance the desires of the congregations with the requirement of this diocese and the Episcopal Church."

A state appeals court last winter affirmed the Episcopal diocese's claim to more than $20 million in assets held by the breakaway parishes, which have formed the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The Anglican diocese appealed the court ruling. Commonwealth Court could grant a rehearing or ignore the request. The court has been silent about what it will do.

Ilgenfritz said he had no idea what a negotiated deal might mean for his parish.

"I can't even begin to determine that," he said.

The church building in Charleroi is 110 years old, according to Ilgenfritz, who said the ideal settlement would clear the way for his parish of 200 to "thrive."

The Rev. Gary Miller, pastor of Holy Innocents, an Anglican congregation, refused to comment on anything related to negotiations with the Episcopal diocese.

"Right now, I would refer you to the diocese," Miller said. "It's a very delicate time right now."

Rich Creehan, a spokesman for the Episcopal diocese, said church officials are "in the process of reaching out to each" of the breakaway parishes. He said the diocese is "determined to put the dispute behind us" and that church officials are hoping for "mutually agreeable" settlements.

According to Anglican officials, a majority of parishes have replied to Price's letter and are awaiting an answer and the beginning of talks.

The Rev. John Bailey of St. Andrew's Anglican Church in New Kensington said his parish's negotiating team will include himself and a lay member of the congregation, likely "a seasoned attorney."

Bailey said that the Anglican diocese would act in an advisory capacity for the talks. At the suggestion of the diocese, Bailey said, the parish has completed an inventory of its property and has looked for a new building in which to worship.

"We are trying to find out what is the best option for us in the Allegheny Valley," Bailey said. "If it comes to that, and we would find better property in a better location, we would be willing to leave our property."

Bailey said he was not sure how strong a hand he will have in negotiations with Episcopal officials.

He said he would not negotiate a settlement in which the parish would be forced to sever its relationship with the Anglican diocese. That was part of the deal the Episcopal diocese struck with St. Philip's Church in Moon, which is barred from Anglican membership for five years or until their financial settlement is paid in full, Bailey said.

Some Anglican priests said they are trusting God to guide them in the negotiations.

"It really is what God wants to do with the church in the future," said Christopher Klukas, the rector of St. Martin's in Monroeville. "I don't know what the best outcome would be."

Details of the agreement the Episcopal diocese struck with St. Philip's were not disclosed, though it is known to include a financial settlement. The deal with the Anglican church in Somerset included the return of liturgical items used for worship.

The Somerset Anglican Fellowship meets in a storefront in Georgian Place. The Fellowship split with the St. Francis-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, which retained the church building in Somerset.