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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         

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Week Ending 5/23/22

 I apologize for the silence of the last several weeks.  I was traveling and all attempts to reach the blog site to post were blocked by the internet providers.  What follows is a long post with notices from What would have been the posts for weeks ending  May 9 and May 16 as well as May 23.

Episcopal Church Leaders Affirm Commitment to Right to Choose

Following the leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that signals a major overturn of Roe v. Wade and abortion rights, the President of the House of Deputies and Office of Government Relations issued a statement reiterating The Episcopal Church's support of the right of a woman to make all decisions related to her health care with, including an abortion.   The church's position has always recognized the sacredness of life, but stresses that includes women's lives, and while not supporting abortion as a mere convenience, sees the right to make decisions about reproductive health as essential to affirming the value of women.   The full statement is here.

Short, Smaller General Convention May Discuss Resolution on Open Communion

In response to the recent surge in covid-19 infections, including those tied to  Episcopal Church meetings, including this one, the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies, asked for a small planning commission to propose a way to limit possible infection and shorten the length of the upcoming General Convention.  The result is a 4 day convention with all ancillary group meetings eliminated,  limited in attendance to active bishops, deputies and first alternates, and dealing with only crucial legislation and elections.  One of the major proposals slated to be discussed at convention was a resolution which would open communion to the unbaptized.  The convention agenda has not yet been formalized to with enough detail to know if this controversial proposal will be discussed and voted on or not.

Sri Lankan Bishops Urge Government to Address Economic Issues

Sri Lanka has been hit by a rampant inflation and other economic woes that have left many in that country desperate, leading to violent protests.  The Bishops of the Church of Ceylon (the Anglican Communion province for Sri Lanka) have issued an open statement calling on the government to address the economic crisis before a "catastrophe" occurs,  and "listen to the cries of the people."  Rather than focus on suppressing demonstrations, the government needs to create and publicize short and long term plans to address the crisis. 

No Surprise -Trinity School For Ministry Picks ACNA Priest as Head

Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA has announced the choice of a new Dean and President of the seminary.   The Rev. Canon Dr. Bryan C. Hollon  will take the reins from the Rev. Dr. Laurie Thomson.  A well-published scholar, Hollon is currently a professor  of theology at Malone University, a small liberal arts college with about 800 undergraduates and 300 graduate students.  The college has its roots as a Bible College, but now offers a wide range of majors.  Hollon is one of two faculty members in the Department of Bible, Theology, and Ministry and serves as the director of the University's Center for Christian Faith and Culture.  His Ph.D. is from Baylor University in Texas, and his M.Div from Fuller Theological Seminary in California, and was ordained a priest in ACNA in 2015.
Trinity is confirming its position as an ACNA institution with this hire, and it remains a mystery why the Episcopal Church still lists it as one of its seminaries.

Continuing Themes

South Carolinians Begin Implementing Court Ruling

The fallout from the South Carolina Supreme Court Opinion giving all the diocesan property and 14 of the parishes currently participating in the ACNA diocese to the Episcopal diocese is still in its early stages. The ACNA Standing Committee has issued a statement saying that the diocese is not pursuing further legal hearings.  Eight individual parishes, have, however, asked for a rehearing of their cases Steve Skardon, Jr. who has had a blog focused on the SC Episcopal Church situation since 2004 has a May 4 essay that documents the initial reactions of the two groups, and provides commentary showing that the ACNA Diocese did not have the best interests of its parishes  in mind throughout the litigation.  Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley of the Episcopal Diocese has noted that the talks about implementation have moved from an initial meeting between the two bishops to a larger group including others from the two dioceses in order to begin discussion of the handover of the property.

Australian Synod Divided on Same Sex Marriage

The Australian Anglican Church Synod met May 8-13, with one of its majors issues a response to a desire of several dioceses to bless same sex marriages, and a ruling by the church court that nothing stood legally in the way of doing this.  Two resolutions were presented to the synod, one supporting same sex blessing and one insisting that marriage  was between one man and one woman.  Neither resolution passed both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, leaving the province in a standoff. A majority of Bishops supported the same sex marriage resolution, and a majority of the Deputies supported the one man, one woman resolution.  In civil law, same sex marriage is legal in Australia. As a result, GAFCON, which had organized an alternative "diocese" in July 2021, has issued a statement of shock, and will probably move forward inviting parishes to affiliate with its alternative as they did in New Zealand

Pandemic Forces Changes in Homeless Ministries

Before the pandemic, a number of Episcopal parishes participated in rotational shelters for the homeless where several local churches each took a turn at providing a week of housing in their building.  When the pandemic struck and church buildings closed, so did the rotational shelter.  In a number of places those working with the homeless then scrambled to find alternative housing.  Some rented a fixed space (such as a motel or former school).  These proved to give the homeless greater stability and has resulted in a change in how the parishes participate in helping the homeless, with no intention to return to a rotation.  Christianity Today has an article on the change.  Update has had a series of articles on ministries to the homeless before and during the pandemic.  The most recent is here.

United Methodists Begin Dividing

Because the United Methodist Church has been in conversations about full communion with The Episcopal Church, and both churches were planning on bringing a proposal to their general governance, Update has been following the debate and divisions within the Methodists over the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in all aspects of the Methodist Church life.  Update recently carried a notice of the body conservatives have created for congregations withdrawing from the United Methodists.  Christianity Today had an article detailing more about the new group and how congregations may join it.  This leaves the United Methodist body to pursue greater inclusion, which would put it more in line with The Episcopal Church positions. 

Lawsuit Filed in ACNA Abuse Mess

Update has been following the growing problems ACNA is facing in the Midwest due to the cover-up of a prominent lay church worker at one of the diocese's largest parishes.  The fall-out caused the resignation of several bishops (including the Pittsburgh one), two different organized groups of survivors, and two different investigations. Now, the family of a child abused by the worker has filed a civil lawsuit for damages, naming parishes, dioceses, and the whole of ACNA as complicit in the abuse.  The family hopes it will lead to others who were abused stepping forward.

 

Episcopal Elections Reinforce Diversity of the Church

Recent news about bishop elections in three dioceses, and the announcement that the Chicago Bishop elect, Paula Clark, has finally recovered enough from a serious stroke to have a consecration scheduled for September 2022, illustrate the growing diversity of the Episcopal episcopate. Clark will be Chicago's first black and first female to serve the diocese as Bishop. The dioceses of Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Florida have just concluded elections with the result that one conservative white male Charles Holt in Florida), one white male in a same sex marriage (Paul Mello in Massachusetts), and one white woman (Shannon Rogers Duckworth in Louisiana)  are joining the Episcopate.   Thus by the end of the year, the Church will have added one more black, two women, one gay male and one conservative male to the episcopacy.  Holt's election raised concerns among LGBTQ+ people in the diocese, but Holt says he will be a bishop to all, and firmly supports the resolution B012 which provides a means for parishes to conduct marriages for same sex couples. Update has long followed episcopal elections that create diversity (see a recent post here).  Readers may enjoy a picture of the women bishops who attended the March 2022 House of Bishops meeting.

Oxford Controversy Just Won't Go Away

 The controversy at Christ Church, Osford between the Dean and the faculty and board, seemed to have come to a conclusion with the announcement in February of a buy-out settlement with the Dean.  Update did note that there was a study underway on the governance of the college, but the Dean was back in the news this week.  He and his bishop ended up at odds over the service marking the end of the Dean's time at  Christ Church.  The Dean wanted to preach, but the bishop said "no."  Then the ceremony was moved to a location not under the control of the bishop, and the Dean used his sermon to get in final jabs at his opponents.  The web site thinkinganglicans.org  has compiled several accounts of this (hopefully) final chapter in this controversy.

GAFCON and ACNA Continue to Snub Lambeth 2022

 When the initial invitations went out for what was to be Lambeth 2020 (now Lambeth 2022), the Archbishop of Canterbury invited ANCA bishops to attend as ecumenical observers.  This did not sit well with the ACNA Archbishop, and he called it an insult, since he thought he should be invited as a member of the Anglican Communion.  Now that Lambeth is drawing near, GAFCON (also currently headed by the ACNA Archbishop) has put out another statement saying why they won't be attending.  The usual Archbishops from Uganda, Nigeria, and Rwanda/Burundi have said they will boycott Lambeth because the Anglican Communion has invited bishops from countries where LGBTQ+ people are included.

Episcopal Church Responds to Latest Mass Shootings

The mass shootings in Buffalo and at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas have elicited very quick responses from the Episcopal Leadership, and offers of support for the families of the victims.   The Episcopal News Service has articles on the statements on Buffalo here, and the statement by Bishop Reed of West Texas here.  Update has carried notice of the demonstrations organized at recent General Conventions by Bishops Against Gun Violence, and of previous statements issued by church leaders.

Dioceses of Texas and North Texas Fast-Track Merger

The Episcopal Church in North Texas (i.e. Fort Worth) and the Diocese of Texas are wasting no time moving forward with a merger proposal.  A special diocesan convention in Fort Worth has been called for June 18, and the Diocese of Texas will meet June 9.  These dates will allow the dioceses to ask for approval of the merger at the July streamlined General Convention.  The dioceses have created a special web site with information here.  Update carried the original announcement of a possible merger here  This is the second of the five dioceses most directly affected by schism to merge with a larger diocese in the same state.  The Diocese of Quincy became a deanery within the Diocese of Chicago in 2011.  Earlier this year, three of the Wisconsin dioceses also moved forward with a plan to merge. While not a formal merger, and requiring no approval from General convention, the bishops of three dioceses in New England have announced an agreement where they will serve as assisting bishops in each other's dioceses, another creative way of dealing with changing circumstances in dioceses with small memberships. The bishops of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are involved in the arrangement. 

Latest on Church Responses to War in Ukraine 

The Church of Wales has sent a request to the World Council of Churches distance itself from the  Russian Orthodox Church  because of Russian Church's support for the  invasion of the Ukraine. The Anglican Communion News site has more on this action.  Update has had several notices of the response by churches to the Ukraine invasion.  The most recent is here.



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Week Ending 5/2/22

Supreme Court Rules on Christian Flag Issue

When an ultra conservative was denied approval to fly the so-called "Christian Flag on the Boston municipal offices, he sued for denial of freedom of speech.  The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Boston City Government should not have denied the flag flying because they had allowed hundreds of groups to fly their flags in place of the municipal flag on a flagpole in front of the municipal offices. The number and variety lent support to the idea that the lack of enforced regulations on the process for applying to fly a specific flag had created an open forum that gave them no grounds to refuse a religious flag.   The decision leaves open the possibility for Boston to create additional regulations on what flags may be flown on the pole.  Both rreligionnews. com and the Associated Press carried stories on the decision.

"Sacred Ground" Initiative Report Shows Impact

The recently concluded Executive Council meeting in Puerto Rico heard reports on the impact that the 3 year-old racial justice initiative, "Sacred Ground" had on participants.  The small group curriculum have been developed by Katrina Brown as a follow-up to her videos on the role her family had played in the slave trade. In three years, the curriculum has reached over 20,000 Episcopalians, and when a sampling of 2900 were surved and reached via focus groups,  over two-thirds said the experience had had a major impact on their understanding of racism.  Ninety-four percent said they learned things that had been left out of their school lessons.  The Sacred Ground curriculum is providing an antidote to recent conservative attempts to bar discussion in schools of racism. 

Continuing Stories

Welby Apologizes for Indigenous Schools Abuse

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, used the occasion of a visit to Canada to announce his own apology to indigenous groups for the role that the Anglican Church has played in forced assimilation and through church-run residential schools. He termed it a "crime."  The children taken from their parents, were punished for any attempt to retain their native cultures, and a number died at the schools.  Canadian Church leaders had apologized in 1993, and more recently have been working to repatriate the bodies of children who died at the schools. 

More Perspective on South Carolina Court Decision

Steve Skardon, whose blog scepiscopalians.com has followed all the developments of the schism in South Carolina and the property law suits, has a piece posted April 25 that provides more perspective on the latest South Carolina Supreme Court opinion which gave diocesan property and 14 contested parishes  now participating in the ANCA group, to the South Carolina Episcopalians. Skardon notes that several of the 14 parishes are shocked at the outcome, and also that the new bishops of both dioceses have met and are trying to build as less contentious relationship.  Update carried the blog's announcement of the decision last week .

Misconduct Issues Grow Ever Larger

Attempts by ACNA leadership to limit the damage that might be done to their denomination by a sexual misconduct investigation continue to make things worse.  The group formed to provide support for the victims has apparently been more interested in mitigation of damages, and was not informing the members of their own committee who were supposed to provide victim support of complaints as they came in.  As a result, four women resigned.  Now one of them has written an article with a time line of ACNA actions and details on how the women with expertise in victim support were kept in the dark, or had their communications to victims suppressed or edited, and how both the Archbishop of ACNA and the bishop he appointed to lead an inquiry, put church reputation above victim support.   The official statement from ACNA  continues to downplay the issues.

Pittsburgh ACNA Elects Bishop

The ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh elected the one outsider among its three candidates for bishop.   The Rev. Alex Cameron supports ordination of women, which will make the women clergy in that diocese breathe a sigh of relief.  That election will have to be approved by the ACNA House of Bishops before it final. Cameron has led a Canadian Foundation, the Isaiah Forty Foundation since 1936.   It provides leadership and spiritual programs in Canada, and most recently in parts of the U.S.  Cameron is currently residing in Chicago where he is working with a parish;  the Foundation he heads is based in Montreal. The previous Pittsburgh bishop had resigned in 2020 due to his handling of someone connected to a misconduct case that has become a major scandal in ACNA (see previous story). 

Conservatives Begin Implementing Methodist Exit Strategy

When U.S. conservatives and international members joined forces at the last Methodist synod to put stronger provisions into governing documents against LGBTQ members, they touched off forces that have led to the division of the Church.  Initially, liberals talked of leaving, but then a groups worked out a proposal for conservative congregations to form a separate body and leave with their property. Full implementation has been caught up in delays of the next synod due to the covid pandemic.  Now conservatives have announced formation of the Global Methodist Church.  Congregations have to vote to leave the United Methodist Church for the new one, and this will take time.  This development, however, should help clear the way for a full communion agreement between The Episcopal Church and the United Methodists to be accepted at the next major meetings of both denominations. Discussion and approval of the full communion agreement was removed from the  General Convention delayed from 2021 to 2022, and has been referred to 2024 because of Methodist meeting delays. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Week Ending 4/25/22

Fort Worth Episcopalians Explore Merger

Following the disappointing Texas Supreme Court opinion that  left loyal Episcopalians in Fort Worth without parish and diocesan property, the diocese (now calling itself the Episcopal Church in North Texas)needed to think outside the box.  It turns out that what diocesan leaders did was to look to a bigger box, the Diocese of Texas and began talking to that diocese about a possible merger.  Conversations reached the point that last week the two dioceses made a formal announcement jointly about their talks.  While there are still some legal cases pending, the remaining legal issues seem manageable.  The official press release for the diocese is here.  Provisional Bishop Mayer's pastoral letter provides some additional information, and the article by the Episcopal News Service has a larger context.  While it might have seemed natural to reunite with the neighboring Episcopal Diocese of Dallas from which the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was created, Dallas's conservative leadership is not a good match with the Episcopalians in the Fort Worth area.  Provisional Bishop Mayer is the bishop of Northwest Texas, and that diocese might have seemed an obvious match, but apparently it has been the much larger and wealthier Diocese of Texas that had stepped forward to help Episcopalians in North Texas, and thus was the best candidate to help in rebuilding.

Canadian Archbishop McDonald Resigns

Archbishop Mark McDonald, who has been the leader of Indigenous Anglicans in Canada since 2007, and was instrumental in the drafting and shaping of the Canadian Church's development of an Indigenous autonomous Church within a church, has resigned following sexual misconduct charges.  The nature of the charges are not public, but McDonald has confirmed their truth. His resignation is a major blow to the Anglican Church in Canada, and to Indigenous peoples in both Canada and the Episcopal Church.  Ordained in Minnesota, former bishop of the Diocese of Alaska and as an Assisting Bishop in Navajoland, McDonald was a respected leader and regular blogger.  Both The Living Church and the Anglican Journal have more to add about his leadership and the impact of his resignation.

English Church Leaders Criticize Plan to Send Refugees to Rwanda

 The Archbishops of Canterbury and York were among the church leaders in England to criticize and raise moral questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of an agreement that would send asylum seekers trying to reach England without appropriate documents to Rwanda where they would be processed and settled.  Church leaders pointed out that Rwanda has a  growing list of civil liberty violations and the resettlement a deflection of England's own duties to welcome refugees.  That criticism  touched off a battle of words between Johnson (accused of a responding to Archbishop Welby with a "disgraceful slur") and English bishops who defended Welby. Newspapers have weighed in on both sides, leaving the actual policy issues behind to focus on the personal clash.   Thinking Anglicans has links to all of this.

Continuing Stories

South Carolina Supreme Court Gives Split Decision

Last week saw the latest attempt of the South Carolina Supreme Court to settle the property issues created when Mark Lawrence tried to take the Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church with all of its property.  In 2017 the court, in a decision where each judge wrote a separate opinion, seemed to award all diocesan property and most parish property to those who remained in the Episcopal Church.  They remitted the decision to a District Court for implementation.  That judge delayed for several years and then undid the Supreme Court decision by awarding all property to the schismatics.  South Carolina Episcopalians appealed and the case was argued in December 2021.  Update has covered all of that.  Now the Supreme Court has issued an opinion that is self-enforcing.  The Court deferred to the Federal Court trademark decision that gave the loyal Episcopalians full claim to the name, title, seals, and recognition of the diocese.  Thus it confirmed that all diocesan property belongs to the loyal Episcopalians (referred to in the opinion as the "Associated Diocese).  This includes the church camp, and the bishop's residence (where Mark Lawrence is living).  Parish properties were split with 15 parishes currently part of ACNA getting to keep their property, and 14 parishes having their property returned to the Episcopalians.   To do this the judges made some hairsplitting rulings about what constituted accession to the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons.  Because Mark Lawrence is retiring, and a new bishop has been elected by the schismatic (ACNA) group, the next steps may not be so hostile.  The bishops of the two groups have already met to begin looking at how to handle the transition.  Meanwhile, both sides are also deciding whether they will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court opinion is here.  The statements by  Episcopal Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley and the new ACNA bishop, Chip Edgar are here and here. The official notice by  the Episcopal Diocese is here.  The April 20 entry in the blog scepiscopalians.com  has some interesting comments about the pressures on the state court.  The Episcopal News Service, The Living Church, and Anglican.ink all covered the story.  The Anglican.ink article is written by one of the lawyers who argued for schismatics in California, but gives a clear example of the hairsplitting logic used by the court.

Jesus College Won't Appeal Decision on Statue

Last week, Update carried a story on the outcome of a petition by Jesus College to remove from its chapel a memorial to a major benefactor of the college in its early years. Much of the benefactor's wealth had come from investments in slave trading. The College had intended to display it in another place on campus where it could be contextualized.  Because the Chapel is listed as a historic building the College needed approval from the Diocese.  The Chancellor ruled against the college.  This week, came word that the College did not want to spend additional resources on an appeal.  This disappointed many.  Archbishop Welby weighed in saying he understood that the court had ruled, but that he still hoped a way could be found to eventually move the memorial from the chapel.

Japan Consecrates Its First Woman Bishop 

In December 2021, Update noted the November election of Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori as bishop in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, (the Anglican Communion Province in Japan).  She would be the first woman to serve as bishop in East Asia, and the second in the whole of Asia.   On Saturday she was consecrated as Bishop of Hokkaido.  She has been a priest in the Diocese of Tokyo.  The diocese of Hokkaido has 24 parishes.  Bishop Sasamori will be a pioneer in Japan because although Japan began ordaining women as priests in 1998, three of their eleven dioceses still do not do so.  Sasamori had been the Dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Tokyo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Week Ending 4/18/22

 Rising Antisemitism Prompts Look at  Good Friday Liturgy

The recent rise in hate actions against Jews has prompted church members to again look at the use and translation of the Gospel According to John.  That account is specified for Good Friday.  It is also the account that directly links Jesus's death to the Jewish community.  The text of John has been used in the past to justify action against Jews as those who killed Christ.  Episcopal News Service has a story on the discussion and on an alternative translation authorized for use by one of the Texas dioceses.  The articles is here

Anglicans Helped Pass New UN Resolution against One-Use Plastics

In response to growing concerns about the environment, the United Nations Environmental Assembly passed a resolution calling on all countries to reach an international accord by 2024 on the epidemic of one-use plastics.  The Anglican Consultative Council had representatives present at the assembly in Nairobi.  The ACC was the major drafter of a letter from faith communities that was submitted to the assembly, lobbied the 173 member nations, and testifying on the damage done by plastics not able to be recycled. For more on the resolution and the role played by the ACC, you can read the Anglican Communion News story here

Continuing Themes:

Parish Organizes Help for Ukrainian Refugees Sent to Italy

When the son and daughter-in-law of Grace Episcopal Church, Ocala FL members reported that the church they attended in Italy had been turned into a refugee center for Ukrainian refugees, the parish quickly sprung into action, raising money for needed supplies for the refugees.  The effort is on-going
More about the effort here.  The Italian congregation is not affiliated with the Anglican Communion, making the effort one of many interdenominational efforts to help refugees. Update has carried other stories of church efforts to help Ukrainian refugees. The most recent is here

Jesus College Chapel Denied Permission to Remove Statue 

The Episcopal Church has seen parishes and other institutions removing and re-interpreting memorials, art work, and windows commemorating those who participated in enslaving black or promoting forms of racism.  Update has posted a number of notices about these activities, most recently here.  In England, however, things are more complicated.  Jesus College, Cambridge had numerous memorials including a lecture series, annual dinner, portraits, and a statue in the college chapel in honor of Tobias Rustat who had been a major benefactor of the college in the 1600s.   Rustat, however, made at least part of his wealth by investing in the Royal African Company which was one of the largest transporters of enslaved Africans to British Colonies.  The college had petitioned to remove the statue to another location at the college where it could be contextualized.  However, because the building is listed on the British historic register, the college needed approval of the Diocesan Court.  The Diocese of Ely Chancellor ruled against removal, noting that all donors are flawed individuals and leaving the new head of Jesus College, Sonita Alleyne, the descendant of those enslaved on Barbados in the uncomfortable position of having to conduct her duties as College Master while staring directly at the memorial. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Week Ending 04/11/22

Chancellor Who Defended Church Property Dies

David Booth Beers served as the Chancellor to the Presiding Bishops under three different Presiding Bishops.  His service came in a very challenging times as  schismatics tried to leave the Episcopal Church and take property with them, contrary to the Canons of the Episcopal Church.  Beers was largely successful in his defense in secular courts.  He was also helpful to those in Pittsburgh who were trying to plan for life after schism, meeting with lay leaders several times as it became clear what was  transpiring.  He continued long after the usual retirement age, but eventually turned over those duties to others.  Beers, 86, died last week and his passing has brought out numerous statements of gratitude for his devotion and service to the church.  You can read more, here.

Graduate Theological Union Offers On-Line Short Courses

The Church Divinity School  of the Pacific (CDSP) is one of the participating theological schools that make up the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, CA.  GTU has announced an expanded effort to offer theological and religious studies courses to any and all who might be interested. Religion News Service picked up the story here.  The courses are on-line  and are shorter than a standard term.  They draw on all of the resources  and faculty of the very diverse  religious organizations that make up the union.   You can learn more about what CDSP, the participant from the Episcopal Church, has to offer, through links found here.  

Continuing Stories

Ukrainian Anglicans Connect Despite Diaspora 

Members of the Church of England parish in Kyiv have dispersed as refugees from the city, but they are managing to stay in touch with each other.  by connecting on the internet and participating in services on-line provided by the Diocese in Europe.  Update earlier carried a notice of the experience of a parish member during the siege of Kyiv. 

Trans Anglicans in England Concerned by Latest Move by Bishops

In May of 2021 the Church of England House of Bishops adopted a study report on sexuality that was supposed to provide welcome for the LGBTQ community. However, at the March 2022 House of Bishops meeting the bishops decided to separate out the trans community and while endorsing a ban on conversion therapy for others in the LGBTQ community, asked for a new study committee on conversion therapy for the transgendered. Frustratingly, the British government has left the trans community out of the law banning conversion therapy being considered by Parliament. There have been a series of protests that another study would be damaging, and expressing frustration that the resources already provided were being bypassed.  Two of these statements are here and here.  Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams is among the religious leaders who petitioned Parliament to make the ban inclusive of transgendered.  In the U.S., the trans community is facing state actions that are hurtful to the trans population (such as the law signed this week by the governor of Alabama, criminalizing any medical treatment for minors for gender dysphoria). Update earlier covered the statement by the TEC House of Bishops decrying these anti-transgender laws and urging a full welcome in TEC parishes.

Christ Church, Oxford to Do Governance Review

Christ Church, Oxford has announced that it is searching for an independent outside reviewer to do a thorough review of the college/cathedral governance.  The College did a study in 2011, but since that time has been embroiled in a long, and very nasty controversy between the faculty, and the Dean of the Cathedral and College.  Update carried numerous notices of the battles including the final settlement reached in February of this year.  The Board of Trustees provided as generous settlement to have the Dean at the center of the controversy resign. Problems with the governance structure were evident throughout the controversy, and the College and Cathedral's non-profit status threatened by a review by the Charities Board.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Week Ending 4/4/22

Anglican Communion Primates Focus on Refugees, Climate, and Persecution

After two years of meeting virtually, the titular heads of the independent churches (or provinces) of the Anglican Communion met in person in England at Lambeth Palace.  Originally scheduled for Rome covid-19 travel complications meant that the venue was changed at the end.  The Three most disaffected province leaders did not attend, and one or two others had complications that kept them away, but the may leaders present managed to find a number of issues that were shared concerns.  Their final communique reflected those.  They were concerned about the Ukraine and refugees there and in other parts of the world, about the effects of climate change and growing hunger in the world.  They expressed concern for political actions that harmed several provinces in Africa and the Middle East, and for forced conversions and attacks on Christians in several countries.  What did not come up in the Communique was any statement on sexuality or actions taken to affirm or penalize  LGBTQ people in various of the provinces.  The full communique is available here.

Continuing Stories

ACNA Misconduct Issues Spread

Members of the Christ Our Hope Diocese of ACNA have contacted the ACNAtoo group in the Midwest because they too have not received a complete hearing or action from their bishop following charges of abuse in a Washington D.C. parish. Christ Our Hope is made up of congregations located in 9 eastern states.  The Diocese originally was part of AMiA.   The number of ACNA bishops now caught up in charges of not adequately pursuing complaints of misconduct keeps growing.  Episcopal Cafe has the story here.  Update has carried several notices of events in the Midwest diocese. The most recent is here.

Old Issues Dredged Up by Anglican Fellowship

The American Anglican Fellowship, Inc. has sent a petition to the Episcopal House of Bishops asking the House submit a resolution to General Convention.  The resolution desired would ask  that all the clergy "deposed" following those clergy leaving the Episcopal Church as part of organized withdrawals of congregations from Episcopal Church be restored to their ministries and the Dennis Canon be repealed.  If you are wondering who this group is, Anglican.ink  answered that in 2014.  It is the American Anglican Council after a name change.  It now claims to be a philanthropic group.  The petition should be laughed out of the House of Bishops.  First of all many of the 700 plus clergy referred to in the petition were not deposed.  Those in Pittsburgh and South Carolina, (over a third of the total were "released."  See the actions reported on by Update here and here.  South Carolina started the deposition process, but chose to follow Pittsburgh's route and release the clergy which left them outside the Episcopal Church but still clergy and facilitated clergy returning to the TEC (which some have done in both dioceses).  Secondly, any depositions were done under the canons for abandonment of the communion, and clergy were given notice and opportunity to say they wanted to still be Episcopalians before the process was finished.  See the Update stories on Fort Worth and San Joaquin here and here.  Colorado clergy who went to the AMiA also were included in this petition. For those who may not recognize the name of the American Anglican Council, it is the group that promoted the Anglican Network which then morphed into the separate denomination the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).  It is not clear if the AAF asked any of the clergy if they wanted to come back to TEC.   

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Week Ending 03/27/22

All Stories are updates on continuing themes. 

Diocese Using Land to Address Housing Shortage

Update has carried notices a number of times on parishes that are addressing affordable housing shortages in their communities. (The most recent is here.) Our latest report, however is about a diocesan effort.  The Diocese of California is  going to develop a 9 acre plot of land it owns in a way that will create a mix of housing, rented and purchased and continue an organic farming effort that also helps feed the hungry and the community that will be developed around it.  You can read more on this effort here.

U.N. Women's Meeting has U.S. Members Learning From Others

Once again the Episcopal Church has a deputation attending the annual United Nations Conference on Women.  In additional to the official deputation, the Episcopal Church has another attendee because the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton of Everett, Washington is a member of the an official Anglican Communion deputation.  The focus at this year's meeting is environmental and climate related issues and their impact on women.  Update has covered the conference each year.  The notice on the 2021 Conference is here. The meetings are being held virtually on-line.

Bishops Speak Out on Current  Issues

At the meeting of the House of Bishops last week, the Bishops prepared statements on several hot topics.  This was the first in-person meeting since the pandemic.  Meeting at Camp Allen in Texas the bishops issued a strong statement against recent state legislation and other actions aimed at the Transgender community.  The Texas governor was one of those who had issued policy directives that would adversely affect many transgender children and their parents. They issued a statement condemning the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia and the indiscriminate attacks on civilians that is a part of that invasion.  The measure also called for praying for peace  and for the many refugees from the conflict.  Update has carried earlier statements by church officials on the Ukraine, and by Church leaders on some of the most harmful actions against transgendered people.  


The editor apologizes for the latest of this posting, but teaching commitments overwhelmed the first part of the week.