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         

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week Ending 02/22/16

W. Lee Hicks of Calvary Dies

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other news sources carried an obituary of the Rev. W. Lee Hicks on February 22, 2016.  The stories rightly emphasized Hicks role in starting Christian Associates of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Although an ordained Baptist minister, Hicks was a member of Calvary Episcopal Church, and in the early phases of rebuilding after the 2008 schism, he stepped forward to help.  Elected to the  diocesan Standing Committee at the special convention of 2008, Hicks served as secretary for the body.  He also later served as the diocesan representative to the Episcopal Appalachian Ministries.

Dublin Churches Closed for Easter

It will be a real challenge for the Anglican Cathedral and six other Anglican Churches in Dublin to celebrate Easter this year.  Because it is the 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising, which marks the beginning of a long struggle for Irish independence, the government has closed the Anglican Churches Easter for fear of violence.  Huge crowds are expected in the city for the parade marking the uprising, and all vehicle traffic in to the city center has been banned for the day. The closure does not affect services on Easter Eve, such as the vigil, and Anglican churches outside the city core are inviting those affected to worship with them.

Virginia House of Deputies Passes "Religious Exception" Law

The Virginia House of Deputies has passed a law shielding those with religious objections to LGBTQ people from legal action should they refuse service or otherwise discriminate against same LGBTQ people, or have sex outside of marriage.  The Virginia Governor is expected to kill the bill.  The bill bars state agencies from taking any financial action (such as imposing tax penalties or excluding business from government contracts) against those who discriminate against LGBTQ people for religious reasons.   The legislature may want to take a look at the survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute that shows a majority of Americans from all religious groups (including 55% of Virginians) are in favor of laws barring such discrimination.

More Fallout from the Primates Gathering

This last week both the Archbishop of  York and the Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Right Reverend James Tengatenga,  both agreed that the Episcopal Church was still in the Anglican Communion, and that the Communion had no power to enforce anything on one of the independent provinces that make up the Anglican Communion.  Tengatenga went further, saying he expected the delegates from the Episcopal Church to come and participate fully in the ACC meeting. The Archbishop of York responded to a letter asking if those provinces that supported criminal action against LGBTQ people would also be asked to stand aside.  His reply listed every instance that the Anglican Communion and the Church of England had made a statement about welcoming or understanding LGBTQ people, but stopped short of answering the question.  Thinking Anglicans has published a transcript of the questioning of the Archbishop of Canterbury on whether the Primates gathering's "consequences" for TEC was an attempt to implement the Anglican Covenant which had never been approved by the Church of England.  Meanwhile, the Episcopal Cafe published a statement by the only person directly affected by the Prinates' "consequences" - the Rev. Amy Richter, who serves on The International Reformed and Anglican Dialogue, and has been informed that it is likely the ACC will suspend her participation in that body.  She is the only Biblical Scholar and woman participating in the dialogue.

New Zealand Study Group Publishes Proposed Blessing Liturgies

A study group authorized in 2014 has published their final report on same-sex union blessings and related issues. As a result, the Anglican Churches in New Zealand will be voting on two new liturgies, one for blessing same sex couples who have opted for a civil marriage, and one for opposite sex couple who have done the same.  The study report makes clear that this does not change theological positions, but rather takes a generous reading of the phrase "rightly ordered relationships."  The same language also provides a path for same sex couples including an ordained person, or a person desiring ordination, to be allowed to serve in the church.  The proposal includes a number of "opt out" provisions, both for individuals and dioceses.