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, September 20, 2016

Week Ending 09/19/16

Presiding Bishop Heading to Standing Rock

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is heading to the Standing Rock Reservation to offer further support to those opposing construction of an oil pipeline that threatens the reservation water supply and cuts through places that the reservation has documented include sacred sites.  Curry has already issued a statement of support (See Update here) and a number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have issued statements of support (see here).  Curry will preside at a service at the Episcopal Church on the reservation during his visit.

Report Issued on Hostile Working Environment at Church Headquarters

At the time Presiding Bishop Curry fired three senior staff members in April 2016, he announced that an outside consulting firm would be providing a detailed study on the work culture at the Church Headquarters.  The consultants' report was released on September 15 at the House of Bishops meeting by a panel including the consultants and the President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop.  It was webcast so that members of the House of Deputies could also hear the report.  The Living Church's report on the presentation focused on the report's documentation of an atmosphere of fear and mistrust that discouraged employees from making suggestions or reporting problems. The comments from the panel, however,  and the Episcopal Digital Network emphasized the steps being taken to build of a healthier way of working, including the transparency being offered by the webcast, and the appointment of a new leadership team.

Episcopal Seminary Board Letter Stirs Further Controversy

When Bishop Gary Hall, Chair of the EDS Board issued an update letter on the process of closing the seminary, critics quickly pointed out that his version of events was at odds with those cited in a letter by Bishop Carol Gallagher who had resigned from the Board in protest over the way things were handled.  Hall characterized Gallagher's resignation as a result of a busy schedule.  Hall's letter is here.  Pittsburgh Update covered Gallagher's resignation here

Australian Church Leaders Take Issue with Archbishop's Letter

Last week the Update reported on a letter from the Melbourne Archbishop saying that the Anglican Church would support having a plebiscite sponsored by the government on the issue of same-sex marriage.  That letter has prompted other Archbishops and bishops in the Church to issue their own statements, several claiming that such a vote would be hurtful and encourage division.   The newspaper, the Guardian, has covered the responses.

Church Attorney Rebuts Bishop Bruno's Filing to Hearing Panel.

The Church Attorney,  who represents the Episcopal Church in the proceedings against Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles in a case springing from his attempt to shut and sell St. James the Great in New Port Beach,  has filed a response to Bruno's request that the Hearing Panel dismiss all charges. Anglican Ink has a story on the filing and a more readable copy of the complaint is found on the "Save St. James" website.  The response outlines why there is a substantive case against Bruno and denies the Bishop's claims that the proceeding is irregular.  Parties are now waiting for the Hearing Panel to present its findings. The Update covered Bruno's filing and the original post-hearing filings of the Petitioners and Church Attorney here

Welsh Anglicans to Open Communion to Baptized

The bishops of the Anglican Church in Wales have agreed to allow  baptized people to take communion beginning in 2017. The church has had communion open only to those confirmed by a bishop.   The announcement was made in a letter from Archbishop Barry Morgan.  A number of Provinces in the Anglican Communion already follow this practice including The Episcopal Church, and the Churches in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, but the announcement provoked some negative response from conservatives.

Canadian Church and Bishop's Elections

While the Diocese of Toronto was celebrating the election of three suffragan bishops (two of who are women), the Bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia called off the election of a bishop coadjutor after someone raised a canonical objection.  The suffragans in Toronto will actually serve as regional bishops with the diocesan delegating authority for most matters to them in their region.  The aborted election in Caledonia was part of events surrounding the retirement at the end of 2016 of  Bishop William Anderson who opposed ordination of gays and same-sex marriage.  An objection was raised to a synod he had called for October to elect a coadjutor.  The concern was that he would try to influence the voting to elect another conservative.  Now the synod will meet in April 2017.  Anderson got in trouble in 2004 for  accepting into his diocese a priest who had renounced his Episcopal ordination and set up a competing congregation in Wyoming because the priest opposed ordination of gays.