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, December 21, 2016

Week Ending 12/19/16

Chief Operating Officer Nominated for Church Headquarters

The Executive Committee has approved the candidate nominated by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies as the new Chief Operating Officer for the Episcopal Church.  It is a deacon, Geoffrey T. Smith,  currently serving on the diocesan staff in New Hampshire.  He has previously served as a deacon in the Dioceses of Chicago, Maine, and Massachusetts.  He has a long career in the insurance field as a risk management officer, and has served in all four dioceses as a safe church trainer.  

Bell Ringer Controversy Continues

In October the Cathedral of York fired all of its bell ringers and announced it would be holding interviews to create a new group to ring the changes.  At the time there was a lack of communication between the cathedral dean and ringers, and an issue related to dismissal of one member suspected of sexual impropriety with a child.  The cathedral has been having difficulty in recruiting a new set of ringers and is now complaining about intimidation of candidates by the old ringers.  Thinking Anglicans has a good summary of the current flap, statements and counter-statements.

Lexington Bishop to Resign

Pittsburgh Update reported earlier on the unwillingness of the Diocese of Lexington to allow Bishop Douglas Hahn to return after a leave imposed because a past sexual affair  became public. Now there has been a joint announcement by the Standing Committee of the Diocese and Bishop Hahn that he will resign March 10, 2017.  Bishop Bruce Caldwell who has served as provisional bishop during Hahn's year-long leave, will continue in that role.

Church of England Appoints Second Black Bishop

When John Sentamu was chosen as Bishop of Stepney in 1996, he became the first black bishop in the Church of England.  He was still the only black bishop in 2005 when he became Archbishop of York.  Now, twenty years after he was consecrated a bishop, Sentamu will be joined in March by another African-born priest, Dr. Woyin Karowei Dorgu.  Dorgu has been chosen Bishop of Woolwich, a suffragan see in the diocese of Southwark.  Woolwich is an area of London with a large Nigerian population.  Before ordination, the newly nominated bishop served as a medical doctor.  His service as a priest has been entirely in the Diocese of London and he is the current president of AMEN (Anglican Minority Ethnic Network). The Guardian reports that Dorgu hopes to encourage more ethnic minorities to enter the Church of England ministry. The Episcopal Cafe also has a story on his appointment.

Famine in Africa

The Canadian Church's Anglican Journal reports that famine in Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe is forcing starving people to eat locusts which are toxic in large quantities.  The famine is a result of crop failures at least partially caused by climate change.  A bishop in Madagascar reported that one man collapsed from hunger as he was being confirmed, and that church officials had confirmed that some others had been too weak to come to the service.  Although the UN is providing some relief and the Anglican diocese are working with farmers to mitigate crop damage in the future, there is a need for immediate relief.  

Communion Secretary-General Fears African Churches Manipulated by American Conservatives

Bishop Joseph Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion gave an extensive audio tape interview to the Church of Ireland Gazette last week.  His comments on GAFCON and the role of American conservatives in creating the African anti-gay issue drew the most attention.  Idowu-Fearon stressed there was more diversity in Africa than the primates would admit. The real pressure was from American conservatives who have manipulated African Church leaders. The Church Times has a full story on the interview, Episcopal Cafe has a shorter one.

Standing Rock Chaplains Provided a Needed Service After Army Corp of Engineers Denies Pipeline Permit

An ecumenical group of 30 trauma chaplains, recruited to work during the witness of several thousand veterans at the site of pipeline protests in Standing Rock had to quickly switch their focus after arrival.  The 10 Episcopalians, 3 Buddhists, 6 Disciples of Christ, 4 Lutherans, 5 Unitarians, and 2 UCC ministers had just arrived when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it was denying a building permit for the pipeline on the last crucial segment.  The chaplains quickly switched gears to help the veterans present process their own reactions to the changed situation and a fast approaching blizzard.  The chaplains had come in response to an invitation issued by the Rev. John Floberg, priest of the Episcopal congregation at Canon Ball on the Standing Rock Reservation.  They left feeling part of a team and convinced an ecumenical group of chaplains had much to offer in other crisis situations. The Episcopal New Service story has interviews and comments from the group.