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, February 15, 2017

Week Ending 2/13/17

Executive Council takes Strong Stands on Pipeline and Refugees

As Update reported last week,  work on the Dakota pipeline has resumed following clearance by the Army Corps of Engineers, and so have protests at the site.  At its meeting last week,the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church reaffirmed its opposition to the pipeline and called on Episcopalians to support the Standing Rock Sioux in their protests, including a March 10 march on Washington.  The Council also took action to support Episcopal Migration Ministries with $500,000 to help with their immediate needs as funding for the ministry's work normally comes from government contracts that provide funds when new refugees enter the country. 

Council also directed the Presiding Bishop to investigate if it was "advisable" to file suit challenging the changes in refugee policy by the new administration in Washington.  The Diocese of Olympia has already filed suit.  The Episcopal Church was not the only religious body making statements in response to the recent executive order on entry into the U.S.  The Methodist Bishop of New York (formerly Bishop in Pittsburgh) Thomas Bickerton has also urged Methodists to take a stand, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out against a cancellation of an agreement that allowed refugee children to be settled in Britain.  The agreement was cancelled immediately following the announcement of the U.S. executive order.

Sauls Lawsuit Claims Conspiracy to Oust Him

Last week's Update carried the link to a letter issued by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies on a lawsuit filed by former church Chief Operating Officer, Bishop Stacy Sauls.  The contents of his filing are now available, and Sauls is asking for damages because his reputation has been so seriously damaged by a multi-year conspiracy led by Gay Jennings, President of the House of Deputies and others inside and outside the Church Center, that Sauls is now unemployable.
According to the former COO, the purpose of the conspiracy was to increase the power of the office of President of the House of Deputies so that it would overshadow the Presiding Bishop.  Alex Haley has some pointed, if one-sided comments on the filing here.

Whither General Convention 2018?

Presiding Bishop Curry and President of the House of Deputies, Gay Jennings have sent a letter to Texas officials opposing passage of a law requiring people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender assigned on their birth certificates.  The letter pointedly notes that the 1955 General Convention had been scheduled for Houston but was moved to Hawaii when it became clear that the civil rights of some of those who would attend General Convention would not be honored.  The letter makes clear that the church will not allow rights of any who attend General Convention, including transgendered people, to be restricted.  This was clearly a veiled threat that if the proposed bill passes, the church may well go elsewhere.

New Survey Shows Religious Divide on Same-Sex Marriage  and Little Support for Laws Allowing Denial of Service

A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute using a data base of over 47,000 respondents shows that a majority of Americans, including those from most churches now support same-sex marriages.  Only three groups (Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and White Evangelical Protestants) had majorities disapproving of same-sex marriage.  Three more categories -- black protestants, hispanic protestants, and muslims -- had results showing both supporters and opponents in the mid-forty percents with those who offered no opinion keeping totals for either position below a majority.  Catholics (hispanic and white), white mainline protestants, orthodox Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarian Universalists, other religions, and the non-religious all now have majorities accepting same-sex marriage. On a question about  whether small businesses should be able for religious reasons to deny products or services to LGBTQ, every group except for white evangelical protestants had a majority disapproving a denial of services.  The percentages were not even close. The white evangelicals were nearly split in half, with 50% supporting the right to deny services and the other 50% either not responding and opposing the denial.

Church of England Archbishops Recognize Validity of ACNA Orders

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a statement saying that they recognize the ordinations of members of the ACNA clergy as valid (i.e. comikng from the historic episcopate).  This is the same status accorded clergy in the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa, and The Free Church of England. Because this is a status awarded others not part of the Anglican Communion, it is not a back door admission of ACNA to the Communion.  In fact, it can be interpreted in the reverse, a recognition that ACNA is a separate denomination. 

Archbishop Welby Draws Parallels Between Trump, Brexit, and Neo-Fascism

In his opening speech to the Church of England Synod meeting, Archbishop Welby drew parallels in an unflattering way between the election of Donald Trump and the decision to leave the European Union, suggesting both are drawing on a vein of Neo-Fascism in society.  A full discussion and a link to his talk his here.