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, July 26, 2017

Week Ending 07/24/17

More Traditionalist Responses to English Synod Votes

  The debates in the recently concluded Synod of the Church of England have led to a series of protests by traditionalists upset that the church has now condemned "conversion therapy,"and has asked the House of Bishops to consider possible liturgical materials to mark the transition of a Transgendered person.  (See the Update story here.) On July 18, 23 people signed a call to "orthodox" Anglicans to consider joining in plans for a "faithful ecclesiastical future" in England.  Of these, five were prominent Church of England members, including the Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden, who until recently served as the Queen's chaplain.  The rest were members of groups already working outside Church of England structures.  It resembles early steps in the U.S. leading to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America, a point noted clearly in the coverage of the letter by the British Newspaper Telegraph. The parish of St. John, Newland, Hull in the Diocese of York has sent a letter to Archbishop Sentanmu that they will no longer contribute to the work of the diocese.  The stoppage of funds is in protest of the Archbishop's support of the measures passed by the Synod.  St. John Newland, an evangelical parish,  is one of the larger parishes in the diocese and is a member of GAFCON.  

Scottish Cathedral Will Do Same Sex Weddings 

St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow will be the first church in the British Isles to offer same-sex couples a marriage ceremony.  The parish has announced it is now taking  reservations for such marriages. One of their earliest bookings is by an English couple who cannot have a church wedding there.  The Cathedral expects to draw couples from all over the British Isles.

Hearing Panel Recommends Sanctions Against Bishop Bruno

St. James the Great in Newport Beach, CA has released copies of the draft decision prepared by the Hearing Panel. The most recent Update story on the Bruno case is here. The panel sent out the draft to get comment from the complainants and the Presiding Bishop.  Bishop Bruno is not allowed to send in comments. The draft recommends suspension for Bruno from all clerical and episcopal duties for 3 years, and that the property be returned to the parish.  The recommendation for suspension goes to the Disciplinary Board for Bishops headed by Bishop Catherine Waynick for action.  Bruno has the right to appeal.  The property recommendation would require action by Bishop Taylor, coadjutor of Los Angeles, and the diocesan Standing Committee.  The decision was 4-1.  Bishop Smith of North Dakota dissented saying that property matters were the preserve of the local bishop and diocese. The Episcopal Cafe article noted that Smith's views are not surprising since he is one of the Communion Partner bishops, who have argued that the Episcopal church is a loose federation of independent dioceses. The 91 page report of the Hearing Panel meticulously documents the timing of actions and upholds the claims of the parish members that Bishop Bruno had consistently mislead and misrepresented matters in dealings with the diocese, the parish, and its Vicar. The most detailed explainations of what the Hearing Panel recommendation means are found in the Episcopal News Service story and in that by Anglican.Ink.

Churches Continue Protests Against Current Health Care Proposals

An interdenominational group of clergy have continued to put pressure on U.S. Senators to defeat current Republican proposals on health care and fashion a bill that will provide affordable health care coverage to the more than 23 million Americans who are at risk of losing coverage they gained under the Affordable Care Act. This is the third week in a row that they have organized protests at the capitol.  Each time, some members have been arrested.  The most recent protest featured a funeral procession with members carrying a full-sized cardboard coffin with marchers carrying death certificates for individuals who would lose their health care.  This week they were joined by some from the medical community.  They have vowed to be back every week as long as people are threatened with loss of coverage. The Update carried a story earlier on a similar West Virginia protest by clergy.

Episcopal Leadership Weighs in on Texas "Bathroom Bill"

Republicans in Texas have revived efforts to pass a bill requiring Transgender people to use bathrooms based on the sex listed on their birth certificates of other official identification.  A number of large corporations, some police chiefs,and the Episcopal Church have all spoken against the bill.  The latest voice is a letter sent to Texas Speaker of the House, Joe Strauss, by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Curry and House of Deputies President Jennings.  This is their second letter to  Strauss who has been an opponent of the bill. The letter notes that the Church is scheduled to bring a 10,000 person convention to Austin in 2018 and that the Church moved the 1956 convention from Houston to Hawaii when it decided that some of those attending would face discrimination.

New Study on Doubt Among American Christians

The Barna Group, which does research on American religious attitudes and behavior with a special eye towards things of interest to evangelicals, has issued a new report based on surveys of Americans.  Approximately two-thirds of American Christians have had faith doubts at some point, how they resolve that doubt varies by age and connectedness to a worshiping community.  What was most notable is that those struggling with doubt withdraw from the institutional church and seek guidance from other sources.  You can read the summary report here.