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 19, 2017

Week Ending 09/18/17

Survey Shows Americans Have Poor Grasp of First Amendment

A survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania done annually in honor of U.S. Constitution Day (September 17) reveals that nearly 20% of Americans do not believe that Muslims are covered by the First Amendment. Over 14% thought atheists were not covered.  Over a third of Americans could not name any of the rights guaranteed in the first amendment (religion, press, speech, assembly, and petition).  Those who were surveyed  were more likely to know about protections of religion than any other First Amendment rights. Over half of Americans surveyed thought undocumented immigrants had no constitutional rights, despite the U.S. Supreme Court having said that all those within the bounds of the U.S., including non-citizens, are covered by the equal protection of the laws clause of the 14th Amendment. 

Archbishop Appoints Committee to Propose Enlargement of Anglican Consultative Council

Justin Welby has appointed a committee to present a report on how to reshape the Anglican Consultative Council to be more reflective of the Communion's membership.  Members of the Committee include primates, bishops, clergy, and laity, all of whom are members of the ACC.  Although no members of the Episcopal Church are on the committee, the membership is not likely to warm the hearts of GAFCON.  The African members are from Burundi, South Africa, and Kenya.  The Kenyan is the bishop who led his deputation to the last ACC meeting over the objections of his archbishop who wanted them to boycott the meeting.  Others are from India, Scotland, Ireland, Central America, Canada, Brazil, and England.

Church Starts Rebuilding Plans for Christ Church Cathedral

Having finally made a decision to rebuild and restore their earth-quake damaged cathedral, Anglicans in Christ Church New Zealand have wasted no time in beginning the process of restoration and of raising the money needed to complete the work.  They have signed an agreement with the government to help in the process and people began calling asking how to donate before they could even fully set up a fund to receive the money.

Hurricane Recovery Updates

Episcopal Dioceses continue to struggle with the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  In Florida and Texas the dioceses are now in recovery and rebuilding mode, operating as relief centers even when their own buildings are damaged.  The diocesan offices in Southwest Florida were flooded and they are now operating out of temporary quarters. See the Episcopal News Services stories here and here and the Anglican Communion news story here.  In the Caribbean including Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Virginia Islands recovery is being hampered by the threats caused by hurricane Maria. All of the island nations are still dealing with food and supply shortages and trying evacuate people.  Now they are hurriedly trying to dispose of debris that Maria's strong winds could turn into deadly missiles. For more information, the diocese of Southwestern Florida, Southeastern Florida, West Texas, and Central Florida have more on their web pages. Texas has a simple form to fill out to offer help, but the ENS article has more on what they are doing. 

Anglican Church in Southern Africa Begins Conversations on Same Sex Marriage

Although the Church of Southern Africa Synod recently made no decision on a proposal to allow blessing of same sex marriages, the Archbishop is going forward with conversations on Human Sexuality which he hopes will prepare the way for the churches in South Africa, if not the rest of the province, to provide blessings in the future.  The conversations are seen by conservatives as the first step in a process that will allow blessings.  The Church of England Newspaper article that reported on the conversation used the second half of the article to report on conservative reaction and the ordination by Uganda's primate of a missionary from Uganda to serve inside South Africa, in other words starting the road to an ACNA-type counter church.  

Episcopalians File Response in South Carolina Case

The break-away group in South Carolina filed their briefs during the first week in September asking the South Carolina Supreme Court for a rehearing of their decision awarding most property to those who remained in the Episcopal Church. They also filed a request that one justice recuse herself because she was an Episcopalian.  The Episcopal Church in South Carolina was given 10 days to respond to this request, and they filed their answer this last week.  You can read it here.  Now the  matter is back in the hands of the state supreme court.

English Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Kills Self

Despondent over charges recently filed accusing him of sexual abuse 20 years earlier, the Rev. Martyn Neale, vicar of Hawley in Hamshire, England doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire.  His sister found his remains the the vicarage garden.  Reports say he was very troubled about the charges. The death in July is just being reported.  

Hearts Triumph Over Hate

When the members of St. James Episcopal Church in Bozeman, Montana came to church last week they found a Nazi symbol sprayed on their church sign.  The response has been to plaster the sign with paper hearts on which were written messages of love. The church calls itself the "stone church with a warm heart."