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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 13, 2017

Week Ending 12/11/17

Planning to Keep the Next Lambeth Conference Civil

Canadian Archbishop Hilz is just back from a four week visit to England where he consulted with Archbishop of Canterbury Welby on plans for the 2020 Lambeth Conference.  Hilz annually visits England to consult with those in the Anglican Communion, but this visit included conversation on plans for Lambeth since Hilz is on the committee appointed to help with planning.  The discussions focused on how to make sure that the many pressing areas of concern, such as climate change, human trafficking, and the Middle East, will not be shoved to the side by discussion of human sexuality. 

New Zealanders Unhappy at Tax Support for Rebuilding Cathedral

 It seems that the controversy surrounding the earthquake damaged cathedral in Christ Church, New Zealand simply will not go away.  For six years the Anglican diocese has been trying to decide what to do with a building so badly damaged that not one can enter.  The diocese originally wanted to tear it down and rebuild, but local historic preservationists wanted the building restored, although the cost would be much more.  This summer the diocese decided to restore the building after government and outside funds were offered to help with the costs.  Now a number of residents in Christ Church are complaining that the city is planning on raising taxes to cover their share of the pledged money.

Priest in Road Rage Case May Plea Bargain

 The Western North Carolina priest involved in a road-rage incident in Florida has withdrawn his not-guilty plea and plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of improperly displaying a weapon if everything goes according to plans in court this Friday.  The bargain would reduce charges from a felony with a possible 15 year sentence to a misdemeanor with a year probation.  Both Anglican.ink and local southern Florida papers carried the story.  Update has information on the original incident here.

Church of England Facing Tactics Familiar to TEC

 Members of the Episcopal Church will find events orchestrated by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) taking on an increasingly familiar turn.  This last week English commentators were discussing the impact of the ordination of a group of priests by ACNA consecrated Bishop Andy Lines to serve parishes not wishing to continue in the Church of England.  For statements from a number of those supporting this extra-jurisdictional ordination, look here. Then one of the leading evangelical parishes in London declared it was not in communion with the other members of their Church of England deanery  and would no longer worship with them at any meetings.  They accused the other churches and leaders of apostacy.  This followed the announcement covered by the Update earlier that a small parish in Scotland was withdrawing from the Episcopal Church of Scotland and going under the jurisdiction of Lines. Topping off the week the Global South leaders issued a statement saying they were in full communion with ACNA thus trying to counter the recent statements saying that ACNA was not a member of the Anglican Communion.

Report on Protests in Charlottesville Released

A careful and detailed report on the official handling of the protests in Charlottesville, VA this last summer dishes out a lot of criticism to the public safety officials who were charged with keeping order.  The report also brings into better view how the well-publicized August protests were actually the third set of demonstrations in the summer and that as the summer went on, the protection got worse.  The 8 page executive summary at the beginning of the 200+ page report gives a good overview.  Pittsburgh Update carried stories on the church responses that were part of the counter-demonstrations in August. This report fills in and confirms the lack of protection noted by clergy at those events. 

Episcopal Clergy Signed Public Statement in Alabama Senate Race

The Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Senator has had many religious overtones with many evangelicals endorsing Ray Moore, a controversial candidate known for his homophobia, racism, and for twice being removed from the state supreme court for defying federal law.  Most recently he has been accused  pedophilia for trying to date young teens when he was in his 30s.  Sixty religious leaders, mostly from mainstream denominations signed a public letter condemning him in November.  Among those were eight Episcopal priests.  It appears that they may not only be on the side of righteousness but also the winning side as vote returns Tuesday December 12 show a narrow victory for his Democratic opponent Doug Jones, although Moore refuses to concede and awaits a recount.

 Latest California Fires Challenged Parishes and Clergy

 As six fires threatened wide swaths of Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, Episcopalians were among those forced from their homes.  The Episcopal New Service has a story filed early in the fight against the fires which focuses on clergy who were refugees and how they have tried to offer parish resources to others fleeing or fighting the fires.  Latest news counts over 1000 homes damaged or destroyed. The Thomas Fire in Ventura County is still active heavy smoke is affecting the whole region.

Scriven to Retire

Former Assistant Bishop Henry Scriven has announced his retirement from the Church Mission Society. While there he oversaw the merger of the South American Missionary Society with the CMS. His first stop in retirement will be to serve as assistant chaplain to a church in Bangkok, Thailand for six months.

Good Will At Christmas in Malta

The Anglican pro-cathedral in Valetta has moved its Christmas service across the harbor to a smaller church in Sliema so that the Carmelites can borrow the pro-cathedral for their midnight mass.  The Roman Catholic order's building is being restored and the congregation has been worshiping in a small church elsewhere in Valetta, but the Christmas service usually draws around 200 people.   When the Carmelites asked about using the Anglican building, the Anglicans responded positively and arranged another site for their service.  A Merry Christmas for all in Malta.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Week Ending 12/4/17

Second Try at Mediation in South Carolina Also Ends Abruptly

The mediation ordered by the federal judge hearing the trademark infringement case filed in South Carolina by the Episcopal Church resulted once again in an abrupt end to the session on the first day.  The mediation was originally scheduled for early November, but that session ended after only an hour or so and was rescheduled for December 4 and 5. The session ended after only about an hour of meeting and the mediator has set a third try for January 11 and 12, 2018.  The Episcopal Church in South Carolina had a terse, two-sentence announcement of the most recent rescheduling.  The break away group has not made any statements or even acknowledged the mediation sessions on their web site.  The blog scepiscopalians.com has more background in the December 4 posting.

Duncan "Corrects" Iker's Statements About Women's Ordination

The Update has been following the continuing discussion about women's ordination within ACNA as it is has been a point of contention from the beginning for ACNA. The recent reaffirmation of the decsision to agree to disagree did not sit well with long-term opponent of women's ordination, Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth.  Update carried a notice of his decision to begin working to end women's ordination in those ACNA dioceses allowing it.  Now retired Archbishop Robert Duncan has weighed in to correct statements Iker made.  Duncan has taken issue with Iker's claim that he specifically instructed those doing the multi-year study to come to no conclusions and make no recommendations.  Duncan's reply makes the interesting point that while the majority of ACNA dioceses do not ordain women, those that do make up the bulk of the membership in ACNA.

Seven Australian Bishops Support Bill for Same-Sex Civil Marriage

The Australian legislature has been drawing up a bill to permit same-sex civil marriages following the voters poll done earlier this year that showed 70% of Australians support such a measure.  The Anglican Church in Australia, however, officially took a position against same-sex marriage, and the Diocese of Sydney spent $1 million supporting the anti side during the poll.  Seven of the bishops in the church, however, signed a letter sent to the parliamentary leadership saying that they support the same-sex marriage bill.  Only one, Bishop John Parkes of Wangaratta, has been identified. Parkes has published a lengthy essay laying out his reasons which can be found on the diocesan web site.

GAFCON Supported Group Continues On Road to Schism in the British Isles

When GAFCON leaders approved the consecration of an "orthodox" bishop for the British Isles in spring 2017, they began to follow the path taken by those in the United States who eventually formed ACNA.  Now that bishop, Andrew Lines, has announced that he will ordain a group of priests to serve "orthodox" parishes.  These nine men will not be in the Church of England. The press release from Lines's group reads like a declaration of independence from the Churches in England, Scotland and Wales.  Last week Lines announced he was taking jurisdiction over a small parish that was part of the Episcopal Church of Scotland in the diocese of Argyle and the Isles.  That bishop has told the congregation that if they leave, they must leave their property behind.  Since the Episcopal Church of Scotland is not an established church, it will be interesting to see if litigation over ownership results as it has in the U.S.