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 20, 2017

Week Ending 12/18/17

Blue Christmas Services Growing 

Religion.news has an article on the growing number of churches offering "Blue Christmas" services around the country.  The services all seek to acknowledge that for some people this holiday season is a time of loss, grieving, and lonliness that puts them out of synch with the upbeat traditions of Christmas.  Episcopal Churches are among those offering these services.  In Pittsburgh, Church of the Redeemer at 5700 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill will mark a decade of offering a Blue Christmas liturgies with its  service Wednesday, December 20 at 7:00. More information is included in the Diocesan online newsletter, Grace Happens. The service notice is the tenth item in the newsletter.

Are ACNA and AMiE In Or Out of Anglican Communion?

The inclusion of a statement saying that ACNA was not a part of the Anglican Communion in the Communique issued at the end of the Primates meeting in October became the first in a series of salvos fired by the leaders of GAFCON and the Global South on one side and the Anglican Communion office on the other.  The Archbishop of Nigeria immediately demanded ACNA be included in the Communion, and the Global South leaders affirmed their full communion with ACNA.  Now the Archbishop of Nigeria speaking as the leader of GAFCON has declared being in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury is not necessary for membership in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who laid out his position that ACNA was not part of the Anglican Communion in 2014, did not comment further. However, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion  responded with a statement citing the official documents of the Communion, beginning with the 1930 Lambeth Conference definition of the Communion to show that all require being in full communion with Canterbury.

Woman to Lead the Diocese of London

Bishop Sarah Mullally, currently a Bishop of Crediton ( a suffragan position in the Diocese of  Exeter) has been named as the next Bishop of the Diocese of London.  Mullally had a distinguished career as a nurse, eventually serving as the Chief Nursing Officer of the National Health Service.  She was ordained in 2001, became Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral in 2012 and when consecrated as Bishop of Crediton in 2015 was among the earliest women made a bishop in the Church of England.  London is among the most important sees in England, and is currently engaged in a plan to add 100 new locations of worship.  The response to her appointment has been overwhelmingly positive. Her statement on the appointment stressed servant ministry and noted that she wanted to support the ministry of all parishes in the diocese including those opposing women's ordination.  Even Forward in Faith, which opposes women's ordination, issued a generally mild statement

Nashotah House Keeps Acting Dean as  Interim Dean and President

Update has been noting the faculty changes at Nashotah House this last year.  Two faculty have died, a third has taken a position at Trinity School for Ministry, and the Board chose not to make a change in President of the Board. Update reported on the changes here and here.  The top leadership has also gone through relatively rapid turnover when  Dean and President Steven Peay abruptly stepped down for health reasons in August after leading the seminary for less than three years.  Professor Garwood Anderson, a lay member of the faculty became the Acting Dean.  The Board now has decided to appoint him as Interim Dean and Seminary President.  It is a move that provides continuity in a year with a number of sudden changes.

Updates on Several Stories

         South Carolina Episcopalians File Motion to Dismiss in Latest Lawsuit

  Break-away parishes in South Carolina filed a "Betterment" lawsuit asking for reimbursement of all money the parishes had invested in their buildings within days of learning the South Carolina Supreme Court had denied their request for a rehearing of the case that had resulted in the court awarding most of the parish and all of the diocesan property to those who had stayed in the Episcopal Church.  This last week the Episcopal Church in South Carolina filed their response, a request for dismissal based on a series of technical errors and arguing that parishes were actually suing themselves.  The blog scepiscopalians.com has a clear discussion in a posting dated December 18, 2017 and the diocese summarizes its case here.  Both stories carry links to the actual filing.

       NC Priest Gets Probation in Road Rage Case

Update noted last week that a plea bargain had paved the way for a possible sentence of probation in the case involving a North Carolina priest involved in a road rage incident in Florida.  The Court met on Friday and the priest received a year of probation.  The outcome is reported here

     Legislation Introduced to Help Fund Rebuilding Christ Church Cathedral

New Zealand's Parliament has had legislation introduced to pay for a portion of the cost in rebuilding the Anglican Cathedral in Christ Church.  The Cathedral has been sitting as a ruin for seven years after being nearly destroyed in an earthquake that nearly leveled the central business areas of Christ Church.  The diocese had been caught for seven years in a political debate over whether to tear down and build new or restore what was a national landmark building.   Update's latest story was on objectors to the use of tax money to rebuild a church.

     Church of England Apologizes After Legal Review of Handling of Charges of  Sexual Impropriety List Multiple Shortcomings

In the midst of a recent cascade of accusations of sexual impropriety against public icons around the world, often involving incidents from decades ago, some have asked how a person can defend against such charges.  The Church of England had already been dealing for several years with charges that the Church mishandled cases for years.  One such case involved Bishop George Bell, who has been included in the Episcopal Church's Holy Women, Holy Men for his principled stand against Hitler in the Second World War. Bell has been dead for over half a century. Update covered these accusations a in 2015 when the Church apologized to the victim.  The accusation against Bell led to a blue-ribbon study on the procedures and handling of the case.  The report raises questions about the inability of a revered person long dead to defend his reputation against charges.  The report has resulted in an apology from the diocese and the Church of England.  Anglican.ink carried a detailed story on the report here, the diocesan apology is here and the statement from Archbishop Welby is here.  The 75 page report is here.

          Episcopal Churches Step Up to Help as California Fires Continue

The Episcopal News Service has a new story on how Southern California parishes are responding to help those displaced as the area enters a second week of fighting the fires which keep being renewed by high winds and heat.  Both air quality and direct threats from the uncontained Thomas Fire have displaced more than 100,000 people in the area.  Update covered the earlier story here.