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, February 20, 2018

Week Ending 2/19/18

Federal Judge Lifts Stay on South Carolina Church Suit

The federal judge assigned the trademarks case involving the church name and symbols in South Carolina has apparently decided that the mediation he ordered is simply being used as a delay tactic by the break-away diocese led by Mark Lawrence.  The judge has lifted the stay on the case and issued a schedule for depositions and filings with a court hearing in September.  The Episcopal Church in South Carolina web site had the main story.  As usual,  SC blogger Steve Skaradon provides additional background in his February 14 post

Church Leaders Speak Out on Gun Violence

The recent mass shooting at a Florida High School has led the group Bishops United Against Gun Violence to issue another call for better gun control laws.  They have been joined by other Episcopal leaders around the country.  It also led the Bishop of South East Florida to issue an open letter to Senator Marco Rubio calling for legislation as well as prayer.  The Canon to the Ordinary and the Chair of the Standing Committee from Southeast Florida (the diocese that includes the site of the shooting) also issued a statement. Bishop McConnell in Pittsburgh posted a meditation on the shooting that addressed actions other than legislation.  In a different case involving gun violence, the Bishop of New York responded with sorrow to the acquittal of a police officer who shot a woman having a mental health breakdown in 2016.  The African American woman had been active in Episcopal parishes.

Tax Bill Threatens Churches in Jerusalem

The mayor of Jerusalem has presented various Churches with a municipal tax bill that has the churches reeling.  The Churches and the charities (schools, hospitals, care centers, etc.) that they run have always been exempt from the tax.  The mayor is trying to use the bills to pressure the Israeli government to reimburse the city for the money they don't get from the churches.  The bill for the Anglican Episcopal Church of Jerusalem is over $ 1.95 million.  The Anglican Communion web site has more details and how it affects other denominations.

Church Forgives Stranded Youth for Fire

St. Thomas Episcopal Church on the Cheyenne River Reservation in North Dakota responded with prayers for the three youths who broke in to the church and set a fire using church hymnals and furniture to try to stay warm after being stranded nearby in zero degree weather.  The church issued a statement saying that they understood the youths efforts to survive deadly cold.  However, the parish will have a hard time replacing all of their Lakota language hymnals, repairing the floor, and replacing the furniture burned.

New Criticism of the Church of England Handling of Bishop Bell Case

The Church of England Commission handling the questions about due process in accusations of sexual abuse by the long-deceased Bishop Bell has stumbled again.  This time they appointed someone to serve as advocate for Bell and his family, but forgot to consult first with the family and ignored the family's choice of an advocate.  It appears the commission is trying to hurry the case along, but in this case "haste makes waste."  Thinking Anglicans has links to all the latest developments. Update has covered the Bell story in several posts.  The most recent is here.

Three Church of England Evangelical Groups to Merge

Three conservative evangelical Curch of England groups have announced a merger.  The Fellowship of Word & Spirit and  Reform, both formed in the second half of the twentieth century will merge with the Church Society which has been around since the 1830s.  The goal is to be a better voice for renewal with the Church of England.  Their decision to stay in the Church of England is a counter to the groups being organized by the ACNA-consecrated, GAFCON-sponsored Bishop Andrew Lines who is organizing groups outside the Church of England and Scottish Episcopal Church.

Uproar at Sewanee Over Honorary Degree

Charlie Rose received an honorary degree from the University of the South in Sewanee before he was linked to accusations of sexual harassment.  The Board of Trustees voted to allow the honor to stand despite pressure to rescind the award.  Now the faculty of the Theological School have waded into the controversy.  The Episcopal Cafe site is not working consistently, but Three Rivers Episcopal Blog has a post on the Theology School response.