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 27, 2018

Week Ending 2/26/18

Showdown in Jerusalem

Last week the update carried a story on the back taxes that the mayor of Jerusalem was trying to collect from Christian organizations.  In addition a bill moving through the Israeli Knesset which would have retroactively expropriated land sold by the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches to private parties.  In response to what appears a multifaceted campaign against Christian Churches in Jerusalem, the three religious denominations who control the Church of the Holy Sepulchre publicly locked the building in protest.  It is not clear when one of the main pilgrimage sites in Jerusalem will reopen. Israeli officials have now announced  they will  cease trying to collect the tax bills, but the land issue remains. 

Latest on South Carolina Property Cases

The US Supreme Court has scheduled a session to review the more than 300 cases filed with them to determine which they will hear in their October session.  According to a February 25 posting byblogger Steve Skardon,  the South Carolina appeal by the break-away church faction led by Mark Lawrence is on  the list for review.  The court held one session already and has scheduled ones on March 2 and 15 to decide the fate of the remaining filings.  Meanwhile historian Ron Caldwell has acquired an anonymous template for break-away parishes to follow if or when they leave the buildings which according to the South Carolina Supreme Court belong to the Episcopal Church. Caldwell and Skardon both believe it shows that the break-away group is using the mediation and appeals to buy time to try to prepare their congregations to leave the buildings.   Skardon has another blog entry dated February 22 that deals with  the financial problems of the break-away group. 

Noted Lawyer for Christian Rights in China Dies Under Suspicious Circumstances

A Chinese lawyer honored for his work in representing Christian groups facing persecution and property loss in China has died in a Chinese hospital.  Li Baiguang  was checked into the hospital with minor stomach problems and was declared dead several hours later.  China has a track record of having activists die after being checked into a hospital.  Anglican.ink has two articles on this death here and here. There were stories in several Asian papers including the South China Morning Post.

Responding to Death of Billy Graham

Although Presiding Bishop Curry issued a statement praising the late evangelist Billy Graham for making a "big bent" that was racially inclusive and ecumenical, some are reminding us that Graham's "tent" was not big enough to include those from the LGBTQ community.  See for example the NBC story here and the LGBTQ publication, the Advocate.

Priest Takes Action Following Florida School Shooting

The Pittsburgh Update carried links to statements by a variety of Episcopal Church leaders on the mass shooting at a Florida high school.  One priest, however has done much more. The Rev. Mark Sims, rector of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help the surviving high school students make their case for safe schools and gun control. He is also speaking out to encourage all to take action.  Sims was directly touched by the shootings because Carmen Schentrup, who was killed, was a member of his parish, sang in the choir, and sat on the parish vestry.  His statement is here. The page for contributions is here.