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, August 28, 2018

Week Ending 8/27/18

Mixed Report on Election of Haitian Bishop

For the last several years the Episcopal Church in Haiti has been divided into two factions pitting its diocesan bishop against its suffragan bishop.  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry intervened and negotiated a covenant agreement that was to allow the church to reconcile and included both men stepping down.  Electing a new bishop  for Haiti took two conventions and is still not settled because a formal complaint of irregularities in the election was given to the House of Bishops during General Convention.  The Presiding Bishop appointed the Court of Review Committee from Province II to investigate.  Their report has just been issued and it is a mixed bag.  It seems clear that the diocese did not follow through on all of the actions required in the reconciliation agreement, and that both sides tried to influence the episcopal election.  The committee cleared the bishop elect of the one charge issued against him directly, but the rest of their report concludes the process was a mess. They also recommend further investigation into the ways the Covenant Agreement was not honored.

National Service for McCain  at National Cathedral 

Senator John McCain was raised in the Episcopal Church and was known to use the Episcopal liturgy (which he had memorized) to conduct services for others while a prisoner of war.  For the last 25 years he has worshiped at a large Southern Baptist Church with his wife and daughters who were members.  In death, both of these religious affiliations are being honored.  The North Phoenix Baptist Church will hold a memorial service on Thursday before McCain's body is moved to Washington to lie in state at the Capitol.  The Saturday service will be at the National Cathedral.  The Presiding Bishop issued this statement on McCain's death. The article in the Living Church includes a statement from the cathedral dean, Randy Hollerith.

Another Round in St. Paul's School Abuse Scandal

The law firm hired by St. Paul's School to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct by faculty and staff has issued a follow-up report.  The report provides additional incidents against 7 adults at  St. Paul's already named in the earlier report, and adds two more faculty to the list of those against whom there are substantiated incidents of misconduct.  In addition, there were unsubstantiated incidents involving and administrator who remained unnamed.  The law firm is still open to receiving reports and will follow up on any incidents former students bring to them.  A further report is possible.  The school is interested in uncovering all incidents because leaders believe only full disclosure will let them move beyond these matters and begin healing for all involved.  The full report is here.   St. Paul's is involved in a lawsuit filed by two former students and there has also been a criminal investigation of the misconduct. 

University of the South Confronts Its Confederate Past

The University of the South at Sewanee was founded by Episcopalians to ensure that Southern white males could study in a culture fully supportive of slavery and Southern culture.  It became the bastion of the "Lost Cause" after the Civil War. In more modern times it has tried to be a supportive environment for young men and women of diverse ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds.  The challenge is how to do that without rewriting or totally denying its history.  Debate over memorials to those who served the confederacy and confederate imagery has been going on at Sewanee for more than a decade. The university has quietly removed Confederate banners from the chapel and moved a monument to a confederate general to a cemetery.  There are still more memorial stones on campus, something hard to avoid when many of the university's faculty in the late 19th century were confederate veterans, and a stained glass window with the confederate seal worked into its design. The Episcopal Cafe has reported on a recent Wall Street Journal Article that discusses Sewanee and other southern schools dealing with this issue.  Pittsburgh Update has reported on other Episcopal sites that have been dealing with controversy over Confederate memorials. The most recent are here and here.

Bishop Harris Apologizes

The Update reported on accusations of anti-semitism leveled against Bishop Gayle Harris, suffragan of Massachusetts for comments at General Convention she made about a visit to Israel and conditions faced by Palestinians there. Bishop Harris has now issued an apology, admitting her comments made events she had been told about seem as though she had witnessed them personally.  Her apology is here.

Australian Archbishop Meddles in New Zealand

The Bishop of Sydney (and Archbishop of the Province of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia has decided to meddle in the affairs of the Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand,
and Polynesia (ACANZP) because of its recent decision to allow clergy to bless same sex unions.  Sydney has been the conservative gadfly in Australia and its Archbishop Davies participates in GAFCON.  The ACANZP synod decided this spring, after several years discussion, to allow priests to use a non-formulary blessing for same-sex couples.  This Anglican Province is organized into three "streams" that are ethnic in origin, each with its own archbishop, but united in a general synod and under one Primate.  A handful of congregations in the New Zealand stream have announced their decision to leave the church because of the decision, and have declined an offer of oversight by the Polynesian stream Archbishop.  Bishop Davies of Sydney has now proposed what amounts to re-organizing ACANZP so that it has concurrent jurisdictions that are independent of one another.  He claims to be trying to prevent the scene of "greed" that happened in North America where churches and dioceses have been stripped of their property for leaving the Episcopal Church.  He is suggesting that this would also require some restructuring of the Lambeth Conference in 2020.  What he is actually proposing would divide ACANZP and provide a back door eventually allowing ACNA to be recognized as a concurrent jurisdiction in North America.   

New Jersey Episcopal Priests Join Suit Against County for ICE Contract

Four New Jersey Episcopalians are among seven religious leaders challenging the Hudson County Board of Freeholders for illegally signing a contract with ICE. Under the contract, they house immigrants detained and awaiting deportation hearings. It is very profitable for the county. However, the renewal of the contract was done behind closed doors in violation of the state's sunshine laws. The seven believe that the reasons for holding the detainees in a correctional facility notorious for its poor conditions are indefensible.