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, October 17, 2018

Week Ending 10/15/17

The editor apologizes for the delay in publishing, but international travel and a power outage delayed preparation of the Update.

Matthew Shepherd Ashes Find Home at National Cathedral

The family of Matthew Shepherd, who was beaten and left for dead in Wyoming in a vicious hate crime against gays in 1998, has decided to bury their son's ashes at the National Cathedral.  There will be a public service of remembrance at the cathedral on October 26 followed by a private committal service. The family had hesitated to bury the ashes before for fear that the burial site would attract  vandals and protests. Shepherd was an Episcopalian.

Hurricane Matthew Does Major Damage to Churches

The Dioceses of the Central Gulf Coast and Georgia are still assessing damages and gathering information so they can begin relief and rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Of the 11 directly affected churches in the Central Gulf Coast, 10 managed to hold Sunday services, although the services were held out doors.  All are dealing with damage, not only to their buildings, but to those of parishioners and the community.  The bishops of both dioceses have toured the affected areas, and Bishop Kendrick of the Central Coast made a second trip with others to distribute generators and supplies. Matthew also created new damage in the diocese of East Tennessee, already reeling from the damage caused by Hurricane Florence.  That diocese has issued an appeal for support. 

Anglicans Present for Canonization of Archbishop Romero

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams headed a deputation of 10 Anglican bishops to the ceremony of canonization conducted by Pope Francis for Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was assassinated in his cathedral in 1980.  Pope Francis  noted the presence of the deputation in his address following the ceremony. The  Anglican Bishop of El Salvador also issued a statement saying how important Romero was as a symbol to Anglicans in El Salvador.

Tennessee Episcopalians Witness Against Death Penalty

Tennessee Episcopalians not only provide witness against death penalty execution in their state, but they participate in a special death row ministry. With an execution scheduled for October  11 (but delayed at the last minute for further legal pleas by the sentenced man's lawyers)  Episcopalians participated in a vigil at the prison.  The Episcopal News Service has a full story on this ministry here.

Anglican School Opens in Baghdad

An ecumenical group gathered to celebrate the opening of The Anglican School of the Redeemer – al-Fadi in Baghdad. It is a project of  St. George's Anglican Church, the only Anglican parish in Iraq.  The parish already has a kindergarten.  The school will extend educational opportunities through the elementary grades.  Around 90% of those who attend come from Islamic families.  The church hopes that the school will help Christians and Muslims live together in peace.

English Evangelical Bishops Publish Warning on Same-Sex Marriage

Eleven evangelical bishops of the Church of England have issued a letter warning against taking any action to recognize or bless same-sex marriages.  It was sent to the Church of England planning group for the next Church of England Synod.  The group refers to both the efforts to accommodate conservative bishops at the 2018 General Convention and the New Zealand attempts to find a  compromise as examples of what could go wrong should the church make any moves to change its current position.  The Christian Today broke the story.

Updates on Continuing Stories

South Carolina Holds On-Line Conversation

The Update reported that the South Carolina Diocese was continuing its outreach to members of congregations who are participating in the schismatic group with an on-line "Conversation" held through Facebook on October 11. This was a follow-up to three on-site meetings held in July. The Diocese has now posted a full video of the on-line event, both on Facebook and You-Tube. There is also a link on the diocesan web page.  The video has been watched over 5000 times.  Blogger Steve Skaradon provides more details here.

South Carolina Schismatics File More Documents

In another set of filings with the state District Court charged with implementing the South Carolina Supreme Court opinion awarding almost all property to the Episcopalians,  the schismatic group in South Carolina has launched a full attack on the state supreme court opinion and is trying to prevent an audit of the diocesan finances. Blogger Steve Skaradon has more here. The actual documents have not yet been posted.

Another Oregon Episcopal Church Wants to Put In Tiny Homes for Homeless

The Episcopal Church in Silverton, Oregon is starting the process to add 4 basic "tiny homes" for homeless women on the back of their church parking lot.  The women will use the church bathrooms and kitchen.  They are following in the footsteps of a successful  effort by an Episcopal parish in Eugene.  Several parishes in other states also have tiny home projects.  The local Fox News station aired a story giving an update on the Eugene project and the Silverton plans.

Diocese of New York Opens Conversation on Abuse 

Following up on the liturgy and other events at General Convention which allowed those working within the church to air stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the Diocese of New York has opened a conversation. The Bishop has posted a letter to his parishes acknowledging that his predecessor Bishop Paul Moore had abused a number of clergy, postluants, and candidates for orders, and inviting others in the diocese to come forward if they have suffered abuse.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Week Ending 10/08/2018

Layman to Lead Nashotah 

An Episcopal layman already on the faculty at Nashotah House has been chosen as its new provost and president.  He will be the first lay person to head the seminary. He has been serving as interim Dean, and was instituted as Provost in May.  Now the trustees have voted him as president.  The trustees are working on a restructuring of the seminary. Garwood Anderson has an evangelical background according to his Nashotah House faculty profile,  but attends a nearby Epuscopal parish.The seminary is also creating a new position of Chief Advancement Officer.  That position will work on relations with alumni and other clergy and fundraising.

Romanians Defeat Measure to Write Definition of Marriage into Constitution

The Gay and Lesbian community in Romania defeated an attempt by conservatives to add to the Romanian constitution a clause defining marriage as between one man and one woman.  To defeat the measure they organized a boycott of the referendum.  Fewer than 21% of the voters went to the polls, and thus the measure did not reach the  support necessary for passage.

Deepening Ties with Lutherans

The annual meeting between the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in the US and Canada and the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada is looking at ways the full communion agreements between the churches can be deepened.  They are discussing a number options including drafting a standard liturgy for shared chrysm masses, something Pittsburgher have been doing for a decade.

Ongoing Story Updates

Heather Cook Tries Another Route to Reduce Sentence

The former Maryland suffrgan bishop, Heather Cook, who killed a bicyclist in a hit and run accident while driving drunk, is trying another legal route to get out of prison early. Cook failed to have her sentence changed to work release in July.  Now she is trying to reduce her sentence by 2 years by asking that her sentences run concurrently rather than sequentially. The family of the man who was killed have opposed all reductions.  The Episcopal Cafe story has information on the steps she has taken in rehabilitation.

Nigerian Bishops Vote Not to Go to Lambeth

The bishops of the Anglican Curch of Nigeria have voted unanimously to stay home from Lambeth 2020 unless the Archbishop of Canterbury only issues invitations to provinces that meet GAFCON. requirements.  The GAFCON leadership had issued a statement in June saying that those provinces who had begun blessing same sex marriage should be excluded, and be replaced by the bishops from the irregular entities recognized by GAFCON (such as ACNA).  The Nigerians said their absence would demonstrate how broken the Anglican Communion had become.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Week Ending 10/01/18

Bishop Sean Rowe Argues for Increased Power for Laity

The Bishop of Northwest Pennsylvania, Sean Rowe has published an essay in The Christian Century arguing that  the cycles of abuse and cover-up in the church will never end unless clericalism is reduced and the voice of the laity is increased at all levels of church governance.  Rowe draws on his experience in handling a major abuse case in his diocese, but the message is directed to all churches, not just Episcopal ones. 

Archbishop of York to Retire 2020

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, The Ugandan-born primate of the province covering the northern part of England has announced his retirement.Church of England clergy are required to retire when they reach age 70, but the Queen exercised her privilege to extend the time before his retirement until he is 71, in June 2020.  This puts his retirement just before the Lambeth Conference scheduled for  July 24 - August 3, 2020.  It also gives more time to plan on how to select his successor.  There is already speculation that it would allow for the appointment of a woman as archbishop.

Updates on Continuing Stories

South Carolina Diocese to Continue Conversations Digitally with Returned Parishes

In July, 2018 the Episcopalians in the rebuilding diocese in South Carolina held three "Conversations" at different locations in the diocese to begin connecting with interested people in the parishes that the courts ruled belonged to the Episcopal Church.  These were true conversations, with multiple "stations" where people could ask questions and talk to leaders in the diocese.  Now they have announced that there will be a digital continuation of that conversation in October.  The process for return is still in the hands of a district court judge, but the diocese is trying to build relationships in advance of the official turnover of property.   Update carried an earlier mention of this announcement, but the diocese now has full details available.

GAFCON Primates Continue Separatist Ways

The announcement that the bishops in Wales were planning to move forward with providing a way for blessing of single-sex civil marriages has prompted evangelicals in that province to express their concern.  The GAFCON-selected, ACNA-ordained "Missionary Bishop to Europe," Andrew Lines, has already stepped up offering them his support, thus continuing the agenda of the GAFCON separatists to create a competing entity for their competing version of an Anglican communion.  In the same vein, the Archbishop of the Congo has just consecrated a new bishop for the Anglican Mission in Canada, which is the Canadian branch of the Anglican Mission in America, another separatist organization. This consecration did not have the approval of the GAFCON leadership

More on Churches in Aftermath of Florence

The Episcopal News Services has another update on the status of parishes, their members, and the outreach all are doing in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.  Episcopalians, even those who have lost their own homes, are busy trying to get the clean-up started.   The most recent Update story is here.