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         

Monday, November 12, 2018

Week Ending 11/12/18

Albany Bishop Defies General Convention

The Update has been following the response of the 8 conservative bishops  who had not allowed use of the liturgies for same sex marriage before General Convention 2015 passed resolution B012 which mandated that all dioceses must find a way to allow parishes and clergy who wished to use the liturgies to do so.  All the bishops made some form of compliance statement except for Bishop Love of Albany.  After delaying nearly to the required implementation deadline (the first Sunday in Advent), Bishop Love issued an 8 page pastoral letter forbidding use of the liturgies by any parish or priest.  He cites conscience and places diocesan canons above General Convention votes.  Bishop Love's position had already led several Albany parishes to seek Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight. At one of those parishes, St. Andrew's Albany, some parishioners held a symbolic burning of the letter outside on the church steps as the letter was read inside.  Both the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies have issued responses to Bishop Love's letter.

Episcopal Campus Ministries Reach Out to Homeless and Hungry Students

Rising costs for tuition and books have left many scholarship students with limited funds for housing and food.  Episcopal campus ministries are stepping in around to the country to feed and sometimes house students.  The Episcopal News Service has more here

Episcopal Forum Disbands

In March 2004 representatives from 10 dioceses  where schism seemed a real threat met to create an alliance.  One of these groups was the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina.  The group provided continuous witness through the years leading up to schism, and its leadership provided support following schism as faithful Episcopalians formed the continuation of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.  The Episcopal Forum had been know especially for its successful conferences bringing in speakers from around the Episcopal Church, and after reorganization continued its mission as a source of education on the Episcopal Church.  Now, with the property law suits winding down, and the diocese stabilized and growing, the Episcopal Forum has decided its task is done.  Their public statement is here.

Bishops Offer Litany for Mass Shootings

The group the Episcopal Bishops United Against Gun Violence has published a litany for mass mass shootings. It begins by praying for the victims of each 34 mass shootings in the U.S. all since the Newtown CT school Shooting in 2006.  The litany includes those killed at Tree of Life Synagogue and the shooting in Thousand Oaks California.    A statement  precedes the prayers.

Parties in Litigation Make Statements Preparing Ground for November Court Hearing

November 19 is the date set for oral arguments by the state district court judge charged with implementation of the South Carolina Supreme Court decision granting most of the disputed church property to those remaining in the Episcopal Church.  Both sides in the litigation have issued statements in anticipation of the hearing.  Mark Lawrence has asked those participating in the schismatic organization to pray for their legal representatives and for all parties in the litigation.  Bishop Skip Adams and Archdeacon Callie Walpole  of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina have issued a summary of the long dispute explaining how he hopes that events will lead to reconciliation.    


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Week Ending 11/5/18

Bishops in Central America Urge Hospitality Towards Migrants

Six Anglican and Episcopal Bishops have signed a letter asking the Anglican Communion to officially support migrants moving through Central America and Mexico. They urge all Christians to treat migrants with that same hospitality. They specifically ask for protection of children and family unity. They also demand that migration should not be criminalized since it is a human right.  The letter was signed by the primates of the Anglican Communion provinces of Mexico (Francisco Moreno, primate and Bishop of Northern Mexico) and Central America (Julio Murray, primate and Bishop of Panama), the bishop of South East Mexico, and by the Episcopal Church's bishop for Guatamala, and bishops from El Salvador and Honduras in the Anglican Province of Central America.

Episcopal, Lutheran, and Roman Catholics Ask Trump Administration to Continue Aid to Palestinian Hospitals

The Presiding Bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a joint letter to the U.S. President that his decision to end humanitarian aid to Palestinian hosptials in East Jerusalem be rethought. They point out the basic medical services provided by two Anglican/Episcopal, one Lutheran, one Catholic and two Islamic hospitals provide including the only available treatment centers for eyes, cancer, pediatric kidney dialysis, and children with disabilities. One hospital is a maternity center.

Continuing Coverage of Previous Posts

Sydney Continues to Stir Up Controversy on LGBTQ Rights

The Update reported on the controversy raised by the Province of Sydney (part of the Anglican Church in Australia) vote to close church properties to a variety of groups, including LGTBQ groups.  Now 34 Anglican school heads in Sydney have asked for an exemption from legislation being planned to protect LGBTQ students and teachers.  This request has led to protests by alumni and students at one of the schools.  It also led one Australian member of parliament to say the Sydney Anglicans should be apologizing for their attempts to influence the phone poll on same-sex marriage that preceded the country legalizing same-sex marriage,  rather than bullying LGBTQ teachers and students.  The province has responded that their request was "misinterpreted" and was a request for a temporary exemption until wording could be worked out guaranteeing church schools religious freedom.  

Former Bishop Denied Clemency

The deposed suffragan bishop of Maryland, Heather Cook has hit another rejection in her multiple efforts to find a way to be released from prison early.  Maryland Courts have rejected her plea for clemency. Cook, who killed a Maryland bicyclist in a hit-and-run accident while texting and drunk, was turned down last year on a request for parole.

New Filings in Fort Worth Property Cases

The Update had reported earlier this fall that the Fort Worth schismatics had filed an appeal with the Texas State Supreme Court when the Appeals Court awarded Church property to the Episcopal Diocese.  In October the Episcopalians filed two documents opposing further appeals and the schismatics have now answered those documents.  It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide if it will hear this case a second time.  The court initially returned the case to the trial judge to rehear the case using a standard of neutral principles of law rather than deference. All the documents are one the schismatic group's web site.  The Episcopalian documents are here and here. The schismatic response is here

Tiny Houses Help Those Displaced by Volcano in Hawaii

Episcopalians have joined with other churches in Hawaii to build tiny houses for some of those displaced by the volcano eruptions on the island of Hawaii.  FEMA help for those displaced by the major eruption on the island of Hawaii has ended and emergency shelters have closed.  Over 100 people lost their homes and many also lost their jobs.  Connect Point Church (Assemby of God) had land, but no money to build a tiny house village of 10 units.  Holy Apostle Episcopal Churh, Catholic Charities and  other interfaith groups  raised the money for the construction.  Holy Apostle raised $28,000 to build homes in addition to other forms of support it offered families earlier in the crisis. The homes will serve as transitional housing.  Each unit is a bed/sitting room.  A separate bathroom facility has been constructed, and residents use the church kitchen.  Update has been following the use of tiny houses for homeless people by Episcopal Churches.

Colorado Bishop-Elect to Undergo Cancer Treatment

Last week Update reported on the election of Kym Lucas as bishop of Colorado.  She was one of several women recently elected diocesan bishops.  This week she announced that a mammogram done as part of a routine health check-up had detected a stage one (early and small) cancer in her breast.  Doctors are saying her treatment should be complete before the scheduled consecration (assuming rapid approval of her election by diocesan bishops and standing committees). 

South Africa Diocese Endorses Same-Sex Blessings

The Anglican Province of Southern Africa includes South Africa, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha, Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland and Angola.  While South Africa legalized marriage for same sex couples in 2006, the other countries have not.  Efforts by some dioceses within South Africa to be permitted to bless these unions were defeated at the provincial assembly in 2016.  The primate then responded in 2017 by asking for conversations in each diocese on the issue.  Now, one diocese, Saldanha Bay (Cape Town area) has voted to endorse blessing of same-sex marriages. This means that the provincial assembly will face the issue again.