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, November 20, 2018

Week Ending 11/19/18

Churches in the Midst of the California Fires

There were Episcopal Churches in both the path of the Camp Fire and the fire in Malibu/Thousand Oaks.  Both buildings survived, but are not yet cleared for access.  Many of the families who attended the churches, including the priest in Paradise lost their homes.  The Episcopal congregations with the support of other parishes are already reaching out to help those who are fire refugees.  You can read more about the efforts in the Episcopal News Service story here, and about specific requests for help in Northern California here.

Australian Bishop Declines Request on Same-Sex Marriages From Synod

The Synod of the Diocese of Ballarat in Australia requested that its bishop consider blessing of same sex marriages.  Civil marriage is now available to same sex couple in Australia.  However, the bishop has declined, citing an agreement made by all Australian bishops creating a moratorium on such blessings. 

Los Angeles Bishop Wants to Phase Out Corp Sole Use 

California dioceses until recently used the legal fiction of a Corp Sole resting in the hands of the bishop to handle property that in other dioceses might be handled by a a corporation led by trustees. California law was changed in recent years to allow for corporations to handle church properties.  It was the use of his power as Corp Sole that resulted Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno being disciplined in a Title IV hearing. Now the new Bishop of Los Angeles, John Taylor has announced that he wants to phase out the use of Corp Sole and turn properties over to the Diocesan corporation.

Continuing Update Stories

South Carolina Hearing Leaves Things in the Air

The state district court judge charged with implementing the property decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court only heard arguments on one of the motions filed by the parties involved, and said he would be consulting with both sides before issuing any opinion.  The break-away group presentation attacked the supreme court decision and argued there were many issues left undecided.  The Episcopalians argued that the decision was clear.  For more perspective, blogger Steve Skaradon wrote here about his reactions after observing the hearing.  Leading up to the hearings, the Episcopal bishop issued a call for prayer.  The break-away side had already called for prayer. 

West Tennessee Chooses as Bishop a Woman Who Has Broken Many Barriers

The Diocese of West Tennessee was one of several dioceses recently to choose a bishop from an entirely female slate of candidates.  The have chosen the Rev. Phoebe Roaf on the first ballot.  Roaf came to the priesthood after careers in public policy and law, and has broken many barriers during her career, including being the first African American woman ordained in the Diocese of Louisiana. She has most recently been the rector (and first woman to hold that position)  of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Virginia, the oldest black Episcopal parish in that state.  She is also the third African-American woman chosen to head a diocese in the last year and a half. 

Contrasting Responses in Dallas and Albany

With implementation of 2018 General Convention resolution B012 less than two weeks away, the Bishop of Dallas has announced his choice of a bishop to the parishes in his diocese who will make use of the resolution to begin offering the liturgies for marriage to same sex couples.  Three parishes in Dallas have already requested the accommodation.  In contrast, Bishop William Love's defiance of General Convention, continues to get push back and to divide his diocese.  Last week's Update included links to statements by the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, and Bishop Probe of Central New York who provides oversight to two Albany parishes already.  The Bishop of Vermont, Albany's neighbor to the east has now also issued a statement.  The Episcopal News Service and local papers are documenting the internal controversy. Now the members of another parish in the Diocese of Albany have sent a letter directly to Presiding Bishop Curry asking him to explore more broadly the way Bishop Love has been restricting theological views in the diocese through the processes of ordination and approval of clergy called to parishes. [Note: this last link may not be available to those without a Facebook Account or access to the Via Media Albany Group.]

New Zealand Archbishops Give Negative Response to Proposal  for Concurrent Jurisdictions

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand,  and Polynesia has a unique governance designed to create equality between three ethnic "strains" that make up its membership.  The Church voted to allow local option on the matter of blessing of  same-sex civil unions last spring.  A handful of parishes in New Zealand then announced they wanted to leave the Church and have gotten verbal support from the GAFCON leadership.  In August the very conservative Archbishop of Sydney decided to intervene by going to New Zealand and proposing a plan of concurrent jurisdiction for the departing parishes.  This was then supported by a statement from GAFCON arguing for concurrent jurisdictions throughout the Anglican Communion.  The Archbishops of New Zealand have now responded to the  proposal by Archbishop Davies.  Their answer is a polite but very firm "no" suggesting the measure showed little understanding of the history of the Church in New Zealand, and seemed to be infused with the colonialism that the Church in New Zealand was striving to undo.