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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, December 25, 2018

Week Ending 12/24/18

Merry Christmas!  Tonight Update will begin and end with uplifting positive stories.  The other news is in the middle.

The Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message of Love

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry taped this Christmas message for us all.  Of course, there were many other messages from Church leaders, but Curry's sets the tone.  

Controversy at the Anglican Center in Rome 

Archbishop Ntahoturi, formerly of Burundi, stepped down as the director of the Anglican Center in Rome after only a year.  The archbishop has been accused of sexual misconduct.  Just a few weeks before, Michael Burrows, a bishop from the Church in Ireland had been named as the new Chair of the Board of Directors for the Center.  Conservatives, however, are raising a fuss because Burrows was the first Irish bishop to support repeal of the anti-abortion clause in the Irish constitution, and because he has come to support same-sex marriage. The ultra-right wing Catholic media source The Church Militant is questioning the appointment of Burrows as an affront to the Catholic Church.  However, Burrows, who was faced with the task of healing a diocese wounded by a sex scandal involving the previous bishop, may have experience that is sorely needed at the Center right now.

South India Bishop Arrested

The former moderator of the Church of South India has been arrested for theft.  Bishop Govada Dyvasirvadam who has retired had been detained a year ago as state officials began an investigation of fraud and misappropriation of church funds after the sale of a church property for $32 million.  The bishop was accused of diverting most of the money into personal accounts. The Church of South India is a "united" church, combining Anglican, Presbyterian, and Methodists.  It is recognized as a province in the Anglican Communion.  However, the province has a terrible reputation for corruption, with many of its leaders under investigation for diversion of church monies. 

Christmas Travel Restrictions in Gaza

Palestinian Christians living in Gaza traditionally visit family in the West Bank on Christmas.  But this year the Israeli government is only issuing travel permits to the very young and the very old, and even those have been very few in number and late arriving.  The result is that many families will spend Christmas  divided.

Updates on Continuing Stories

  • The Episcopal Church Files a Response in the Fort Worth Appeal

The papers and filings are piling up as the two sides try to convince the Texas Supreme Court whether or not it should hear an appeal by the break-away group from the appellate court decision granting the Fort Worth church and diocesan property to the Episcopalians. The latest was filed by the Episcopal Church. It argues that the appellate court properly decided what matters were to be decided by "Neutral Principles" and which were ecclesiastical matters requiring a deferential approach.  
  • The Latest in the Darien CT Church Saga 

The Update has been tracking the latest in a saga where St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien is out of step with the diocese.  The parish earlier had defied the diocese opposing LGBTQ inclusion, and tried to get the courts to rule Dennis canon invalid. The parish never left The Episcopal Church, but its rector moved on.  The parish found its most recent rector in England.  Within a short time, the parish and rector were at odds, and Bishop Ian Douglas intervened.  When parish leadership defied the bishop by locking out the rector, Douglas took control of the parish.  The ousted parish leadership went to court trying to remove their rector, but the diocesan convention stripped the congregation of parish status in October and made it a mission under the control of the bishop.  The suit filed by the former leaders is now being heard in the state courts. 
  • Episcopalians Continue Outreach to Refugees

The Episcopal Church continues to reach out in various ways to Immigrants and refugees. Most recently the Update noted the statement by bishops in Central America, including those in the Episcopal Church, supporting the refugees then traveling towards the U.S. border. Now  all of the Episcopal bishops in the five dioceses in California have joined with the Episcopal Policy Network in a new statement in support of the refugees.  There have been numerous actions at detention centers and along the border, including periodic church services at the border in California involving people on both sides of the barrier.  The most recent service with an interdenominational service for Christmas.  Episcopalians helped organize it.  In Ohio, an Episcopalian couple took up the cause of a Haitian refugee who was being threatened with deportation, and have had him released from detention into their custody while awaiting his appeal for asylum.

Episcopalians Showing the Real Christmas Spirit

Many parishes around the country reach out at Christmas time.  Here is a sampling of parishes showing the true Christmas spirit.  In Pittsburgh,  several parishes do special meals or visits to those who may be hurting at Christmas.  One parish, Church of the Advent hosts a major free Christmas dinner, and delivers meals to many who can't come in.  This parish, with an average Sunday attendance of under 20, feeds over 200.  In Philadelphia, the oldest black Episcopal Church in the country continues to thrive and, as the story notes, provides a special Christmas for the families of those who are in prison.  In Atlanta, an outdoor church for the homeless, celebrates Christmas with their non-traditional congregation.  Bishop Mariann Budde of Washington, D.C. celebrated a special Christmas meal with families who had lost their homes in an apartment fire.  And there are more stories all over the country. . . .

May the blessings of Christmas be with you all!