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, February 5, 2019

Week Ending 02/04/2019

Priest in Trinidad Shot

The Rev. Gerald Hendrickson was shot twice in the stomach as exited a cafe in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago.  The shooter, who chased another person down the street and fired indiscriminately, was apprehended and arrested.  Hendrickson was not a specific target, and is doing as well as can be expected after surgery.

GAFCON/ACNA Bishop in Europe Takes Leave

Andrew Lines, consecrated by ACNA at the request of GAFCON, whose charge is Europe, especially the British Isles, is going to be taking an extended leave because of stress.  He will spend the leave in Sydney, Australia. It is not clear how his absence will affect the three Scottish Episcopal congregations he was bringing into the schismatic fold.  However, Line will come back to a new structure because the same day that his leave was announced, he disbanded the GAFCON Panel of Reference for the United Kingdom.  It is to be replaced with a more formal incorporated group.

Westboro Baptist Targets Gainsville Churches

The notorious anti-gay Baptist congregation, Westboro Baptist showed up this last week in Gainsville, Florida to picket at 5 churches.  Among the 5 mainstream churches picketed was Grace, Episcopal.  The Westboro group is small and so they split into teams of 4-5 to cover all the churches.  They were greatly outnumbered by counter-protestors.  The Gainsville Times has more on  the reaction of each of the churches, including Grace.

New Context for Bloy House

Bloy House, a Los Angeles Diocese effort to educate clergy and laity locally was founded with Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1958.  Four years later it found a different partner, Claremont School of Theology.  However, Claremont School of Theology has severed its ties with the other Claremont Colleges and is moving to a new home with Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. It appears that Bloy will continue its partial residency program with Claremont, but it will no longer have access to convenient classes at Claremont after the 2019-20 school year.  Bloy intends to create a program allowing students to do 2/3 of their work in Southern CA, but to attend one week sessions in January and the summer at the new Claremont site.  The Living Church has the latest on these plans.

Trinity Wall Street Takes on Bail Reform

 This last year Trinity Parish, Wall Street was part of a mass bail buy-out that helped many of the 8000 inmates of Rikers Island.  The parish is now a leader in a movement to close Rikers entirely.  The facility holds both those waiting for trial or charges who could not make bail and those serving county sentences.  Trinity's aim is on ending the cash bail system entirely.  Some people have been held as long as three years without ever having a trial or being convicted of anything.  Half of those at the facility are black and a third Hispanic. Episcopal New Service has a full story on this effort here.

Duncan Takes Post as Interim Dean in Tallahassee 

The deposed bishop of  the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and Retired Archbishop of ACNA, Robert Duncan  has moved to Tallahassee, FL where he was invested as interim dean of the ACNA cathedral in that city while the cathedral does a full search for a new dean. The parish has not had a dean since late August 2018 when its dean resigned under a cloud of alcoholism and charges of harassment.  Duncan has been at the cathedral for a while as Bishop in Residence.  It is not clear if the move to Florida is permanent because the Duncans still have a lifetime claim on property in Donegal PA. 

Updates on Continuing Stories

San Diego Elects Susan Snook as Bishop

The Diocese of San Diego has joined the trend of electing women as bishops.  Susan Snook was the only candidate brought forward by the nominating committee.  Two more candidates were added by petition.  This last week, Snook was elected on the first ballot.  She joins women elected in 2018 in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, West Tennessee, and Newark.  Texas has not yet voted on which of 3 women will be their new suffragan, replacing Dena Harrison who has announced her retirement.  

More on Implementing Same Sex Marriage Resolution

Not all those hoping to see General Convention Resolution B012 implemented in the 8 dioceses where bishop had forbidden clergy and parishes to use the trial rites approved for same-sex marriages and blessing of civil marriages are satisfied with the implementation in some dioceses. (See Update  here.) They are concerned about the conditions placed upon those wanting to offer marriage3 to all couples. The Presiding Bishop has lately made visits in two Florida Diocese where  some had voiced these concerns.  After visiting the Diocese of Florida, the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, urged clergy to talk with Bishop John Howard, that his implementation plan requirement that clergy and wardens meet with him, was a sincere attempt to keep communication open.  Curry encouraged all clergy, of whatever views to meet with Bishop Howard.

ACNA Voices Protest Over New CANA Bishops

Recently Update carried a notice that the Nigerian Archbishop had consecrated four bishops for a CANA diocese in the U.S.  The problem was that CANA  is affiliated with ACNA and the ACNA bishops should have been consulted.  Now Foley Beach, the current Archbishop of ACNA has issued a statement objecting to the lack of consultation.  What makes this controversy more interesting is that the Nigerian archbishop is the current chair of GAFCON, and Beach will assume that role in March. 

Bruno Loses Appeal of Suspension

Bishop Jon Bruno who received a 3 year suspension as discipline in the Title IV hearing brought on by his behavior while trying to sell the property of St. James the Less in Newport Beach, lost his appeal of the sentence.  He apparently argued on technical grounds, and the panel was not impressed. 

Heather Cook Keeps Looking for Way Out of Jail

The former bishop, Heather Cook who is serving a sentence for the hit and run killing of a bicyclist, and for driving while impaired, continues to seek ways to be released before the end of her sentence.  She requested release to serve the remainder of her sentence in home detention six months ago and was denied.  She has renewed that request at the earliest possible time.  The decision on her request will be made in the next week or two.  In a separate filing in November 2018 she was turned down for a sentence modification. 

The Flap in England Over Guidelines for Affirming Baptism Continues

A set of guidelines on how to use an existing Church of England rite, Affirmation of Baptism, with special attention to transition recognition for transgender people touched a major nerve among conservatives who are treating this as though it opens the whole issue of gender and sexuality.  They have pushed back at the bishops who have drafted the guidelines, and most recently have created an on-line petition for people to sign.  The response from the more inclusive elements of the church have stressed that the church has recognized transgender transitions for a long time, and that there is no new liturgy being proposed. You can read two of the recent responses to the petition here and here