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, July 9, 2019

Week Ending 07/08/19

Church of England to Recognize Religious Communities 

The Church of England General Synod voted to end the ban on religious orders that has been in place since Henry VIII began closing monasteries and convents in 1536, and took control of their properties.  In fact, as any one who watches "Call the Midwife" (the BBC show broadcast in the U.S. by PBS)  knows, there have been Anglican religious orders in Britain for many years.  However, they existed outside the official canons of the church.  Now a new interest in religious communities has helped to bring the church to offering full recognition to orders that meet certain requirements.

Continuing Stories

Judge Sets Date for Hearing in South Carolina "Betterments" Suit

One of the ways that the schismatic group in South Carolina has tried to undo the state supreme court decision granting most church property to those who remained in the Episcopal Church was to file a set of claims under a South Carolina law known as the Betterment Act.  Under the law they are claiming that the Episcopalians should compensate them for every improvement ever made on the properties that the courts ruled belonged to the Episcopal Church. If granted it would put the Episcopalians in the position of having to pay for the properties that the courts ruled were theirs. Judge Dickinson has set July 25 as a date to hear arguments on whether these claims have any standing.  He had originally set March 25 as the date, but at the last minute the hearing was cancelled.  For more on the issues see the comments by blogger Steve Skaradon on July 2, 2019.  

Texas Bishops Make Strong Statement on Border Issues  

Over the last two weeks Bishops of the Episcopal Church have been speaking out on the border situation and the overcrowded conditions in detention camps, especially those holding children.  A strong statement in that vein has now been posted by all the bishops of the six Episcopal dioceses in Texas.  The Bishops cite the numerous Biblical passages specifying the hospitality and care we are to show to strangers and children. The text is carried in full by Episcopal News Service.

Church of England Synod takes Another Baby Step Towards Methodist Ties

The talks between Methodists and the Church of England have been going on for 16 years.  While the votes at the General Synod last week advance the possibility of full recognition by each church of the other, the synod also declined to pass a resolution endorsing recognition.  Instead they authorized the drawing up of documents for a merger without agreeing on all the terms.  Anglo-Catholics are uneasy about the status of Methodist clergy; evangelicals are uneasy about the vote the Methodists took supporting same-sex marriage (see next story).  The English press, as a result carried a variety of stories suggesting different interpretations of the Synod's actions.  See The Church Times, the media release by the Church of England, and Christian Today for three different treatments. 

English Methodists Take Favorable Vote on Same-Sex Marriage

Update noted last week that English Methodists were going to vote on whether to open their churches to same-sex marriages.  The vote passed by a large margin.  However, it must pass again at next year's meeting in order to go into effect.  The Church Times has a full discussion of the vote and its meaning. 

ACNA Bishop Says "No" to ACNA Prayer Book in Quincy 

The Bishop of the ACNA Diocese of Quincy has issued a letter saying that he is not approving use of the new ACNA Book of Common Prayer in the public worship of the diocese.  People may use it for private devotions.  The approval of the book did give each bishop the power to decide if the book would be used in his jursidiction.  ACNA issued the book earlier with great fanfare after sections had been available on-line for a while. The question is whether any other bishops will make the same determination.  Bishop Alberto Morales of Quincy has decided he would rather continue using Common Worship, which is approved by the Church of England.