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 2, 2019

Week Ending 7/1/19

There are no new breaking stories on this national holiday week, but a number of continuing threads to follow.

Continuing Stories

Episcopalians Speak Up on Refugee Detention

The media have been reporting on the unsanitary and inhumane conditions under which children and adult immigrants are being detained in the U.S.  Update has been tracking Episcopal witness for human treatment of refugees and immigrants.  Episcopal leaders have been speaking out in a variety of forums.  All the bishops of the seven dioceses in California signed a letter condemning the conditions facing incarcerated children, and encouraging action.  The Bishop of East Tennessee has issued a pastoral letter reminding his diocese that as Christians they are called to treat the stranger with kindness, and that their baptismal vows require them to "respect the dignity of every human being."  Grace Cathedral in California circulated a petition protesting conditions and reporting them to officials as child abuse, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has signed a statement by a large group of interfaith leaders protesting the conditions.  The Episcopal New Service has an article giving a good overview of the Episcopal protests and actions being taken along the border and in response to ICE raids. 

English Methodists Get Ready for Vote on Same-Sex Marriage

Two weeks ago Update carried notice that English Methodists might be voting on approving same-sex marriage at their upcoming Conference.  That meeting is now at hand, and the Guardian has a story that points out the ways this may complicate the proposed ties between the Methodists and Church of England.  The Church of England synod, meeting just after the Conference is scheduled to discuss proposals for closer ties with the Methodists.

Reservations Ensure Large Lambeth 2020 Turn-Out

Threats of boycotts by some African countries seemed to imperil the Lambeth Conference of Bishops scheduled for 2020.  However, there is a strong push underway to encourage bishops to attend, and The Lambeth planners have announced over 1000 registrations from bishops and spouses have already been turned in. 

South Carolina Supreme Court Declines to Hurry Judge Dickson

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina had become impatient with the lack of progress by Judge Dickson on turning over property that the South Carolina Supreme Court had ruled belonged to the Episcopal Church. To hurry up the judge, the diocese filed for a Writ of Mandamus with the Carolina Supreme Court.  The Carolina justices, however, do believe Dickson is making progress, citing hearings that he has scheduled, and have declined to issue the writ

Light Shone on GAFCON Bishop's Leave

The GAFCON-chosen, ACNA-ordained missionary bishop of Europe, Andrew Lines went on a personal leave at the beginning of 2019.  At the time there was no explanation about the circumstances.  Now it comes out that Lines is trying to recover from spiritual abuse that was perpetrated by a former Church of England priest who had his license to serve revoked in 2017 for abuse he perpetrated on a whole group of young men. The priest used spankings and naked massages as part of his mentoring of young men.  GAFCON did not realize that this priest was no longer in good standing and continued to treat him as a respected clergy person until alerted to the disciplinary action in early 2019. On leave, Lines been slowly coming to terms with the ways he was manipulated and abused. 

South Sudan Tenure for Patrick Augustine Limited

The Update reported a month ago that the Rev. Patrick Augustine had been chosen as an assistant bishop for the Diocese of Bor in the South Sudan.  His charge would be to be there part-time and to work with Sudanese congregations here in the U.S.  Now David Virtue reports (unfortunately no other source is carrying this news) that the primate of the South Sudan has announced that Augustine selection has not been approved by the other bishops and he cannot stay in South Sudan for more than 6 months.  The primate also has rejected the idea that Augustine can serve as any kind of bridge between the Episcopal Church and the Church in South Sudan. 

Perspective on the Election of Women Bishops

Two-thirds of the bishops elected by Episcopal Dioceses in the last year have been women. The Update has been following this trend.  At least one more will join that list as another diocese is choosing from an all-female slate. The Episcopal News Service has a story placing these elections in perspective, noting that there is a long way to go before women are proportionately represented in the House of Bishops. The article notes that the women elected also have increased racial diversity in the House of Bishops.   Meanwhile, the Church of England added another first to its inclusion of women as bishops by appointing a black woman born in Jamaica to serve the diocese of Dover.