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, August 20, 2019

Week Ending 8/18/19

Calvary Episcopal Church Hosts Tree of Life Congregation for High Holidays

Tree of Life Congregation has been worshiping at another Jewish synagogue since the October 2018 shooting that killed a number of their members, but that congregation will fully use their space during the coming high holidays.  Tree of Life expects as many as 800 to be present for their services during the holidays, so they have been searching without luck to find a suitable temporary location to use.  Calvary Episcopal Church had been looking for a way to show support for the congregation following the shooting.  Calvary, with over 1000 of its own members has a beautiful gothic building built at the beginning of the 20th century that seats 1000.  The Rev. John Jensen offered the use of their building, complete with parking, and free of charge to the congregation, which has gratefully accepted.  You can read more about the arrangements in this article in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

Welby Endorses Construction of British Museum About Holocaust

As actual survivors of the Holocaust become fewer, a number of places have founded Holocaust museums and  memorials to the dead to ensure that people do not forget this terrible part of history.  Such an effort is under way in England, but the location chosen is very controversial. It is next door to the Houses of Parliament. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has weighed in by supporting the idea of a museum.  His endorsement carefully says nothing about the location or design of the museum, but his statement has but him in the midst of another controversy.  The Anglican Communion news site has the details.

Church of England Leaders to Testify in Abuse Case

The Church of England has been under fire for covering up numerous incidents of abuse, both sexual and physical for a number of years.  One of these scandals involves boys being severely beaten at a camp and school by a prominent member of the British bar, now dead.  Archbishop Welby served as a camp counselor during the years in question and has been called to testify before the commission now investigating this abuse. The web site Thinking Anglicans has links to all of the stories related to this investigation.  The article in The Telegraph provides a good summary of the background to the case. 

Property Issues Sink Affiliation of Polish Catholic Congregation with Episcopal Diocese

An independent Polish Catholic congregation which broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri  created a stir in religious circles this last week by exploring whether the congregation would come under the guidance of the diocese.  The arrangement would have provided affiliation, a community, episcopal oversight, but would not have been a full merger into the diocese.  In the end, the requirement that they sign over their property to the Episcopal Diocese sank the deal.  A story on the proposed merger is here, and on its ultimate failure here.

Continuing Stories

United Methodist Group Proposes a Split

The close vote this year of the Special Conference of the United Methodist Church to endorse "traditional" stances on LGBTQ participation in ministry and same sex marriage frustrated the majority of United States congregations in the international denomination.  Now a group has come forward with a formal proposal for a split in the denomination which would let the U.S. churches set their own path.  Religion News has the story.

Welby Trip to India Raises Church Issues

The Church Times has provided background on Archbishop Welby's upcoming trip to visit churches in India, and how even visiting those churches is controversial because of the unique nature of the churches there.  Update has already covered the political landmines waiting for Welby on this visit.

Tanzania Bishops Will Not Go to Lambeth

Ten bishops from Tanzania have issued a statement saying they will not attend the Lambeth Conference in 2020 because they do not want to be at a meeting with bishops whose dioceses fully embrace LGBTQ people.  Tanzania has been one of the strongest supporters of the GAFCON group which is creating an alternative to the Anglican Communion and the announcement is not surprising.  They join bishops from Uganda and Nigeria in staying home.

New Video Outlining Work Episcopal Church is Doing on the Borders

The Episcopal Church has just released an video running slightly over eight minutes with bishops from four of the dioceses bordering Mexico and the Diocese of Maine talking about their work to help those immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S.  and suggesting the best ways others can help.  The video also makes clear that the Episcopal Migration Ministries has been at this work for more than 80 years. The Living Church has an article on the video here.  The actual video is here. Update has carried many stories on the work of the Church with immigrants and along the border. The two most pertinent are here and here.

Episcopalians File Latest Replies in Fort Worth Property Case

The latest volley of paperwork has been filed with the Texas Supreme Court in the Fort Worth diocesan property case.  The schismatic group, now part of ACNA, had filed an appeal a year ago with the Texas Supreme Court after the Appeals Court awarded the property to those still in the Episcopal Church. However, the Appeals Court sent most of the parish property cases back to the trial court to be decided using the principles set down in the appeals decision. The Texas Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will hear the appeal.  The Episcopalians responded to the original appeal with a two pronged approach arguing that the Appeals Court came to the proper conclusion, but if the Supreme Court takes the case, then please consider broadening the case to cover all the parish property.  The Episcopalians filed their set of responses in the fourth round of paper arguments this last week.  There are now several thousand pages of arguments filed and the Texas Supreme Court still has not decided if it will take the case. The three replies filed by the Episcopalians are here, here, and here.  The argument boils down to which of two entities is the Diocesan Corporation, the corporation run by the schismatics or that run by the Episcopalians.  The latest arguments not only document why Texas law supports the decision of the Appeals Court (although it didn't go far enough), but sets up a First Amendment claim that only the Episcopal Church can decide who is a member of the church.  The argument prepares the way for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court should Texas take the case and then decide for the schismatics.