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, September 17, 2019

Week Ending 9/16/19

San Joaquin Planning to Go Solar

The Diocese of San Joaquin has developed a plan which would have all of its parishes replace fossil fuels with solar energy.  It is the first diocese to develop such a plan, although others have experimented with this.  The Diocese of Vermont, for example, purchased a solar array in 2017 it had been leasing that was on the diocesan grounds of their conference center.  It supplies all power to the center with some left over which it sells.  In Pittsburgh, the successful installation of solar panels at St. Paul's in Mt. Lebanon has made the large parish nearly independent of fossil fuels.

Executive Council Orders Racial Audit

As a preliminary step to proposing greater actions for racial reconciliation, the Executive Council has ordered a racial audit of Church leadership in every diocese.  Interestingly, the picture used with the Episcopal News Service article on the audit was of an event at Pittsburgh's Calvary Episcopal Church with Bishop McConnell in the front row. 

Anglicans Respond to Hurricane Dorian Destruction

The Bahama Islands and the island country of Turks and Caicos part of one diocese.  Both received hits from Hurricane Dorian, with the northwestern islands of the Bahamas getting a sustained attack from Dorian when at its strongest.  The Anglican Journal of Canada reports on support for the rescue and rebuilding work on the islands from Anglicans.  Episcopal Relief and Development  is acting as one of the agencies on site. The article provides information on what is being done and how we can held.

Tennessee Bishop Admits ACNA Priest

Bishop Bauerschmidt of Tennessee appears to have tried to slip an ACNA priest into an assistant Rector position at St. George's Episcopal Church, Nashville.  St. George's is the largest parish in Nashville and is located in a wealthy area called Belle Meade. The parish announced that David Barr would start his employment with them on October 1, 2019.  Barr was ordained priest by ACNA bishop Mark Lawrence on March 2, 2019, a fact glossed over in the announcement, which does mention that he has been on the staff of the Cathedral Church of St.Luke and St. Paul and finishing up a doctorate at Wycliff College in Canada.  The announcement does not identify the Cathedral as the Cathedral of the schismatic diocese in South Carolina.  The Episcopalians in South Carolina have expressed their dismay at this appointment which apparently has been done without following the steps in the TEC Canon's for receiving a clergy person from a denomination in the historic succession (i.e. with bishops) but not in communion with The Episcopal Church. (See the September 13 posting in Ron Caldwell's blog.)  Barr would not be the first ACNA ordained clergy person to come to the Episcopal Church.  The Diocese of Pittsburgh received William "Biff" Carpenter who was ordained priest in 2014 by the ACNA bishop in Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh, however, followed the procedures in the canons and Carpenter was a member working as a lay minister in an Episcopal parish for a year while going through all the reviews and votes specified in the canons before reception.

Western Massachusetts Priest Investigated for Child Porn

A Western Massachusetts priest married to another priest has been arrested for having an internet account under his name filled with child pornography.  Bishop Fisher has suspended the priest from all ministry until the case is resolved.  The Rev. Greg Lisby had served a local parish until the end of August when he left parish ministry entirely to be a kindergarten teacher. this fall.  Masslive.com has the basic story.  The Living Church story includes the actions taken by Bishop Fisher.

Continuing Stories

New Structure for Church in Haiti?

After a failed election of a new bishop, the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Haiti created a temporary plan for episcopal oversight and healing of deep divisions in the diocese.  The Rev. Mark Harris reports in his blog that the Archdeacon for Immigration and Social Justice for the Diocese of Southeast Florida, and an honorary canon of the Haitian cathedral, is suggesting that the church explore a structure granting greater autonomy to Haiti along the lines of what Canada has done for indigenous peoples. It will be interesting to see if the suggestion gains any traction. 

Oxford College Battle Not Over

The last week in August Update reported that the head of Christ Church Oxford had been cleared of charges in a nasty complaint filed by unhappy faculty at the college.  However, now the dissident faculty have spent a large sum of charity funds in an effort to have their names removed from the official investigation report which was very critical of them.  Christ Church is the oldest and wealthiest college at Oxford. The Daily Mail has more.

Wangaratta Postpones Blessing Ceremony

Archbishop Philip Freier of Melbourne has asked Bishop John Parkes of Wangaratta to hold off blessing the civil marriage of two clergy in his diocese until the matter is heard by the Appellate Tribunal, the highest ecclesiastical court in Australia.  Parkes is normally a member of the tribunal but will recuse himself in this matter.  The Update had reported on the blessing plan two weeks ago. 

Minnesota Episcopalians Ask for Removal of Name from Federal Building

Episcopalians all over the country have been supportive of immigrants and critical of recent policies on deportation and refugee status.  In Minnesota, the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building is the site of many of the deportation hearings and ICE activities.   Minnesota Episcopalians have been protesting that these things go on in a building named for the beloved first Bishop of Minnesota and an active supporter of just and humane treatment of Native Americans. Among the organizers of the protests is the Rev. Robert Two Bulls, Jr., the Diocesan Missioner for Indian Work and Multicultural Work.  The protesters are asking either for ICE to leave the building or the building be renamed.

SC Episcopalians Answer Betterments Suit

In 2017 after the South Carolina Supreme Court had ruled that the schismatics were not the owners of the most parish property and all diocesan property of the Diocese of South Carolina.  The losers filed a suit to receive compensation made on all improvements on those properties from the beginning of every parish and institution under a"Betterments" statute.  The suit has languished since, but was included in those things the judge assigned to implement the state supreme court ruling ordered into mediation. Because the suit can only be pursued once all action has been finalized on ownership of the property, and because the Episcopalians believe the schismatics did not have standing to file the suit, they made no answer.  Judge Dickson, however, ruled against the Episcopalians motion to throw the suit out when he sent it to mediation.  Now the Episcopalians have filed their response to the suit.  It simply denies almost every statement in the original filing.  In order to make sense of the filing you have to also have open the original "Betterments" filing by the schismatics.  Luckily the Episcopalians supplied a link to the 2017 filing as part of their announcement of their legal response. Update has tracked the legal actions from the beginning.  The most recent previous post is here.