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         

Monday, September 23, 2019

Week Ending 9/23/19

House of Bishops Witnesses on Climate Crisis 

The Strike for the Climate organized by youth all over the world occurred while the House of Bishops was meeting in Minneapolis.  The Bishops attended part of the demonstration to show solidarity and concern about climate change and global warming.

Abu Dhabi Recognizes Churches 

In a major victory of religious tolerance and freedom, Abu Dhabi officially recognized a large group of prominent worship sites operated by a variety of Christian groups, the Mormons, and Hindus.  Among the sites recognized was St. Andrew's Chapel, the Anglican Communion church in the capital.  A newspaper from the United Arab Emirates has the story, including a quote from the Anglican chaplain and at the bottom of the articles pictures of many of the buildings. 

Continuing Stories

South Carolina Prevails in Federal Trademark Case

Episcopalians in South Carolina were feeling very upbeat this last weekend.  The Federal District Judge assigned to hear a case brought by the Episcopalians against the schismatic Lawrence group for trademark infringement since the group that left the church claimed to be the Diocese of South Carolina and to have rights over the diocesan seal and other symbols.  The federal judge used both federal law and cases as well as the South Carolina Supreme Court opinions to conclude that those who stayed in the Episcopal Church were the continuing diocese and that they and the Episcopal Church as a whole were the legal owners of the diocesan seal and the names it had used historically.   The judge further looked at evidence that the claims of the schismatics had created damage by creating confusion. The announcement issued by the Episcopalians has a link to the actual decision. The federal decision and the upcoming mediation this week led Bishop Adams to state at a Sunday church service that he felt the long struggle was coming to an end.  (See Steve Skardon's 9/28 blog post.) A check today of the schismatic group's web site reveals they have removed the seal from the site and have changed their name to the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina.  That group's announcement of the decision focuses on the upcoming mediation on property and the "Betterments" lawsuit. Anglican.ink has printed a commentary by Alex Haley, the lawyer who defended the schismatics in San Joaquin and lost.  Needless to say, he attacks the decision, but overlooks much of what the 73 page opinion actually uses as evidence and precedent.  For a better opinion read the actual decision, or Steve Skardon's 9/19 blog posting. 

More on the Tennessee Clergy Appointment

Update reported on Bishop Bauerschmidt's approval of South Carolina ACNA priest David Barr as Assistant Rector of St. George's Parish in the Diocese of Tennessee last week.  South Carolina blogger Steve Skaradon has more to say on this in a September 18 posting.  It points out how misleading the information was in the parish and diocesan public notices about Barr.

Number of Women Bishops Goes Up Again

The number of women attending Lambeth 2020 as bishops is going up again.  New Zealanders celebrated the ordination of their first woman of Maori descent as a bishop.  The Anglican Church in New Zealand has three strands, each with its own Archbishop. Waitohiariki Quayle will be a bishop within the Maori strand.  In Wales, the electors for the Diocese of Newcastle chose the Venerable Cherry Vann as their new bishop.  The election needs to be confirmed by the crown before being complete.  According to Anglican.ink, Vann has a same sex partner, thus creating another dilemma for Archbishop Welby.  Meanwhile the Diocese of Southern Virginia elected Susan Haynes from the Diocese of Northern Indiana as their new bishop.  Assuming she receives the necessary consents from Bishops and Standing Committees, Haynes will add to the unprecedented number of women elected bishop in the last year and a half. 

Another Australian Diocese to Consider Same-Sex Blessings 

The Diocese of Newcastle has placed on its synod agenda two resolutions that would allow blessing of same-sex marriages, and/or participation same-sex marriage ceremonies.  One proposal removes any penalties should a parish priest either refuse or choose to perform a blessing or participate in a marriage ceremony.  The other creates a process to implement blessing of same sex marriages and provides a liturgy. The Diocese of Wangaratta in the Province of Victoria with the Australian church, approved a resolution allowing for blessing of same-sex resolutions, but any action has been placed on hold while the matter is under consideration by the Church's highest tribunal.  The measures proposed by Newcastle are expected to be referred to the same tribunal hearing the Wangaratta resolution.  Newcastle is in the Province of New South Wales, whose archbishop, Glenn Davies is one of GAFCON's strongest supporters.  The conservative publication Anglican.ink has an article including a copy of a newsletter sent out by the Diocese of Newcastle on these resolutions.

Hearing Panel Set for Albany Bishop

Bishop William Love of Albany, who has been under a partial inhibition for refusing to implement General Convention 2018 Resolution B012 (requiring a means for same-sex members of the diocese to be married in their home dioceses) has now received notification that a hearing panel has been designated to determine whether his defiance should result in further disciplinary action.  Bishop Love has issued a statement saying he welcomes the opportunity for a hearing. Both Christian Today and the Episcopal News Service have articles with some background.

Methodist Split Moves Forward 

Speculation about a church split following votes to affirm a hard-line stance against homosexuality at the last world-wide meeting of the United Methodist Church have now become real proposals. Last Wednesday was the deadline for petitions as Methodists planned  for their next church-wide meeting in 2020.  Three groups have come forward with different ways to create separate spaces for those who wish to welcome fully LGBTQ+ people into all aspects of church life and sacraments, those who see same-sex relationships and identity as sin, and those looking for some middle position.  The proposals all provide for a way for different bodies to remain under some form of an umbrella, sharing things such as publishing houses and relief organizations.  The three plans are fully described in the article in Religion News

House of Bishops Issues a Statement on Lambeth

The House of Bishops issued a statement that affirmed whatever decision any bishop and his/her spouse might make about attending Lambeth 2020, and basically said we respect and love you no matter what.  This was less firm than a statement issued at the last House of Bishops meeting which urged everyone to attend Lambeth.  Although the measure passed by a wide majority, it was not unanimous.