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, October 29, 2019

Week Ending 10/28/19

Charleston Parish Honors 50th Anniversary of Stonewall

St. Stephen's Parish in Charleston, which tries to model being a parish welcoming to all, hosted an  Evensong commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.  About one-quarter of the 400 St Stephen's members identify as LGBTQA+. Stonewall was a major landmark in for LGBTQ+ rights, after police harassed patrons at a New York City gay bar  the gay community fought back. 

Executive Council Removes Three Companies from Investments

At its recent meeting the Executive Council took actions responding to resolutions passed at General
Convention 2018 in support of Palestinians including not investing in companies that were seen as violating human rights of the Palestinians.  Three companies, Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and the Israel Discount Bank were specified.  In addition the Council adopted a screening process already used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church for its investments.  The Living Church has a short article here, and the Episcopal News Service a much longer one here.  Update covered the pertinent General Convention resolutions here and here.

Queer Hymnal Resource Published 

The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada has published a supplemental hymnal with songs appropriate for the LGBTQA+ community.  For a month it is possible to download the hymnal for free.  After that the group is asking that those using the hymns buy a the rights or hard copies.  Getting a copy requires a simple registration process that specifies how the person intends to use the materials.

Updates on Continuing Stories

South Carolina Episcopalians Send Second Letter to Judge

Following the Federal Court decision awarding Episcopalians  the right to the diocesan seal, name, and other trademarks which had been appropriated by the group that left the Episcopal Church in South Carolina the Episcopalians sent a letter to the state court judge charged by the South Carolina Supreme Court with implementing the decision awarding property to the Episcopalians.  The letter asked for timely action on the property matters.  Judge Dickson, who has already delayed making any disposition for two years did not respond to the letter.  Now the Episcopalians have sent him a second letter noting that the delay was harmful to their interests.  

Former Priest Pleads Guilty in North Carolina Sex Abuse Case

 Howard White, Jr. a former Episcopal priest who over three decades left a trail of sexually abused young people in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina, has pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in the North Carolina cases.  Bishop Audrey Scanlon of Central Pennsylvania deposed White when the charges became public three years ago.  Update carried earlier accounts of the accusations here and here.  The 78 year old White was sentenced to 12 years in prison for 15 counts of child sexual abuse.  He has already been sentenced to 18 months for abuse committed while on the staff of an Episcopal School in New England.

Bahamian Churches Feeding Hundreds 

Both the members and the Anglican Churches in the Bahamas experienced severe damage from the category 5 Hurricane Dorian.   Now more than a month after the hurricane, and despite the damage to their own buildings, the Anglican Churches on the islands are serving as major feeding stations for those who have lost nearly everything.  Some of the parishes are feeding 300 to 500 people a day.  Rebuilding in these places will be a long-term effort, and the parishes will need to continue their relief work for months to come.  Update covered the initial relief efforts here.

Hong Kong Bishops Issue Second Plea for Peaceful Demonstrations

As the demonstrations against the Hong Kong government's leaders continues, the Bishops of Hong Kong have issued a second statement urging that demonstrators refrain from violence and make their points through peaceful protest.  Update also noted their original pleas for calm.  The most recent statement is more supportive of the reasons for the protests. 

Three Australian Diocesan Synods Show Support for Same Sex Blessing

Three dioceses in Australia at their annual synods this last weekend passed resolutions supportive of  their parishes and priests participating in the blessing of same-sex marriages.  The bishop of Newcastle's comments published after his diocese's synod makes reference to  their resolution, and also notes supportive measures passed at two other dioceses, Ballarat, and Willochra.  Update had noted earlier that a resolution was on the agenda for Newcastle.  For Ballarat, it was the second time they voted in favor of such a resolution.  Their 2018 request that their bishop prepare a liturgy for blessings was rejected at that time by the bishop because of an agreement among all the bishops in Australia.  All of these votes follow the vote by Wangaratta to offer blessings. There are 23 dioceses in the Australian Church, organized into 5 provinces plus Tasmania.  The 4 dioceses who have passed the resolutions come from 3 of the provinces.  The Diocese of Melbourne, passed a resolution expressing sorrow at Wangaratta's decision. That is the home of Archbishop Philip Freier who is struggling to hold the super-conservative Diocese of Sydney within the church along with the more liberal dioceses. Melbourne also welcomed the creation of the GAFCON diocese in New Zealand (see next article).

New Zealand Archbishops Decry GAFCON "Border Crossing" 

Update reported in May that  a handful of parishes in New Zealand had left the Church in New Zealand to form a schismatic diocese sponsored by GAFCON.  They left after the New Zealand Anglican Church voted to allow local option of blessing same sex marriages. Now the new diocese has consecrated a bishop, and present for the occasion were several GAFCON supporting bishops from other parts of the Anglican Communion.  The Two Archbishops from New Zealand have now issued a statement decrying that these bishops/archbishops attended the consecration of the bishop for the schismatic diocese without seeking permission to enter the territory of another Anglican bishop as is standard protocol, a violation called "border crossing" with which The Episcopal Church has had numerous experiences.  This continues the process by which GAFCON seems intent on forming an alternative "Anglican Communion."  Anglican.ink which publishes pieces supportive of GAFCON had a story on the New Zealand protest.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Week Ending 10/21/19

Episcopalians Respond to Shooting of Atatiana Jefferson

Episcopal leaders and others responded strongly in support of the Jefferson family in the police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson at home with no warning. The Church has made strong witnesses against both racism and gun violence, and Jefferson's murder brought both issues together. The white officer who shot the black woman has been charged with murder.  Newark Bishop Carlye Hughes  was joined by Forth Worth Bishop Scott Mayer and Central New York Bishop De De Probe in issuing a challenge to everyone in Fort Worth to create a community where all are safe as they go about their daily activities.  All three bishops have roots in Fort Worth.  Other prominent Episcopalians also spoke out around the country.  The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has a good article that provides links to the statements here.  

Episcopal Church in Europe Responds to Yom Kippur Attack

On the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, terrorists in Halle, Germany tried to enter a synagogue, but ended up killing people on the street outside.  The religious leaders in Germay of The Episcopal Church issued a public statement of support and sympathy to the Jewish community.  The statement is available here.  The Episcopal Church has made numerous statements about gun violence and has been working to overcome the Christian legacy of antisemitism.  For example, in Pittsburgh, Calvary Episcopal Church hosted the high holiday services for the Tree of Life Synagogue, which has not yet returned to the building where 11 people lost their lives in a terrorist attack last October.

Retired Canadian Bishop Runs for Office on Green Party Ticket

The issues of governmental ethics and climate change have drawn the former Quebec Bishop Dennis Drainville out of  retirement to run for a seat in the Canadian Parliament on the Green Party ticket.  Thirty years ago Drainville was active in politics, but with the NDP.  The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, is also an Anglican.  The Canadian Church's Anglican Journal has more on the bishop.

Haitian Collapse Affects Episcopal Church's Largest Diocese

Rioting and continued collapse of public services in Haiti has reached a crisis level never before seen in the Republic of Haiti.  A recent New York Times article on the collapse includes the ways this is impacting Episcopal Church hospitals, schools and churches.  One hospital has had to ration oxygen, choosing between the elderly and newborns.  Rioters had forced some parishes to not hold services.  The whole article is here.

Internationally Christian Churches Under Attack

 While many are skeptical about conservative's claims that Christianity is under attack in the United States, there is no doubt that Christianity is taking some hard blows in other parts of the world.  Chinese officials continue to tear down large Christian Churches, including those which have appropriate licenses from the government, and it is reported that in the Luoyang area, the official "Three-Self" churches have been ordered to replace the Ten Commandments  on their walls with quotes from the Chinese leader Xi.   In Algeria, the government has just forced the closure of three Christian churches, including the two largest in the country.  The closures came after Christians demonstrated in from of a government building to protest persecution. Since 2018, fifteen of about 46 Christian churches in the country have been closed, and the government agency that is supposed to register churches has refused to meet, making it impossible for churches to have legal recognition.  In Syria, Christians are among those caught in the Turkish invasion, and are fleeing areas where they made up as much as 20% of the population. In the Israel  and Israeli-occupied parts of Palestine a recent Mid East Monitor reports that economic and political oppression is resulting in a drop in Christian population.

Northern Ireland Church Leaders Upset by Abortion Proposal

The Republic of Ireland voted to remove restrictive clauses in its constitution last year.  At that time, the leaders of the Anglican Church of Ireland issued statements opposing the measures, but the measures passed. The Church of Ireland includes parishes in both the Republic of Ireland and the northern counties of the island which remain part of Britain.  The British Government has announced changes which will make abortion more accessible in Northern Ireland.  Church leaders in the North are protesting vigorously.  The British government is doing this to implement a 2018 report on women's rights in the northern counties.  Polls suggest a majority of residents of Northern Ireland support the changes, but the major denominations (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methdist, and Presbyterian leadership opposes the move.

Continuing Stories

Minnesotans Continue Pressure to Rename Federal Building

Minnesota Episcopalians have been demonstrating to get the Federal Government either to move ICE offices out of   Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building or change the building's names.  They have now organized under the heading of "What Would Bishop Whipple Do?" and are holding events in local parishes and continuing their lobbying and picketing. They also have a Facebook page.  The protests have gained support beyond the Episcopal Church.  Bishop Whipple was the first bishop of Minnesota and was known for his willingness to support the causes of Indigenous people, the marginalized and the poor.  While he was a product of his time and encouraged assimilation, those organizing the protest argue that in today's world he would recognize the cause of immigrants.

More Information on South Carolina Judge Conflict of Interest

Last week Update carried notices of a possible conflict of interest involving a South Carolina Supreme Court Justice who just married a woman working for the law firm representing the schismatic group. The news was in a post by blogger Steve Skardon. The wedding was held at one of the parishes covered by the court decree, but which is still participating in ACNA.  Skaradon has published a follow-up  on October 15 that suggests the Justice's vote to deny a motion by Episcopalians in South Carolina that would have directed Judge Dickson to stop dragging things out and implement the court's now 2 year-old order, may have been attempt to win approval of ACNA Bishop Mark Lawrence for his remarriage after divorce.  The parish could not perform the marriage without Lawrence's approval.  For details go to the blog scepiscopalians.com.

Church Living Into Goal of Racial Reconciliation

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has made racial reconciliation a major theme of the ministry of the Episcopal Church. In September, the Executive Council ordered a racial audit of the church. The October Executive Council meeting in Montgomery, Alabama certainly carried the racial reconciliation theme forward with presentations and visits to important civil/human rights sites in the area.  Meanwhile, the Episcopal cathedral in Cleveland sponsored an exhibit on " Undesigning Red-lining." Red-lining is the real estate practice that helps sustain residential segregation.  The traveling exhibit will be at the cathedral until December 20, 2019.

Responses to Sydney Archbishop Address

Last week Update reported on the address by retiring Archbishop Glen Davies of the Diocese of Sydney and Province of new South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia.  Davies said that he wished those who supported same sex blessings would just leave the church.  That statement has elicited considerable blow-back.  A number of  church leaders in Australia told Davies that they had no intention of leaving, and that pushing people out of the church was un-Anglican.  Even conservative churchmen were appalled. You can read responses here and here

Another Canadian Diocese Implements Same Sex Blessings

The Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada may have fallen a handful of votes shy of changing their canons to explicitly permit Churches to provide same sex blessings to couples married in civil services or preside at same sex marriages, but individual dioceses are going ahead implementing a local option for parishes.  Update reported on one last week.  This week the Toronto Diocese moved forward.

Two More Dioceses to Share a Bishop

 Bishop Sean Rowe of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has pioneered the practice of serving as bishop of two dioceses, first while taking on the duties of provisional bishop for the Diocese of Bethlehem until they were ready to elect a new bishop, and most recently with the Diocese of Western New York.  Now another two dioceses are trying out the practice.  Bishop Houghland of Western Michigan has just been elected provisional bishop for the Diocese of Eastern Michigan.  The two dioceses are looking at greater cooperation and streamlining of services as part of the shared arrangement.  Together the two dioceses will have a little over 100 parishes and 12,000 members. 

Bishop Love Draws Line at Convention 

Bishop William Love of Albany is facing a Title IV church hearing because he has refused to implement the 2018 resolution requiring every diocese to provide a way for parishes and clergy to host and preside at same sex marriages, if they so desired.  The latest issue of the diocesan magazine has a long letter (pages 15-19) by Bishop Love in which he makes his rock-hard refusal not only clear, but makes statements that sound very much like those put forward by bishops who have since left the church.  He also compares his stand to those of the Coptic Christians who were martyred by ISIS in 2015 for refusing to give up their faith.  Elsewhere in the magazine is a report on diocesan elections.  Pittsburghers may be interested to see that the Rev. Leander Harding has been elected a clergy deputy to General Convention 2021.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Week Ending 10/14/19

Candidates React to Proposal to Strip Tax Exemption from Churches Denying Rights to LGBTQ+

Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke has proposed that churches who do not grant full rights (including marriage) to LGBTQ+ persons should be stripped of their tax exempt status.  He argues tht to give such churches a tax exemption means that American taxpayers are having to support groups that deny civil rights.  Two other Democratic candidates have criticized that position.  Senator Elizabeth Warren (a Methodist) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Episcopalian) countered that it would put the federal government in the position  of picking and choosing among religious beliefs.  That power once granted could be used against any religious belief.  Buttigieg said it would be going to "War" against a number of religious groups.  For more, see the story in Religion News.

Ongoing Stories

New Developments in South Carolina Legal Cases

The South Carolina schismatics led by Mark Lawrence filed notice that they will appeal the September decision in Federal District Court that gave the name, seal, and other trademarks of the diocese to those still in the Episcopal Church.  As usual the scepiscopalians.com blog has some choice comments on this notice. in its October 7 blog.  In the October 14 blog post, Steve Skardon raises another legal issue.  Earlier this year the South Carolina Supreme Court refused a request from Episcopalians that would have forced Judge Dickson to actual do what the court directed him to do two years ago -- preside over the implementation of the decision awarding church property to the Episcopalians.  One justice, who attends an Episcopal Church recused herself and did not participate in the denial of the motion.  However, one of the judges who did deny the Episcopal motion to tell Dickson to get busy, has just gotten married.  The wedding was held at one of the schismatic parishes, and his bride is a member of the law firm representing that parish in the church property cases.  Even worse, despite the federal court ruling on trademark issues which resulted in an order forbidding the schismatics from claiming to be Episcopal, the judge's New York Times wedding announcement referred to the ACNA priest as an Episcopalian. The issue is whether this justice also should have recused himself for a conflict of interest?

St. John's the Divine Bouncing Back From Fire

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine suffered a fire on palm Sunday that left widespread smoke damage and damage to all of the cathedrals organs. Its fire was over shadowed by the much more extensive fire at Notre Dame in Paris, but Pittsburgh Update covered both. Because of the ongoing restoration work, the cathedral cancelled its famous St. Francis Day animal procession, but held an outdoor animal blessing fair.  On October 10 the cathedral held its annual celebration and thanksgiving for the firefighters of the city.  Restoration is well underway and the tall walls of the cathedral should be clean and clear of scaffolding in time for Christmas this year.  Restoration will then begin on the 5 organs.  The Episcopal News Service has the full story here.

Retiring Australian Archbishop Praises Schismatics

  Archbishop Davies of Sydney, Australia is retiring this year. He has been one of the strongest GAFCON supporters, and his diocese is one of the holdouts, not only against LGBTQ+ equality, but women's ordination.  Davies used his final address to the New South Wales Synod to praise the bishop chosen to lead a small group of schismatic, ACNA-like parishes in New Zealand, and to suggest that those who wanted to "change" the Australian church should leave.  This last was an oblique reference to two dioceses that were challenging the Australian church's moratorium on blessing same-sex marriages.  Update has reported previously on the two challenger dioceses (Wangarrata and Newcastle).

Another Round in the Christ Church, Oxford Dean Saga

Peace has not returned to the cathedral or the College of Christ Church, Oxford. Christ Church is unique at Oxford by having both a Cathedral and College as part of its institution.  The Dean of the cathedral is also head of the college.  For the last year the Christ Church community has been engaged in an expensive internal struggle leading to an unsuccessful attempt to remove the Dean.  There are two new stories on the turmoil at the college both exploring the roots of the controversy. The Church Times article can be reached here.  The longer article in the Financial Times has been put behind a pay wall, but going through a Google search for the article will let  readers open it for free. 

More Signs of Split in Anglican Communion

The GAFCON group seems on the verge of bringing the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church (REACH-SA) into its fold.  REACH has been an independent denomination in South Africa for over a century.  In Namibia there has been movement  of several clergy and parishes away from the more liberal Anglican Church in Southern Africa.  The new bishop of the REACH-SA Diocese of Namibia is among those recent converts.  REACH has close ties to the Diocese of Sydney in Australia.  Now GAFCAON has begun the process of "recognizing" REACH as one of its "provinces." as GAFCON continues to try to create a parallel Anglican Communion.  Rwanda, another of the GAFCON strongholds has voted to remove the word "Province" from its name as a holdover from colonialism.  The explanation of the change, however, also suggests the Church in Rwanda is rejecting part of the authority of the Anglican Communion.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Week Ending 10/07/19

Kenya Affirms Possibility of Women as Bishops

The Anglican Church in Kenya's synod wants to be sure that their commitment to women clergy at all levels is unmistakable.  They have thus started a process to amend their governing documents so that it is explicit that both male and female clergy are eligible to be bishops.  Women have been ordained as priests in Kenya for a while under a reading of documents that the use of male terminology was intended to be generic and not gender specific. The change will require a second vote by the next synod, scheduled for 2021.

Parishes Opposed to Women's Ordination in England Hide Their Stance

A recent study has shown that 90% of the conservative evangelical parishes in the Church of England that do not support women's leadership, especially ordination do not make that position clear anywhere on their web sites or in materials available to their congregation.  Since many of these parishes are near universities that might attract student members, this has the effect of discouraging women from entering ordained ministry. 

Actions Around the Anglican Communion in Support of Environment

The global environmental crisis has sparked a number of statements over time from members of the Anglican Communion.  The latest two are a strongly worded statement by the 9 bishops of the Province of South America.  Their statement  was a strong condemnation of the destruction of forests for agriculture or other development, especially the forests of South America.  The Anglican Communion News Service has a good description of the implications of their letter and a link to the letter in  its original Spanish.  Meanwhile, in London, Church of England clergy and laity are participating in demonstrations that close the bridge over the Thames closest to Lambeth Palace. The demonstrations are to call attention to the mass extinction of species being caused by climate change.  As part of these demonstrations, the clergy are performing baptisms and celebrating Eucharist on the bridge.

Updates on Ongoing Stories

Communion Partners Support Bishop Love and Lambeth

The House of Bishops meeting  in September included statements urging bishops to follow their consciences on whether to attend Lambeth 2020 given that same sex spouses were excluded from the invitation.  The Bishops also allowed the Title IV disciplinary process to move forward to a hearing on Bishop Love for his refusal to implement a General Convention resolution requiring bishops to allow parishes and priests in their dioceses to celebrate weddings for same sex couples if  they wished to do so.  The handful of Communion Partner Bishops (i.e. very conservative) in The Episcopal Church have now issued a statement supporting Bishop Love and saying that they all intend to go to Lambeth. The defense of Bishop Love of Albany was based on a claim that liberal bishops who ignored canons have not been brought up on charges.

South Carolina Diocese Requests Hearing

 The Episcopalians in South Carolina have sent a letter requesting that Judge Dickson move forward with a new hearing on their requests for implementation of the property settlement given the federal court decision and failure of mediation.  The judge has managed to stall doing what the state court asked him to do two years ago.

St. Paul's School Removes Names from Buildings

St. Paul's School in Conway, New Hampshire, which has been trying to rebuild its credibility after a damaging scandal involving the sexual abuse of students by faculty and staff over a number of years, has removed from campus buildings the names of two men who were involved in covering up the abuse.  Bill Matthews name was removed from the Episcopal school's hockey center, and Bill Oates's name is no longer on the preforming arts center.  In 2018, the school signed an agreement with the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office which ended an official criminal investigation of the abuse.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Week Ending 09/30/19

Episcopal Church Criticizes Cut in Refugee Admissions

The decision by Donald Trump to cut the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 18,000 for 2020 has elicited strong protests from the Episcopal Church and other churches who work with refugees.  The U.S. expects to receive over 380,000 requests for entry from refugees next year, and the quota is the lowest since the U.S. began its refugee program in 1980. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry authored an opinion piece for Religion News arguing that welcoming refugees was a part of Christian faith.  The Episcopal Migration ministries also issued a strong statement.

Georgia Church Offers Rest Stop for First Responders

Ben Day, the rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Kennesaw, Georgia occasionally rides along with the police as part of his service as police Chaplain.  He noticed that the officers needed a place where they could use the restroom, or regroup after a troubling event.  His parish responded by creating St. Michael Law Enforcement Chapel which was dedicated  after the main service on Sunday, September 29.  The chapel is actually open to all first responders and offers a quiet place for decompression, prayer, and refreshment, as well as clean restrooms.  It is open to people of all faiths.  The local paper carried a feature story on the new chapel.

Southern Africa Church Joins in Boycott

The Provincial Synod for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa voted to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to protest Israel's treatment of Palestinians. While South Africa is the largest country in the province, the province includes several other countries in southern Africa. The resolution warned people to not confuse Zionism with Judaism, condemned all forms antisemitism and Islamophobia,  and compared the experience of Palestinians with that of blacks under apartheid.  The synod also requested that bishops from all over the Anglican Communion vote on a similar resolution during Lambeth 2020.  The full text of the resolution is here.

Primate Changes for Two Provinces May Bring Slight Change

Both the Provinces of South East Asia and Nigeria have new primates, but the change seems unlikely to bring much softening of the hard-line GAFCON stances these two provinces have espoused.  The  Archbishop, Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, seems to be fully on-board with Nigeria's anti-LGBTQ stance. He has been the Archbishop of Jos, and area with a Muslim majority.  South East Asia primates have been involved with the revolt against inclusion of LGBTQ for many years.  South Asia provided one of the bishops that took part in the irregular ordination of bishops for the Anglican Mission in America, and has close ties to the GAFCON stronghold in Australia, the Diocese of Sydney.  The new Archibishop, Datuk Melter Jiki Tais is a member of the largest ethnic group in diocese of Sabah, which he has served as bishop.  There may be some softening of a GAFCON stance in South East Asia since Melter is serving on the 2020 Lambeth Planning Committee and his province has not yet announced whether they will boycott Lambeth or not.

Follow-Ups to Previous Stories

Church of England Gets Another Taste of Division

The announcement by a priest in Cornwall that he intends to leave the Church of England and start a parish affiliated with GAFCON brings another taste of the divisions that the churches in the U.S., Brazil, Scotland, New Zealand, and Canada have been dealing with. GAFCON has its own bishop and structure outside the church structures in the British Isles The Cornish minister was most upset by recent guidance by the church on how to deal  compassionately with transgender people and previous baptisms.

Wales First Province to Reach Episcopal Gender Parity

 When Update reported last week on the election of Cherry Van as a bishop in Wales, we failed to note that her selection means that half of the six bishops in Wales will be women.  Wales thus becomes the first province in the Anglican Communion to reach episcopal gender parity with three women and three men.

Mediation Proves Fruitless in South Carolina

State district court Judge Dickson tried to punt on the implementation of the property decision referred to his court by the South Carolina state supreme court by ordering everyone to mediation, but the attempt fizzled.  The implementation of the 2017 decision is now squarely back in Dickson's courtroom. A full day of mediation resulted in no agreements in South Carolina. That was hardly surprising given that two previous rounds of mediation also came to nothing (see Update here and here.).  The two parties each issued the identical agreed-upon one sentence announcement of that fact.  They are here and here.  Blogger Steve Skardon has more to say in his September 26 posting. 

Canadian Province Moves Forward on Same-Sex Marriage 

The Diocese of  Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has implemented parish choice in the matter of same-sex marriage and several parishes have moved forward to declare themselves willing to provide such celebrations.  The most recent Canadian Synod by the vote of two bishops turned down a proposal that would have approved same-sex marriage ceremonies for the whole Anglican Church of Canada.  This however left in place an interpretation of canons that allowed bishops to permit such celebrations in willing parishes.  The Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland-Labrador has now moved forward after receiving petitions from 8 parishes.  They are willing to provide services for non-members who cannot be married in their own church, regardless of denomination. 

South African Primate Remains Positive Despite Synod Defeat of Same-Sex Blessing Proposal

South Africa is the only African country recognizing and permitting same sex couples to marry. While South African Anglicans may be  willing to move forward with blessing same-sex marriages, the rest of the province of Southern Africa (St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha, Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland and Angola) is more hesitant.  Three years ago the provincial synod voted against such blessings, and the 2019 synod had the same outcome.  Archbishop Thaba Makgoba remains positive however, seeing progress in the discussions on sexulaity that have been held in the province.  He will continue to look for a what for the church in South Africa to offer blessings.