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 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.