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.