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, November 12, 2019

Week Ending 11/11/19

Britain  Extends Civil Partnerships to All Couples

When the British Parliament passed a civil partnership law, it was to provide legal status and protections for same sex couples.  That Act covered all of Britain (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland).  Now they have passed an amendment extending the option of civil partnership (rather than marriage) to heterosexual couples.  Without further action the law covers England, and Wales. The Scottish Parliament must also pass it before it applies in Scotland. 

Episcopal Church Joins Movement to Stay in Climate Accord

The U.S. Government may have given official notice that the country is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Pact, but the Episcopal Church has officially announced it is staying in, and has joined the "We Are Still In" movement.  The church will continue to urge actions from its constituent parts and members that will meet the Paris Accord goals.  The Church has a long record of resolutions supporting care of creation, and provided official theological testimony at the 2015 meeting in Paris that created the Paris Pact.

Financial Impropriety in a Central New York Parish

Bishop DeDe Probe of Central New York has had to remove a parish rector after a forensic audit confirmed long term financial irregularities at St. Stephen's, New Hartford.  That evidence has been turned over to civil authorities for further investigation and action.  The Episcopal Church has long required all of its dioceses and parishes to do annual audits and has clear financial guidelines for parish finances.

Environmental Racism Initiative Launched by Absalom Jones Center

At General Convention 2018 a new center for social justice was announced, the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. Sponsored by the Diocese of Atlanta, the center has been offering a variety of workshops, resources, on-line courses and guides to the whole church.  Now it has announced a broad initiative against environmental racism to be named for Bishop Barbara Harris, the first woman ordained a bishop, and a long-time supporter of social justice.  The center is developing a curriculum that can be used across the church to explore environmental racism and work for change. 

Church of England Explains Devon Parish's Yoga Ban 

When a parish church in Devon refused to allow a Yoga class to use their church hall, they did so on the grounds that Yoga was not Christian and the church building was required by law to allow only Christian or secular activities.  Now officials from the diocese have clarified that Yoga is not on a banned list in all Church of England sites, but that each parish decides what to allow.  Many parishes do host yoga classes and see them as separate from the Buddhist and Hindu roots of the exercise system. 

Continuing Stories

More Actions on Racial Reconciliation

The Presiding bishop's focus on Racial Reconciliation and Hearings has been encouraging the church to explore its complicity in slavery, segregation, and racism as a means of acknowledging past wrongs and looking for a better way forward.   Earlier the Update reported on the Executive Council's announcement of a racial audit for the whole church.  Many parishes and church institutions have been addressing the ways memorials in their parish memorials commemorated  slave owners, or were made by those trying to preserve a racist version of history.  Update has taken note of these discussions. Boston's Old North Church is the latest parish to discover its complicity.   Update also recently reported on the decision of Virginia Theological Seminary to dedicate part of its endowment for reparations due to its participation in slavery and segregation.  Now the Diocese of New York has passed a racial reparations resolution, after also passing anti-slavery resolutions that were defeated by its convention in 1860. 

Fort Worth Passes Resolution on Guns in Church

The Texas legislature passed a law that went into effect in September allowing open and concealed carry of guns in religious houses of worship.  The Diocese of Fort Worth annual convention has just passed a resolution declaring that diocesan buildings (including mission stations and the church camp) will ban all weapons except for those carried by licensed officers of the law.  It encourages parishes and church schools to adopt a similar policy  The original resolution (see p. 11 of the linked document) made no exceptions and applied to all parishes and schools.  The diocese of Texas had already passed a resolution applying the whole diocese, with an exception for officers of the law.  General Convention 2012 passed a resolution requesting that dioceses and parishes declare themselves gun free zones. Update has carried numerous updates on the Church's efforts against gun violence.

ACNA Pittsburgh Diocese Using Volunteers to Renovate Offices

In December 2018 the offices of the ACNA diocese in Pittsburgh moved from Allegheny Center to a Roman Catholic Church complex nearby.  They moved on short notice and now, after-the-fact, are renovating their offices.  The extensive work, is being done by volunteer crews.  Originally their goal was to have the work done by the end of October, but the diocesan web page events calendar for November  lists a number of volunteer work days led by their bishop.