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 19, 2019

Week Ending 11/18/19

Jefferts Schori Speaks on Challenges for Women as Leaders 

Former Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori recently gave a talk at Kenyon College on the challenges facing and need for women in leadership roles throughout society.  The talk was part of a series focusing on Women at Kenyon.  Jefferts Schori drew on her own experience as Presiding Bishop and as a faculty member in the sciences to illustrate the ways women leaders face obstacles and questions, but also argued that women should persist in their leadership efforts, and think outside the box to find new ways to exercise power and leadership.

Study Says Canadian Church Could Disappear in 20 Years 

The Anglican Church in Canada is facing a disturbing membership decline, one which, if unaddressed could result in the disappearance of the whole church from Canada by 2040.  At least, that is what a study presented to Anglican Church's Council of the Synod predicts.  Archbishop Linda Nicholls. the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada is hoping to get people thinking about how to to be a faithful witness in their communities rather than focus on declining numbers.

California Church Holds Annual Indigenous Peoples Service

This last Sunday, Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands (near San Bernadino, CA) held its 11th annual Native American worship service, featuring music drawing on native music and incorporating symbols from Native American spirituality. It was part of the parish's observances for Native American Heritage Month.  The celebrant for the mass was the Rev. Canon Mary Crist who was appointed in June by the Presiding Bishop to be Indigenous Theological Education Coordinator for The Episcopal Church.  Crist, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe, is also rector of St. Michael's Parish in Riverside, CA.

Church of Ireland Clergy Leaders Object to GAFCON Member as Bishop

One of the more conservative dioceses in the Anglican Church of Ireland has elected as their next bishop a priest who has been very active in the Irish GAFCON organization.  In Ireland the group opposes  church leadership by women and has a strongly anti-LGBTQ position.  The election alarmed many in Ireland where the church has been open to inclusion and where Civil marriage is available to same sex couples.  The election is not final until approved by the Irish church's bishops, and thirty-six prominent church leaders, (cathedral deans, canons, etc.) have written a strong letter opposing approval of the election.  In addition one of the deans has published in the Irish Times a separate opinion piece opposing the election.  

Philippine Government Declares Council of Churches a Terrorist Group

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines has issued a statement criticizing the Philippine government after a security chief identified the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) as a Communist Front for terrorist activities.  The government has issued a list of "terrorist" organizations that includes many non-profits working among the poor and for social justice.  The Episcopal Church was ready to defend the NCCP in court, but that has not been necessary because the official list did not include the NCCP.   The Episcopal Church is a member of the NCCP.  All the groups on the list or labelled as a front organization are at risk for harassment and attacks by militia.

Trinity School for Ministry Expands in Ambridge

Trinity School for Ministry (TSM) has bought a Presbyterian church near the campus.  the purchase will give them a larger space to use for community gatherings and worship services.  TSM is recognized as an Episcopal Seminary, although most of its faculty and trustees are members of ACNA.

Church Develops Property for Affordable Housing

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek, CA is preparing for the late December or January of St. Paul's Commons which will provide 45 apartments that are affordable housing.  The project was made possible through a lease of church property to Resources for Community Development.  That non-profit then brought in a management firm to do background checks and run the property.  The Commons will also have space for the ongoing work the parish does among the homeless.  Because California housing prices are so high, many people who could in other markets afford housing are homeless in California.  A number of churches of various denominations are trying to address housing needs throughout the state.

Continuing Stories

South Carolina Diocese Asks Federal Judge to Enforce Order

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has gone back to federal court, asking the judge in the recent trademark decision to issue further orders against the ACNA group.  The complaint is that they are still infringing on the identity of the Episcopal Diocese by claiming historical origins (such as claiming their bishop and convention are the latest in a historical line going back to the origins of the Episcopal Diocese), and for continuing to provide access to unaltered documents that were produced during the years that they claimed the seal and name of the diocese.  In addition, the documents filed with the court are claiming that the "new" name for the ACNA group "The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina" is too close to the name of the Episcopal Diocese and likely to continue to confuse people.  The documents note that while Anglican Diocese of South Carolina might have bee deemed acceptable under other circumstances, there is precedent in cases where the previous trademark infringement was confusing and damaging, to require a name be completely different.   You can find comments on the request on the blog scepiscopalians.com for  November 12. 

Sewanee Holds First Workshop on Confederate Symbols

The University of the South in Sewanee  has now offered the first of its workshops on the dilemma created by Confederate memorials and symbols in Episcopal Churches and other church structures.  The general advice is to move deliberately, with time for discussion and historical research on the origins of the memorial or symbol, and the background of the individual memorialized.  A number of churches are dealing with memorials (windows, plaques, etc.) in honor of Bishop Leonidas Polk, who was a missionary bishop who served wide swaths of the South before the Civil War.  He was a supporter of slavery and died while serving as a General of Artillery for the Confederate Army.  Update earlier carried a notice that Sewanee was going to hold this workshop.  The Episcopal News Service has an article about those who attended.

Fort Worth Diocese Hears Presentation on Local Lynching

Episcopalians in Fort Worth heard a presentation at their recent annual convention on efforts to create a memorial to a man who died in a lynching in Fort Worth in 1921. The effort is being headed by the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice.  The Coalition is sponsoring several events as part of their efforts to bring this event into the public eye and foster healing.  The presentation was part of the efforts of the Fort Worth diocese to participate in the Episcopal Church's call for racial justice and reconciliation.