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 5, 2019

Week Ending 11/4/19

Episcopal Churches in Maine Lead Way for Peace and Solar Power

Episcopalians in Maine's two largest cities have begun new efforts reaching out to the community. Trinity Episcopal in Lewiston, Maine (the second largest city in the state) has dedicated a portion of their Memorial Garden as a Peace Park, and erected a "Peace Pole" with benches to mark the spot. In the spring they will add plantings to make the spot more inviting.  The design of the "pocket park" was the parish's contribution to a Healthy Neighborhood initiative.  They hope it will be a place where people can reflect and pray about peace. The Lewiston Sun-Journal has more on this. About 40 miles away, in Portland, the Episcopal Diocese is leading an effort to create a consortium that would build a solar farm.  Both historic preservation rules and the siting of the Episcopal Cathedral made it unworkable for the parish to install solar panels, so they organized an effort being led by the diocese to build a larger interfaith coalition of churches to buy land and build a solar power farm to provide power to members of the consortium. The Portland Press-Herald has more on the initiative.

Arizona Episcopalians Add Indigenous People's Day to Calendar

At the recent annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, members voted to create an "Indigenous Peoples of Arizona Day" on the second Monday of October, thus providing an alternative to the federal Columbus Day.  There are 22 federally recognized tribes in Arizona, and the diocese is trying to give better recognition to native peoples.  The Convention also approved a set of propers and collects to use on that day.  These are the same that the Anglican Church of Canada has approved for their June 21, Indigenous Peoples Day. 

Updates on Continuing Stories

Methodists Continue to Struggle with Vote on LGBTQ Members

As the proposal for full communion between the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church is still on the agenda for the next General Convention, the continued unrest within the Methodist Church over the vote last year to strengthen statements excluding "practicing" homosexuals from ministry and forbidding any recognition of same-sex unions, remains very pertinent for Episcopalians.  The Methodist Church's highest court met recently and did not issue a ruling on a number of implementation issues, including what to do about those already in ministry, and what is meant by a "practicing" homosexual.  The court did rule that the resolution allowing those who were unhappy with the decision to leave the Church with their property was in order.  Update has been following the potential split.  The most recent  item is here.

Judge Finally Schedules Hearing in South Carolina

After Episcopalians sent two letters asking Judge Dickson to proceed with hearings, he has set Tuesday, November 26 as a hearing date for all motions he has not yet ruled on in the South Carolina property case.  The notice specifically mentions the motion for reconsideration filed by the Episcopalians after Dickson refused to dismiss the "Betterments" suits filed by the schismatic groups.  Lawyers for the Episcopal Diocese also reminded the judge that there are motions filed in May and June 2018 that also have never had a ruling.  The scepiscopalians.com October 29 blog post  offers some comments.

More Reaction to the GAFCON Consecration in New Zealand

There continues to be fallout from the consecration of a bishop for a group of parishes who left the New Zealand Anglican Church.  The new bishop for the GAFCON sponsored group was consecrated by ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, but two other bishops in attendance were retired bishops living in New Zealand.  One, was the retired bishop of Nelson Diocese in New Zealand, and the other was retired from a Kenyan diocese.  Archbishop Glenn Davies of the Diocese of Sydney in Australia was also present.  Last week Update carried notice of the New Zealand church leaders'  protest of the "border crossing" violation by other bishops in the Anglican Communion.  A commentary that went much farther raising concerns about the event appeared this week.  GAFCON continues on a path that seems determined to create an alternative version of the Anglican Communion. 

Bloy House Finds Home at Lutheran Center

For a half century, Bloy House worked in partnership with the Methodists at Claremont School of Theology, but early last year the Methodists announced plans to move their seminary to Willamette College in Salem, Oregon.  Bloy which was founded to provide a weekend and night option for those seeking ordination in the Diocese of Los Angeles needed to find a new home.  The Trustees for Bloy House announced that they have signed a lease with the Lutheran Center in Glendale.  Those involved expressed hope that the new arrangement will strengthen cooperation building on the full communion agreements already in place between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and The Episcopal Church.

Questions Remain About Church Inaction on Howard White

Although the former Episcopal priest, Howard White has pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse of minors in North Carolina and received a stiff prison sentence, questions remain about how much church officials new and how many times they simply looked the other way quietly passing White on to another position.  These questions are explored in an article in The Mountaineer, the Waynesville, N.C. newspaper.