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         

Monday, February 17, 2020

Week Ending 02/17/20

New Hampshire Church-Attenders Chose Klobuchar over Buttigieg

Democratic voters in New Hampshire who attend church regularly choose Senator Amy Klobuchar more often that former mayor Peter Buttigieg or Senator Bernie Sanders.  She received 29 % of the votes of those who regularly attended church.  Buttigieg, the Episcopalian who mentions religion frequently in his campaigning received 16% of the votes from that group. Buttigieg led Klobuchar and Sanders in attracting the votes of occasional church goers.  Sanders led among the unchurched.  The full article in Religion News has more detail. 

Church Leaders Send Trump Protest On Policies Hurting the Poor

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was among the 13 church leaders who signed a letter protesting policy changes recently announced by the Trump administration which would have negative impacts on the poor and disabled.  Their protest was based in the sections of scripture that empahsize our duty to love and care for the the poor and needy.  The Episcopal Cafe article has a link to the full letter. 

Church of England Synod Moves on Climate Change, Achnowledges Racism But Punts on LGBTQ Issues

The Church of England Synod which is currently winding up its sessions acted in a dramatic way to shorten the target period at the end of which the Church would  be leaving a zero tolerance carbon footprint.  The original target date was 2045.  This was moved up to 2030.  Convincing parishes and church institutions to make the changes needed to achieve this goal is going to take real work and money.  The Archbishop of Canterbury also issued an apology for  racism within the Church and  challenged the whole Church to turn a hostile environment into a welcoming one for minorities. On another hot button topic, the status of LGBTQ people in the Church, including same-sex marriage,  both conservatives and groups arguing for inclusion were disappointed in the delay of the Living in Love and Faith Commission report and the timetable for discussions.

Survey Shows Mainline Clergy Leading Way on Same Sex Marriage

A survey done by a Nashville research group suggests that the strongest support for same-sex marriage among church leaders identified three groups that were more likely to support same-sex marriage.  These were mainline clergy, white clergy, and clergy at small parishes.  While the percentage of support from evangelical church leaders remained  in the teens in both 2010 and the present, mainline clergy support jumped from around one third to almost half.  The survey did not include Episcopal clergy, Bishop Bonnie Perry's recent election and consecration was mentioned in the Christian Post article as an indication of the high support for same sex marriage withing the Episcopal Church.  The Christian Post article has more detail on the survey results.

Pittsburgh's East End Episcopal Churches Announce Lenten Preachers Announced for 19th Annual Series. 

For the 19th year, the Episcopal Churches in Pittsburgh's East End will be jointly sponsoring a series of Tuesday Lenten suppers followed by a communion service.  This year the preachers include a mix of clergy both from inside the diocese and from the larger church.  The Series will kick off at Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill on March 3 and conclude at St. Andrews on March 31.  The details are here.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Diocese of Olympia and Feds Reach Settlement on Immigrant Travel Ban Lawsuit

The Diocese of Olympia was among the groups working with refugees who joined the Washington state America Civil Liberties Union in filing suit  to challenge the Executive Orders issued in January 2017 barring most refugees from 11 countries.  A  legal settlement between the Federal government and the suing parties has just been announced.  Immigration services has promised to prioritize processing certain classes of refugee cases.  Olympia entered the suit originally arguing that resettling refugees was an essential part of its members living out their faith. 

South Carolina Judge Sets Another Hearing

State Court Judge Dickson, who was assigned in 2017 to implement the South Carolina Supreme Court decision awarding most property to the Episcopalians, has scheduled a hearing February 27, 2020 on several of the motions filed by the Episcopalians.  There is no indication he is ready to issue any orders or decisions. The judge's last actions were in December 2019.  Blogger Steve Skardon notes in his February 15 post on the new hearing that the judge has been doing a delaying action for more than two and a half years.  Given that the hearing is on motions filed in 2018, the slow pace is evident. 

Immigration Authorities in England and U.S. Deportation Rules Go Against Church Wishes

The son of an Anglican bishop in El Salvador was denied asylum and deported to El Salvador where his family is sure his life is in danger from drug cartels that he angered by trying to refuse working with them.  Update reported earlier on the efforts of Episcopalians to aid the son.  His father is still trying to find a way to send him to another country.  Meanwhile in England, government officials again ruled against an Iranian refugee who had converted to Christianity and ordered his deportation.  The man will leave behind in England his wife and toddler daughter.  A year ago the Church of England created a stink when the official conducting the first asylum hearing for this refugee insisted that Christianity was a war-like religion.  Update covered that event.  This time, the hearing judge ruled that the man was not really a convert to Christianity because he got several questions wrong on a 150 question quiz on the Bible.  Now church leaders are upset that the government has no understanding of  the nature of Christianity or the danger facing Iranian Christians.

Sewanee Announces Full Financial Aid

The School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee has quietly changed its financial aid for its Master of Divinity program to provide full tuition and fee scholarship to all students.  In addition generous need-based aid will be available for housing and other living costs.  Sewanee is the second Episcopal seminary to make it possible for students wishing to be ordained to study virtually free of cost.  Virginia Theological Seminary had announced its program earlier this year.  The programs are designed to ensure that graduates will not enter the ministry with a large debt hanging over them.

Oxford Dean Seeks Damages

Christ Church, Oxford is both a cathedral and a college.  The Dean of its cathedral also serves as head of the College.  Unfortunately the current Dean was caught up in a nasty struggle with faculty that led to an investigation which ultimately cleared the Dean and revealed a venomous resistance by certain faculty.  Update covered this story earlier.  However, the Dean has filed a complaint with the Employment Tribunal and is seeking damages for lost pay.  This hearing has resulted in the release to the public of many of the nastiest emails between faculty being released.  

More Church Attempts to Heal the Racial Divide 

More parishes and dioceses are responding to the call by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to seek reconciliation for past and ongoing racism by admitting complicity in racism past and present and working to make amends.  Update has been tracking many of these efforts (See for example here and here.)  The latest include the decision of the Diocese of Texas to commit $13 million dollars for scholarships and grants to groups working on racial justice; the focus at the current Executive Council meeting on the Doctrine of Discovery and the damage it has done to indigenous peoples; and a Florida parish that led a  pilgrimage to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama which honors the more than 4000 victims of lynching in the U.S.  The Diocese of Texas's announcement follows announcements made by Virginia Theological Seminary, the Diocese of New York, and the Diocese of Maryland.