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, April 21, 2020

Week Ending 04/20/20

Remembering Past Epidemics

A number of news sources have printed background stories on the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919, but fewer have looked back further.  The Episcopal News Service has published a reminder of the self-sacrifice of a group of Episcopal Church nuns and priests during the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Memphis.  The Church commemorates the 4 nuns and 2 Episcopal priests who gave their lives caring for the sick in its Lesser Feasts and Fasts on September 9. 

Menlo Park Rector Under Investigation

The Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillet  has been placed on leave after an investigation by Church leaders  of Trinity Episcopal Church in Menlo Park, CA uncovered evidence that he may have used $125,000 of church funds for personal use.  He has been rector of the parish in the Diocese of California for a decade, and the financial irregularities are spread over the last 5 years. The  parish is considering filing a  police report.

Bishop John Buchanan Dies

Bishop John Buchanan, who guided the faithful remnant of the Quincy Diocese through the painful years immediately after its diocesan leadership and most of its parishes left the Episcopal Church, has died.  Buchanan was consecrated as bishop of West Missouri and served that diocese for 11 years.  After his retirement he served as assistant in the Diocese of Texas, interim bishop in Southern Virginia and as the Provisional Bishop of Quincy.  He then moved to a church retirement home in South Carolina, where he  provided guidance to Episcopalians beginning the process of reorganization following schism. The Living Church carried the story.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Ministry During the Covid-19 Pandemic - Latest News

Easter brought unique stresses to the church lock down and two good illustrations of how even Bishops are feeling their way through ministry during an epidemic. In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury made an announcement that closed all Church of England churches even to the priests of the parish.  However after some strong push back, Archbishop Justin Welby retreated noting that his statement was meant to be advisory. One parish priest, Jacob Owensby,  immediately took advantage of the revised interpretation of Welby's statement and conducted his live-streamed service inside the church.  Meanwhile in Western Louisiana, Episcopal Bishop first granted permission for "virtual" consecration of elements and then had to reverse himself after hearing from the Presiding Bishop.
The Episcopal News Service  published a summary of efforts by parishes all over the U.S. to feed the hungry.  You can find more on these ministries here.  Update has been carrying notices on the impact of the covid-19 virus on ministry. See here and here for the most recent previous notices.

New Rounds of Church Persecution in China 

Chinese authorities conducted a raid on the homes of an independent church with a membership of around 4000.  The police found the leaders participating in a virtual Easter service on zoom. The leaders were then arrested for participating in a  The minister of the parish has refused to make changes demanded by the government.  Update has previously carried stories on government action against Christian churches in China.

Kansas Ban on Church Meetings Takes Another Turn

Kansans may be forgiven if they feel a bit whiplashed by the status of ather Governor's order closing all churches as part of the lock-down.  The state legislature tried to override the Governor's order, but the state supreme court ruled against the legislature.  However, a federal judge has ruled that the governor's order is void because of first amendment  guarantees for freedom of religion. 

Pittsburgh Bishop Delays Retirement

Bishop Dorsey McConnell  announced this week that he has delayed his retirement from April to September 2021 due to the disruptions caused by the corona virus. His full letter is available here.  The election for a new bishop will now take place in April at the time originally scheduled for the consecration.  McConnell intends to retire the day his successor is consecrated.

Bishop Love's Disciplinary Hearing Delayed

In a letter to the Diocese of Albany parishes, Bishop William Love announced that his Title IV hearing scheduled for April 21 has been delayed.  The hearing had already moved from an in-person meeting to a virtual meeting and the hearing has been postponed because the church is still working on the technical details of how to conduct the hearing in a virtual environment. Charges were brought against Bishop Love for refusing to implement a General Convention resolution requiring dioceses to provide a means for same sex couples to be married within their diocese.