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, June 9, 2020

Week Ending 06/08/20

A Virtual General Convention in 2021?

General Conventions are large gatherings made even larger by meetings held in conjunction with the convention, ECW's Triennial, dinners sponsored by seminaries, the Church Historical Society and other groups, the attendance of many people not voting deputies who help with arrangements, the back-of-the-scenes administrative and legislative functions, those wishing to testify at hearings on proposed resolutions and other business of the convention,  a youth deputation, exhibitors, and the encouragement of Episcopalians to come and experience the convention.  Executive Committee is now considering what plans they need to make given it is not clear what the status of the covid-19 pandemic might be, and that delaying decisions can create eve worse disruption.  Among the options now being considered is a partial or fully virtual convention.  At the very least, the convention may be streamlined.  The Episcopal News Service has an article outlining some of the factors weighing in on this issue for the Executive Committee.

Archbishop of York Sentamu Retires

In a solemn ceremony, much different than what was imagined when the Archbishop of York announced his retirement,  Archbishop John Sentamu entered the cathedral at York and laid his crozier on the altar.  Thus he made his last official act as Archbishop accompanied by his wife.  A handful of cathedral and church officials were there to witness the act.  Because of the covid-19 pandemic, all tributes to him have been digital events, live-streamed or recorded.

Church of England Licenses Controversial Rwandan Bishop

Rt. Rev. Jonathan Ruhumuliza was bishop co-adjutor of the Diocese of Kigali in Rwanda in 1994 when Hutus rose and slaughtered with the complicity of government slaughtered over 800,000 of their fellow citizens who belonged to the Tutsi ethnic group.  Ruhumuliza, Hutu, was criticized for minimizing the slaughter and refusing to  help Tutsis who asked for shelter.  He eventually resigned his see, and served in the Cameroon, moving to England.  He served for 9 years, but following a report on Rwanda in 2014, lost his license. His application for refugee status was denied twice, but eventually accepted in 2018 because he cannot return to Rwanda.  Now, the Church of England has licesned him to be an unsalaried assistant parish minister.  The Living Church has more here.

Continuing Stories

Albany Diocese Prepares for Disciplinary Hearing of Bishop

Bishop William Love of Albany has been under a partial inhibition since 2018 because of his refusal to provide some form of local access to church marriage for same-sex couples.  A presentment was filed, but the hearing was postponed because of the growing pandemic.  The hearing is now scheduled for this Friday.  The Albany Standing Committee has issued a statement in support of the bishop, and is asking for parishes to organize prayer vigils for him.  A handful of Albany parishes would like to offer their same sex members the option of a church blessing or marriage ceremony, and have been waiting anxiously for this clash between General Convention and Bishop Love to reach its conclusion.

More Response to the St. John's Lafayette Square Photo Op

Update carried notes last week on the immediate reactions to the violent removal of peaceful demonstrators from the Lafayette Square area followed immediately by a walk through the park from the White House by Donald Trump and members of his staff so that he could have pictures taken of him holding a Bible next to the Parish House sign of St. John's Episcopal Church.  Episcopal leaders were upset by the use of the church for a campaign, and by the way the people were removed.  See the statements of the New York bishops and those of New England for typical responses.  Presiding Bishop Curry noted that Trump didn't even pray on his visit.   Among those pushed off church grounds were Episcopal clergy and seminarians.  Bishop Budde and others were then denied access to the church for a prayer vigil the next day, supposedly because a new fence was being installed to create a larger perimeter around the White Hourse.  A number of bishops have now issued statements, as has the former Archbishop of Canterbury who called Trump's use of the Bible "idolatry."

Church Witnesses for Justice in George Floyd Death

Update noted the initial reactions of church leaders both to the death of George Floyd, murdered by a Minneapolis policeman, and the protests that followed.  Those quickly grew to encompass memory of a number of other recent killings of blacks by police. Church leaders have been active in support of the demonstrators asking for an end to racism. The Episcopal News Service has compiled a listing of the statements and actions by the church.  You can access it here.  St. Paul's Church in Richmond, which has a long history of working for social justice, has decided not to remove the graffiti painted on its steps by protesters during this last week.  More on this decision and what it means can be found here.  

Reopening Plans Continue

Both across the United States and in England, discussions continue over church re-openings. In England, the government has now allowed churches to reopen for individual prayer.  Both the blog Thinking Anglicans and Anglican.ink carried stories on this development.  Again the Church of England is proceeding more slowly than other denominations.  Locally, South Western Pennsylvania, which is largely part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh was moved to status "Green" on June 5 by the Pennsylvania governor.  The Green status still requires social distancings, and reduced capacity for gatherings.  Bishop Dorsey McConnell issued this statement on the eve of the move to Green status. Nashotah House, the seminary of the Church located in Wisconsin, has just allowed staff and faculty back on campus and is allowing limited use of their library.  They are planning for some classes on campus in July and expect to be open for on-campus learning for all students in the fall.  Update has had weekly notices of the steps being taken that move church organizations to in-person worship and study.