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 3, 2020

Week Ending 11/02/20

ACNA Pittsburgh Bishop Resigns

After an investigation concluded that Bishop James Hobby had improperly handled a case involving clergy misconduct, by showing more concern for the priest than for the adults he abused, the bishop was asked to resign.  He did so on October 30.  The resignation caught most of the diocese and the larger community by surprise. The Standing Committee will assume diocesan leadership until another bishop is chosen. The committee is now scrambling to make last minute changes to the agenda for the diocesan convention set to convene this coming weekend.  Hobby was chosen in 2016 as Bishop Robert Duncan's successor for the ACNA diocese formed in 2008 when Duncan and his supporters left the Episcopal Church.  The Post Gazette has a full story.  Anglican.ink includes the official letters and announcements as part of their story.

Episcopalians and the Election 

A number of Episcopal Church leaders have been pointing people towards prayer for our country and the election process.  The Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry preached at a special interfaith service on November 1 at the National Cathedral; Bishop McConnell of Pittsburgh issued a special pastoral letter with prayer resources;  and the Episcopal Church has trained a number of people to be polling place chaplains.  The chaplains are trained both to support people whose right to vote is being challenged and to encourage peace and calm and defuse situations of voter intimidation.  The Episcopal News Service has an article on the chaplain initiative. On another note, An Episcopal priest, the Rev. Kim Jackson, who runs an innovative ministry to the homeless in Atlanta is favored to win election to the Georgia state senate.  She will be the state senate's first out lesbian member if elected.  She intends to continue her ministry while serving in the senate.

Continuing Stories

Federal Judge Responds to South Carolina Filing

In September the Diocese of South Carolina filed a second complaint with  federal court judge,  Richard Gergel listing 27 ways the schismatic group which joined ACNA had continued to make claims that they were  Episcopalians, or the continuation of the Episcopal Diocese.  The diocese wanted him to issue a second  order forbidding them from continuing  those practices.  The ACNA groups managed to clean up and remove 25 of the places before Judge Gergel ruled.  The judge's order came out October 27 and ruled that the 25 corrected places were moot, that the ACNA group had wrongfully claimed to be Episcopal when filing for a federal Small Business loan, but allowed the group to claim that Lawrence had been elected and consecrated as an Anglican bishop in 2008 and 2009.  The Diocese of South Carolina posted a notice of the ruling with links to the opinion here.  Steve Skardon, had comments in his October 27 blog entry that provide more background and what the issues were.  

Pandemic Resurgence Bring Challenges to Churches

This fall as covid-19 cases began rising rapidly around the world, bringing the feared 2nd or 3rd wave,  bishops in the Northeast U.S. issued a statement about the emotional and physical fatigue that was also on the rise thanks to the pandemic.  The bishops were especially concerned about clergy fatigue and first responder fatigue.  In England the resurgence has led the British government to order another 4 week shut down.  The Archbishop of Canterbury and London bishops, however, have noted that churches are not being shuttered entirely as they were during the last lock down.  The buildings will be available for individual prayer and can be used as the site for services being broadcast to members. Finally, here in the U.S., the St. Thomas Boys Choir school which draws a residential student body from a number of states, found a way to jump start their school year together.  The school moved teachers and boys from their base in New York City to a three season retreat center in Connecticut for six weeks of study and singing together.  They went through an isolation period, and then having built a bubble community, took off the masks.  That period is over and now the boys will head home to finish the semester remotely.  Update has been following the twists and turns of worship and study at church schools during the pandemic.  The most recent previous post is here

Western Louisiana Starts Homeless Shelter

The Pittsburgh Update has also been noting many of the programs of outreach begun or continued throughout the pandemic.  This week there were stories about the Diocese of Western Louisiana has partnered with a community to open a homeless shelter where there was no other option.  Currently a day shelter with plans for adding overnight capabilities, the shelter serves Bastrop, an area hard hit by factory closures.  The majority of the population is African American, with an average family income of just over $20,000 and an unemployment rate of 9.6%.  The shelter is officially a mission of the diocese with one paid staff person, the Rev. Christie Fleming.  The Living Church has more on this effort.