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         

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Week Ending 3/8/21

Supreme Court Revives a Religious Liberty Case 

The U.S. Supreme Court has revived a lawsuit filed originally by a student who was barred by a college from distributing religious material on campus.  Lower courts had ruled that the case was moot because the college changed its policies, the student had graduated, and the request for damages was only $1.   The decision to hear this case is an indication that current justices have a high interest in issues of religious freedom.

Some Albany Clergy Appear Headed to ACNA

Conservative sources have revealed that some clergy in the Diocese of Albany are in the process of joining the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word which is a part of ACNA.  The clergy have applied to be licensed by that body.  The Anglican Diocese has stated the clergy will function as a regional ministry within the diocese based in Virginia. The action seems to be in response to the retirement of Bishop Love and the likelihood that any new bishop will allow parishes that desire to do so to bless marriages between same sex couples.  New York Church law is extremely detailed about church property, and specifically recognized the trust claim of the Episcopal Church on parish property. Past litigation in the state, including a case involving the Diocese of Albany have supported diocesan and Dennis Cannon claims.  As a result parishes will be unlikely to try to follow their clergy  and take property with them.  Update began reporting on church property cases in New York in its very first posting in 2008.

Two Orlando Parishes Partner for Outreach

Two Episcopal parishes, one historically black, and the other a Spanish language congregation on the opposite side of Orlando have found  numerous social action projects that they have been able to pursue together, including projects on affordable housing, worker's rights, LGBTQA+ support, and during the pandemic on access to information on testing and vaccines in multiple languages. The Living Church article has more on their cooperation.  The Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nasaret web site is here.  The web site for St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church is not working right now, but their Facebook page is here.

Canterbury Highlights Impact of Covid-19 on Women

The Archbishop of Canterbury used a statement on International Women's Day to call for inclusion  of more women in the decision-making and planning for recovery from the pandemic.  He pointed out that women had suffered disproportionately from the economic and social dislocations caused by the pandemic, both in terms of employment losses, stresses of childcare and as the subjects of domestic violence.

Continuing Stories

Archbishop of Canterbury Makes LGBTQA Statement

Normally, the Anglican Communion does not comment on internal documents or statements of ACNA, because they do not consider ACNA part of the Anglican Communion, but when the Archbishop of Nigerian issued a strongly worded homophobic rebuke of ACNA for daring to make a statement that recognized LGBT people could be Christians, The Archbishop of Canterbury issued his own rebuke directed at the Nigerian.  Referring to the 1998 resolution voted at the Lambeth Conference, Welby reminded the Nigerian that the Anglican Communion bishops present at that meeting might have voted against support of supporting same sex marriage, but they also voted that"all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ."  While giving Lambeth Statements more legislative authority than they actually have, Welby's statement also was his first direct statement of a more inclusive vision of the Communion.  Update carried notice of the original ACNA statement and the Nigerian reaction here.  The on-line site Thinking Anglicans has a good summary of  response to the Nigerian statement.

Conservatives Continue Plans to Leave Methodist Church 

The United Methodist Church has been heading towards a split ever since its world-wide governing assembly voted a series of resolutions that banned LGBTQA+ people from serving as ministers or holding other positions of leadership.  While it first appeared that those supportive on LGBTQA+ people might be the ones withdrawing, a compromise was worked out that allowed conservative U.S. churches to withdraw, form a new body, and get a share of Methodist assets.  The General Conference expected to vote on this proposal has been delayed twice due to the pandemic, but conservatives are going ahead with plans and have announced the name of their new umbrella organization. They will call themselves the Global Methodist Church  All of this is of interest to Episcopalians because there is a full communion agreement awaiting votes by the governing bodies of both Methodists and Episcopalians.  The most recent Update coverage of the possible Methodist split is here.