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, February 1, 2022

Week Ending 1/31/22

 Church of England Promotes Statue of Medieval Jewish Woman

The City of Winchester, England is installing a new statue honoring Licoricia, a 13th century Jewish woman who was among the most important financiers of Medieval England. She provided crucial support to three English kings.  Married and widowed twice, she was in her 70s when she and her Christian maid were murdered in what may well have been an antisemitic crime.  The Anglican Cathedral at Winchester  supported the efforts to fund-raise for the statue, and its installation is intended to be a reminder of the  positive role Jews played in English history, and also that the country needs to recognize its long history of antisemitism.  The statue is being installed as part of the country's activities during Holocaust Remembrance Week.

Anglicans Attacked in South Sudan and Pakistan

In two separate and unrelated incidents, Anglican Communion clergy were attacked in two  countries with large Muslim populations.  In Peshwar, Pakistan two clergy were followed by a gunman after conducting Sunday services at All Saints Church, a part of the Church of Pakistan.  The 75 year old minister, William Siraj died after being shot twice in the abdomen.  The other minister was wounded. Officials designated in a terror attack.  The second attack was aimed at two bishops of the Episcopal Church of the South Sudan.  Gunman entered the church compound at Bor at 3 am. This is the second time gunmen have enteed to compound, and the third time in a year that actions have been directed against the bishops there.   Two people were injured in the attack.  The Archbishop of South Sudan issued a statement which laid the blame on officials in the province who have been "misleading innocent citizens to practice such evil acts against the church."

Continuing Stories

Contrast Continues between Roman Catholic and Episcopal Approaches to Transgender People

This last week provided a contrast between the way the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. is responding to transgender people, and the way the Episcopal Church is.  The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee  last week issued a set of guidelines that require churches recognize only a person's gender at birth, requires them to use bathrooms based upon that gender, requires the church to enforce a dress code based on birth gender, to oppose use of any puberty blockers, to steer families only to counselors who work within church guidelines, and forbade churches to allow members to designate what pronouns they wish used to refer to themselves. While this notice was going out, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church was meeting with a focus on inclusion.  Two stories filed by the Episcopal News Service on that meeting focused on transgender inclusion.  They are here and here. One month ago, update carried a story of the criticism of Roman Catholic policy towards LGBTQ in Michigan by the diocese of Northern Michigan.

 Diocese and Parish Sue Town Over Feeding the Homeless

In November 2021, Update carried a story about how the town of Brookings was trying to prevent St. Timothy's Episcopal from feeding the homeless dinner every night, by passing an ordinance only allowing non-profit groups to engage in such activity twice a week.  The church argued that this was a matter of religious faith and freedom and vowed to file suit.  The Diocese of Oregon and the parish have now filed their suit against the city.  The diocesan website has all the details of their argument. 

South Carolina Joins Chicago in Encouraging Clergy Mini-Sabbaticals

 Last week, Update carried notice that the interim Bishop of Chicago, Chilton Knudson had issued a letter asking all of the diocesan parishes to designate a week sometime before Holy Week where the clergy  (and lay leaders) would be relieved of all obligations other than emergency pastoral work.  She stated that this was to provide a respite for the clergy who had been very stressed by the challenges of the long pandemic.  The new Bishop of South Carolina Ruth Woodliff-Stanley has now made a similar call to the parishes of the Diocese of South Carolina. 

Pakistan Anglicans Regain Some Control Over Edwardes College

The Church of Pakistan has been waging a long legal battle to regain control of Edwardes College in Peshwar.  The institution was founded by the Church Missionary Society and was run by the church until all private colleges were nationalized.  More recently a decree had been issued that should have restored church control, but the Pakistan High Court ruled against the church in spring 2021. (Update story is here.) Now local Anglicans are celebrating because at least partial control has been restored by the appointment of a college head who is Anglican, and apparently by a majority on the governing board.  News accounts are somewhat confusing about how much the Church has regained.   The Barnabas Fund report is celebrating return of control.  Another source claims that while the Principal is to be Christian, the institution is still state owned, and a third source suggests that the Anglicans also have control of the board.

Update on the Oxford Dean Conflict

This last month has been a busy one for news and comment on the continuing attempts by Christ Church Oxford to get rid of the Dean of the College and Cathedral. Update has carried each stage of the dispute.  The most recent development seems to be a very good financial buyout suggested for the Dean.  That offer, however, is controversial, and it may not save the college from other actions by the charitable board.  The Dean is apparently willing to accept the offer.  Thinking Anglicans has links to everything from this last month.

ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh Announces Candidates for Bishop

In November 2020 the ACNA bishop in Pittsburgh, James Hobby, resigned because of mishandling a case involving charges of clergy sexual misconduct.  Almost immediately ACNA appointed Bishop Martyn Minns as interim while the diocese did a search.  That search has resulted in three candidates, two of whom have close ties to the diocese.  One, the Rev. Dr. Joel Scandrett,  is a member of the Trinity School of Ministry faculty.  Another, the Rev. Peter Frank, although now serving a parish outside the diocese, was formerly the Communications Director for the Pittsburgh Diocese and served in local parishes.  The third,  the Rev. Alex Cameron, is originally from Canada, is President of the Isaiah Forty Foundation and serves as Chair of the Bishop's Council for the ACNA Diocese of the Upper Midwest.  The election is scheduled for this spring.