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 21, 2022

Week Ending 06/20/22

All Stories are continuing previous threads . . .

Shooting at an Alabama Episcopal Parish

For more than 40 years, the Episcopal Church has been on record as supporting  gun control and working to end gun violence, but up until last week the epidemic of mass shootings at churches and other community sites had not directly involved an Episcopal parish. On June 16, the 7th anniversary of the shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston  however, a man attending St. Stephen's  Episcopal Church's "Boomers Potluck" on June 16, opened fire on people who had invited him a few minutes before to sit with them, and offered him food and drink.  One person died at the scene, two more died at the hospital.  The shooter was subdued by another attendee who hit the shooter with a chair, wrestled the gun away from him and sat on him until others could help restrain him. The shooter had attended a few of St. Stephen's services, but was not a member, and was unknown to others at the dinner.  St. Stephen's, Vestavia Hills, is a large parish located in the suburbs of Birmingham. The current Alabama bishop had been a member of the parish before being ordained.  Its rector had to rush back from a pilgrimage he was on in Athens, Greece.  Presiding Bishop Curry asked all parishes to pray for the congregation last Sunday and for all to actively work to end the gun violence. A number of religious p publications and national news stations carried the story, including the Episcopal News Service, Anglican.ink, Christian TodayReligion News, and the Associated Press.  Update has regularly carried notices of the efforts of the Episcopal Church to end gun violence, the most recent is here

Massachusetts Diocese Expands Innovative Housing Program

 The Diocese of Massachusetts is expanding an innovative housing program that provides housing for those interested in a community living arrangement. It is an attempt to provide housing affordable housing with a spiritual and community twist.  Each of the first three sites was paired with an Episcopal Parish that provided some personal support.  The latest addition, however is being done through a partnership with New Roots African Methodist Episcopal Church.   Update has carried notices of a number of innovative housing projects being sponsored by Episcopal parishes and dioceses.  The most recent previous notice is here.

Diocese Sponsors Resolution to Revise Disciplinary Canons

Bishop Whayne Houghland was bishop of the Diocese of Western Michigan, and provisional bishop of Eastern Michigan when he was suspended for a year for committing adultery.  The two dioceses were very frustrated by the lack of communication, and focus of the Office of Pastoral Development on "healing" and "reconciliation" for the bishop with little attention to the trauma that the two dioceses were experiences, and the financial hardship created by a financial package for the suspended bishop that was done with little consultation or input from the two dioceses and left the dioceses with few resources and little help to arrange for a part-time provisional bishop.  As a result, the dioceses have sponsored a resolution to General Convention asking for a study to improve the processes.  The Living Church has a more complete story, and links to the general convention resolution.  The resolution has two tabs, one for the rationale, and one for the motion itself. 

Vote on Merger of Two Texas Dioceses Going to General Convention

The vote was unanimously in favor of merging with the Diocese of Texas at the special convention of the Episcopal Church in North Texas.  The Diocese of Texas was the mother diocese for all of the Texas dioceses, and both Texas and the  the North Texas diocese have now voted very enthusiastically to reunite.  The Episcopal Church in North Texas is the name that Episcopalians adopted when the Texas Supreme Court awarded their diocesan name to the schismatic group that is now part of ACNA.   Of the neighboring Episcopal dioceses, (Dallas, Texas, West Texas, and Northwest Texas) the Diocese of Texas was the most compatible, and had the resources necessary to help the faithful congregations left in what had formerly been the Diocese of Fort Worth.  The proposed merger now goes to General Convention for final approval.  Update reported on the positive vote by the Diocese of Texas last week. North Texas is the second of the 5 dioceses (San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy, and South Carolina) to decide on merging rather than continuing independently.  Quincy was the smallest diocese in The Episcopal Church before the schism and merged after five years with the Diocese of Chicago.  The others have all elected diocesan bishops and are successfully operating as dioceses.

Church of England Continues Opposition to Shipping Refugees to Rwanda

Update carried notice of the Archbishop of Canterbury's criticism when the British government announced it had struck a deal with Rwanda to take the refugees who had reached Britain by crossing the English Channel without proper clearances.  Last week the government was stopped at the very last minute from sending its first plane load of refugees to Rwanda.  The Church leadership has issued further statements apposing the government's actions.  You can find them here.

More on the Florida Bishop Election Controversy

The election of conservative Charles Holt as the Bishop of Florida brought some immediate voices of concern from those who knew his earlier connections to the American Anglican Council, comments he made on racial issues, and his theological positions on LGBTQA participation in the Church and same-sex marriage.  Those voices were then joined by a formal challenge to the election procedure based on a last minute switch to a hybrid convention allowing clergy, but not laity, to attend virtually.  Update reported last week that the challenge has been sent to the appropriate committee for review.  This week, the Diocese and the bishop-elect have issued a statement addressing those concerns.  The Episcopal News Service has an article with links to the full statement here

First-Hand Account of Conditions in the Ukraine

There is one Diocese of Europe (Church of England) parish in Kyiv, Ukraine.  The Anglican Journal, the monthly news source from the Anglican Church of Canada, has a long post detailing in a calendar/diary form the experiences of one of the members of the parish, who left Kyiv as a refugee and has returned, and the traumatic experiences and hardships that face that entire country.  You can find the account, here.  Update has periodically posted notes on events from a church perspective dealing with the Ukraine.  The most recent is here.