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 28, 2022

Week Ending 06/27/22

Church Leaders Respond to Abortion Ruling 

The U.S. has been expecting the Supreme Court to issue an opinion on a Mississippi abortion law case ever since someone leaked a draft opinion.  At the end of last week, the opinion was issued upholding a Mississippi law that makes legal abortion almost impossible.  Presiding Bishop Curry and House of Deputies President Jennings, issued statements stressing that the Episcopal Church opposes national or state legislation on abortion because it interferes with a woman making choices guided by her conscience.  Curry stressed the ways that this would more heavily weigh on those women who are economically disadvantaged. especially racial minorities. Jennings noted that reproductive health affected trans, non-binary, and those who identify as women and that congregations would need to support clergy and health care workers who were providing services to those who people who were pregnant.

Virginia Theological Seminary to Manage General Theological Seminary

General Theological Seminary (GTS) has been struggling for almost a decade with financial problems and declining enrollment.  What began as exploration of a partnership sharing some courses, has instead resulted in a proposal that will have Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) taking over management of GTS.  It is not a merger for there will remain a separate reconstituted governing board for GTS.  General Convention will need to weigh in on the proposal since General Convention has elected some  trustees to the GTS Board since its founding.  There is a certain historical irony in this proposal since the seminary in Virginia was founded by low church evangelicals who considered General Seminary close to heretical because of its moderate high church orientation.

Continuing Stories

Church Responds to Gun Issues

Issues around gun control were in the news last week as the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling striking down a New York regulation requiring permits for concealed weapons.  The Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies had signed an Amica brief  supporting the regulation.  Needless to say, the Presiding Bishop issued a statement expressing his disappointment with the decision, and expressing his and the church's commitment to find ways to end gun violence. Given the shooting at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church outside of Birmingham just a few days before the decision was announced, the decision seemed doubly disheartening.  The Episcopal News Service had a follow-up article on that shooting with more detail on the three who died.

Long Island Diocese Awards Reparations First Scholarships

Update reported in early March that the Diocese of Long Island had decided to offer scholarships to students descended from those who were enslaved.  This last week the diocese announced the first 8 scholarship awards of $10,000 each as part of a Juneteenth celebration at the Cathedral of the Incarnation.  The diocese chose the 8 winners from a pool of 161 applicants.  All had to be residents of Long Island, Brooklyn, or Queens.

Australian Diocese Moves Towards LGBTQ Unions

For the last several years, the Anglican Church of Australia has been divided over same-sex marriages, especially after Australia made such marriages legal.  Two dioceses took steps towards blessing the civil marriages, but held off until the church's Tribunal could determine if the church's governing documents forbade such blessings or unions.  The Tribunal ruled that there were no legal barriers, and the matter went to the Church's Synod to settle things.  That ended in a draw, with the votes of clergy and laity opposing unions and a slight majority of the bishops favoring it.  As a result no action took place.  Now the bishop of a third diocese,  Gippsland, has said that the failure of Synod to settle the matter has left dioceses free to interpret as they wish, and he will not oppose any parish wishing to do blessings.  The statements were in both the issue of the monthly diocesan publication and in his diocesan synod address.  The  address is available only in video format on You-Tube. The GAFCON contingent in Australia is, of course, upset and threatening schism.

South Carolina Diocese Prepares to Welcome First Returned Parish

The transition for the first of the South Carolina parishes that the South Carolina Supreme Court confirmed belonged to the Episcopal Diocese has begun.  Bishop Woodliff-Stanley has designated Canon Callie Walpole as the priest in charge for St. John's, Johns Island.  The details are not yet wall worked out, but she could start offering the services there as early as mid July.  Walpole is known to the congregation since her ministry began in that parish.  Walpole is the former Archdeacon of the diocese during the time it was rebuilding following schism.  A gentle and successful transition at St. Johns should ease many of the concerns for the other parishes that the court determined needed to be returned to the Episcopal Diocese.