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, July 6, 2022

Week Ending 07/04/22

 Baptism Without Communion Dead in the Water

A controversial proposal that was much discussed, pro and con, by Episcopalians has been dropped from the agenda for the shortened and expedited General Convention beginning on Friday.  The measure would have eliminated the canon that makes baptism a requirement for receiving communion.  Some churches ignore the cannon and invite all present to partake in the "Lord's Supper."  Other congregations issue an invitation that welcomes those who are baptized to receive communion if they so desire and all to come forward for either the sacrament or a blessing. There has been pressure to drop the canon from some progressives for a number of years.  Other wish the canon to remain because of their interpretation of sacramental theology.  The proposal for the change could be filed again for the 2024 General Convention. 

Continuing Themes

Parish Responds to Abortion Decision

The Episcopal Church's response to the decision striking down Roe v. Wade has led to a number of statements on the Church's response, which is a nuanced version sully supporting choice and women's rights without denying the serious issues around the beginnings of life.  The church believes that government should not be legislating on this topic.  St. Stephen's, Charleston, SC has gone an extra step by inviting the community to a service of Lament and Healing with this description: "an open space for all to come together in the presence of God, in this time of grief, fear, confusion, hurt and lament."

Christ Church, Oxford Reviews Continue

Even with the departure of the controversial dean of Christ church, Oxford, people cannot seem to stop fighting. There are now two ongoing reviews of the college stemming from the controversy.   During the controversy, the Dean was accused of not appropriately dealing with some sexual harassment issues, but a review by a Church of England official appointed to investigate such issues, found that the matters did not rise to a level of substance.  Now the church of England's Independent Safeguarding Board is going to review the earlier review.  Meanwhile, the College is going ahead with an independent governance review and announced the name of the person who will head that.  The governance review is intended to provide guidance on reform of the college governance.

Bishops Issue Statement on Controversial Bishop of Aberdeen

Things have not gone smoothly for  Bishop Anne Dyer, the first woman to serve as a bishop in the Episcopal Church of Scotland.  Some parishes were unhappy with her election, as she was perceived as too liberal, but the real issue seems to be her leadership style.  Update carried an earlier notice that documented the decision of the House of Bishops of the Scottish Church to set up mediation between the Bishop and her diocese after complaints of bullying emerged. The new statement was issued because the bishops are more than a little peeved that while the mediation process is underway, some in her diocese have sent a list of charges to the secular Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, and have been leaking materials to the press.  The statement reminds people that discipline of clergy is a church, not secular matter.  It also stresses that they have special pastoral opportunities for those who feel they have been harmed by Dyer's actions.

Bangladesh Resumes Ordaining Women

Although the governing documents of the Anglican Church of Bangladesh permit women to be ordained as deacons, there have been no ordinations for fifteen years.  Now, with a change in moderator (their term for the primate), the province has again seen women ordained as deacons.  The hiatus illustrates how easily access for women to the offices of the church  can be reversed.  Update has covered questions of women's ordination in previous posts, including other provinces refusing to ordain women as deacons or priest, although most recently the focus has been on women becoming bishops

More On the Methodist Split

Update has carried numerous postings on the slowly occurring division of the United Methodist Church over LGBTQ+ inclusion. The pandemic led the Methodists to postpone their church-wide synod several times. The postponed synod was to vote on a compromise plan for parishes unhappy with inclusion to leave with property.  Conservatives got tired of waiting and Update has posted about the formation of a new conservative body and parish leavings.  The Episcopal News Service has an article exploring the whole situation, especially since the Methodists and Episcopalians are in conversation about full communion, votes on which  have also been deferred due to the pandemic. 

Both Sides File Papers in South Carolina Property Case

Both the Episcopalians and the seven parishes with remaining unsettled legal issues on parish property in South Carolina have filed their responses with the South Carolina Supreme Court.  The state Supreme Court had ruled that the seven had acceded to the Dennis Canon and thus belonged to the Episcopalians, but the court asked for additional material from both sides when the seven asked for a rehearing.  The Episcopalians filed their response on June 20, and the parishes participating in ACNA filed theirs on the 27th.  All the filings can be retried and read on the state Supreme Court site here.