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, September 28, 2022

Week Ending 09/26/22

Support Urged for Federal Law on Same Sex Marriage

The recent decision overturning Roe v Wade on abortion raised concerns about other rights discerned in Supreme Court decisions, especially the decisions barring states from blocking interracial and same sex marriages.  The situation for same sex marriage is complicated by a 1996 law that declared marriage to be between one man and one woman.  As a result a new Law has been proposed, the Respect for Marriage Act which would protect and affirm as legal interracial and same sex marriages. On September 16, 2022,  the Episcopal Church was one of the signers of an interfaith letter sent to members of the Senate urging passage of the act,  and this week the Episcopal Policy Network sent out a notice asking Episcopalians to urge their senators to vote for the measure.  The Episcopal News Service has more on this effort here.

Parish Pays Voluntary Tax to Indigenous Tribe

St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Madison, Wisconsin, made a study last year about how to acknowledge that they occupy land originally claimed by indigenous people.  They decided to add a line item under "expenses" (not "outreach") for $3000 which they are paying as a voluntary tax for their use of indigenous land.  The payment goes to the Wisconsin Inter-Tribal Reparations Committee which represents the eleven federally recognized tribes of Wisconsin.   Episcopal News Service has more on this decision. 

Tutu's Daughter Barred from Conducting Funeral in England

The Bishop of Hereford denied Bishop Tutu's daughter, The Revd Mpho Tutu van Furth, the right to have any participation in the funeral service of her godfather, 93 year-old Martin Kenyon because she is married to another woman.  Kenyon had asked her to officiate  Tutu van Furth was ordained in 2003 in The Episcopal Church.  In 2015 she married Marceline van Furth, a professor of medicine in the Netherlands.  The church in South Africa revoked her license, but she conducts church services in Amsterdam.  The funeral was moved to a marquee at the rectory near the church and Tutu van Furth conducted the service there.   The denial has resulted in a flurry of posts, expecially as the Church of England is trying to find a way to be more inclusive of LGBTQ people while still maintaining a stance against church recognition of same sex marriage. Thinking Anglicans has more on the reactions.

Continuing Stories

Long Delayed Celebration in Chicago for New Bishop

In April 2021 Paula Clark, the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Chicago suffered a brain bleed. The consecration of what was to be Chicago's first Black and first woman bishop was put on hold while she went through months of recovery and therapy.  The challenges of her 18 month recovery were deepened by the death of her husband from a quick-moving cancer in November 2021.  The brain bleed left her with some long-term physical challenges, but on September 17, 2022 she walked down the aisle in a joyous rite of ordination. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was chief consecrator, Bishop Mariann Budde preached.  Thirty bishops were present and the six co-consecrating bishops included 3 women (two of whom were also the first African American women to lead their dioceses), and three men (one of whom was the first African American and first gay to lead his diocese, and another the local ELCA bishop).  In a service beginning an hour later in Salt Lake City,  Phyllis Spiegel  was consecrated as the Bishop of Utah.  Bishop Budde noted that Spiegel was watching via live stream the Chicago service until her own began, and Chicago greeted Spiegel who was also making history as the first woman to lead the Utah diocese. Spiegel's chief consecrator was former Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.   Update carried notices of Clark's initial election, stroke, husband's death and recovery, most recently here.

Sydney Diocese Declares Breach of Communion

In a not-unexpected move, the Diocese of Sydney in Australia has voted that there is a breach of fellowship with the reset of the Anglican Church of Australia.  The vote at a diocesan synod was in response to the outcome of the Australian Church's last synod where that body did not pass a resolution saying defining marriage as an rite applying only to one man and one woman. The Sydney vote moves the Australian Church one step closer to a split, following on the heels of the implementation of a GAFCON sponsored diocese led by the former bishop of the Sydney Diocese. 

South Carolina Diocese Announces Legal Settlement

No sooner had the Diocese of South Carolina posted a full packet of pictures on its Facebook site, celebrating the return of Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant, than it broke other news on the legal transition front. After several weeks of intensive negotiations and mediation the Episcopal Diocese and the ACNA diocese had reached a final property settlement covering a variety of loose ends involving diocesan property, but provided few details.  A message to the Episcopal Diocese on September 27 outlined more of the specifics.  All real estate held by the Board of Trustees is to be returned to the Episcopal Diocese including the bishops residence, St. Christopher's Camp (including all of its assets, equipment, and banks accounts), properties in Santee and a rental site in Charleston. The records of the diocese will be available for copying by both groups and then the originals will go to the South Carolina Historical society.  After time for copying, the portraits of all bishops will be returned to the Episcopalians.  The historic silver without a parish claim will go to the South Carolina Museum, or another mutually agreed on museum.  There are a series of quit claims executed to confirm mission properties, a turnover of additional financial assets to the Episcopal Diocese, and a pledge for no future litigation.  The ACNA diocese is also withdrawing its appeal of the federal trademark decision. The Episcopal Diocese waived any claim on the leasehold of the former Diocesan Offices.   The day before the details were issued, blogger Steve Scaradon posted speculations on the possible terms.  His comments on several of the properties are useful for background.  Update has followed the split, legal issues and return of property in a series of posts, the most recent is here.