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, December 20, 2022

Week Ending 12/19/22

All postings are updates on previous ones. . . 

Churches Prepare for More Refugees

At Christmas, we are reminded that for Mary and Joseph (and Jesus) there was no room in the inn.  Churches today are trying to make room in their "inn" by housing and helping refugees among other projects.  Update has documented many of these attempts (most recently here). Now with the expiration looming of an administrative rule allowing refugees seeking asylum to be turned away at the border and forced to wait in other countries for approval of their claims, churches and other refugee agencies are preparing to handle a much larger flow of refugees.   The Episcopal News Service has a story on the efforts in El Paso, Texas which will be be among the cities most impacted by the change.  Refugees, however affect many other parts of the world, including Europe. ENS also has a story on Episcopalians in Europe and their efforts for refugees. 

Reply to the Protest on Florida Bishop Election

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Florida has published an open letter to members of the diocese replying to the 4 main claims in the formal complaint filed against the second election of the Rev. Charles Holt as bishop.  Basically the letter boils down to a statement that they looked at each of the claims and found that nothing had been done wrong.  They admit that there was a problem with checking in clergy at the convention, but that 113 clergy were checked in and 113 voted.  The problem with the explanation is the complaint said that one of the 113 clergy checked in did not attend (thus suggesting someone else claimed his seat and was a mystery voter). 

More Threats Following Discussion of Same Sex-Marriage in England

The recent discussion in the Church of England House of Bishops about a document that includes recommendations on the church's stance on same-sex marriage ,and the subsequent surprise announcement by several evangelical bishops who changed their position and now support the same-sex marriage, has resulted in a series of negative responses from the GAFCON/Global South contingent within the Anglican communion. The Primate of Uganda isn't waiting for the larger discussion.  For him, the appointment of a priest in a same-sex union as Dean of the Canterbury Cathedral was enough to declare that Uganda would be in impaired communion with the Church of England.  The Global South group used its Christmas Letter to suggest that they might no longer consider the Archbishop of Canterbury to be the first among equals in the Communion, and to suggest a reorganization of the Anglican Communion (obviously leaving out or disciplining the liberal western churches).  Topping things off was the defection of a Church of England parish in Leipzig, Germany to the GAFCON-created, Anglican Network in Europe which has an ACNA consecrated bishop.   All of this is intended to scare the Church of England Synod meeting in February to back off from any change in its policies towards LGBTQA people.

Methodist Split Has Some Bumps in the Road

Because of the Full Communion Agreement pending between the United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church, Update has followed the events leading to the decision of conservatives to leave the UMC and create a more conservative umbrella body.  Methodist regional conferences continue to meet and grant approval for parishes requesting withdrawals.  Update has carried notices on several of these, most recently here. However, in November the Arkansas Conference denied the First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro request along with 2 others, while approving 35 other requests.   The senior minister of the church then held a second vote with a majority again voting to leave.  The congregation is large with over 1300 members, and while the required 2/3 did vote to leave, there were still over 400 who wanted to stay.   The second vote was attended by a much smaller number of members. The Conference has responded to the second vote by suspending the minister and claiming direct control of the parish property.  The congregation has another year in which it could resubmit its application and leave with its property.  After the end of 2023, however, properties will stay with the UMC if a congregation decides to leave.  Why the second vote was taken so quickly and why the conference responded so drastically is unclear. 

South Carolina Episcopalians Agree to Additional  Property Deals

Although requests for rehearings and/or the right to submit additional evidence have left the legal status of the property of 3 parishes in South Carolina unsettled, Episcopalians are moving to wrap up other loose ends in a gracious manner.  Episcopalians relinquished the title of St. Andrew's Mission to the ACNA diocese which, in turn, has handed it over to the mission parish.  This mission is an offshoot of Old St. Andrew's Church (one of the three whose status is not yet finalized.)  St. David's in Cheraw is now part of the Episcopal diocese, and the ACNA congregation is functioning in temporary quarters. The ACNA group was afraid that their minister would have to vacate the rectory and find other housing, but a sale agreement between the Episcopalians and the ACNA group to sell the rectory has settled that matter.  Update carried an earlier notice about the sale of a different parish property to ACNA (St. Matthew's in Fort Motte).