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, February 15, 2023

Week Ending 2/13/23

George Werner Dies

The Very Reverend George Werner, who served two terms as President of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies and was the Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh for twenty years has died.  In retirement, he had moved to North Carolina.Werner was denied a third term when the group heading towards schism in Pittsburgh was able to prevent him in 2004 from being re-elected as a Deputy to General Convention.  He worked diligently to bridge the growing gap in the diocese, and remained a faithful member  of the Episcopal Church.  As dean he was very active in the Pittsburgh Community helping to start numerous groups that worked to better the lives of workers, battered women, improve health care, revitalize the downtown, and  interfaith relations.  He also mentored many in the Church, including the women who followed him as President of the House of Deputies.  None of the posted obituaries does complete justice to his life and ministry.  The Episcopal News Service has the most on mentoring. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covers his local leadership the best, and The Living Church gives more detail on the schism

Continuing Threads

More Fallout From the English Synod Vote

After heated debate, all three orders of the Church of England Synod agreed to allow the blessing of same-sex civil marriages and approved trial liturgies for that.  The result was that the current head of GAFCON, Foley Beach, who is also the Archbishop of ACNA, issued a statement suggesting that it was time to change how the Anglican Communion chose its symbolic head by having the Primates choose their own chair.  This is an interesting comment since ACNA is not recognized as part of the Anglican Communion by any of the four instruments of union of that body, but continues to claim it is part of the "real" Anglican Communion.  The Pittsburgh ACNA bishop issued his own statement criticizing the decision in England and referring people to the statement by Beach.  Meanwhile, one of the actual four instruments of union, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC)  began meeting on February 13 in Ghana.  The ACC has a charter and is comprised of delegates (both clergy and lay) from the independent provincial churches it recognizes as part of the Anglican Communion.  At the meeting, Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby continued to try to soften opposition to the English synod's action, pointing out that each province is independent and its decisions do not apply anywhere beyond that province. He also claimed that the Church of England had been threatened with consequences if they did not pass the blessings measure.  Update has been following the furor around the Church of England proposal.  The latest previous post is here

Episcopal Relief and Development Helping in Turkey and Syria

As is its usual practice, Episcopal Relief and Development has partnered with Church groups on the scene to provide aid to the earthquake devastated areas of Turkey and Syria.  They have concentrated on providing food, medical supplies and shelter to the survivors.  Because they are partners in a larger effort, the  major news agencies have not noted ERD participation.  the Episcopal Journal has a good summary of the ERD role here, and how to contribute.  Update has noted many previous relief efforts by ERD.  A recent one is here.  The agency often stays long after the initial weeks and aids in long-term rebuilding of the area. 

Hindu Radicals Continue Persecution of Christians in India

Persecution by a radical group of Hindus in India continues.  Several months ago Hindus filed charges of forced conversion against a Christian congregation and its pastor.  When the church members called for police help when a mob surrounded their small church on Maundy Thursday 2020, the police arrested the whole congregation rather than members of the mob.  When the church's pastor finally was granted bail after months in jail, new charges were soon filed so that he was rearrested and when granted bail after 3 months in jail, another set of charges was filed so he could not leave jail.  The radicals are claiming that normal charity such as offering work or feeding the poor is forcing those helped to convert.   Update has carried other stories about attacks on Christians in India. 

Update on Shelter for LGBTQA Youth

Update carried a story in May 2021 when Trinity Church in Indianapolis opened the only shelter designed specifically for LGBTQA youth who needed a home.  The project has matured, bought a larger house away from Church grounds and incorporated as a non-profit.  Trinity Parish members continue to be deeply involved.  The Episcopal News Service has a follow-up story on the work that the shelter has done and the difference it has made for those it has served. 

Anglican Church of Wales Launches Net Zero Project

The Anglican Church of Wales has launched a program designed to help its parishes reach a Net Zero environmental impact.  The province has developed a set of tools to help parishes assess standing and design next steps to meet this important environmental goal.  What is of special interest is that the tools are available on line for parishes or dioceses anywhere in the world to use.  The Anglican Communion has made reducing environmental impacts a major concern and taken the lead in a variety of ways.  Update has reported on other actions, including Anglican Communion leadership at the recent UN conference.