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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, May 5, 2021

Week Ending 5/3/21

Mississippi Religious Leaders Press for Expansion of Health Insurance

The Episcopal bishop of Mississippi was one of the lead signers of a letter committing an interfaith group of leaders to seeking to expand Medicare by lowering the enrollment to cover those whose incomes are  up to 138% of the poverty rate.  Bishop Brian Seage was joined by several Catholic and Methodist Bishops, as well as leaders of various Baptist groups in issuing a letter committing those who signed to work for affordable health care insurance that will reach those making 138% of the poverty level or less.  The ELCA bishop was one of the later signers.  Mississippi's civil leadership has been opposed to Medicaid expansion.

Dean of the Birmingham Alabama Cathedral Steps Down

The /Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Birmingham has announced he is resigning because he is increasingly at odds with the direction the Episcopal Church has taken in opening all sacraments to  LGBTQ+ people. Dean Andrew Pearson has been a vocal and visible critic of The Episcopal Church's inclusiveness even before he was ordained.  It has grown increasingly awkward for the Cathedral Dean to be at odds with the Bishop of the diocese, especially since the cathedral should be the home parish for the bishop.  The announcement of Pearson's resignation also noted that the new bishop of the Diocese, Glenda Curry has already begun conversations with the Cathedral's vestry to create a better relationship with the bishop, the diocese, and the Episcopal Church.  A 2016 blog post by Ron Caldwell of South Carolina provides perspective on Pearson's long-term dissatisfaction with The Episcopal Church.

Diocese of Washington Sells Historic Church to Dissident Congregation

Bishop Mariann Budde has announced that negotiations have led to the sale of historic Christ Church, Accoteek to a private group representing most of the congregation of the parish.  The parish has been at odds with the diocese for over 20 years, and the previous bishop, Jane Dixon filed a suit in 2001 against the parish.  Bishop Dixon won that suit, but the underlying issues remained and the congregation has been an reluctant member of the diocese.  This arrangement frees the congregation to remain in their historic building as a member of the ACNA denomination.  

Continuing Stories

Biden Under Pressure from Churches Raises Refugee Quota

President Biden's initial decision to not raise the very low cap on refugees this year after initially filing documents to raise the cap by nearly five fold, resulted in immediate outcries from immigrant groups and especially the church groups that had offered resettlement support to refugees.  The result was that Biden reversed course and has raised the cap after all.  Of the 9 major resettlement agencies, six are church related, including Episcopal Migration Ministries.  The reaction to the announcement was mixed because it is late enough in the year that  the U.S. will not process enough people to reach the cap.   It is taking some time to rebuild the governmental structures needed to process large numbers of refugees.
You can find reports  by the Associated Press here, Religion News here, and the Christian Post here.

For the First Time a Woman to Lead South Carolina Diocese

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina elected Canon Ruth Woodliff-Stanley bishop at their convention this last weekend.  She is currently serving as Canon for Strategic change in the dioceses of Northwest Pennsylvania and Western New York (those two diocese share a bishop). The first woman to be elected bishop in a South Carolina Diocese, Woodliff-Stanley will join a growing cohort of women in the Episcopal House of Bishops.  She was the front-runner on the first ballot   (May 1 post of  scepiscopalians.org) and was elected on the second.  Pittsburghers may remember her as one of the candidates for Bishop of Pittsburgh in 2012.  She was also a candidate in in the Bethlehem and Colorado searches.  All of these dioceses, South Carolina included, have widely scattered small parishes and some history of division.   Woodliff-Stanley's comments via zoom to the convention after her election focused on what the South Carolina diocese wanted to become.  The South Carolina convention was held virtually, and had been delayed for several months by the pandemic.

Parish Relinquishment of Property Creates More Pain in Fort Worth

After more than a decade of legal battles following schism, the reluctant relinquishment by six Episcopal congregations of their church property to the schismatic ACNA diocese was, not surprisingly, marred by actions of both sides. Last week Update carried notice of the turnover of buildings.  This week some of the backstory of the transition emerged.  Several parishes stripped the buildings of all moveable objects including altars, pews, and furnishings.  Some of these items were returned when the groups were challenged by the remnant congregations moving in.  The schismatics continue to use the Episcopal name and in one case created a web page that was almost identical to the departing group's, including the web address. (The Episcopal parish address ends inn .org while the schismatic groups address is .com.).  As a result the diocese affiliated with the Episcopal Church had to publish a long piece spelling out just exactly who was really affiliated with the Episcopal Church and who was not.   


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Week Ending 4/26/21

Key Post for Lambeth Filled by Bishop Who Questions LGBTQ Marriages.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have announced the appointment of a person to serve as the  "Bishop to the Archbishops" a position that provides liaison between the two English Archbishops.  The position was re-defined too be more heavily focused on the 2022 Lambeth Conference (delayed from 202 because of the covid-19 pandemic) and in planning meetings of the bishops in the Church of England.  The person chosen, Rt Revd Dr Emma Ineson, bishop of Penrith, unfortunately, does not seem likely to be a good mediator for who might attend the meeting but are divided by their stance on the role of LGBTQ+ people in Anglican Communion.  Ineson was one of the  89 evangelicals who signed a letter sent to all of the Church of England bishops stating their opposition to recognition of same sex marriage and contains language opposing any recognition of relationships other than heterosexual ones.  Thinking Anglicans carried a link to a blog raising these objections and providing access to the statement by the evangelicals.

Continuing Stories

Findings Published From Racial Audit of Church

Update has been posting numerous updates on the efforts of the Episcopal Church to address racism, both within the Church and elsewhere.  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has made it a major focus of his term in office.  One aspect of this was a racial audit authorized by Executive Council in 2019.  The results of that audit, available in both an executive summary and a full report, are now available.  The audit is really of Episcopal leadership, including Episcopal Church staff, bishops, and members of the House of Deputies (clergy and lay).  It was beyond the scope of the  study to explore the larger world of diocesan and parish experience.  The study is therefore heavy on clergy experience, although including lay leaders.  It outlines 9 "patterns" of response to race, some intended to counter racism but all in some way implicit in racism.  The study also uncovered certain gender divides as well.  The Episcopal News Service has links to both the executive and full reports.

Last Sanctuary Seeker in NC Church Goes Home

 In 2017 the Trump administration revoked annual stays of deportation that had been granted to Juana Luz Tobar Ortega for several years.  Ortega, a grandmother, who had lived in the U.S. for a quarter of a century and was married to an American citizen sought sanctuary at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro.  The congregation has housed and protected her until this month she was again granted a stay of removal and can return to her husband and other family in Asheboro.  She was the last immigrant being housed by a network of sanctuary churches throughout the U.S.

Controversial Los Angeles Former Bishop Dies

Bishop Jon Bruno who led the Los Angeles diocese through a period including attempts by several parishes to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and moved the diocese to be more ethnically inclusive died unexpectedly in his sleep.  As bishop Bruno had had several major health issues, including an infection that required amputation of his foot. His record as a progressive bishop, however, was marred by a controversy over his mishandling of the property and re-building of a congregation decimated by a schism. St. James the Great had been a major source of  resistance to a more inclusive Episcopal Church nationally, and the majority of the congregation tried to leave the Church and keep its property.  Bruno won that battle.  Then the bishop allowed the rebuilding of of a congregation at the church in Newport Beach while secretly planning a multi-million dollar sale of the parish property to a developer.  The congregation, developers, and Bruno ended up in court. Bruno locked the congregation out of the building, which continued to meet, initially outdoors, and then in rented space while the building remained shuttered.  Eventually Bruno faced a Title IV hearing on the Bishop's handling of the sale and treatment of the congregation.  The panel hearing resulted in his suspension.  After his suspension, the congregation was able to return to the building as a mission of the diocese, and has now grown to the point that it is petitioning the diocese for readmission as a diocese.  Update covered all of the St. James controversy.  The final outcome post on the Bruno trial is here.

 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Week Ending 4/19/21

 Parting of the Ways for Community of St. Mary

The Community of St. Mary is the oldest Episcopal religious order.  The Community now functions as three separately governing bodies, located in New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  The New York Community, based in Peekskill, decided to follow their former bishop, William Love, ACNA and in ACNA, Love has been assigned to serve as their Bishop Visitor.  The other two regions for the Community have made no move to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC)  The Community of St. Mary based at Sewanee, Tennessee, issued this statement about their intent to stay in TEC.  The Tennessee group's history includes the early sisters who are known as the "Martyrs of Memphis" for their willingness to give their lives caring for victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic in 1878.

Volcanic Ash Closes Churches beyond St. Vincent

The recent volcanic eruptions have resulted in over 20,000 people seeking refuse away from the direct flow and dangerous gasses on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.   Neighboring islands have been housing some of the refugees.  However wind-born ash has made conditions on Barbados, which is directly to the east of St. Vincent, so difficult that Bishop Michael Maxwell of Barbados advised all 52 of Barbados's Anglican Churches to be closed and use only on-line worship on Sunday April 18.  The churches there had begun cautiously to return to in-person worship after a lockdown to prevent spread of the covid-19 virus.

Continuing Stories

Fort Worth Parishes Vacate Buildings 

Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear the Episcopalians' appeal of the decision awarding all property to the schismatic group in Fort Worth, the six Forth Worth parishes that remained in the Episcopal Church were given notice that they would be required to vacate their property.  April 18 was the last Sunday for these parishes in their buildings.  The Episcopal News Service provided this story on their last Sundays.  The local Fox News stations carried a story on the changeover from the perspective of the schismatic group now in ACNA.  A Facebook post on the personal website of Katie Sherrod (a member of one of the dispossessed parishes, and a well-known journalist) provides a more personal look at the pain of the dislocation.  The editor notes that in dioceses where the Episcopal Church won the legal challenges, not all ACNA parishes have been forced to vacate.  In Pittsburgh, for example, several ACNA parishes have remained in their buildings for over a decade while acknowledging that the Episcopal diocese is the owner of the actual property.

Biden Refugee Policy Provokes Swift Response from Churches

Under President Trump admission of almost all refugees to the United States ground to a halt.  A number of churches, including The Episcopal Church had strongly protested the Trump policies. The Biden administration had promised a more welcoming approach to refugees, but when Biden announced that he would leave in place the tiny quota set by Trump for refugees in 2021, the Churches once again protested strongly, including the Episcopal Church.  By the end of the day, the Biden press secretary was announcing that the quota would be raised before the end of the year.  The Episcopal Church released this statement in response to that second announcement.   

Indianapolis Bishop Speaks Out After Still Another Shooting

The incidence of gun violence, including shooting deaths of multiple victims has been growing at an alarming rate.  Following the murder of 8 people at an Indianapolis FedEx site, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, the Episcopal Bishop of Indianapolis, issued this statement, urging Episcopalians to not let the frequency of these shootings dull their outrage and pain at them.  The Episcopal Church has witnessed against gun violence and for better gun control laws regularly.  Update has carried numerous stories and statements from Church leaders about this issue.  The most recent previous post is here

Episcopalians Continue to Deal with Racist Past and Present

Under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church has made racial reconciliation and anti-racism a major focus. Churches have responded in multiple ways including the removal of plaques and memorials honoring slave owners or featuring symbols of the Confederacy from main worship spaces.  The University of the South, including Sewanee Seminary has been trying to come to terms with its own founding as an institution steeped in traditions of the "Old" South.  In the last several years it has removed Confederate symbols and offered guidance to Episcopal parishes and other institutions faced with similar situations.  Recent racial incidents on campus have not slowed that process.  Most recently the University has announced a decision to replace parts of a stained glass window in the university chapel supposedly showing reconciliation of North and South following the Civil war and including a confederate flag with landscape images representing North and South and renaming the window "Reunification."  They have also decided to rename the Dubose lecture series.  The Rev. William Dubose was a noted theologian at the university, but he also had owned slaves and promoted white supremacy.  The Episcopal Church is not alone among the the provinces of the Anglican Communion in dealing with racism.  The Anglican Communion News Service recently carried this story on actions throughout the Communion to protest racism.

Forum Addresses World-Wide Inequity in Covid-19 Vaccine

Update recently carried a story about the request from the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Southern Africa to President Biden to made covid-19 vaccines more available to other countries.  Now Archbishop Makgoba participates in a virtual panel discussion sponsored by the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations.  Other panelists included Archbishop Linda Nicholls, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, a Bishop from the Church of England, and Rebecca Linder Blachly, the Director of the Episcopal Church's office of Government Relations.  The panelists stressed that the pandemic could not be stopped unless vaccinations were world wide, and that policies promoting an equitable distribution of the vaccines were imperative.  You can find more on the panel presentation here


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Week Ending 4/12/21

Priest Has Second Job as Mars Mission Scientist

Pamela Conrad mixes science and religion on a daily basis.  She is part of the NASA team that has been working on the Mars land rover projects.  She is also the rector of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Glen Burnie, MD. She has been at NASA since 1999 and at St. Alban's since her ordination in 2017.   For more on how she mixes science and religion, read the Episcopal News Service article.

Church Auctioning Silver to Raise Money for Scholarships

St. Paul's, the oldest church in Baltimore is selling a communion chalice and paten to raise money for a scholarship at a private day school run by the church.  The school originally educated orphans, but not with a yearly tuition of more than $35,000 has not been accessible to many well qualified minority students.  The communion set dates from the late 19th century and is encrusted with precious stones. The parish is not using the set for regular worship and it has been locked up in a safe.  The vestry has agree to also put in money towards the endowment of the scholarship.  The goal is to raise enough to be able to fund a 4 year scholarship for one minority student. 

West Indies Archbishop Says Church Complicit in Violence Against Women

Archbishop of the West Indies, Howard Gregory used his Easter sermon at a church in Kingston, Jamaica to challenge his province to think about the ways the church has fostered ideas and attitudes that support violence against women.  The archbishop specifically noted that many still harbor ideas that women should be silent in church, or subordinate to men.

Update on Continuing Story

ACNA Welcomes Another Albany Bishop

A month ago Update carried notice that a former bishop of the Albany diocese, Daniel Herzog, was leaving the Episcopal Church for the second time.  Shortly after that, the recently resigned Bishop of Albany, William Love renounced his Episcopal orders and was received as a bishop by ACNA.  This week it was announced that Herzog would be joining Love in  ACNA.There is not yet word of where Herzog will serve, but hopefully it will not be in Albany. 

















Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Week Ending 4/5/21

 While the news doesn't take a break after Easter, the Update editor did, so this week's post is a day late.


International Religious Leaders Condemn Conversion Therapy

The 400 international religious leaders from 35 countries who signed a statement prepared by the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives included a number of Anglican primates, including those from Wales, Scotland, Canada, and New Zealand.  Numerous other bishops have signed including some from the United States.   The documents origins are clearly British Commonwealth although the commission that drafted the statement included a prominent Episcopalian.  There may be fewer Episcopal signers simply because General Convention has already put the Episcopal Church on record as opposing conversion therapy. The statement affirms the value of all persons regardless of their sexual or gender orientation or identity, and specifically condemns the practice of conversion therapy which attempts to change the orientation/ identity so that it is heterosexual.   You can read the statement, the list of public signers, and, if you wish, add your name as a signer here.


Updates on Continuing Stories

Former Albany Bishop Joins ACNA 

Former Bishop William Love, who chose to resign from his duties as Bishop of Albany after a church disciplinary panel ruled he had violated his ordination vows, took a further step by resigning his orders in the Episcopal Church.  The former bishop's statement is here.  Presiding Bishop Curry issued this announcement of Love's resignation. Love has now been received as a bishop in ACNA.   He has been assigned as an assisting bishop in the ACNA Diocese of the Living Word.  Update had earlier reported that several of the Albany clergy were leaving the Episcopal Church to join the ACNA Diocese of the Living Word.  The Standing Committee in Albany issue this response of hope and confidence in diocese.

Bishops of African Descent Issue Strong Statement on Anti-Racism

Recent racist incidents, especially the murder of Asian massage workers in Georgia and other anti-Asian attacks have led  22 members of the House of Bishops caucus "Bishops of African Descent" to issue a strong statement against racism, especially as it has been practiced in the United States against those of Asian and Pacific Island descent.  The caucus over the years has broadened its membership to include  those of Asian and Native American descent.  The letter calls on people to witness against racist acts and language directed at those of Asian and Pacific Island descent, links that racism  to other forms long practiced in the United States, and class on the whole church to find common ground in witnessing against such trauma.  Under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church has broadened its witness against all forms of racism.  Update has covered many of the Church's steps on this path.  The most recent post is here.  

Easter Worship During the Pandemic 

Update has been regularly posting on the variety of worship responses during the pandemic.  The Episcopal News Service has a recent article on the variety of approaches being taken by Episcopal parishes for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.  The responses ranged from on-line only to hybrid approaches, to in-person worship.  

More Feeding the Hungry

We can now add the Southern Deanery of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina to the list of Episcopal entities trying to feed the hungry at a time when the pandemic has increased the number of families struggling to put food on the table.  The diocesan news blog has this story on parishes that banded together to provide a food distribution for twenty families.  Update has noted efforts whenever they come to our attention.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Week Ending 3/29/21

Churches Facing Puzzling Harassment

Two parishes on opposite sides of the U.S. are dealing with threats or harassment from unknown sources.  St. Mark's Episcopal Church  in Washington D.C. reported that someone had hung a hangman's noose from a tree on their church grounds.  The parish,  near the Capitol Building, has been open in its support of the Black Lives Movement, and police are treating the incident as a possible hate crime.  The Washington Post had the story.  Out west in Walla Walla Oregon, St. Paul's Church is dealing with the dumping of candles at their church front door.  It has occurred multiple times.  The first two times it occurred the candles totaled over 1200 pounds.  The candles are both new and used, and the church has to have them hauled away.  The most recent occurrences resulted in smaller numbers of candles.  The incidents were covered by both the Union-Bulletin and the East Oregonian.  The parish has no idea what is motivating the person doing the dumping.

Churches Respond to Recent Mass Shootings

Churches have responded to the mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado with marches n support of Asian-American, who were most of those killed in Georgia, and statements of concern about gun control.  Interdenominational marches were held in a number of major cities to show support for Asian American following a shooting that targeted businesses owned by Asian-Americans, and staffed mostly by Asian Americans.  It prompted Asian-Americans to speak out about the harassment they have suffered especially during the pandemic. The Episcopal Church's Asian-Americans sponsored a virtual gathering that documented their pain.  Following the second shooting at a grocery store in Colorado, Episcopalians were among those speaking out and issuing statements on the need for better gun control legislation. 

Latest Salary Study Show Clergy Gender Gap Persists

The Episcopal Church began to study gender pay inequity among clergy twenty years ago.  At that time the gender gap was 18%.  It has taken two decades to reduce that gap by 4.5%.  At least part of the gender gap in pay is explained by the absence of women from the highest paying clergy jobs -- those at large parishes and as deans of cathedrals.  There continues to be resistance to seeing women in those roles.  Another interesting finding was that for male clergy, having children correlated with higher salaries, while having children resulted in lower than average salaries for women.  the Episcopal News Service has more on the study results. The report itself is here.

Gallup Poll Says Less Than Half of Americas are Church Members

A recent Gallup Poll shows that under half of  Americans are now officially members of a religious congregation of any sort -Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any of the Asian religions.    The large number of younger Americans who are unaffiliated is a major factor in the decline.  Religion News has a story complete with some of the charted data from the study here

Continuing Stories

 San Diego Diocese Takes Lead on Helping Immigrant Children

The Episcopal Diocese has been asked to coordinate services for the unaccompanied minor migrants that are being housed at the San Diego Convention Center.  The Diocese has gotten all the volunteers it needed through a call issued on their web site for Spanish Speaking covid-19 vaccinated volunteers. They are now referring other volunteers to a community site which is expanding services.   The Episcopal Church has been active in immigration reform and as an advocate for migrants.  The San Diego Diocese has been one of the most active diocese in this outreach. 

British Government Allows Some Easter Singing

The British government released new regulations governing churches just in time for Easter.  The regulations allow outside church services with singing, and small gatherings in churches with some singing allowed there.  For more on the specifics see the Christian Today article.  Update has been regularly following the ups and downs of congregational worship during the pandemic.  The most recent previous post is here.

Supreme Court Allows Church Closing for Pandemic Violations

The Supreme Court has allowed  public officials to close a church in Chicago for numerous violations of public health restrictions intended to prevent the spread of covid-19.  The courts have been highly inconsistent in their rulings, striking down restrictions in some cases and upholding them in others.  In the latest case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from  Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church.  The church had received a warning letter for exceeding the attendance limits initially in place in Illinois.  The limits have now been raised, but the congregation sought a ruling that would prevent a threat in the future should stricter regulations be reimposed.  Judge Amy Barrett did not participate in the decision to deny the appeal.  Update has carried notices of a variety of the cases involving churches challenging health restrictions.

 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Week Ending 3/22/21

Churches Take Different Approaches to Easter Worship

A Pew Research Center Study just released shows that there are major differences by by denomination in whether people expect to attend Easter Services in person, and that only about 12% are expecting to attend a service with no covid restrictions.  Over half of evangelicals can attend in-person worship, but over a third of those who usually attend evangelical churches stayed home. Roman Catholic, mainline Protestants, and black churches were much less open for in-person worship and continuing to rely on on-line worship. (Pew categorizes The Episcopal Church as mainline Protestant). 

Clergy Climate Activists Stage Protest in British Courtroom

Two retired clergy from the Church of England who have become climate change activists decided to use their court appearances for civil disobedience to further their protests. The purpose of the courtroom protest was to call attention to the complicity of courts in governmental inaction on climate change. They glued themselves to their chairs in the courtroom.  The Church Times focused on the background of the two clergy, while the story in Christian Today focused more on the climate change issue and the non-violent protest of the two. 

Episcopalians Respond to Vatican Same-Sex Blessing Statement 

The announcement by Pope Francis that the Roman Catholic Church will not bless same sex marriages because it cannot "bless sin" has resulted in a number of statements by Episcopalians countering the Pope and offering a welcome to LGBTQA people.  A number of Episcopalians also took to social media to offer support, comfort and an alternative theological position. The Episcopal News Service has a compilation of social media posts and comments here.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Diocese of Pittsburgh Parish is Vaccine Site

Last week Update carried notices of Episcopal sites in other states hosting covid vaccination events.  Later in the week, one of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh's own parishes  served that same purpose.  St. Mark's in Johnstown is a historic downtown church  that has dealt with disasters several times, especially the famous Johnstown Flood.  But this week it dealt with a flood of vaccine seekers.  Dur to a glitch in the phone notification process being used by sponsoring health agency, more than twice the number of people notified for appointments than the group had vaccines.  The line of those waiting for shots stretched around the block outside the church.  The  situation was corrected for a second day of shots at the church.  The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat carried the story.

Church Leaders Shrug Off Outside Legal Opinion

The Anglican Church of Canada, after a very close vote and some confusion at their 2019 synod has left it up to dioceses whether churches will bless same-sex marriages.  Traditionalists continue to fight that decision, as dioceses began to implement blessings.  Receiving little support in Canada, they sought  legal opinion from Canada about whether the dioceses were violating canon law and turned to two conservative canon lawyers in England.  The canon lawyers have issued opinions that the local options to bless do violate Canadian church law, but top church officials have shrugged off the opinions as just that - opinions with no legal status for the Canadian church. 

Sewanee Shaken by Another Racial Incident

Several weeks ago the Dean at the University of the South went public about the racial harassment he and his family had been facing at their on-campus home. The university is owned by the dioceses of Province IV of The Episcopal Church, and is also home to a seminary of the church. The university has been taking major strides to free itself from its historic legacy tied to the Confederacy and white supremacy.  This last week the campus was shocked when students from the campus began shouting racial slurs at the opposing team. All the spectators were required to leave and the campus apologized to the visiting team.  Others on campus organized a demonstration against racism, but the school is searching for ways to address the racist outburst and create a campus community that welcomes diversity.  The Episcopal News Service has more on this latest incident.