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         

Monday, August 25, 2014

News for Week Ending 8/25/2014

Statistics released on same-sex marriage, civil partnerships in England and Wales

Thinking Anglicans has published excerpts from and links to statistics on same-sex marriage and civil partnerships in England and Wales. (Recall that same-sex marriage has only been possible since March 29, 2014.) Without repeating those statistics here, it is fair to say that people are taking advantage of new legislation for same-sex couples in large numbers. Interested readers should consult the Thinking Anglicans post.

Ecumenical groups, bishop, and black youth air views on Ferguson shooting

The National Council of Churches issued a statement August 18, 2014, concerning the police killing of Michael Brown and the recent police killing of other black men. In the statement, NCC president and general secretary Jim Winkler is quoted as saying
The NCC remains committed to addressing the legacy of racism, to ending gun violence in our nation, to responding to the scourge of mass incarceration, and through our local congregations to providing Christ’s healing touch.
On August 21, the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, wrote a letter to the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis supporting local efforts “that have called for prayer, calm, peaceful protest, and open and honest dialogue on racism and issues of class.” Tveit called for a reform of police practices and expressed concern about “the militarization of the police.” A WCC press release describes the letter and contains links to related material.

The Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, wrote to his diocese about the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent events August 13. That letter can be read here.

On August 20, the Young Adults of the Union of Black Episcopalians issued a statement on the death of Michael Brown. The statement includes a long list of bad things that have happened—some of these may come as a surprise—and calls on the National Board and local chapters to pray for the repose of the soul of Michael Brown, reaffirm the Baptismal vow to “strive for justice and respect the dignity of every human being,” and take other actions.

Supreme Court stays Virginia same-sex marriage decision

On August 20, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the order of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) The Supreme Court decision was not unexpected, as a similar stay was granted in the Utah same-sex marriage case. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) NPR’s Nina Totenberg discusses the reasoning behind the stay and possible further actions of the court here. Her story includes the brief order by the court.

Bishop of Virginia Shannon S. Johnston wrote to his diocese just before the court announced the stay. In his letter, he asserted that diversity of opinion is one of the strengths of The Episcopal Church.

Global South welcomes breakaway South Carolinians’ acceptance of oversight

On August 21, 2014, Mark Lawrence’s Diocese of South Carolina announced receipt of a letter from the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis and the Most Rev. Ian Ernest, representing the Global South. Anis, Chairman of the Global South Steering Committee, and Ernst,  Hon. General Secretary of the Global South Primates Steering Committee, welcomed the diocese’s acceptance of pastoral oversight by the Global South Primatial Oversight Council. The Global South leaders welcomed the diocese “as an active and faithful member within the Global South of the Anglican Communion, until such time as a permanent primatial affiliation can be found.”

The Post and Courier of Charleston dutifully covered this story, but the “news,” in this case, is less than it seems. According to an earlier story by The Post and Courier, oversight was offered explicitly by Global South primates prior to the diocese’s unanimous acceptance of such oversight at its March 15, 2014, convention. Anis even traveled to the diocese to promote the relationship. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.)

Light at end of the tunnel for San Joaquin litigation may not be so bright

Pittsburgh Update reported May 19, 2014, that Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald S. Black issued a tentative and proposed settlement of decision that likely would be very close to the final judgment in the San Joaquin property litigation. In an August 18 letter to his diocese, however, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eric Vawer Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin indicated that a final decision from Judge Black is expected soon, and that judgment, which will represent a significant victory for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, will be appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Menees also asked for contributions to the “legal defense fund.” The Modesto Bee, in an August 3 story, had suggested that Menees expected to appeal at least some elements of the final judgment from Judge Black.

Washington National Cathedral expands rental program

In an effort to increase the revenue available to Washington National Cathedral, the cathedral church of the presiding bishop has announced that areas of the cathedral will be available for rent by corporations and non-profit organizations, though not by individuals. The cathedral will draw up strict guidelines for rental of the facility and retains the right to reject any request. Rentals will not be allowed that interfere with church activities. The church has already begun charging a $10 admission to visitors, though not to worshipers. The Aquila Report, a conservative Web site, reported this story August 21, 2014.