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, July 28, 2015

Week ending 7-27-15

Church of England Consecrates First Woman as Diocesan Bishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury consecrated two women as bishops on July 22, the Venerable Rachel Treweek and the Rev. Canon Dame Sarah Mullally. Treweek will serve as diocesan bishop of Gloucester and will become the first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords. Mullally will be Bishop of Crediton, which is a suffragan see. Profiles of the two women, whose consecration raises the number of women serving as bishops in the Church of England to four, can be found here and here, along with pictures of the ceremony.

South Carolina Parish Finds a Permanent Home

For two-and-a-half years, the Wesley United Methodist Church in Summerville, South Carolina have shared their building with faithful Episcopalians who formed the Church of the Good Shepherd when their previous parish stopped participating in the Episcopal Church.  On July 19, Good Shepherd celebrated its first service in a refitted commercial space which will give it a more permanent home.  The two congregations said good-by by worshiping together on July 12. Moving to their own space is a major step in Good Shepherd's maturity as a parish. They have turned the unconventional space into a welcoming place for worship and fellowship. The Summerville Journal Scene covered the story, which was picked up by the Episcopal Cafe. The parish web site has more pictures of their new home.

Handful of Dioceses Announce Refusal to Allow Same Sex Marriages

The diocesan bishops who signed a protest of the changes to church canons to allow same sex marriages and the approval of a trial liturgy have predictably begun issuing pastoral letters that forbid use of the trial rites by any of the clergy resident or licensed in their diocese and forbidding use of church spaces for same-sex weddings. The bishops differ slightly in how they are making required accommodations  for those same-sex couples who wish to marry. Bishop Smith of North Dakota wants to consult with clergy, but is considering allowing clergy from other dioceses to come into his diocese to preside at the ceremonies. Bishop Brewer of Central Florida will not allow diocesan clergy to preside at same-sex marriages in or outside the diocese, but has suggested that parishes that regularly offer prayers for couples on their anniversaries could do so for a same-sex couple and even suggested a prayer. Brewer and Daniel Martin seem to expect same sex couples to marry outside their dioceses. Bishop Love of Albany's pastoral letter expresses his feelings that LGBT orientation is a sign of the fallen nature of humans, asks such individuals to practice celibacy, but has begun conversations with neighboring bishops to accommodate those couples who despite the bishop's statements still want to get married. Bishop Little of Northern Indiana has made arrangements with neighboring bishops so that a couple with their priest may cross into one of those dioceses and hold the service there. He is the only one allowing his own clergy to participate in services as long as they are outside the diocesan bounds. In Dallas, where suffragan/ interim bishop Paul Lambert signed the protest, the bishop elect, George Sumner issued a statement commending the Standing Committee's statement (no longer available on the Dallas web site) on traditional marriage but promising conversation and to be the bishop for the whole diocese. How this will translate into accommodation is not yet clear.  Interestingly, Bishop Bauerschmidt of Tennessee who wrote most of the protest statement and who had been quoted in the Christian Post last week as saying there would be no participation by clergy or parishes in same sex marriages within his diocese, has now issued a statement saying that he needs to consult with clergy in his diocese before setting policy.  The previous interview has also disappeared from the Christian Post web site.

Church in Wales Earns 'Fairtrade' Label

The Church of Wales has become the first province in the Anglican Communion to receive “Fairtrade”certification as a province. The church has engaged its parishes in adopting fairtrade products including communion wine and chrism, and to promoting understanding of trade justice within their parishes and communities. The message of trade justice was promoted at church fairs and conferences throughout Wales.

St. James Newport Beach Fight Continues

The efforts of Bishop Bruno of Los Angles to close St. James the Great Parish in Newport Beach and sell its property to a developer has not gone smoothly. (See the Update story here.) The parish, which was locked out of its building at the end of June, has been holding services in a park across the street. The have also filed a charge against the bishop, and have supplemented it with further information.  ( See documents here, and here.)  Bishop Clay Matthews of the Presiding Bishop's office, has acknowledged their filing and is setting in motion an initial review to determine if there are grounds to proceed further. 

Japanese Church Opposes Legislation to Allow Japanese Troops to be Deployed Outside Japan

The leaders of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Church in Japan) have responded to a vote by the lower house of the Japanese Diet which would allow “collective self-defense” (i.e. the use of troops outside Japan's borders) with a strongly worded letter opposing the bills. The letter was sent to the Japanese Prime Minister and Chairs of both houses of the Japanese Diet. The letter upholds pacifism as the best course for Japan, and also as their understanding of Christian beliefs.

North Carolina Names Pro-Tem Bishop

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of North Carolina has tapped their suffragan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ann Hodges-Copple to serve as bishop pro-tem when Bishop Michael Curry resigns to take up his duties as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.  Hodges-Copple was elected suffragan in 2013 and will serve until the diocese completes a search, elects and consecrates a new bishop.  The Living Church reported on the decision.