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, February 15, 2016

Week Ending 02/15/16

The Diocese of Texas Changes Canons to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the largest of the five dioceses in Texas, has changed its canons by eliminating a section that defined a marriage as between a man and a woman.  This opens the way for willing congregations to offer ceremonies for same-sex couples.  The vote at the diocesan convention in favor of removal of the section of canons was 499 to 144.  

Two Studies Released on English and Church

The Barna Group has released a study of what English people believe about Jesus.  The survey was conducted across the public at large, including a sample from Muslim and Hindi populations.  Sixty-five percent believed that Jesus was a real historic figure.  Some of the other fascinating findings include the fact that one-third of those surveyed did not know a Christian, and 44% believed in the resurrection.  The full survey results are here.  Meanwhile,  the independent group WATCH (Women and the Church) in England released its annual report on the status of women in the Church of England.  The biggest developments were, of course, the consecration of women bishops and the seating of two in the House of Lords. Around 13% of English parishes still do not accept women clergy, but women are now almost half of all full-time paid clergy.The full report is here.

Welby Unpacks the Primates' Gathering 

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby used his address to the Church of England Synod to provide an extended unpacking of the recent primates gathering.  During that talk he stressed that the communion has no biding force except bonds of mutual respect, but made it quite clear that
ACNA was not recognized as a part of the Anglican Communion.  His displeasure with the early and misleading  press coverage and release of parts of the Communique was evident. He stressed that the Anglican Communion is a relationship and that agreement and disagreement is approached through the idea of reception, using examples of past disagreements such as divorce to illustrate his point.

Historic Meeting Between Pope and Russian Patriarch

The meeting between Pope Francis and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in Havana, Cuba,  was historic in the sense that it was the first ever meeting between leaders of these two bodies, but it also raised concerns among other leaders of Orthodox traditions that somehow this would upstage their own roles in the cluster of churches that are part of the Orthodox world.  CNN and the Episcopal Cafe provide good perspectives on the meeting.

St. James Newport Beach Updates

The congregations locked out of its building by Los Angeles Bishop Bruno who is trying to sell the property released a status update letter this last week.  In addition their parish Facebook site had numerous posts on the opening of a local fire station for their Shrove Tueday pancake supper, and other signs of support from the Newport Beach community. 

Church of Ireland Unveils Study Curriculum on Sexuality

The Church of Ireland has begun a period of study on issues related to sexuality, especially same-sex relations, bisexuality and transgender.  A group including a broad spectrum of people from the church, including those from the LGBT community put the study guide together.  The announcement of the guide and a link to the full document are here.  Comments by Changing Attitude, the British group advocating for LGBT people are here.

Church in Brazil Joins in Battle Against Zika Virus

The Episcopal Church of Brazil is using Lent as a time to launch a major initiative in cooperation with other churches aimed at control of the Zika virus.  The effort is encouraging basic sanitation and mosquito control actions.  They are concerned because half the population of Brazil lives in conditions that are unsanitary and very vulnerable to the spread of the disease.