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, October 17, 2017

Week Ending 10/16/17

Controversy Continues Over Sydney Diocese's Contribution to Antis in Australian Referendum

An earlier Update story covered the announcement by Archbishop Davies of Sydney, Australia that he had given $1 million to the "Vote No" group in a voter poll being conducted by the Australian parliament on the question of civil marriage for same sex couples. Critical comments rolled in from a wide range of Australians, including the Archbishop of Perth, conservative groups worried about entanglement of church and state, and even some members of Davies own diocese.  Davies has issued a statement defending his use of church funds.  

Response to Abuse an Issue for Both English Archbishops

Both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York were dealing with controversies regarding abuse of young people by clergy many years before.   The issue for Justin Welby was whether he personally had ignored charges that the major benefactor of a camp for young boys had abused youths at the camp.  Welby worked at the camp as a young man, and later was a member of the board when action was taken that forced the benefactor to leave England for Africa, where he again was charged with abuse.  The New York Times carried the story.  Archbishop of York, John Sentamu and the current bishop of Chester had to issue a statement that they were cooperating with the police in the investigation of charges of abuse of both young men and women by a former bishop of Chester during the 1960s and 1970s.  The statement also included an apology.

Sale Falls Through at St. James, Newport Beach 

The Diocese of Los Angeles made a brief announcement that purchaser for the property of St. James the Great in Newport Beach had backed out, leaving the property in the hands of the diocese.  However, the announcement held little good news for the congregation forced out of the building.  The diocese considers the congregation an unrecognized body that must apply for membership in the diocese.  The announcement also stated that the building would be opened as a bishop's chapel with no set congregation, and with services provided by visiting clergy.  While the Rev. Cindy Voorhees, the priest who had gone to St. James to build a congregation in a building returned to the diocese after a long legal battle with schismatic members, and who has continued to minister to the congregation in exile, is eligible to be invited to conduct services there, there was no guarantee she would be invited.  Much of the comment on the internet has been critical of the diocese for not returning the building to the parish. (See the articles and comments on the Episcopal Cafe, the Facebook page "General Convention" and Anglican.ink website for a sample.)The Hearing Panel which heard the case the congregation brought against Bishop Jon Brumo the way he treated the congregation and his attempts to sell the property had recommended return of the property to the congregation.  The congregation's response to the announcement was, not surprisingly, critical.

City Starts Looking for Funds Promised in Rebuilding New Zealand Cathedral

The Update has provided continuing coverage (most recently here, here and here) of the controversy surrounding the earthquake damaged cathedral in Christ Church New Zealand, and of the final decision by the diocese to restore the building, considered a national treasure.  Because the general public wanted the site preserved, both government and private philanthropists have offered financial help.  The city of Christ Church, which has had to rebuild much of its downtown destroyed by the earthquake in 2011, now has started the process of figuring out where it will find the $10 million dollars it has promised for the restoration/rebuilding of the cathedral.

Churches in Fire Zone Offer Help While Themselves at Risk

Episcopal News Service posted two stories on the response to and impact on parishes in the northern California wine country that was devastated by fire this last week.  Firefighter have now gotten most of them largely contained, but with the deaths of over 40 people and loss of more than 6400 buildings, recovery will be a long process.  Churches in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Kenwood all survived the fire, but parishioners lost their homes.  The ENS stories from October 10 and October 12 show how the members of the parish tried to serve their community under very trying circumstances.

Episcopal Church Offers Home for Arts Festival Kicked Out by Roman Catholics

When the Roman Catholic diocese found out that one of its Manhattan parishes was hosting an arts festival that included an improvisional play about LGBTQ people coming out, the  diocese wanted those performances with LGBTQ themes cancelled.  Instead organizers of the International Human Rights Art Festival withdrew the whole festival on the eve of its opening.  St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, a 239 year-old Episcopal parish in Brooklyn Heights stepped forward to host the event.  Most of the news coverage focuses on the Roman Catholics rescinding permission to use their building for a  performance titled "“Thank You for Coming Out.” The new host, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity is the oldest parish in Brooklyn, dating back to the colonial period.  Since the parish web site explicitly states that the parish offers marriage ceremonies for LGBT couples, the festival's improvisional play on coming out was not an issue at the new site.

South Carolina Break-Away Group Continues Media Campaign

As both parties wait to see if the South Carolina Supreme Court will rehear the church property case brought originally by the break-away diocese and 39 of its congregations, and prepared for a round of mediation ordered by the federal judge who will hear a companion case on the name and trademarks of the diocese in early 2018, a media campaign against Episcopalians and one of the Supreme Court judges who ruled for the Episcopal Church has grown in fury.  Blogger Steve Skaradon, posted a long piece on October 16 about  the media campaign.  You can read it here. Update has information on the cases and  an earlier Skaradon piece on the company behind the media campaign here.