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, November 7, 2017

Week Ending 11/6/17

South Carolina Mediation Abruptly Put on Hold

The Federal judge hearing the trademark and identity case filed by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina against the schismatic group still calling itself the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina had ordered mediation before he heard opening arguments this spring.  The mediation was scheduled for November 6-8, but was abruptly put on hold until December after a short meeting on November 7.  There are no details in the statement issued by Bishop Adams.  Adams had asked all South Carolina Episcopalians to pray for the mediation in an earlier statement issued before the start of the talks. Steve Skaradon had more to say on his blog scepiscopalians.com.

The Church Responds to the Texas Shooting

The shooting that killed 26 and injured nearly as many at a small Baptist Church in south Texas has resulted in numerous statements by religious leaders.  The most pertinent for Episcopalians are the statement from Presiding Bishop Curry and the statement from the Bishops United Against Gun Violence.  That group is a coalition of 60 Episcopal bishops who have been working since before General Convention 2015 to change the gun culture of the U.S.  Their web site includes profiles of members.  Bishop McConnell of Pittsburgh is not among them.

Bishop Sauls Files Lawsuit in New York

The Living Church has posted a story that Bishop Stacy Sauls has revived his lawsuit against the presiding bishop and Episcopal Church leaders by filing in state courts in New York.  His case was thrown out in Alabama for lack of jurisdiction.  Mediation ordered by the judge was unsuccessful.  He argues that his reputation has been so damaged by a conspiracy of church leaders that he cannot find employment in the church. Sauls was originally put on administrative leave in December 2015 with two other senior administrators who reported to him while the church investigated allegations of misconduct. In April 2016 the two other administrators were fired for misconduct and Sauls was let go because of an administrative reorganization.   Because he was employed in New York, jurisdiction is not an issue, but timeliness of the suit may be.  More than a year has gone by since he was let go.  The Episcopal Church has made an initial response filing to the charges and defends the actions they took as accurate and non-prejudicial.  

Episcopal News Service Gets Independent Web Identity

The Anglican Communion news and a press release from the Episcopal News Service have announced that the news service now has a separate web identity from The Episcopal Church.  In the process, the news service has revamped its look and even some of the kinds of news it carries to be more like a news magazine.  The good news is that links to the older site are automatically redirected to the new site so old content is still accessible.

English Church Struggling With Responses to Sexual-Abuse Victims

The Church of England continued to make headlines as victims of sexual abuse by clergy criticized the response and the small size of Church Insurance payments to victims.  The male victim involved noted that the compensation amounts were set at a time when long term affects of the abuse were not well understood.  A separate thread  focused on a woman's  experience with the church's response to her rape by a clergyman.  The woman raped wants the archbishops to commission a report to be discussed at the next General Synod.  Local press accounts link her letter to the "#Me Too" movement and the revelations of misconduct by powerful figures like Harvey Weinstein. 

Diocese of Dallas Comes up Short on Marriage Equality - Again

For the second year in a row, efforts of a few parishes to remove the Diocese of Dallas canonical statements defining marriage as between one man and one woman failed.  Those bringing the efforts are concerned because current policy sends all single sex couples seeking marriage to parishes in the neighboring diocese of Fort Worth, and the policy bars clergy from participating in such ceremonies even if being done in another diocese. Bishop George Sumner used his blog the week before the diocesan convention to speak against changing the canons while recognizing the right of those who brought the measure.  The Episcopal Cafe article appeared before the convention, but as predicted the measure was defeated.  The attempts last year can be accessed in the Diocesan Convention Journal for 2016, pp. 29-35.  While 20 bishops signed a statement at General Convention in 2015 opposing the changes allowing same-sex couples to marry at church, only 8 of the 109 dioceses of the Episcopal Church refuse to authorize ceremonies within the diocese.  

St. James Newport Beach Shifting Media Focus

The St. James the Great congregation in Newport Beach which fought back after Bishop Jon Bruno locked them out of their building because he was trying to sell it, has begun to shift their media focus.  The sale has collapsed; Bishop Bruno has been disciplined and suspended based on actions he took against the congregation and his disdain for the Title IV Hearing Panel; but the congregation did not regain access to the building and is not recognized as a mission by the Diocese of Los Angeles.  The congregation continues to worship in rented community space, but has either shut down or restricted access to their Facebook site, and has refocused their web page to emphasize their ministry. 

Anglicans Sign Agreement with Oriental Orthodox Church

Officially the Anglican Communion cut the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed over 40 years ago, but it still persists in the TEC Book of Common Prayer.  The clause added the words "and the son" to the phrase "proceeds from the Father" in the part of the Creed dealing with the Holy Spirit.  The clause was added at a western church meeting long after the Council of Nicea, and its addition caused a split between the Roman Catholic tradition and the Orthodox tradition.  In the latest of a series of conversations with various Churches from the Orthodox tradition, representatives of the Anglican Communion and the Oriental Orthodox both agree that the clause should be removed from the Creed although they hold different understandings of its meaning.  The historical agreement signed in Ireland also covers several other issues, but will not be formally published until 2018.  For more on the Oriental Orthodox tradtition, try the Wikipedia article here.