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 17, 2018

Week Ending 7/15/18

South Carolina Diocese Asks for Audit

While General Convention was meeting in Austin, Episcopalians in South Carolina continued to Move forward on both the legal front and in outreach. On July 10 the diocese filed papers requesting a full forensic audit of the break-away group's finances to determine what property the Diocese held before the schism, what property it has now, and how those assets had been used by the group led by Bishop Lawrence.  The brief argues it is necessary in order to determine what compensation might be owed for funds used in ways not to the benefit of the Episcopal Church.  The audit request also covers the finances of those parishes whose property was covered by the court decision.  The July 15 edition of the Charleston Post & Courier carried an open letter from Bishop Skip Adams inviting members of the parishes to open meetings at three locations this week.  The diocese is hoping to retain members in the parish properties the courts have declared belong to The Episcopal Church.  The scepiscopalians.com blog has coverage of both the audit request and the open letter. The Update  carried a story on the announcement of the open meetings here.

Cuba Rejoins Episcopal Church

 From 1903 to 1966 Cuba was a missionary diocese of The Episcopal Church.  Then the House of Bishops voted to end ties with Cuba.  Since then Cuba has been an extra-provincial diocese overseen jointly by The Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church, and The Province of the West Indies.  That came to an end at General Convention 2018 when the House of Bishops unanimously welcomed and seated the Cuban bishop, Griselda Delgado del Carpio as a full member. The next day the House of Deputies approved the resolution and then welcomed  the Rev. Gerado Logildes Coroas and Mayelin Águeda, president of Episcopal Church Women of Cuba who had accompanied the Cuban bishop to the convention. They were given seat and voice in the House of Deputies. The Canadian Church's Anglican Journal   reported on the reunification while measures were still in committee.  At that point it appeared a constitutional amendments was needed to admit a unit outside the Episcopal Church. In the end the Convention followed the process for readmission used in 2003 when Puerto Rico rejoined the Episcopal Church after a proposed Anglican Communion Province for several Caribbean Islands fell through.  Executive Council will make the final determination of the exact date for Cuba's return after receiving a number of required documents, including a new constitution and canons.  The Canadian Church's Anglican Journal   reported on the reunification while measures were still in committee.  At that point it appeared a constitutional amendments bwas needed to admit a unit outside the Episcopal Church. 

General Convention Makes Social Justice Statements

Almost lost among the focus on revision of the Book of Common Prayer and policies on same sex marriage, were a number of resolutions in which progressives have an interest.  Episcopal News Service has articles on most of them including the environment (support for Paris Climate Accord, ocean health, clean water and more), racial reconciliation (a major effort backed by a budget allocation, and revamped requirements for anti-racism training), expressing concern about the humanitarian crisis in Palestinian territories, and policies countering sex discrimination and harassment in the church. 

Implementation of Compromise on Same Sex Marriage at Issue

Two of the hardest issues to sort out at General Convention were revision of the Book of Common Prayer and the response of the church to the dioceses where bishops had refused to allow clergy to preside at same sex marriages or use the trial liturgies for marriage that were gender neutral. Both ended in compromises.  The 1979 Prayer Book is to be kept as it is, but a modestly edited expanded language trial liturgy for Prayers A, B, and D of the Rite II Eucharist were approved for use as of January 1 2019.  The church is further encouraged to develop new liturgies and submit them to a task force for possible approval at the next General Convention as part of a fully authorized collection of supplementary texts. 

As for the same sex marriage issue, three bishops, including Bishop McConnell of Pittsburgh submitted a resolution B012 as a compromise way of moving forward. This resolution went through multiple revisions, first in committee and then on the floor of both houses before a version acceptable to all was reached.  The original version required bishops opposed to same sex marriage to offer Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) to those clergy and parishes wishing to offer same sex marriage. Under DEPO another bishop provides all visitation and episcopal services to the parish. The term DEPO did not appear in the final version, but bishops were required to offer pastoral services of another bishop to support the couple, priest and parish if requested, and to act in cases where one of the couple was divorced. 

How this is to be carried out by the bishops in the 8 U.S. dioceses is now at issue.  Two, Bishop Sumner of Dallas and Bishop Martin of Springfield have issued letters (here and here) that specify that parishes will be placed in DEPO if they with to offer same sex marriage.  (You need a Facebook account to see the Dallas Letter.)  Bishop Brewer of Central Florida seems to be suggesting in his statement that the parish would be assigned another bishop only for matters related to marriage. Episcopal News Service has been contacting the bishops to get their interpretation of what they can do in implementing the measure.  Several are still formulating their policies. 

Fun at General Convention

General Convention 2018 will be remembered as the "Pigeon Convention."  The House of Deputies was visited every legislative day by a pigeon who swooped over the deputies, strutted on the floor, perched on railings and the speaker stands, and was generally embraced by the whole house.  The bird had twitter accounts, and there was periodic merriment with bad bird puns, limericks, and more each day.  The pigeon ruffled enough feathers that  Religion News, the Episcopal News Service, and Episcopal Cafe all  covered it.