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         

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Week Ending 09/24/18

Women Clergy Sign Letter Protesting John Danforth Statements

The New York Times carried a story on the recent sexual accusations made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his hearings for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. That story quoted former Republican senator, the Rev. John Danforth as saying that he sympathized with Judge Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford's accusation was a "tragic repeat" of the kind of damage done to Clarence Thomas's reputation by Anita Hill. At least 328 women clergy then signed a letter to the editor protesting Danforth's statement, pointing out that a priest of the church should not be publicly blaming or trying to shame a woman who had stepped forward with accusations. They pointed out that Danforth's comments were contrary to the Baptismal covenant among other things.

Methodist Laywoman to Chair England's Independent Safeguarding Panel

The ongoing revelations of the Church of England's mishandling of sex abuse cases, has led the church to create an independent National Panel on Safeguarding which will provide close scrutiny of the Church's handling of reports of abuse and office policy recommendations.  This week they announced the appointment of its chair, Meg Munn.  Munn is a Methodist and former Labour Party member of Parliament.  She was a social worker for 20 years before entering parliament and has taken the lead on abuse issues while in Parliament.

Retired Episcopal Priest Being Deported from Illinois

The Rev. David Boase came to the U.S. 14 years ago from England to serve small Episcopal parishes.  He has made the U.S. his home and retired here, serving as supply in several small parishes.  When he applied for citizenship had answered honestly that he had been registered to vote when he got his Illinois driver's license, and that he had voted once.  When he learned that he should not have voted, he has complied with the law.  That admission was enough, however, for an immigration judge to rule that he should be departed to England.  The priest is trying to get a rehearing or exemption.  The Telegraph and Microsoft News (which posted the Washington Post story) both have accounts.  So does the Episcopal News Service.

Anglican Laity Tipped Balance Towards Brexit

A recent research study has shown that voters who identified with the Church of England supported Brexit much more strongly than the rest of the population.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, who opposed leaving the European Union is thus at odds with his own lay members. The British newspaper The Telegraph made the gulf between the archbishop and church members the focal point of their story on the report.   The research shows that the support for Brexit among Church of England members was higher across all age, gender and economic categories than for non-Anglicans.  Church of England members apparently have a much higher sense of nationalism, and have more attachment to English customs and culture.  The authors of the report.have provided a summary of their research here

Presiding Bishop "Saddened" by Reduction of Refugees Admitted to U.S.

Presiding Bishop Currey has issued a formal statement saying he was "saddened" that the Trump Administration announcement that the U.S. would cut the number of refugees admitted.  His statement also committed The Episcopal Church to be welcoming to refugees and would continue its work with those admitted.  The full statement is here

Updates on Ongoing Stories

Implementation of the South Carolina Property Decision

The state district court judge responsible for implementation of the South Carolina State Supreme Court decision awarding diocesan property and recognizing the trust rights of The Episcopal Church and its affiliated diocese in the property of 29, parishes has now received the final filings before oral arguments in October.  As blogger Steve Skaradon notes, both sides reiterated their positions in three filings each.  The Episcopal Church in South Carolina requested that their trustees be recognized and property be returned to them so they can reorganize the local parishes, that there be a full audit of existing real and personal property, and dismissal of the betterments suit the Lawrence faction filed after the Supreme Court decision.  Lawrence's group continued to try to get the judge to retry the case under the guise of clarifying ambiguities.  Their filed a supplement suggesting that the denial of their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court created new information warranting a further investigation, and two memos, one claiming that asked the court to investigate under the guise of clarifying, and another requesting they declare the case "complex" so it could be revisited.  The Episcopal Church in South Carolina went ahead with its outreach to members of the 29 parishes, inviting each of them to send 2 visitors to their upcoming diocesan convention.  The invitation is in one of the first stories in the current newsletter.   

Church Rebuilding Puerto Rico

The Episcopal News Service has a story on the ways the Episcopal Church is helping to rebuild Puerto Rico after the hurricane.  They are providing housing, health care and more to those still struggling to rebuild.  The church has a special fund to help rural people who were denied FEMA funds because they could not show deeds to property their families have occupied for generations. Update has covered the Church's work before. The current ENS article is the most thorough coverage yet.

Three Dioceses Now Choosing Bishops from All-Female Slates

The Diocese of West Tennessee has announced its slate of three finalists for diocesan bishop.  All three are women.  This is the third diocese this year to end up with final slates that are comprised solely of women.  Kansas was first.  Then the Diocese of Colorado announced that the one male on their slate had been removed because of an ongoing investigation of him.  All of this comes on the heels of the consecration of Carlye Hughes as Bishop of Newark. Hughes has been serving a parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth, and the Fort Worth diocese has a more complete story on her consecration than does the Episcopal News Service.

Haiti Standing Committee Letter Criticizes Conduct of Review Committee

The Diocese of Haiti has issued a letter to all those who will be voting on whether or not to ratify their choice for bishop.  The election was contested and a Province Review Committee was appointed to look into the charges and prepare a report.  That report has been the subject of controversy which the Update has been covering.  The  letter from Haiti makes several very telling points about the report.  Frist the committee did not go to Haiti, nor did they interview those who planned and conducted the election.  They only spoke to those challenging the election.  The letter also notes that the interpreter the committee used was a long-standing critic of the Church in Haiti.  The full letter is here

GAFCON and ACNA Continue Building Alternative Communion

 ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach and Andrew Lines, the missionary bishop consecrated ACNA at the request of GAFCON to serve in Europe (especially Britain),  are headed to Scotland to in October to speak at a convention of evangelism.  It marks a shift to aggressively trying to build new GAFCON oriented congregations in the Europe.   Anglican.ink reported the news.

Carolinas Continue Dealing with Aftermath of Florence

Flood waters are still rising in some parts of North and South Carolina, while they have begun to recede in other locations.  ERD and the 2 dioceses of South Carolina and 3 in North Carolina have been busy providing relief. The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has posted a status update on their parishes and their relief work here, and has more information in their latest newsletter. One parish, for example, is storing the furniture of members whose homes are now at risk of flooding.  Update has been covering these efforts.  As the Episcopal Church responds to this crisis, it is also coordinating with other denominational and non-denominational relief organizations. Christianity Today posted a story on the way 65 non-profit relief agencies coordinate efforts.  Although Episcopal Relief and Development is not mentioned in the article, it is among the 65 agencies working together.  

Communion Partner Bishops Issue Their Understanding of Resolution B012

The Communion Partner bishops have posted a FAQ explaining their understanding of Resolution B012 from the 2018 General Convention.  The resolution requires bishops to make the liturgies approved by General Convention for same sex marriage available to couple within their diocese.  The Communion Partners included 7 active Episcopal Church  bishops from the United States, three TEC bishops serving countries in South America and the Caribbean, and 7 active bishops from the Anglican Church of Canada.  Since these are the bishops who have not allowed their parishes to use the liturgies or participate in ceremonies blessing same-sex marriages, they are the ones who will be implementing B012. Bishop Love of Albany is a Communion Partner bishop.  Despite meeting with diocesan clergy, he has not made any statement on how the resolution will be handles in his diocese and vehemently opposed its passage at convention.