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, January 22, 2019

Week Ending 01/21/19

Pittsburgh Diocese Begins Self-Study

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued an invitation to all laity and clergy to be part of a January 29 conversation which will explore ways of "Re-imagining" the Diocese.  It is an extension of a mutual ministry review.  The efforts will be led by an outside consultant with wide experience working with different Episcopal dioceses. There will be discussions around 4 themes,  including governance, new ministries, outreach, and communications. The conversations will be held at St. Paul's Church in Mount Lebanon at 7 p.m. on the 29th.  For more information, including how to participate, go here.

Episcopal Churches Lead Efforts to Buy Ambulance for Church Hospital in GAZA 

St. John's Church, Norwood Parish in the Diocese of Washington has led efforts to replace the ambulance of St. Luke's Hospital on the West Bank.  The hospital's only ambulance died in 2018 and without an ambulance, the hospital risked losing its accreditation. St. Luke's is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.   St. John's led fundraising efforts that eventually involved other parishes and other denominations and successfully raised the money needed to replace the vehicle. The parish worked through the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in providing the vehicle.

South India Church Implements Green Rules for Weddings

 While the Update recently has been carrying reports of corruption in the Church of South India, not all the news coming from that Anglican province is negative.  The Church has created a set of guidelines designed to make wedding celebrations more environmentally friendly.  The "Green Wedding" guidelines are now beginning to take effect according to this story posted  by the Anglican Communion News Service.

Why Do Evangelical Youth Leave the Church?

A study based on a multi-year tracking of the religious beliefs of evangelical protestant young adults has found that the most telling reason that young people abandon churches is that the church seems to reflect social and  political beliefs that are at odds with those of the young person.  Another of the reasons often cited was the feeling that the church members were hypocritical.  Without actually saying so, it appears that the young people have become more liberal than there churches. Religion News summarizes the findings here.

Continuing Stories

Reaching Out During the Government Shutdown

As the partial U.S. government shutdown continues, Episcopalians  are finding  more ways to help those without paychecks.  Update noted some efforts last week.  The Bishops in the areas in and around Washington D.C. all signed an interfaith letter asking all involved  remember that "inventing a new crisis by closing the government and adversely affecting so many innocent people does not help to address border security."  The letter recast the border crisis as one of refugees needing humanitarian aid.  Signers included 5 Episcopal Bishops in Virginia (two retired and four assisting or active), Maryland, and Washington D.C.  Leaders of the area ELCA, Presbyterian, Methodist, AME, AME Zion, Community Churches, as well as Muslim and Jewish spokespersons were also signers.  Church of the Redeemer Parish in Mobile has opened a community dinner to Coast Guard families, and has also been collecting items like diapers, baby food and canned goods to help the families.  A local news station carried the story.  In South Carolina, Episcopalians are being urged to provide food and gift cards to local food shelves as food stamp money runs out.  They are also suggesting providing freezer and refrigerator space to small black churches that have no place to store food for community dinners.

Nevada Diocese Holds Rally to Support Immigrants 

In the latest demonstration of the church's support for immigrants, the Rev. Canon Catherine Gregg, Chief of Staff for the Diocese of Nevada, led interfaith vigils in Reno and Las Vegas on the theme of "Love Thy Neighbor."  Participants included a wide range of faiths, including Jewish, Muslim and Roman Catholic leaders, and speakers from the immigrant community including a well-known "Dreamer."  Update has posted many notices of Church support for immigrants, the most recent here

Scottish Episcopal Church Parish Withdraws

Westhill Community Church, an evangelical parish in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Okney has voted by a strong majority to withdraw from the Scottish Episcopal Church.  The parish was unhappy at the selection of Bishop Anne Dyer (the first woman to serve as bishop in the Scottish Church), but even more so at the 2017 decision of the Scottish Church to affirm and permit marriages of same sex couples. Bishop Dyer is not going to contest their leaving, and is allowing them to depart with their property.  The parish apparently will join the GAFCON sponsored organization in the British Isles. The departure of Westhill brings the total number of parishes that have left the Scottish Episcopal Church to three.

Diocese of Tennessee Implements B012

Last week proponents of marriage equality were protesting that Bishop Bauerschmidt of the Diocese of Tennessee had not yet issued implementation protocols for General Convention Resolution B012.  They have since been issued, and will allow parishes to celebrate marriages ofr all members if they inform him.  However, mission congregations and church institutions under the Bishop's direct care will not be able to extend marriage rites to same-sex couples. Bishop Cole of the Diocese of East Tennessee will provide any pastoral care associated with marriages in those parishes that go forward with B012.  Bauerschmidt made clear his own position, however, by urging members of his diocese to read again the pastoral teachings on marriage that he had issued earlier. The Episcopal News Service and the Tennessean both provided stories.  The cover letter to the protocols is found on the diocesan Facebook page, and the actual protocols are here

Latest Filings in South Carolina Federal Case

The break away group recently tried to drown the Federal Court Judge with 38 filings in the trademark lawsuit. The Episcopal Church and the loyal Episcopal diocese in South Carolina have responded with 11 filings, several of them done jointly to reduce the amount of paper.  Five of these are available on the web site.  They are direct answers to those filed by the break-away group.  Several defend the briefs filed by an expert in marketing surveys and the most respected historian of South Carolina.  The break-away group wants their briefs thrown out.  The new filings are linked to a announcement by the Episcopalians here.

ACNA Continues to Widen Split

Two announcements from ACNA may interest Update readers.  The ACNA House of Bishops has given its final approval to a new Book of Common Prayer to be available in print and as a link later this year.  Update has previously noted the announcement of trial versions.  Given that one of the claims put forward at the time of the Pittsburgh schism was that The Episcopal Church was going to revised the Book of Common Prayer into something unrecognizable, it is worth noting that the ACNA rewriting has now happened before The Episcopal Church has even approved a process for revision.  In a second announcement, the Archbishop of Nigeria has appointed 4 new bishops to serve the Nigerian congregations participating in ACNA.  He apparently made the appointments without consultation with ACNA's bishops.