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         

Monday, March 18, 2019

Week Ending 03/18/19

Churches Respond to Mosque Shooting

The vicious murder of 50 worshipers at two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques, has elicited quick responses from a variety of places in the Anglican Communion. Interdenominational groups in the U.S. have offered their support for New Zealanders.  The Episcopal rector of Trinity Parish in the Lehigh Valley area of PA was one of the speakers at that area's interdenominational service. The House of Bishops was meeting at the time, and Bishop David Rice of San Joaquin had much to say since he spent much of his ministry before coming to San Joaquin in Christchurch.  The Episcopal News Service coverage of the House of Bishops meeting documented their responses. (See link below on Lambeth spouses.)  Bishop Rickell of the Diocese of Olympia issued a statement to his diocese in addition to what the House of Bishops did. 

Justice Ginsburg and Episcopal Church Women

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is known for the elaborate collars she wears with her judicial robes.  The women who run the thrift shop for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Dunedin, FL (near Tampa) received a donation in November of a necklace that looked like the collars/necklaces that Justice Ginsburg wears.  So they sent it to her with a short note.  Ginsburg, recovering from cancer surgery, showed that she was a class act with a gracious response.  The Living Church has the details here

Wales Finds Use for Closed Chapels 

The Anglican Province of Wales has more than 800 small chapels that are closed or under-used. Many are centuries old.  They have now found a use for these buildings that will help preserve their appearance and raise funds to cover maintenance costs.  The Anglican Church has contracted with a tour provided to use a number of the buildings as overnight stops for touring bicyclists.  The agreement has also made the Welsh tourist board very happy. Bookings should start this fall. You can read more here.

Pittsburgh's Trinity Cathedral Has a New Provost

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh announced that the Rev. Aidan Smith, the Dean of Advancement and Church Relations at Trinity School for Ministry (TSM) in Ambridge, PA has been named the new Provost of Trinity Cathedral.  He will start May 1 for an initial term of two years. TSM issued its own press release with more personal details. He graduated from TSM in 2014 and was ordained deacon and priest in 2015 by Bishop Love of Albany, and where he has maintained clerical residency while working at TSM.  He came to Trinity from Alaska.  It is not clear what will happen at All Saints, Brighton Heights where Smith has been priest in charge for the last several months.

Ongoing Stories

Lawsuit by Sauls Dismissed

Bishop Stacy Sauls who was dismissed from his role as a senior administrator at the Church Center in 2016, and who filed a defamation lawsuit against the Presiding Bishop and other church officials, has come to the end of his legal challenges.  He originally filed suit in Alabama, but that case was dismissed as the wrong venue.  He then filed in New York where the church center is located.  Now the New York State Supreme Court judge assigned to the case has dismissed the suit for lack of evidence.  Pittsburgh Update has followed each step in this legal challenge.  The most recent previous coverage is here

House of Bishops Responds to Lambeth Exclusion of Same Sex Spouses

Meeting at Kanuga Retreat Center, the House of Bishops expressed its concern and disappointment that the Archbishop of Canterbury was excluding same sex spouses from the invitation list to Lambeth 2020.  The bishops are urged to go to Lambeth, however, and engage others while there explaining the Episcopal Church's position of same sex marriages.  Bishop Mary Glasspool, whose spouse of over 3 decades is one of those not invited, made a formal statement at the meeting. Update has been covering the responses to the Archbishop's decision.  In a close vote, the House of Bishops did not pass a related resolution asking Presiding Bishop Curry to make another appeal to Canterbury to change the Archbishop's mind.

Episcopalians Ponder Impact of Methodist Vote on Proposed Full Communion

The vote at the recent United Methodist conference to put stricter penalties and rules in place excluding LGTBQ clergy and making a statement against homosexuality is still being reviewed by the group within that church that rules on constitutionality of resolutions.   However, given that the Episcopal Church has affirmed the ministries of LGTBQ individuals and now requires every diocese to accomodate same sex couples wishing to marry in the church, people are wondering about the churches can move forward with a proposal for full communion that would allow clergy of either denomination to be recognized by the other group. Update noted this as a concern in its coverage of the Methodist meeting.  The latest speculation is here.

Appeals Court Upholds Clergy Housing Tax Exemption

Over a year ago, an atheist group scored a victory in with a Federal Court decision that granting clergy a tax exemption for their housing allowance violated the constitution by establishing a religion and not providing  equal protection of the laws to atheists.  However, the federal appeals court has overturned the decision, ruling that such an exemption is constitutional.  It is possible that the matter will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will even choose to hear it.  Both Anglican.ink and Christianity Today carried stories of the appeals court decision.