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, March 12, 2019

Week Ending 3/11/19

Presiding Bishop Branches Out

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry had a busy Ash Wednesday.  In the morning he attended services at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington D.C., and that evening he was the featured preacher at a large revival event sponsored by Harvest Assembly Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.  He used the occasion to elaborate on selflessness as a major component in love. Religion News made his talk a featured item. 

Sexual Harassment Victim Sues New Zealand Anglicans

A woman who sought counseling from an Anglican priest after the loss of her baby was instead faced with sexual harassment.  She has sued under a human rights law in New Zealand.  It would be the first time that the law was applied against a member of the clergy. The Church has argued it is exempt because clergy are providing a religious service rather than acting as secular counselors.  If the woman is successful in her suit, the Anglican Province will need to consider major changes in the way they hire and train clergy. 

House of Lords Debates (Again) Clergy Exemption

Current English law grants an exemption to clergy that means they are not required to preside at same sex couple blessings or marriages.  Removing the exemption was discussed about a month ago in the House of Lords and came up again.  The Bishop of Oxford shut down the discussion by requesting that the House drop the matter since it would set a very bad precedent if Parliament started interfering in theological differences.  Thinking Anglicans has all the details.

Updates on Ongoing Stories

Nashotah House Hires Ethics Professor

Nashotah House, which has been rebuilding its ties to the Episcopal Church after nearly being taken over by ACNA, has hired Elisabeth Rain Kincaid as ethics professor. Kincaid will only be on campus part of the year since her husband is a priest in Dallas. Nashotah has needed to fill several faculty spots due to deaths, new roles and a member leaving for another appointment. She will be the only woman on the faculty.  The seminary is definitely taken on a new image with a lay person as its dean and the hiring of a noted Dutch Reformed Church theologian recently.  Kincaid was granted the Ph.D. by Notre Dame University in 1918.

Schismatic Parish Bills Church Insurance 

St. Philips in Charleston was one of the parishes most actively involved in the property suit brought against Episcopalians. It is also one of the parishes included in the list of properties the state supreme court said actually belonged to the Episcopal Church. St. Philips' 2018 annual report had a curious line in its financial statements.  The parish has billed the Church Insurance Company of Vermont for $111,749 in legal expenses.  Those would be expenses incurred as it tried to leave the Episcopal Church and take its historic property with it.  The Episcopal Church in South Carolina won a lawsuit against the Church Insurance Company for partial reimbursement of its legal expenses.  The difference is that the diocese incurred its expenses while defending itself and the Church's Property from those trying to take it away.  The vestry that did the billing is, since the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court, not even the legal vestry of the parish of St. Phillips.

California Parish Helps Congolese Refugees

St. Luke's Parish in the North Park area of San Diego has adopted the cause of a Congolese refugee who is fighting deportation after his request for asylum was denied.  The church mobilized the community and has been able to help Constantin get a stay of deportation.  They have also adopted the wife and children of the refugee.  They came to the U.S. to apply for asylum and were separated at the border.  His wife was allowed to enter wearing an ankle monitor in order to care for the children.  The congregation, which has a number of members from the Sudan and Congo has welcomed the family.  Two of the children are now singing in the children's choir and have become acolytes. The Church has a web page devoted to Constantine.  The Episcopal News Service picked up the story. St. Lukes joins several other Episcopal parishes that have sheltered or adopted immigrants.  The Update has carried stories on parishes providing shelter or support for immigrants facing deportation in North Carolina, New York, and Ohio.