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, April 16, 2019

Week Ending 4/15/19

Cathedral Fires in the News 

On Palm Sunday, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York filled with smoke from a small fire.  The morning services were quickly moved outside while the fire department extinguished the blaze in a crypt under the main sanctuary.  The fire was a close call.  How much damage could result was illustrated the day after Palm Sunday when the medieval treasure of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris  suffered a fire in the part of the building being renovated.  In this case there was major damage to the building.  The roof and central steeple are gone and damage is still being assessed.

Presiding Bishop Issues Easter Message

The presiding bishop has a message of  hope for us at Easter, and an invitation to live-streamed Holy Week services for those who cannot get to a church.  

Pope Updates Anglican Ordinate Rules

The Anglican Ordinate, the special track that allows Anglicans converting to Roman Catholicism to continue to use Anglican liturgy and have married priests, has been revised to allow greater flexibility in who may serve those parishes and to allow some flexibility for former Anglican clergy to use their liturgies in churches outside the ordinate.  Most interestingly it provides a way for these churches to receive new members.

Bishop McConnell Reorganizes Central Office Staff

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of Pittsburgh has announced a reorganization of staff assignments to take effect at Judi Roger's retirement at the end of May.  Andy Muhl will combine his former duties as Webmaster with those of Executive Assistant to the Bishop.  The Rev. Kimberly Karashin, currently a part-time Canon Missioner will move to full time and work with Kathy Workman for seven months.  Then Workman will become part-time Diocesan Treasurer and Karashin will assume duties as Director of Administration.  Bishop McConnell also announced that he will be on a 3 month sabbatical from August through October and Bishop Kenneth Price will fill in for him during that time.  Price served as Bishop Provisional from 2009 to 2012 and is well acquainted with the diocese.

Ongoing Stories

Documents Filed in the South Carolina and Fort Worth Legal Battles

Two dioceses are still trying to wrap up legal issues arising out of schism in those dioceses. In both cases the schismatic group still claims to be the Episcopal Diocese.  In Fort Worth, property have gone through multiple stages leading eventually to the Texas State Supreme Court remanding the case to the district level for retrial.  The retrial at the district level resulted in an appeal by Episcopalians and an award of property to those in the Episcopal Church at the appeals level.  Now the schismatic group is trying to get the Texas Supreme Court to hear their appeal.  On the 10th of April both sides filed their briefs as to why or why not an appeal should be heard.  The schismatic group's brief is here, and the brief filed by the Episcopal church is here. 

In South Carolina, the State Supreme Court ruled that most property belonged to those who stayed in the Episcopal Church.  The court majority, however, did not sign a single opinion, but rather each judge issued an opinion.  The court agreed, however, that the case should be sent to the circuit court for implementation. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of this decision.  The schismatics in South Carolina thus have been trying to convince the Judge in the lower court to reopen and retry the case.  The judge has done little for more than a year.  Recently he cancelled a scheduled hearing on a related suit filed by the schismatics which requests compensation for all improvements made on every property to be returned to the Episcopal Church. South Carolina Episcopalians got tired of waiting for the judge to act and filed for a writ of mandamus to require the turn-over of property.  The schismatics have now answered with their brief supporting a reopening of the case supposedly because the state supreme court decision decision is too confusing to implement. the April 12 posting by blogger Steve Skardon has more commentary on these developments.

Same-Sex Marriage Continues to Surface as Issue in Anglican Communion

Both those opposed to and those in favor of same-sex marriage have been busy this week around the Anglican Communion.  The latest move by the opponents was in the Province of Southeast Asia where the Standing Committee and bishops declared that they were in a state of impaired communion with the Episcopal Church in Brazil.  The country of Brazil has recognized same-sex unions since 2011 and the church in Brazil removed canonical barriers to same sex-marriage.  In 2018 the church announced it would begin presiding at same-sex marriages.  Meanwhile those in Australia who would like to preside at same-sex marriages have been blocked by the large voting block of the diocese of Sydney. The Bishop of the Diocese of Newcastle has issued a very long pastoral letter  outlining the divisions in his diocese, in the Australian Church and in the Anglican Communion.  He is clearly looking for a way that will honor all positions.  It appears he is leading his diocese towards a local option position.  In England there is a press release announcing a campaign by a new group dedicated to opening the Church of England to same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile the Lambeth Conference grows ever closer. Archbishop Welby, under fire for un-inviting the same-sex spouses of three bishops, defended his position as necessary in order to get a number of bishops to come.  He argues that he pushed as far as he could by inviting all the LGBTQ bishops themselves. The Anglican Communion Office has announced that over 500 bishops from 39 provinces have already sent in registrations.  Given the position of GAFCON urging a boycott, the release made sure to include quotes from bishops in African countries about why they were attending.

Latest on Church Response to Refugees on Southern Border

The Episcopal News Service has issued a good comprehensive article on actions by Episcopalians in all the border dioceses to respond to the needs of the refugees entering the U.S. along the southern border.   The article also carries a good summary of the positions taken by the Episcopal Church in recent years. Update has been following the Episcopal response to the border issue for some time.  The latest post is here.