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, July 16, 2019

Week Ending 07/15/19

Liberal Christians Finding Their Voices

Religion Today News Service had two articles featuring the resurgence of liberal Christianity.  Over the last several years the Wild Goose conference for liberal Christians has grown.  The conference combines prayer and workshops on liberal causes.  The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America are among its many sponsors. You can find the full article here.  Religion News also covered the heckling and protesting done by liberal Christians at a talk by Vice President Pence at the CUFI (Christians United for Israel) summit. The protesters opposed Israeli government actions against Palestinians.  

Diocese of Olympia Fights Eviction of Homeless from Camp

Aberdeen the largest city in Gray's Harbor County, Washington, is about 100 miles south of Seattle.  The city of about 70,000 has between 500-700 homeless and another 2500 whose housing options are insecure.  For the last several years a group of Episcopal chaplains have been ministering to these homeless in a ministry that has had visits and support from the Episcopal bishop of Olympia and the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.  The chaplains filed legal actions to prevent Aberdeen officials from cleaning out a major homeless camp on the banks of the Chehalis River without providing a place for those displaced to camp.  The city has responded to the suits by offering temporary camping in the parking lot of city hall.  The chaplains, are working to provide better long-term options.  The Episcopal News Service has all the details here.

Order of the Holy Cross Closes Santa Barbara Retreat Center

With only 3 aging monks left to run a retreat center in Santa Barbara that has been in operation since 1947, the Episcopal Benedictine order decided to close the house.  Its monks will join others in the central House in New York.  For the Diocese of Los Angeles, however, the lost of the retreat house is a major disappointment.  It was the site of frequent meetings and retreats for groups associated with the diocese.  The disposition of the property has not yet been decided.  

Canadian Synod Votes of Interest

Same-Sex Marriage Canon Narrowly Defeated

The National Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is in session.  Its first week included several votes of major interest, with the promise of more to come.  The synod came up short of 3 votes by bishops in securing the two-thirds majority required to change the marriage canon to explicitly support same sex- marriage.  Several bishops known to support the canon change were absent for medical reasons, and three recently appointed suffragan bishops, all conservative voted no.  The measures passed by comfortable margins among the clergy and lay orders.  This was the second, and final vote needed to change the canon, the first having been taken at the synod in 2016 where it passed the house of bishops by the slimmest of margins.  A number of bishops have announced that they will continue to allow marriages of same sex couples in their dioceses under resolutions passed earleir and through an interpretation of the existing canon.

First Woman to Serve as Canadian Primate

A second vote of interest was the election of a new primate for the Church as Archbishop Fred Hilz is retiring.  On the fourth ballot, the Bishop of Huron, Linda Nicholls was elected.  She will be the first woman to serve as primate in the Canadian Church.  Nicholls is one of the bishops who has authorized same sex marriages in her diocese.

Indigenous Self-Determination and new Archbishop

The synod also took major steps at reconciliation with indigenous peoples in the church including approving an independent unit within the church for indigenous peoples, and confirming Bishop Mark McDonald as the archbishop of that new unit.  McDonald is of native background, and was ordained in Minnesota, and served as Bishop of Alaska and Assistant Bishop of  the Navajoland Area Mission.  For the last ten years he has been the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop in Canada. 

Continuing Stories

Church Continues Witness for Immigrants

This week immigration was again in the news with continuing coverage of conditions in detention centers and the announcement that ICE would be conducting raids to round up people for quick deportation. Update has followed the Episcopal response regularly.   The Episcopal Church continued its responses that Christians were called to show hospitality to the stranger.  Presiding Bishop Curry issued a video statement urging hospitality to the stranger.  He built his talk around the lectionary reading for Sunday (the Good Samaritan).  Churches that had previously declared themselves sanctuary churches sent out word that they were willing to shelter immigrants fearing deportation.  The Los Angeles ABC television studio focused their sanctuary story on All Saints Church in Pasadena.

Updates from South Carolina

The newsletter just issued by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina notes that the scheduled hearing on the "Betterments" lawsuit filed by the schismatic parishes has been moved up from July 25 to July 23.  The diocese's comments on this change are here.   Also about 50 people attended the most recent "Open Conversation" designed to answer questions about the diocese, its plans and the continuing legal issues.  This is the first of several such conversations to be held around the diocese.  The diocesan comments on the one held July 11 are here.