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, August 6, 2019

Week Ending 8/5/19

Episcopal Leaders Speak Out on National Issues

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry joined with a leaders from a number of other Churches to condemn so-called "Christian Nationalism" arguing that it is a "threat to our religious communities and our democracy."  Christian nationalism insists that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that Christians should be privileged within the country.  Religion News provides background to the letter.  You can read the whole statement here and add your name to the list of signers. Meanwhile the Bishop of Washington and the Dean of  Washington National Cathedral issued a statement in response to the verbal attacks on five members of Congress and the City of Baltimore by President Trump.  In short, it said "Enough is enough" and the "Words matter,"  picking up on the famous rejoinder to Senator Joseph McCarthy during televised "Red Scare" hearings of the 1950s: "Have you no decency, Sir?"

Episcopalians Respond to Mass Shootings

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton this last weekend, came only one week after a shooter opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in CA.  Episcopalians have been quick to respond.  The Dean of the Washington National Cathedral issued a statement that was picked up by local media. The Bishops United Against Gun Violence provided an updated version of their gun violence litany and made a formal statement.  Individual bishops also made statements, including the Bishop Hunn of the Rio Grande (which includes El Paso), Bishop Rice of  San Joaquin (which includes Gilroy) and the Bishop of Southern Ohio (including Dayton), the Bishop of Long Island, Bishop Steve Charleston of the Native American/Indigenous Ministries of the Episcopal Church, and others.  The Episcopal News Service has an article with several of the bishops' reactions. The Episcopal Church office of Government Relations reposted a link to all the resolutions calling for gun reform and safety that have been passed by General Convention. The Episcopal Church is not alone in calling for such actions.  Religion News has an opinion piece listing the actions called for the Council of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Welby Visits Troubled Churches of India

Archbishop Welby is walking a political tightrope on his upcoming visit to the congregations that are part of the United Church in India.  He will be listening to the experience of Christians in India, which has been under extreme pressure from Hindu nationalists and Muslims.  He has no formal meeting scheduled with Prime Minister Modi and advance press releases of the 10 visit beginning  August 31 are stressing that he is coming as a religious leader, not a political one.  However, his report at the conclusion of the trip may document persecution of Christians in India. During the visit he will also take part in 100th year anniversary commemoration of a massacre of civilians by British troops at Jallianwala Bagh and adress groups on interfaith study and cooperation. Complicating the visit are arrests of  bishops of both North and South India for corruption in the sale of church lands. . 

Southern California Dioceses Deal with Sex Assault Charges

The Dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego were both organizing quick responses to the law suit filed against the Diocese of Los Angeles for knowingly admitting a priest accused of sexual misconduct to the diocese.  The charges against the Rev. Paul Kowalewski stem from events nearly 40 years ago when he was a Roman Catholic seminarian. Kowalewski is canonically resident in Los Angeles but has been serving as a supply priest in the San Diego diocese. Bishop Susan Snook, whose seals on her certificate of ordination as Bishop of San Diego have hardly had time to set, immediately notified parishes not to use the priest for supply or other services.  Bishop Taylor of Los Angeles has set Title IV procedures in motion  and immediate put the priest under restrictions forbidding him to act as a minister.  Both dioceses expressed surprise and claimed no knowledge of the accusations.  They noted  Kowalewski had  passed multiple background checks done at various stages of his career in the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church has removed the statute of limiations on sexual misconduct cases for a period of three years to encourage people who have been injured and did not get proper redress to come forward.  The processes in the Episcopal Church have not come under the kind of legal scrutiny that the Church of England is currently undergoing after spending years trying to bury accusations and then mishandling cases that did come forward.

Building Bridges Across the International Church

A two year moving seminar that brought together teams from Liberia Jerusalem, Tanzania and the U.S. to learn about each other, study together and break down walls of suspicion and misinformation. The seminar was conducted by the Virginia Theological Seminary and funded by Trinity Wall Street. One of the seminar participants has written a personal reflection published by The Living Church.  The model seems to have much to commend it.  

Episcopalian Buttigieg Cites Bible During Debate

The general public is often surprised to find out that Episcopalians actually may know the Bible.  An illustration of this occurred when presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, cited a biblical passage during his comments in the presidential debate.  There was a sudden surge on the internet of people looking up the passage and finding to their surprise that Buttigieg got it right. Even some conservative religious commentators admitted he was right.  Buttigieg has been the most open about his religious faith of all the Democratic candidates. 

Continuing Stories

Latest in Fort Worth and South Carolina Property Cases

The church property law suit in Fort Worth is under appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.  Both sides filed briefs in early June before the court, but last week the schismatics filed two more documents, "answers" to the arguments put forth by the Episcopal Church and its diocese in Fort Worth. The documents are here and here.  The schismatic response boils down to claims they are the real diocese and a denial of the right of the Episcopal Church to determine the identify of an Episcopal Diocese. The Texas Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will take the case for a second time.  In South Carolina the property issues have been sent to a mediator for the second time.  Steve Skardon has offered  a quick short course in the history of these legal issues and background on the state judge tasked with implementing the state supreme court decision in favor of the Episcopal Church. The post is dated July 29

Bishop Price Begins Stint as Assistant Bishop 

In April Bishop Dorsey McConnell made public his intent to be on leave from August 1 to the end of October.  His choice to cover his leave was Bishop Kenneth Price who had been the provisional bishop of the diocese before McConnell was elected. Bishop Price has now started his three month stint as Assisting Bishop and has already a full schedule of visitations.