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, December 23, 2019

Week Ending 12/23/19

New Archbishop of York Named

The announcement of Bishop Stephen Cottrell as the next Archbishop of York, brought protests from conservatives who consider him too liberal on LGBTQ issues.  One accusation was that he had told  a priest in his current diocese of Chelmsford  that the priest was welcome to leave the Church of England if he didn't like the way the bishop handled transgender issues.  Cottrell has denied making the statements.  The BBC has a profile on Cottrell.  Christian Today carried a story typical of those from conservative sources.  The Church Times focused on his vision for the church.

Sermon Length Article Quotes Presiding Bishop Curry

the Pew Research Center, one of the most respected groups regularly researching American religion, has published findings on both the content and length of sermons among various Christian traditions. It was based on 50,000 published or posted sermons from 6431 churches over the last year.  Roman Catholic priests had the shortest sermons; black preachers in traditionally black denominations went the longest, 40 minutes longer on average than Roman Catholics. In between were mainline Protestants (including Episcopalians) at 25 minutes and evangelical denominations at 39 minutes. The Washington Post picked up the story.   One of the clergy the Post interviewed was Presiding Bishop Curry whose 13 minute sermon at the royal wedding went viral.  Clergy in all denominations are adjusting the length of sermons to account for the shorter attention spans of younger listeners.  The survey also noted that the content of the sermons differed with the specific language differences.  

Apology Sets Stage for Long-Delayed Ordination

Gayle Pershouse Vaughan was ordained a transitional deacon by the Bishop of Massachusetts after he began the ceremony with an official policy for the action of  the Massachusetts bishop who blocked her ordination in 1988 because she had refused the bishop's sexual advances.  The current action of the Episcopal Church in response to the Church's "MeToo" movement cleared the air for the long-delayed ordination.  A longer profile of Vaughan is found in the story posted by the Episcopal News Service.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Jewish-Episcopal Cooperation in Boston and Pittsburgh

Last week Update noted that Calvary Episcopal in Pittsburgh and Tree of Life Congregation  were expanding their earlier cooperation to include joint celebrations of the Calvary Christmas Pageant and the start of Hanukka.  The Post Gazette published a feature on the two events in the December 23 paper.  The Episcopal News Service chose this last week to highlight an even deeper and longer partnership between a Reformed Jewish Congregation and a Boston Church.  Both stories are worth a read. 

Federal Judge Adds to Christmas Joy for SC Episcopalians 

A month ago the South Carolina Episcopal Diocese filed a request with  Federal Judge, Richard Gergel, to enforce the decision and order in the trademarks suit against the schismatic diocese.  His answer gave the Episcopal Church a nice boost, by granting most of the requests the Episcopal lawyers asked for.  The group now affiliated with ACNA was ordered by the judge to remove any documents from their web site that used the diocesan seal, referred to themselves as The Episcopal Diocese, or claimed their bishop continued as the 14th bishop of the diocese, or in any way suggested that the ACNA group was the continuation of the historic Episcopal diocese.  This includes numbering their diocesan conventions in a way that claims a founding before 2012.  The ACNA group has complied by removing all those documents from their web site.  The judge also rejected a motion submitted by the ACNA diocese that would have put a stay on enforcement of his decision.  The judge did not grant requests from the Episcopalians that would have forbidden the ACNA diocese from using "Anglican" in its name, and said that the matter of ownership of St. Christopher Church Camp was a property matter in the hands of the state courts.  You can read the South Carolina press release here; the complete order by Judge Gergel here; and blogger Steve Skardon's take on the ruling in his December 18 post here.

Number of LGBTQ Bishops at Invited to Lambeth Is Growing

As the meeting of Anglican Communion bishops from around the world at Lambeth 2020 grows closer, it is clear that the number of LGBTQ bishops in attendance will be such that it will be hard for it not to have an effect on the conversation.  Most of the attention was initially on North American bishops (one in Canada and two others in the U.S.), but the episcopal elections this last year have added to that number including those choosing bishops for New Hampshire, Michigan, and Missouri.  All have spouses affected by the decision of the Archbishop of Canterbury to invite only the spouses of heterosexual unions.  The discussion, however, has overlooked the out, partnered, Bishop of Grantham in England.  He recently allowed two people to review and write an article on the more than 400 letters he got in response to his 2016 public coming out.  the letters were overwhelmingly supportive of him.  That story is here.