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, January 20, 2020

Week Ending 1/20/20

Bishops Issue Plea for Prayers and Peace Concerning Richmond Gun-Rally

Concerned that several of the groups planning to attend the pro-gun rally at the Virginia State Capitol on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day were known to have provoked violence,  the Diocese of Virginia's bishops issued a request for prayer throughout the week-end and a plea that events would remain peaceful.  The bishops and state officials got their wish.  The large rally that drew gun advocates from all over the country met and dispersed without major incident.  It helped that counter protesters decided to not attend rather than swell crowds and risk incidents. 

Presiding Bishop Curry Continues to Make Headlines

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was the keynote speaker at the Boston area Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemoration.  This event,  which has been sponsored by a local Episcopal Church for 50 years, has attracted well-known national speakers. In the last several years, there were empty seats, but this year Bishop Curry spoke to a full house.  The Episcopal News Service Story has a good description of the talk which focused on social injustice.  If that weren't enough for a week in which the Presiding Bishop also was in Jordan for the meeting of Anglican Communion Primates, another news story highlighted his offer to provide pastoral care to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they tried to create a life in Canada apart from the British Royal Family.  

Catholics Withdraw as Hosts for Consecration of Southern Virginia Episcopal Bishop

The Diocese of Southern Virginia had hoped to hold the consecration of its new bishop at St. Bede's Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA.  However, conservative Roman Catholics raised a stink and organized a petition campaign to have the offer of space withdrawn.  What seems to have most offended them was that the bishop elect, the Rev. Susan Haynes is a woman.  However, some thought it inappropriate for a Roman Catholic Church to be used for any sacramental service by another denomination.  A third issue was conservatives unhappy with the affirming stance of the Episcopal Church for LGBTQ+ people. The Roman Catholic bishop defended the offer to host, but the Episcopal Diocese withdrew to avoid further controversy. The consecration will remain in Williamsburg, but at the Williamsburg Community Chapel.  The chapel is part of an evangelical consortium and has a main worship space that seats 1500, making it even larger than St. Bede's.

 Roman Catholic cathedrals and churches have been the site of other consecrations.  The first was in Pittsburgh in 1868 when Bishop Robert Appleyard was consecrated at the Roman Catholic St. Paul's Cathedral because the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral was being restored after a fire.  Two Bishops of Northern Indiana were consecrated at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame campus, Bishop Sheridan in 1972 and Bishop Little in 2000.  It is also not the first time that a Catholic Church has backed out.  In 2003 the Roman Catholic Diocese withdrew permission for Episcopalians to hold the consecration of Bishop Howard at St. Joseph's Church because of  comments Presiding Bishop Griswold had made about the place of LGBT people in the church. Griswold was scheduled to be the chief consecrator and refused to step aside.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Parish Gun Buy-Back a Bang-Up Success 

The gun buy-back event sponsored by Pittsburgh's Church of the Holy Cross and several community groups  had people standing in line waiting for the Church to open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  In 45 minutes they had paid out the $5000 raised for the buy back, but guns continued to be turned in all day, and a late donation added another $1500 for buying back guns.  All the guns turned in will be destroyed by the Pittsburgh police. The Post-Gazette has a more detailed article.  Update had carried a story last week on the announcement for the event.

South Carolina Schismatics Disappointed Again

On December 23, 1919, the South Carolina schismatics filed a petition in a second attempt to get a stay on the Federal trademark ruling order.  A week later, the Episcopalians filed their response, and in less than two weeks the Federal Appeals Court responded by denying the requests for a stay. The Appeals Court still has before it the actual appeal by the schismatics of trademark decision awarding the seal, name, and historical claims of diocesan continuity to those who remained in the Episcopal Church.  Blogger Steve Skardon notes in a January 14 posting that the refusal to stay enforcement of the original order is a strong indication, that the Appeals Court thinks the trial judge made the right decision. 

Primates Meeting Concludes Peacefully

With the three most LGBTQ+ hostile primates boycotting the 2020 Primates meeting, those in attendance continued to find common ground while admitting that tensions remain. The meeting went much as the Anglican Communion Office had hoped, with a lack of fireworks.  The final communique from the meeting, held in Jordan, is here.  The primates had a meeting with the Jordanian king during their gathering. 

Pittsburgh Bishop Search Timetable Revised

When in December 2019 Bishop Dorsey McConnell announced he was retiring, he announced a timetable that was very tight.  The Pittsburgh Standing Committee has now revised that timetable, delaying the vote for a new Bishop from November 2020 to January 2021. This also has moved the probable consecration date for a new bishop from April to June.  The standing committee is currently seeking nominations for both the nominating committee and the transition committee.