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         

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Week Ending 11/30/20

Canadian Primate Supports Bill Criminalizing Conversion Therapy

 The Canadian Parliament's attempt to criminalize "conversions therapy," a process that claims to the orientation of people from same sex to heterosexuality failed when covid-19 forced the closing of Parliament mid-session.  Conversion Therapy can use brutal physical treatments. The bill has now been reintroduced and the Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada, Linda Nicholls has written a letter to legislators supporting the bill, and pointing to the Church's position  urging an end to all abuse and harassment of LGBTQA people.

Hurricane Help for Central America

 Honduras was among the hardest hit when hurricanes hit the same areas less than 2 weeks apart. Wind damage, extensive flooding caused by rains that delivered a full year's precipitation in less than 2 weeks, and mudslides have left Central Americans struggling.  The Church in Honduras is organizing disaster relief and offering shelter to those left homeless by the storms.  Episcopal Relief and Development is also on the scene providing both short-term relief and long term recovery work.  Update has regularly covered the work of Episcopal organizations to offer relief following hurricanes.  the most recent previous story is here

Updates of Continuing Stories

Impatient Progressives Form New Methodist Organization

The United Methodist Church has been disunited for several years as progressives pushed for full inclusion of LGBTQA people in ministry and sacraments.   The Church was supposed to vote on a proposal which would have created an amicable division into two groups with congregations allowed to choose which group to join, and the assets of the denomination shared equitably.  The pandemic forced cancellation of the March meeting. Update has been following the developments in the Methodist Church because the Episcopal Church and Methodists are in the process of recognizing each other in an arrangement similar to that TEC has with the Evangelical Lutheran Church.   Now a group of progressive leader have gone ahead and formed a new body, but are not asking members or congregations to choose at this time.  The new group calls itself the Liberation Methodist Connexion. Religion News has more on this development here. 

New Church of England Study Materials on LBTQA Sparks Controversy

Update has carried notice that the Church of England  was about to issue a major study guide for congregations to use in discussing human sexuality and the issues around full inclusion of LGBTQA people in the church.  The materials were released November 9.  Conservatives released their own take on the materials in a video that same day.  The result has been a major stir with the study guide undermined before it could be used, threats of schism by the conservatives, name calling, the filing of hate speech charges and more.  ThinkingAnglicans.org has a good sampling of statements, opinion pieces and  the controversy in general here, here, and here

More on Feeding the Poor

Update continues to point out Episcopal organizations who are reaching out to fill community needs during the pandemic. This week local and church news included stories on support of food shelves and feeding programs in three parts of the country.  Several Thanksgiving food distributions are highlighted in an article by the Episcopal News Service.  The Diocese of Oklahoma is providing a $50,000 matching grant for contributions by Episcopal organizations and members to the feeding ministry  of Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa.   The local newspaper carried a story on the extensive efforts of St. Isidore Episcopal Church in Texas to expand and fund its food ministry to those in need, including homeless families.

Two Bishops Point To Mistakes in Albany Panel Findings

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of Pittsburgh joined with the bishop of Long Island to write a letter correcting "mistakes" in the findings of the Title IV panel that dealt with the case of Bishop William Love in Albany.  The letter notes that they agreed with the outcome of the case, but wanted to correct what they consider an error in the findings.  They pointed out that resolutions B012 provided instructions on how trial liturgies  providing for blessing the marriage of same sex couples were to be implemented.  The resolution did not incorporate the liturgies into the Book of Common Prayer.  The Pittsburgh diocesan web site has the full text of the public letter.  The Living Church provides some background here.  Following the announcement of the findings, and before the panel reconvened to decide on a disciplinary action, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry worked out a resolution with Bishop Love which involved him resigning.  Love formally resigned this week.

Church Attendance Issues During Pandemic

Churches trying to navigate the shoals surrounding in-person worship during a pandemic continue to get confusing advice.  Update has been following these issues closely.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 last week that the New York regulations limiting attendance for in-person worship violated the free exercise clause of the constitution, but the ruling came after the regulations expired and the ruling in part was based on religious meetings being given stricter requirements than secular businesses. It was among the earliest cases that the most recent appointee to the  court took part in.  In some ways it is counter to a decision made less than six months earlier  which allowed California to set limits on worship gatherings.   Meanwhile in Canada, both Anglican bishops of Saskatchewan were sidelined by the virus and are still recovering.  The bishops are now urging tighter restrictions on in-person worship.  In an even more extreme case, Associated Press reported on the death of the 90 year-old Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.  He died from covid-19 acquired when he attended a large funeral for the church's bishop in Montenegro.  That gathering largely ignored social distancing or masks.