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 3, 2021

Week Ending 08/02/21

Partnership Between Arab and English Speaking Parishes 

In Dearborn, Michigan two Episcopal parishes are partnering by sharing a building and in the process learning about each other's traditions and pioneering a new field of outreach for the church.  Christ Episcopal Church is a traditional, English-speaking congregation with a building they are sharing with what began as a blended Lutheran-Episcopal mission that worships in Arabic.   The Dearborn area has a large Arabic-speaking population, some of whom are Christian.  To serve the congregation, the Episcopal Church has had to translate the Book of Common Prayer into Arabic.  Mother of Our Savior Parish is led by a Lebanese-born, Virginia Theological Seminary graduate priest and receives support from both the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches, Virginia Seminary, and the Lilly Foundation. You can find out more about the partnership in the full Episcopal News Service article here.

Chicago Consecration of Bishop Postponed Again

Chicago is going to have to wait a little longer before getting their next diocesan bishop.  Bishop-elect Paula Clark suffered a stroke shortly before she was to be consecrated and the ceremony has delayed to allow her to recover. A second delay has been announced because she is still working on recovery.  An Assisting Bishop will help the diocese until Clark is ready. Clark was scheduled to become the sixth black woman to serve as a bishop, but it is possible now that Pittsburgh's newly elected Ketlin Solak may end up in that spot.  Solak's installation will take place in early November.

Continuing Stories

Reparations Movement Grows

Religion News has a feature story on the support being given to the movement for black reparations by churches.  The article gives examples of support from several denominations, and quotes Episcopal Bishop Eugene Sutton.  However, the article does not give examples of the Episcopal entities that have already begun making reparations, such as Virginia Theological Seminary.  Update had that story here. Update has regularly carried notices of the movement for reparations within the Episcopal Church.

Clergy Misconduct Handling Creates Big Headache for ACNA

ACNA leadership has been finding issues of clergy misconduct a major problem.  The matter has directly affected the Pittsburgh Diocese formed during the 2008 schism.  That Diocese has member parishes that are out-of-state, and the latest scandal involves a clergy person in a suburban Chicago parish who has been accused of sexual misconduct with several women.  The women are upset at the way the matter has been handled by the parish and by Bishop Martyn Minns who is serving as the Pittsburgh bishop until the ACNA diocese can elect a new bishop.  The previous bishop, James Hobby had to resign after he mishandled a different case of clergy misconduct.  Still another clergy sexual misconduct case brought Bishop Duncan, the founding bishop of the ACNA diocese out of retirement to fill in as a cathedral dean in Florida.

Churches Consider Precautions Due to Covid-19 Surge

Update has carried a number of stories documenting the ups and downs of worship restrictions and protocols throughout the pandemic.  Most recently Update  carried notice that parishes were resuming in-person worship given the decline of cases as a result of people getting vaccinated.  Now the Delta variety of Covid-19 is causing places to return to masking and social distancing as a new surge hits.  Most cases are among the unvaccinated, but 30% of Americans over age 12 are in that category, and all children under 12.   So, churches are once again masking up and limiting access. 

More on the Australian GAFCON Announcement

Update carried notice last week of the GAFCON announcement that it was creating a diocese to offer harbor to parishes that were opposed to the efforts of some Australian dioceses to offer blessings on civil unions of same sex couples.  The primate for Australia, has now weighed in with a pastoral letter saying that GAFCON has jumped the gun since no parish has blessed any same-sex unions, and the Australian Church's Synod has not yet discussed a response to the ruling by the Church's high tribunal that said there were no legal barriers preventing a diocesan bishop from permitting such blessings. This is the second letter on the subject, since the archbishop also circulated a letter immediately after the tribunal issued its opinion.

Kenya Continues Upset of GAFCON Ban on Women Bishops

One the continuing issues for the conservatives of GAFCON has been the ordination of women as priests.  Several of the Anglican provinces that participate in GAFCON are among the holdouts on women's ordination, but others do ordain women.  ACNA, the American schismatic denomination affiliated with GAFCON, walks an internal tightrope with some dioceses ordaining women and other opposing it vehemently.  Women are not able to serve as bishops.  When in 2018 South Sudan selected a woman as an Assistant Bishop, other GAFCON participants protested and an agreement was reached that there would be a moratorium on women bishops until all of GAFCON could agree.  Kenya and Uganda were interested in having women as bishops.   Kenya gave notice that it was getting tired of waiting in 2019 when its governing synod formally affirmed its commitment to women serving in that office.   Then Kenya upset the apple cart in January of this year by appointing a woman as an assistant bishop.  Now they have elected a woman as diocesan bishop, and thus shredded the any remant of the moratorium. The Ven. Rose Okeno, the archdeacon of Shikunya and vicar-general of the diocese of Butere will become the fifth woman to serve as a bishop, and the fourth active at this time.