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 31, 2021

Week Ending 08/30/21

Sock Ministry Warms Hearts As Much As Feet

What began as a personal effort to get a psychological lift when facing a painful chronic disease, has turned into an international ministry providing a lift to those who are facing struggles with a variety of medical conditions.  A friend with lupus suggested that Jessica Baird, who was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis, try wearing silly socks as a way to lift her spirits.  It worked, and Jessica, a member of an Anglican Church of Canada parish in Ottawa soon found she had 10,000 pairs of socks, and a full-time ministry sending them to others facing tough medical battles.  Others around the globe have started similar efforts, and Baird is coordinating many of the efforts.  The Anglican Journal has more on this ministry.

Sexual Misconduct Case in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Bishop, Dorsey McConnell has had far from a gentle road to retirement.  McConnell has had to deal with not only the covid-19 pandemic, but a sexual misconduct charge against a Pittsburgh clergy person.  The current misconduct investigation began when a person came forward to charge that Charles Appel (then a priest in the church) had sexually abused him in the late 1970s and early 1980s while at the diocesan summer camp.  Appel  renounced his ordination in 2001 while under review for misconduct by the diocese.  He was later convicted of possession of child pornography and spent 4 years in prison.  Appel died in 2019 one year after his release from prison.  The diocese learned of the sexual abuse charges in March, and requested that others who might have been harmed let the diocese know.  This last week, as the diocese held a farewell party for the retiring bishop, McConnell had to issue a notice requiring parishes to take stricter precautions on covid, and informed the diocese of the fact that more people had come forward.  McConnell issued a formal apology to those who had been harmed.

Continuing Story Updates

The Price of Losing Fort Worth Case Goes Up

Not only did Episcopalians in Fort Worth lose parish property and diocesan endowments when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the awarding of the diocesan property and name to the group that left the Episcopal Church, they also became liable for curt costs of the schismatic group.  The Episcopal Church has reached a settlement with the ACNA diocese that will result in a $4.5 million dollar payment to the ACNA group.  Anglican.ink had the story and the settlement letter. 

Covid-19 Mandates Increasing

As the latest surge in covid-19 infections increases, more Episcopal Dioceses are issuing mask and vaccination mandates for clergy, church employees, and/or parishes.  Update has carried notices of the changes as they occur.  This week the Episcopal News Service has an article covering actions in several dioceses. Long Island is requiring all diocesan employees and clergy to get vaccinated, as is the Diocese of Maine. In addition Pittsburgh's bishop, Dorsey McConnell, issued a letter requiring masking for parish services, and other precautions, and the South Carolina Diocesan Standing Committee strongly urged parishes to vaccinate and to mask for services.  

How the Church Is Helping Haiti With Earthquake Relief

Haiti is the largest diocese of the Episcopal Church.  It is also a country hit with political turmoil, an Earthquake and then a hurricane in quick succession this summer.  The Episcopal News Service has an article detailing the ways that several dioceses with long standing partnerships with the Diocese of Haiti were able to quickly begin funneling resources to the earthquake stricken areas.  Much of the physical relief work has been channeled by the partner dioceses through other aid  agencies already on site in Haiti.  Update has posted information previously on the damage and struggle to provide relief.

GAFCON Continues On Road to Division in Australia 

The Australian GAFCON organization has announced its next step in creating a competing diocese for dissident conservative Anglican parishes in Australia. Update has posted their announcement of intent to form a  new entity to be a home for parishes unhappy with the possibility that some parts of the Australian Church are ready to bless same-sex marriages and civil unions.  That provoked a response from the Australian primate (a conservative) that the announcement was premature given that the Australian synod has yet to discuss the same-sex blessing issue.  Now GAFCON has announced that this diocese will form as a company with a small board of directors.  It will then be ready to receive parishes. Thus GAFCON continues on its path of trying to create its own Anglican Communion.