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 23, 2022

Week Ending 08/22/22

Christians Facing Widespread Persecution in India

Hindu nationalists are increasingly making life difficult or impossible for Christians in India. The Anglican Communion has two provinces in India, both are "united" Churches (i.e. a union created by Congregatonists, Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans) with bishops who participate in the Anglican Communion and are part of the Anglican Consultative Council.  Although not mentioned directly in the Religion News story on the violence and unfair legal proceedings happening in India, members of the United Churches are subject to the persecution covered in the story. Churches are being attacked and seized, members, beaten and killed, and more. 

Continuing Stories

South Carolina Court Disappoints Episcopalians

The South Carolina continued its process of folding to political pressure from the ACNA parishes and decided that 4 of the six parishes that in 2 previous decisions had been listed as having acceded to the Dennis Canon and therefore belonging to the Episcopalians,  really had not acceded and could stay with the ACNA schismatics. Another two parishes the court decided had acceded, but had properly rescinded that accession (something which is impossible to do under Episcopal polity) and thus they could also stay with ACNA.  This leaves the Episcopalians  with 7 parishes to transition back to their control, and ownership all of the diocesan property, including Camp Christopher. It was disappointing to Episcopalians who had already begun planning return to their parish buildings based on the two earlier state Supreme Court opinions.  Episcopal Bishop Woodliff-Stanley has issued a statement here.  The new ACNA bishop has issued a statement here, and blogger Steve Skardon has much to say about this turn of events. Update has covered each twist of this legal battle, most recently here.

Holt Declines Election as Florida Bishop

Last week, Update reported that the Court of Review had issued its report on procedural issues during the election of Charlie Holt as Bishop of Florida.  The report listed a number of errors and confirmed that the election was invalid because there was not a quorum in the clergy order of the convention.  The Rev. Holt, has now issued a letter saying that he has withdrawn his acceptance of the election, and though he truly wants to be be Florida's bishop, there needs to be a correction to the process.  The Episcopal Church office has announced that they have stopped the process for requests for confirmation of the election by diocesan standing committees and bishops.  The Florida Standing Committee has not yet announced how they plan to go forward. 

GAFCON Implements Church Split in Australia

A split in the Anglican Church of Australia that has been in the works for several years is now full blown with the announcement that GAFCON has appointed the former Bishop of Sydney as the Bishop of the Diocese of the Southern Cross, and is inviting Anglican congregations to find a "haven" in their "orthodox" diocese. The choice of Glen Davies, a very low church, anti-women's ordination leader will complicate parish choices. The announcement also creates a dilemma for the current primate of the Australian Church who himself is a member of the international GAFCON.  He is arguing that the formation of a separate diocese not a part of the Australian Church is premature, that the church still affirms marriage as between a man and a woman.  Update has reported on the original creation of the diocese and on events within the Church of Australia that  have been claimed as the precipitating events (i.e. some dioceses saying that they will proceed with blessing of same sex unions).  In response the Bishop of Newcastle, one of the liberal dioceses adjoining Sydney, has sent a letter out requiring clergy to report if they are members of GAFCON or have had any ties to it.

Methodist Split Gets Very Litigious

Update has already reported on the suit filed by conservative congregations in Florida seeking to leave the United Methodist Church with their property.   However, congregations in other states are now filing suit. This last week it was parishes in North Carolina and Georgia. In addition the newly formed conservative umbrella organization the Wesleyan Conference, has sent a letter urging conservative parishes to withhold payments due to the United Methodist Church.  These actions make problematic the agreement that had been reached earlier for an amicable withdrawal.  Implementation of that has been held up by the delay in a national meeting due to the pandemic.

Episcopal Migration Ministries Offer Asylum Support

Many of those arriving at the U.S. borders are seeking asylum.  While applying for that status, they do not receive the same support that those officially granted refugee status have.  Episcopal Migration Ministries has developed a Neighbor to Neighbor program to help those seeking asylum settle in to a community.  EMM currently has 17 teams up and running.  The ministry is looking for both financial support and for those willing to part of teams.  For those who are interested in learning more there is a webinar on August 30.  The full Episcopal News Service article has full details and links to information of the webinar here.  Update has carried many stories on the work of Episcopalians with immigrants, refugees and those seeking asylum. One of the most recent is here.

Pittsburgh ACNA Consecrates Third Bishop

The ACNA diocese in Pittsburgh held the consecration of their new bishop earlier this month, but there appear to have been no local print coverage of the event except on the diocesan web site.  Local news did cover the election earlier this year of Alex Cameron as bishop.  He is the ACNA group's third diocesan bishop since they formed a diocese after leaving the Episcopal Church, although they claim to be the continuation of the Episcopal Diocese and thus he was proclaimed the ninth Bishop of Pittsburgh.  That title is actually held by Bishop Ketlin Solak of the Episcopal Diocese. It will be interesting to see how the two "Ninth" bishops relate to each other in ecumenical groups and on property  matters since the property agreements in effect have left several ACNA parishes occupying properties that all admit legally belong to the Episcopal Diocese;  another group of ACNA parishes have signed special agreements requiring some interaction and recognition of the Episcopal trust interest in their properties; and a final parish has a special arrangement where the Episcopal Diocese invested the value of the property in the parish ministry to veterans.