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, May 26, 2020

Week Ending 05/25/20

Virtual Service to Confirm New Archbishop of York

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York has officially retired.  His successor, Bishop Stephen Cottrell is being confirmed and installed in a first for the Church of England - a virtual service to be streamed to all who wish to see it.   The Archbishop of Canterbury will preside at the video conference service where Cottrell will officially sign documents and oaths making him the Archbishop of York.  At the conclusion of this service/ceremony, Cottrell's ministry then will be celebrated with a film released that same day.  Cottrell's enthronement will be held once the Church of England has resumed in-person services.

Comfort for Those Grieving on Memorial Day

Memorial Day provides a time for Americans to honor those in our armed forces who died in service.  This year, there was also an attempt to remember those who died in a new war, the struggle with covid-19.   The pain of the pandemic in New York are covered in a video released by the New York Times on May 22.  St. John's Hospital in Queens, an Episcopal hospital run by the Diocese of Long Island was its setting.   Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on the Eastern Shore of Virginia has planted a tree in memory of those who died and then has invited all those who are grieving to come and sit in peace and quiet near that tree.  On western coast of the U.S., St. Luke's Episcopal in Renton, WA has developed a live-streamed funeral service available to anyone trying to deal with the death of a loved one when holding in-person funerals means a risk of contagion or is limited to a handful of people being present. The service is customized to each occasion and includes a virtual time attendees to gather and remember the deceased.  Many Episcopalians participated in a 24 hour vigil honoring those who have died in the pandemic hosted on Facebook.  The Presiding Bishop participated in a memorial service broadcast on television for those who had died from covid-19.  This memorial service was sponsored by the National Council of Churches.  Sunday May 31, has been set aside for an interfaith day of prayer in memory of those who have died in the pandemic, as well. 

Continuing Stories

Major Disappointment for Forth Worth Episcopalians

Fort Worth Episcopalians have experienced a roller coaster as their property case moved  up the Texas court system, back down to the trial judge and up the appeals ladder again.  Judges overturned each other at every stage.  This last week the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the group that is now part of ACNA is  the continuation of the original Episcopal diocese.  The schismatics comments are here.  The Fort Worth Diocese i the Episcopal Church issued this statement.  Given that the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Dennis Canon had no effect in Texas, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely. 

Tennessee Cathedral Rallies Behind Death Row Inmate

The Cathedral in Nashville has had an active prison ministry, which has also led to Episcopalians in the Diocese of Tennessee working to end the death penalty in that state.  A year ago the diocese celebrated an agreement between prosecutors and defense lawyers of one death row occupant's sentence to life in prison after a judge ruled that his trial was unfair.  Now they are shocked to find that the state appeal of the agreement could put the inmate, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, back on death row.  Bishop Bauerschmidt confirmed Rahman as an Episcopalian in 2014.  A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for June.

Las Vegas Church Provides Covid-19 Testing to Hispanic Community

The latest in Update's  series about church outreach during the pandemic,  takes us to Nevada. All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas is located in an area with a large Hispanic population.   The parish is working with the Southern Nevada Health District to provide both telehealth consulting and covid-19 testing to the medically under-served area around their church.  The health center at the church was featured on local news.

Church Building Re-Opening Saga Continues

President Trump's announcement that all churches should reopen touched off a wave of responses this last week.   His statement was aimed at putting pressure on governors who were proceeding at a more cautious pace.  While the pressure seems to have borne fruit in some locations, including Minnesota where a suit by Missouri Synod Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church resulted in the governora  ruling that churches were not bound by the his emergency restrictions.  Meanwhile a federal appeals court upheld the California governor's restrictions on the size of public gatherings in a challenge brought by several churches.  In states that had already "reopened" experience was mixed, with some churches that had offered in-person worship backing off after members were diagnosed with covid-19.   In general Episcopal bishops were urging a much more cautious approach (see the statement by all five Episcopal diocesan bishops in California), although some Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Ohio may be opening.   Some of the other countries that were hit hard by the pandemic are beginning to reopen churches. The Anglican Center in Rome is among those making cautious first steps.   The Update has been covering the re-opening discussion for several weeks.  The latest previous post is here.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Week Ending 05/18/20

Underground Railroad Station Church Needs Major Repairs

Emmanuel Church in Cumberland, Maryland has a storied past that includes serving as a stop on the underground railroad for escaping slaves.  The church was built in 1850 over a series of tunnels  that were part of an abandoned U.S. fort.  Now the walls that support the grounds of the church are crumbling and must be replaced.  The cost is estimated at $200,000.   Local news carried the story.

Continuing Stories

More Church Outreach In Communities

Update's continuing coverage of Episcopal church outreach  to address society's needs continues with three articles posted by the Episcopal News Service.  Episcopal Migration Ministries and the Epicopal Church Office of Governmental Relations have teamed up to offer three webinars during June on the topics of immigration.  The webinars each focus on a different aspect of immigration: DACA, resettlement, and asylum.  The dates and links are found here.  Indigenous people within the United States have been hit hard by the pandemic, with the effect on the Navajo being especially severe.  The Navajo had a much higher per capita rate of infection than any of the states, and because 30% of those living in Navajoland do not have access to running water or electricity and are many miles from medical facilities,  it has been especially hard to control the spread of the virus.  The Episcopal Church in Navajoland has begun distributing food to 100 families affected by the virus. Help has poured in from around the U.S., with the Diocese of Northern Michigan raising $40,000 to help with supplies.   A third article focused on the efforts of parishes in West Virginia to help others affected by covid-19.  St. James Parish in Lewisburg had led a community coalition to create a mobile health facility. It had just been dedicated when the covid-19 pandemic reached their state.  It has been deployed as a free testing facility for the virus.  Other recent Update articles on outreach are here and here.

Episcopal Churches Cautious on Re-Opening

Episcopal dioceses and parishes continue to take a very cautious approach to reopening their buildings or holding in-person worship. Update has carried earlier notices of the on-going discussion about re-opening churches.   Even in states where stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted congregations are taking a slow approach to reopening.  They wish to avoid the experience of one Baptist congregation that reopened for two Sundays and then re-closed after several members were diagnosed with the virus.   Dorsey McConnell, Bishop of Pittsburgh has asked parishes to come in with plans for reopening, but is not expecting to implement any of them immediately. Western Pennsylvania has been moved from a "red" zone to a "yellow" alert allowing some reopening of businesses and churches.  In Massachusetts where restrictions have been loosened, the Episcopal bishop has decreed that no parishes will reopen before July 1.    In Oregon when a judge issued an order voiding the governor's emergency declaration restrictions, the Oregon supreme court  issued a stay of the order.  One of the main groups involved in the litigation were churches (not Episcopal) who were eager to return to in-person worship.  The Anglican reluctance to open too soon is international in scope.  In Liberia the episcopal bishop has announced that the churches of the Episcopal Church of Liberia will continue to worship virtually  at least to the end of May, and possibly longer as they cautiously plan for reopening, despite the President of that country raising all restrictions on worship.  When churches to return to in-person worship, things will not return to the old normal.  Congregational singing is not likely to return for quite a while due to risk of infection, and communion will be distributed differently.

Sunday Services Victims of Zoom Crash

As Updated noted last week,  a number of Episcopal Churches have turned to Zoom to hold virtual church services, coffee hours, and other meetings.  On May 17, Zoom could not handle the amount of traffic on its system and Churches, especially those on the east coast, found themselves unable to designate hosts, unable to hear or speak when they could log in the a meeting, and various other failures of services.  Some parishes (including the Update editor's parish) ended up with people using phone calls to join the service.  Episcopal News Service has more coverage.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Week Ending 5/10/20

Racism In the Pandemic

Church news this last week offered multiple examples of the way the corona virus pandemic has been especially harsh for racial minorities in the United States.  The Episcopal News Service carried a story on  how Asian and Pacific Island Americans have experienced an increase in unprovoked attacks by people blaming them for the virus. An ELCA Parish was featured in the Christian Post because of the way its membership has been devastated by the virus in New York.  The parish members are mostly Latino and because of poverty, residential crowding and the kinds of work they do, its membership was more exposed to contagion. Episcopal News Service carried a story on Episcopal bishops in New Jersey issuing a pastoral letter urging public policy reform, especially of the criminal justice and prison systems,  because these systems disproportionately affect people of color, those populations have borne a heavier burden of risk and contagion during the pandemic.  

 Continuing Stories

Re-Opening Planning Grows

As Update has already noted, many dioceses have begun planning for a gradual re-gathering of people in church buildings.  A slow and cautious start is being made to allow Episcopalians in some areas to gather in-person for worship.  The Episcopal Church in Europe has had two parishes in Germany reopen, because Germany has been relatively successful in controlling the pandemic.  The bishops of Maryland, Washington D.C.,  and Virginia have together issued a statement on steps for possible resumption of some services in church buildings, but bishops in Indiana and Iowa are continuing stay-at-home practices despite the governors of those states relaxing of restrictions.  The Iowa leaders of a number of denominations issued clear statements opposing re-gathering in response to Vice President Pence's visit to celebrate the re-opening of churches in that state. One thing that is not likely to resume quickly is congregational singing because singing is an especially high-risk activity for spread of the virus.

Innovative Ministry in a Covid-19 World

Update has been noting innovative ways that parishes have adapted ministry during stay-at-home orders.  St. Alban's, St. Petersburg, FL is a congregation with many older members who are not electronically savvy, so on-line services were not going to reach their people.  The local priest instead is handing out bags to drive-up parishioners.  Inside the bag is the weekly sermon, consecrated elements, and other items to create church at home. A number of parishes are using Zoom or other meeting platforms to hold virtual coffee hours.  One such parish was featured in a Living Church story. 

Another Report on Wyoming Church Grants

Local news has published an article on the use of $10,000 grants given by the Diocese of Wyoming to each parish so they could relieve corona virus related hardships.  St. John's Episcopal Church is in Green River. The area has invested heavily in tourism, and thus its economy has been hit hard by the pandemic. The parish gave grants of $400 each to 20 restaurant workers who were unemployed because of the pandemic.   Another $1000 paid off student lunch debt at the local school system, and the final $1000 went to the local food bank.  Update has covered other parish grants.

Debate Continues Over Church of England Covid-19 Policies

Church of England bishops met to discuss and  a phased relaxation of directions given to clergy and churches that have stopped most ministry and prevented even priests from entering their chapels or church buildings.  These directions have been controversial, as Update has previously noted here and here, especially because the directions were far more stringent than required by the government and other denominations have had access to their buildings.  Criticism continues as Britain slowly begins removing some of the most stringent stay-at-home requirements.  Meanwhile, the Anglican Communion Office is going the other direction by shutting down its activities entirely except for publication of a weekly news summary.

Church Voices Support for DACA 

The Episcopal Church has been active in support of immigrants and has long supported actions to provide a permanent residence for those brought to the U.S. without documents by their parents, especially those covered by the Obama era DACA order.  The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a challenge to the current administration's efforts to end the program in November 2019, and with the court's session drawing to a close in June and a decision should be forthcoming by then.  In this context, the Episcopal Church issued another statement strongly supporting keeping DACA - covered people in the U.S., and urging Congress to create a long-term solution. Episcopal News Service has a good article on current activity supporting DACA by the Church.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Week Ending 5/4/20

Poll Shows Weakening Trump Support Among Evangelicals

In March, approval ratings for the President rose as people rallied behind the government in a crisis, however the surge was short-lived.  A new poll by PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) showed substantial drops in approval of the President by the end of April.  Three key religious categories (white evangelicals, white Catholics, and mainline Protestants) all showed double digit drops in approval, and all three groups showed approval ratings below 50%.  The drops among white evangelicals and Catholics is significant since these groups have been sources of strong support for Trump.   For more on the poll results go here.

Continuing Stories

Planning for a Post Covid-19 Church

Last week Update reported on Episcopalian responses to the news that several governors were beginning to lift restrictions so that some businesses could begin to open.  Bishops responded largely by urging congregations to continue to shelter in place, but also began creating plans for reopening church buildings and allowing some face to face worship. Religions News has a good article describing a variety of responses by different denominations.  This week the Episcopal Church's Executive Council met in special session to discuss what the Church might look like after covid-19.   Meanwhile, priests in the Church of England are pressing for changes in that church's policy which has been more restrictive than those of other denominations, and in Nigeria, where the pandemic is beginning to take hold, one bishop has threatened  disciplinary action against priests who allow people to come to worship without a mask.

Churches Reaching Out in Economic Hard Times 

The Update has been carrying notices of Episcopal Churches providing aid to those in economic distress.  Several efforts were in the news this week.  In Blue Hill Maine, St. Francis-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church has made arrangements directly with a lobster fisherman to buy his catch. It is an investment in a hurting local economy. The parish then sells the lobsters to local subscribers.  In Prince George's County, Maryland and Dallas Texas, parishes have moved their food pantries outside and are doing drive-by food distributions.  In both locales rising unemployment rates have increased the need for food.   In New York, a Staten Island parish is providing shelter for the homeless, while a parish in New Jersey decided to offer support in the form of snacks and treats to the workers at one of the care homes hardest hit by the virus.  In Richmond, Virginia, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, long a leader in social outreach, has announced the creation of a fund to provide covid-19 relief to those in need.  The parish has contributed $150,00 to get the fund started and is soliciting other contributions.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Week Ending 04/27/20

Churches Ponder When and How to Reopen

The announcement by several Governors of that they were easing restrictions to allow state parks, beaches and businesses to function has led to discussions throughout the Episcopal Church about how and when Church buildings might open.  The bishops of dioceses in the states affected by the eased restrictions are taking a conservative approach and working on protocols for a gradual reopening in the future of on-site worship and activities.  There are no plans for immediate reopening. (See the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Georgia and South Carolina statements, for example.) The Diocese of Atlanta which had barred all live-streaming from church buildings, will now allow up to 9 people to assist a priest in live-streaming from church buildings.  The plans all require careful measures to ensure that churches will not be sources of re-infection.  What is clear from the discussions is that Church will not return to the old "normal" in the near future.  Bishops in various states are using different diocesan bodies to help plan for the future.  In Pittsburgh, the Bishop has turned to the diocesan Emergency Preparedness Committee for advice. 

Episcopal Navy Chaplain Coordinates Navy Hospital in New York

When the Navy sent its hospital ship, the Comfort to New York City to help with the covid-19 emergency, the ship also became responsible for a field hospital set up in the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  The ship captain appointed the senior chaplain on-board, Captain James Thames, in charge of all logistics for both on-land and on-board activities.  Thames is an Episcopal priest.  He entered the priesthood after serving in the army.  After 9 years of parish ministry, he became a Navy chaplain and in that role helped organize relief efforts in 2017 hurricane seasons that destroyed parts of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.  The Episcopal News Service has a good profile of Thames and his work here.

African-American Student Scholarship Endowed at Ambridge Seminary

William and Betsy Roemer, members of St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Sewickley have endowed a scholarship at Trinity School for Ministry for African-American students.  TSM is still listed as a seminary preparing students for Episcopal ministry as well as the Anglican Church in North America.  The Roemers were very involved in the creation of ACNA and the schism that occurred in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Ministry During the Pandemic

Ministry goes on in many forms throughout the pandemic, and Update has been tracking some of these.   Update has reported on the decisions of the Episcopal foundation in Wyoming to set aside $1 million for covid-19 relief to Wyoming communities. It started implementing this by giving each parish an initial sum of $10,000 to distribute in their area.  In the Sweetwater area,  Holy Communion Episcopal Church has made grants to several local agencies providing relief.  In Norfolk, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the down-town parish founded in the colonial period has set up a free mini food pantry to help those who are hungry, and in Michigan, the Diocese has partnered with two parishes to raise funds for a $100,000 matching grant for donations to the local food bank.

South Carolina Puts Bishop Search on Hold

The rebuilding Diocese of South Carolina which had begun a search for bishop that was very much on the same timetable as the search in Pittsburgh, has announced that the search has been placed on hold because of the covid-19 pandemic.  The Update reported last week that the Pittsburgh search had been extended (and Bishop McConnell's retirement delayed) until fall 2021.  The search committees of both Pittsburgh and South Carolina are continuing work, but nominations and interviews will occur later than originally announced.  South Carolina has not set a date for a convention, nominations, or announcement of candidates.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Week Ending 04/20/20

Remembering Past Epidemics

A number of news sources have printed background stories on the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919, but fewer have looked back further.  The Episcopal News Service has published a reminder of the self-sacrifice of a group of Episcopal Church nuns and priests during the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Memphis.  The Church commemorates the 4 nuns and 2 Episcopal priests who gave their lives caring for the sick in its Lesser Feasts and Fasts on September 9. 

Menlo Park Rector Under Investigation

The Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillet  has been placed on leave after an investigation by Church leaders  of Trinity Episcopal Church in Menlo Park, CA uncovered evidence that he may have used $125,000 of church funds for personal use.  He has been rector of the parish in the Diocese of California for a decade, and the financial irregularities are spread over the last 5 years. The  parish is considering filing a  police report.

Bishop John Buchanan Dies

Bishop John Buchanan, who guided the faithful remnant of the Quincy Diocese through the painful years immediately after its diocesan leadership and most of its parishes left the Episcopal Church, has died.  Buchanan was consecrated as bishop of West Missouri and served that diocese for 11 years.  After his retirement he served as assistant in the Diocese of Texas, interim bishop in Southern Virginia and as the Provisional Bishop of Quincy.  He then moved to a church retirement home in South Carolina, where he  provided guidance to Episcopalians beginning the process of reorganization following schism. The Living Church carried the story.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Ministry During the Covid-19 Pandemic - Latest News

Easter brought unique stresses to the church lock down and two good illustrations of how even Bishops are feeling their way through ministry during an epidemic. In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury made an announcement that closed all Church of England churches even to the priests of the parish.  However after some strong push back, Archbishop Justin Welby retreated noting that his statement was meant to be advisory. One parish priest, Jacob Owensby,  immediately took advantage of the revised interpretation of Welby's statement and conducted his live-streamed service inside the church.  Meanwhile in Western Louisiana, Episcopal Bishop first granted permission for "virtual" consecration of elements and then had to reverse himself after hearing from the Presiding Bishop.
The Episcopal News Service  published a summary of efforts by parishes all over the U.S. to feed the hungry.  You can find more on these ministries here.  Update has been carrying notices on the impact of the covid-19 virus on ministry. See here and here for the most recent previous notices.

New Rounds of Church Persecution in China 

Chinese authorities conducted a raid on the homes of an independent church with a membership of around 4000.  The police found the leaders participating in a virtual Easter service on zoom. The leaders were then arrested for participating in a  The minister of the parish has refused to make changes demanded by the government.  Update has previously carried stories on government action against Christian churches in China.

Kansas Ban on Church Meetings Takes Another Turn

Kansans may be forgiven if they feel a bit whiplashed by the status of ather Governor's order closing all churches as part of the lock-down.  The state legislature tried to override the Governor's order, but the state supreme court ruled against the legislature.  However, a federal judge has ruled that the governor's order is void because of first amendment  guarantees for freedom of religion. 

Pittsburgh Bishop Delays Retirement

Bishop Dorsey McConnell  announced this week that he has delayed his retirement from April to September 2021 due to the disruptions caused by the corona virus. His full letter is available here.  The election for a new bishop will now take place in April at the time originally scheduled for the consecration.  McConnell intends to retire the day his successor is consecrated.

Bishop Love's Disciplinary Hearing Delayed

In a letter to the Diocese of Albany parishes, Bishop William Love announced that his Title IV hearing scheduled for April 21 has been delayed.  The hearing had already moved from an in-person meeting to a virtual meeting and the hearing has been postponed because the church is still working on the technical details of how to conduct the hearing in a virtual environment. Charges were brought against Bishop Love for refusing to implement a General Convention resolution requiring dioceses to provide a means for same sex couples to be married within their diocese. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Week Ending 04/13/20

England's Churches Closed Even to Clergy

The strict social distancing regulations in England have led to strong pressure for churches to be entirely closed.  The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement in support of closed churches.  A number of bishops have issued orders that their clergy are not to enter the buildings even to do silent prayer.  The London bishops were especially clear saying that any live streaming of services should be done from clergy homes, not the church. In the part the decision was justified by saying that the clergy needed to face the same restrictions as their congregation, and not be seen as some special class with access to churches when no one else had it. Similarly although there is a need for more hospital chaplains to be with those gravely ill or dying, orders have been issued that volunteer parish clergy should not be admitted to hospital wards because they could be sources of the spread of the virus.  They are allowed to do phone and tablet contact with the ill.   Because churches are closed and no one is entering, the most valuable pieces of religious art, silver and other rare items have been carefully packed and gathered for safe keeping at the Tower of London and other secure sites.

Easter Celebrations in a Social Distancing World

With most churches closed for public worship, and services being done virtually, Easter had a different feel this year. The CBS affiliate station in Madison, Wisconsin has a nice summary of the approaches taken by several different Christian churches, including the Episcopal Church. Although almost every Episcopal parish (from tiny ones to the largest offered some form of an Easter service on-line), the national Cathedral service has received the most attention, given that its preacher was Presiding Bishop Curry who did his part on-line from his North Carolina home.  The biggest splash at that service, however was an anthem performed by a virtual orchestra and choir of more than 600.  Cheer-up your spirit by listening to their rendition of "The Strife is O'er".  The Living Church provides a little background and a link to the actual recording. [ Note of disclosure, the current editor of this blog was among the singers.]

Churches Testing Legal Limits of Lock-Downs

Local government officials and courts in different parts of the country are coming to very different conclusions about what to do with those congregations continuing church meetings despite official orders to end all public gatherings as part of the efforts to slow spread of covid-19.  In some cases the meetings are drive-in church gatherings (a trend Update has covered), and in other they are outdoor meetings of hundreds of people.  The question of freedom of religion is being pitted against public health directives since those who attend can spread the illness to others. In some places church leaders have been arrested, or meetings broken up by clergy.  In Kansas, the governor ordered all public gatherings cease.  The state legislature then passed a law exempting churches from the order, and then the state supreme court ruled that the legislation violated the state constitution and restored the governor's order.  In other areas, courts have ruled against rules that require churches to stop meeting.  It is a situation ripe for a case to move up through the courts to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Continuing Story Updates

Wyoming Parishes Use Holy Week to Discern Use of Grants

The foundation of the Diocese of Wyoming sent each parish in the diocese $10,000 as the first installment in their commitment to provide $1 million in grants to ease economic and social suffering caused by the covid-19 pandemic.  The parishes were to use Holy Week to discern how they would use the grant money in their area.  Parishes are exploring everything from Wi-Fi hot spots to help school children with distance learning, to support of food banks and direct grants to unemployed for utility bills.  You can read more here.

Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Issues Statement on Latest Ruling

Last week Update reported that the South Carolina Supreme Court had denied the writs requested by Episcopalians which would have pushed Judge Dickson to stop dragging out the process of implementing the state supreme court's decision that the Episcopalians were the owners of most of the church property now in the hands of those who have left the Episcopal Church.  However, there was no comment or statement available from the Episcopal Diocese.  That was issued after Update was posted.  You can now find the statement here

Latest on Covid-19 Ministries

Continuing Update's ongoing summary of the ways the Church is reaching out during the pandemic, this week we call attention to a story found in the Canadian Church's magazine, the Anglican Journal,  on The work of the Episcopal Church on the Rosebud Lakota Reservation in South Dakota.  The minister there has been organizing distribution of meals, fuel, groceries, hand sanitizer, and other supplies.  The article also covers ways she has handled drive-up communion, and funerals to ensure they meet all social distancing regulations set by the tribal government. 

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City has also been in the news this last week, first as it prepared its sanctuary to host a hospital extension for Mt. Sinai Hospital, secondly as it was announced that Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse would run the hospital , and finally that the hospital extension would not happen at all because the hospital had determined that they were not going to need the extra beds.  Questions arose over whether the Cathedral had withdrawn its offer of space becuase Samaritan's Purse has an anti-gay hiring policy, but church and hospital officials say the decision was purely based on a changed assessment of need by the hospital.

Australia Elects New Primate

A month ago Australia was unable to get agreement among all three orders (lay, clergy, bishops) in the special synod that elects the Anglican Church's primate there.  The synod consists of all diocesan bishops and a select group of lay and clergy electors chosen by the Church's General Synod.  There were two candidates, a conservative who was head of Australia's GAFCON and a conservative centerist, the current Archbishop of Adelaide, Geoffrey Smith.  Smith had a majority of votes of the lay order and of the bishops, but a majority of the clergy held out for Bishop Condie of Tasmania.   An interim primate was appointed until the impasse could be ended.  This last week the special synod voted electronically because of the Covid-19 virus, and this time Smith received a majority in all three orders.  He has immediately assumed the duties of Primate.