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.

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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week ending 8/10/15

Gun Violence

Bishop Mark Beckwith in a blog entry has called on the parishes of his diocese to mark Gun Violence Sunday (December 13) by participating in the "memorials to the lost" project.  Participating parishes would display outside on poles t-shirts marked with the pertinent information for each individual killed by guns in the last year in their community. The bishop believe this would be a way for parishes to reach out to their communities, witness about violence and serve as an invitation to come into the churches for prayer and meditation.

The bishop was among the participants in an morning march against gun violence at the General Convention in Salt Lake.  Bishops United Against Gun Violence sponsored the march, which  attracted more than 1500 participants from those attending the convention. Beckwith is a co-convener of the group and see the "memorials to the lost" as a way to extend efforts to end gun violence by involving his entire diocese.

Remembering the Atomic Bomb

The Anglican Church in Japan (Nippon Sei Ko Kai or NSKK)  has been taking a leading role in witnessing for peace.  Not only has the primate of the church sent a strongly worded letter opposing use of Japanese troops outside of the country (see the Pittsburgh Update here), but the church took a lead in organizing  an ecumenical church service on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  The Anglican-Roman Catholic service was held at the Catholic Peace Memorial Cathedral in Hiroshima.   A deputation from the World Council of Churches was present and participated.  Notably, the primate of the Anglican Church in Korea was invited to attend and participated in the services.  This marked a new step in the efforts of the NSKK and the Korean Church to further reconciliation of the breach caused by World War II between the two countries.

Legal Action Over New Zealand Cathedral Ends

The earthquake that devastated Christ Church, New Zealand in 2011 damaged the Anglican cathedral beyond use.  Controversy has complicated the process of rebuilding or restoring the cathedral and resulted in lawsuits over the use of funds to build a temporary cathedral using an innovative construction process based on cardboard.  After three years, litigation over the use of the funds has finally been resolved. The High Court ruled that Trustees should not have used insurance money to build the temporary structure.  Those funds were awarded for the permanent structure.  However, because the Trustees paid back the insurance money from another trust fund, the court ruled on August 5, that there was no reason to assess any punitive damages or other measures. The diocese expects to make a decision about the future cathedral in the next several months.

Canadian Lutherans Approve Lay Presidency

The National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada approved a measure that would allow lay ministers to preside at Eucharists in congregations that had no way to ensure regular service from an ordained minister.  A congregation would need to be unable to secure regular supply, participate in a multi-point parish  the services of a minister from one of the Churches in full communion with the ELCIC.  Implementation policies are still being devised, but in an interview reported in the Anglican Journal, the Lutheran Presiding Bishop suggested there would be a number of restrictions.  The lay president would not be allowed to dress as a clergy person, or perform other duties or rites (pastoral work, baptisms, marriages, etc.) and would be supervised by a mentoring pastor. A similar measure had been proposed at the Episcopal Church General Convention in Salt Lake, but  Resolution A044 was edited before passage to be only a statement that bishops should discern and implement ways that to ensure that all congregations will have access to the sacraments.

Pew Research Center Documents Changing Views on Same-Sex Marriage

Since 2001 American attitudes towards same-sex marriages have changed greatly, according to the Pew Research Center. Their most recent poll showed 57% of Americans supporting same-sex marriage.  In 2001 only 35% of Americans did. A majority of mainline, unaffiliated, and catholic respondents to their polls now favor same sex marriage. The attitude changes cross gender lines with a majority of both women and men supporting marriage. Women are slightly more favorable.The groups showing the least change are blacks, where a majority still disapproves, and white evangelicals where only a quarter approved. All four demographic age groups showed increased support, but age mattered. While 70% of Millennials and 59% of those polled in Generation X approved, the Baby Boom generation showed a smaller increase in support with a majority still opposed. Only 39 % of the Silent Generation approved, but this represented an 18% increase in support. The full study results are here.