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         

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week Ending 9/7/15

Church of the Redeemer Hosting Climate Change Presentation

 Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill, will host a presentation by Mark Dixon, the filmaker and climate activist who represented Pittsburgh's Mayor at the recent World Summit Climate and Territories meeting on September 24, 2015 at 7 p.m.  This is one of three presentations Dixon is giving in the area as people prepare for the upcoming negotiations in Paris in December on Climate.  You can get more background on the events and Dixon here and here.

Nigerian Bishop Kidnapped

Kidnappers have demanded $40 million (Nigerian) ransom for Right Rev. Moses Tabuwaye, the bishop of Gwagwalada Diocese.  The bishop was kidnapped September 4 on his way to a church function. The kidnapping was announced by Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria. There is no word yet on where the bishop is being kept or of a response to the kidnappers. 

Church of England Appoints a Second Woman as Diocesan Bishop

The Diocese of Newcastle will be the second diocese in the Church of England to be headed by a woman as bishop.  Christine Hardman, married and a grandmother, formerly Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich and now Honorary Assistant Priest in the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie Southwark, will take over when the incumbent bishop retires November 30.  If her appointment is approved before the retirement, she will also be in line for a seat in the House of Lords.  Hardman's appointment is especially appropriate since she was one of the major drafters of the various pieces of legislation for the Church of England Synod paved the way for women to be bishops. 

Barna Group Survey Shows Polarization on Same Sex Marriage

 The Barna Research Group regularly provides information on religious groups.  They have recently released the results of a survey of  1012 people taken on June 27-28 exploring issues related to religion and same sex marriage.  The survey results distinguish between those who identify with a religious group and those who actively participate in it.   Two clear divides based on religious perspective were evident.  The 20 million Americans who meet the Barna group's definition of active participating evangelicals  were strongly opposed and saw the supreme court decision as unconstitutional.  Participating mainline Christians were much less opposed, and a majority saw the outcome as a civil rights issue.  The biggest gap, however, was between those who identified as Christian, but were currently not actively involved in a religious group.  This group was the most accepting of same sex marriage.  The research also confirmed that there was a generation gap for Americans in general, and for all groups except evangelicals.  Evangelicals under 40 showed the same patterns as those over 40.  You can find the whole set of results here.

Archbishops Take Opposing Stances on End-of-Life Bill in England

A bill submitted by a member of Parliament that would allow a limited form of assisted suicide to terminally ill people has resulted in a letter opposing the law signed by all the leaders of various British religious groups.  Archbishop Welby not only signed that letter but has published an opinion piece in the Guardian stating his moral objections to the law. The Guardian published  a counter opinion piece from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and its own editorial in support of the law.  The bill is very similar to one introduced in the House of Lords last year, and is seen as having a fair amount of support. 

Anglican Communion Commissions New Secretary-General

About 135 dignitaries, staff, and family attended the commissioning of Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon as the new Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.  Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby presided at the service and preached.  Participants in the service included the the Rt Revd James Tengatenga, Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC); Canon Elizabeth Paver, ACC Vice-Chair Canon John Rees, Provincial Registrar; the Venerable Thomas J. Furrer, Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Tariffville, (Conn.) USA; and His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, as well as Anglican Communion Office staff members. Furrer has close ties with the new Secretary-General, and was made Archdeacon of Kaduna Diocese by Bishop Idowu-Fearon in 2013 in honor of his many mission trips to the area.

Trinity Cathedral Hosts Major Overdose Awareness Day Event

 Monday, August 31 was International Overdose Awareness Day.  In Pittsburgh two major events marked the day.  The first was a noon prayer service and reception at Trinity Cathedral.  Bishop McConnell participated in the ecumenical event, and offered individual prayers and anointing to those seeking healing. The second was a rally at Market Square later in the afternoon.  Both the Tribune Review and the Post Gazette covered the events and published pictures taken during the Trinity event.  Trinity's bells rang 31 times at noon in honor of the more than 300 individuals who died in Allegheny County from drug overdoses in the last year.  Almost 1400 have died in the region in the last 5 years. Broadcast media covered only the Market Square event.

Archbishops Urges Compassion and Aid to Refugees 

 Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby urged the British to respond with compassion consider the human face of the refugee crisis facing Europe and stated that the millions in aid given by Britain to aid refugees is not enough, and that this was a moral crisis that required extraordinary leadership.  Archbishop Sentamu of York, himself a refugee from Africa, has been holding a prayer vigil for the past week, and he also stated in a BBC interview that the British government must offer asylum to many more refugees "because we may end up with a Rwanda" [mass killings].

Fort Worth Episcopalians Post Bond and Continue Legal Action

In a terse posting this week on the "Legal News" section of the diocesan web page, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth confirmed that it had posted the requisite bond stipulated in Judge Chupp's recent order, and confirmed that they would appeal the ruling.  When last week's update was posted that had been no confirmation that bond had been posted by the loyal Episcopalians who had recently received an adverse court ruling.