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         

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Week Ending 05/29/17

New Zealand Cathedral Controversy Continues

Christ Church Cathedral in New Zealand was nearly destroyed in the 2011 earthquake that destroyed much of Christ Church's center.  An historic landmark, the cathedral's fate has been caught in a political and legal struggle between those who want to restore and rebuild it and those who want to tear it down and start again.  A major trust supporting restoration now has begun a major public relations campaign to sway those who will vote at the diocesan synod this fall.   The diocese has put off the decision on its fate until fall, but now the city mayor has weighed in with a pronouncement that the city should buy the building if necessary to keep it from being torn down.  Update has been following this debate.  The most recent past story is here.

Presiding Bishop Promotes Healing in Haiti Church Rift

The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Haiti had been divided as clergy and laity took sides and filed charges and counter charges in a split between the diocesan and suffragan bishops.  In April, a team sent by Presiding Bishop Curry worked out a covenant signed by both Haitian bishops.  This last week Presiding Bishop Curry was in Haiti to formally confirm the covenant and help the Diocese move towards reconciliation and healing.  The suffragan has resigned.  The diocesan is soon retiring and a new bishop will be elected.

Bishop Robinson To Head Religion Department at Chautauqua

Bishop Gene Robinson, the resigned Bishop of New Hampshire will become the Vice President and Senior Pastor of Chautauqua Institution this fall when the current director retires.  He will provide leadership for the Religion Department and chair a new advisory council.  The Chatauqua Institution, on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in Western New York, is famous for its extensive programs in music, arts, and a wide range of lecture series.  Beginning as a Methodist summer education camp in 1874, the Chautauqua Institution has become ecumenical and welcomes more than 100,000 people during its 9 week summer program. Bishop Robinson served as a Chaplain of the week and lecturer in 2011.  He is expected to help the institution strengthen its role in interfaith dialogues and understanding. 

Anglicans Offer Support to Copts Following Latest Terrorist Attack

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the new Primate for the Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East have both issued statements of support and sympathy to the Egyptian Coptic Church following the terrorist attack on a bus loaded with families who on pilgrimage to an historic monastery.  News stories cite different numbers of dead (28-30), a number of whom were children.  Many others were injured.  This is the latest in a series of attacks by Islamic extremists on the Coptic Church.

Church of Scotland Takes Step Towards Same Sex Marriages

As expected, last week the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) moved one step closer to allowing same sex marriage. The Assembly voted to apologize to gays for past discrimination, and approved a report saying that there was "no sufficient theological reason" to prevent authorizing specific clergy to officiate at same-sex weddings.  They also voted to continue exploring ways to ensure clergy also had a right to not officiate at such services.  A premature leaking of the report before the General Assembly planners were ready to release all documents created some controversy in April.  The Church of Scotland is following in the steps of the much smaller Scottish Episcopal Church which took the first of two votes to approve allowing clergy to perform same-sex marriages a year ago.  Their final vote will be before the synod next month.

Secretary of State Tillerson Ends Hosting a Ramadan Event

Beginning in 1999, the Department of State has hosted an annual event during Ramadan.  The event, usually a dinner on the first night of Ramadan breaking the daytime fast, or sometimes an Eid al-Fitr reception celebrating the end of Ramadan, usually had a guest list including members of Congress, diplomats from Muslim Countries, society and religious leaders, and senior U.S. officials. Secretary of State Tillerson did not host anything at the beginning of Ramadan, although he did issue a short statement noting the start of Ramadan. While Tillerson was still considering an event for Eid al-Fitr, no invitations have been issued and the 30 days of Ramadan have begun.  The Department of State normally hosts an event for one major holiday a year for a variety of religions.