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, February 6, 2018

Week Ending 2/4/18

Churches Continue to Support Immigrants

ReligionNews.com carried a piece this week on a Reformed Church congregation that has acted as a sanctuary site for Indonesian Christians afraid to return home because of religious persecution, and action by a judge to block deportation temporarily. Bishops from the Anglican Provinces in Central America and Mexico have issued a joint statement urging support for DACA and an end to deportation of undocumented Central Americans.  The recent diocesan convention in Washington D.C. also voted to become a sanctuary diocese for undocumented immigrants, but that resolution has not received the attention received by another resolution, covered later in this issue of Update.

Bible App for Progressives

Religion News also reports on Crystal Cheatham who found numerous on-line apps that connected conservative Christians on-line, but none for a more progressive view.  So she designed an App that would focus on those who by race, sex, orientation, or ability were marginalized in society.  The new app  includes things like an LGBTQ site on the Bible.  She is looking for contributors from liberal and feminist perspectives to add more content.  The app can be found at OurBibleApp.com

Welby Accused of Blocking Compensation for Church Abuse Victim

As Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tries to recover from all the negative publicity surrounding his refusal to clear the late Bishop George Bell's name from charges of pedophilia, he has now been hit with a direct charge that he blocked appropriate compensation for another victim of a pedophile priest.  In this case the insurer for the church offered a relatively low sum of compensation and told the person to go directly to the Church of England for more.  The Church offered nothing in addition to the  insurance award.  Welby thus heads into the Church of England Synod meeting under fire on more than one front.

Diocese of Washington Asks for Gender-Neutral Terms for God

This is the season for diocesan resolutions intended to be presented at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church which will meet in July 2018 in Austin, TX.  The Diocese of Washington has voted nearly unanimously to ask the convention to ensure that future iterations or revisions of the Book of Common Prayer will include gender-neutral language for God.  They also voted to support full inclusion of Transgendered people in the life and liturgy of the Church. Conservative church and political sources have been making a big fuss about these votes.  See VirtueOnLine,  and the IRD blog for a selection of the negative reports. Christian News includes both the supporters of the resolution and statements by traditionalists who argue that God is male.  A more positive statement on the votes are found at Episcopal Cafe

Presiding Bishop Links Appeal for Black Colleges to Absalom Jones Day

The Presiding Bishop has chosen to call attention to the two surviving Historically Black Colleges affiliated with the Episcopal Church as part of the annual Absalom Jones Day celebration.  Bishop William White ordained Jones, a former slave, to the diaconate and priesthood, making Jones the first African-American ordained to either order.  St. Augustine's in Raleigh and Voorhees in South Carolina are the sole survivors of what was once a network of 10 Episcopal Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Anglican Leaders of Ireland Oppose Abortion Bill

The two top clergy in Ireland (North and Republic), the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin  have jointly issued a statement opposing provisions in an abortion law now under review by the parliament of the Republic of Ireland.  The bishops carefully distinguish between the provisions of the law they cannot support and the need to allow abortions for women either for medical or certain life-situational reasons and to pastorally support women, who, in difficult situations, must choose abortion. 

South Sudan Elects a Woman as Bishop

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan has consecrated its first woman as a bishop.  The Rt. Rev. Elizabeth Awut Ngor will serve as assistant bishop in the Diocese of Rumbek.  She becomes the third African woman to serve as a bishop.  The others are in Swaziland and False Bay in Southern Africa. Unlike the those in Southern Africa, the South Sudan participates in the conservative GAFCON bloc.  Her election creates a problem for the GAFCON members because they had asked Uganda and Kenya to hold off electing women as bishops until all of GAFCON would accept them. 

Church Continues Response to Natural Disasters

Presiding Bishop Curry continued his tour of locations struck by Hurricanes with a visit to the Houston area, where churches and families are still struggling to recover.  Parishes are continuing to provide basic support for those families flooded out. The Update covered his earlier visits to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands here and here.   Meanwhile in the far west, Episcopalians this week were celebrating the clearing of mudslide debris from the major road in Montecito so that they could finally worship in their own building again.  Neighboring parishes helped out during the exile.  Now all of the parishes are looking at helping neighbors whose homes were destroyed in the mudslides touched off by heavy rain in areas denuded of vegetation by recent fires. Update carried an earlier report here.

Lawyers in South Carolina Tell Court "No Progress" on Mediation

The scepiscopalians.com blog has postings from January 29 and February 2, 2018 dealing with the documents filed by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the schismatic diocese each saying that while talks continue, they are making no progress.  The court is delaying hearing arguments in the trademarks case as long as mediation is continuing.  The Episcopal Church lawyers noted that they were willing to proceed in court, thus signaling that they believe the talks are a delay tactic by the schismatic group which is trying to stave off as long as possible a court decision which may well go against them. Earlier coverage of the mediation by Update is here.