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, November 27, 2018

Week Ending 11/26/18

Archbishop Welby Questions God "the Father." 

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, ruffled more than a few conservative feathers with a very nuanced talk in which he calling God  "Father" was inaccurate.  Welby argues that the metaphor of God as "Father" was much too limiting.  You can find a more complete description of his comments here.

Thoughts on a Missionary's Death

While there have been numerous news stories about the death of John Chau in the Andaman Islands while trying to contact a deliberately isolated tribe of  native peoples with a stone-age culture, this piece in Christian Today provides thoughtful commentary both on the particular religious perspective that made Chau go there, and the issues his decision raises for other Christians, and secular society.

Clergy Challenge Authorities for the Poor and Homeless

Clergy around the globe were busy this last week challenging officials.  The Rev. Sarah Monroe, an Episcopal priest who has been providing pastoral services to a homeless encampment in Aberdeen, Washington for several years, was part of a group that has filed suit against Aberdeen officials who have now fenced off the encampment and restrict visitors to the encampment.  Monroe was among those denied the requisite permit for entry because she could not give a specific schedule of visits. The denial of a permit was a denial of the rights of freedom to exercise their religion for both the clergy involved in the Chaplains on the Harbor group and the people in the encampment. The Diocese of Olympia has more

Meanwhile a Canadian priest has been arrested for chaining herself to a tree in protest of a pipeline construction project opposed by the indigenous peoples of the area. She was joined by a parishioner in the protest.   The two were defying a court injunction ordering protesters to not impede construction.  The Vancouver Star has more here

In Nigerian clergy and supporting laity staged a protest over government bias and the destruction of a worship space on the grounds of what had been founded as a Church Missionary Society School.  The Nigerian government took control of all church schools a number of years ago, but under a more recent legislative act has been supposed to return the church school properties of all denominations to the original church owners.   Local Anglicans built a parsonage and worship space on the grounds of a the school, but have been forced off part of the property.  The state claims the school, and apparently has given the Roman Catholic church access to part of the property. The local Nigerian news carried this story.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Sydney Archbishop Apologizes - Sort of . .

The Update carried news last week that the primates of the Anglican Province of New Zealand had rejected a proposal floated by the conservative-GAFCON archbishop of Sydney, Australia.  In polite but firm language, the New Zealand leaders said the proposal raised issues of colonial intervention.  This week the Sydney archbishop sent a letter saying that he was sorry if his proposal caused offense.  However, he also suggested that he would continue to find a way to test his proposal of concurrent jurisdictions.

Church Struggles After Fires in Paradise and Malibu

 As Update noted last week, the Episcopal Churches in Paradise and the area covered by the Malibu fire had escaped major damage, but were going to struggle to recover.  A Christianity Today story this week covers the effect on many of the other religious groups in Paradise, and the Episcopal News Service has more on  St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Malibu and the struggle it faces due to losses suffered by its members.

Albany Episcopalians Document Theological Screening in Diocese

When Bishop William Love of Albany announced that he would not implement Resolution B012 in his diocese, thus denying the General Convention mandate that same sex couples who were Episcopalians have access in every diocese to the approved liturgies for marriage, he touched off numerous criticisms.  The Update has carried notices of these here and here. Among the letters sent to the Presiding Bishop was one from those in Albany wishing to use the rites, and noting that they believed Bishop Love was also using a tight screening for those seeking ordination or wanting to answer parish calls in the diocese.  However, they now have documentation.  Blog writer John White has published the list of supplemental questions sent to a finalist candidate for a parish search last year.  After answering this list of questions, sent by the diocese, not the parish, the candidate was not invited for an interview.

Churches Continue to Support Immigrants on the Border and Elsewhere

General Convention and leaders of the Episcopal Church witnessed numerous times in support of immigrants and refugees.  Most recently Update reported on the letter signed by leaders of Central American Anglican/Episcopal Bishops asking countries to treat those in the large caravans with kindness.  Episcopal dioceses along the border between the U.S. and Mexico met together with their Mexican counterparts for a Border Ministries Summit this last week.  The participants looked at ways they could best work together to minister to the migrants and families divided by the border.  Episcopal News Service (ENS) gave the summit full coverage.  In a separate article the ENS explored a ministry to migrants being detained for deportation at a New Hampshire jail.  Episcopalians are part of an interdenominational effort at the Strafford County Correctional facility near Dover, New Hampshire.  In Michigan, a wide range of chruches have been supporting the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union to free a number of Chaldean Christians from Iraq arrested by ICE since 2017.   They face near certain death if returned.  The ACLU just has won a court order releasing over 100 of those held.