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, February 13, 2019

Week Ending 02/11/19

Lutherans Try Combining Church and Beer

Martin Luther would probably love it.  A Lutheran minister in Florida has opened a new ministry combining a craft beer brewery and a start-up parish.  The craft beers brewed and sold on site are named for things Lutheran ( such as Wittenberg where Luther lived and taught), and the brewery helps cover the costs of the new parish which worships on site on Sunday mornings.  Rather than a coffee hour, its a cold brew and conversation after the service.  Religion News serves up the full story here. 

Florida Keys Parish Helps With Housing Crisis

Hurricane Irma (2017) made a tight housing situation worse in the Florida Keys.  St. Columba Episcopal Church has been working with Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) to provide needed affordable housing.  Originally that brought in 22 RVs as temporary housing, and then with the help of ERD, they bought a vacant apartment building that was built to withstand hurricane forces.  The abandoned building is being completely refitted and will provide 16 one-bedroom apartments at rates well below market rates.   WLRN of Miami featured the parish efforts recently.

Politics Upstages Prayer at National Prayer Breakfast

Presiding Bishop Curry gave a discourse on love and how Paul's discourse on love in Corinthians I was a message to communities divided by controversy, but the national news stories on the annual National Prayer Breakfast focused their coverage on the members of the Trump administration in attendance and the rambling address by President Trump.  The Episcopal News Service provides more information on the religious messages at the breakfast, including the homily by the Presiding Bishop. 

Virginia Bishop Responds to Racial Issues

This last week Virginians have been dealing with the aftermath of revelations that two of the three top Democrats in Virginia government and the Republican president of the state senate all could be linked to racist incidents as young adults.  In this context Bishop Susan Goff has issued a statement urging people to examine their own hearts and lives. She stated:  "The political realities of this current moment in our Commonwealth are complex, but our faith response is not. Out of our own confession and repentance, we can call for the repentance of our leaders."  Noting that then we could pray for all involved, she provided a set of prayers.  The Living Church has the full statement

Updates on Ongoing Stories

Haiti Develops Strategy in Wake of Failed Episcopal Election

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti has been suffering from some intense factionalism, of which one result was a challenged episcopal election and the failure of the the chosen candidate to receive the necessary consents.  Meeting last week in convention the diocese filled vacancies on the Standing Committee and approved a plan where diocesan administration would be shared by an administrator, the Standing Committee and a Visiting Bishop who would provide sacramental services.  This will give the diocese time to heal before holding another election for a bishop. 

New Zealand Cathedral Starts Rebuilding

The Cathedral in Christ Church, New Zealand was reduced to an unstable shell in the earthquake of 2011.  For the next six years, things were put on hold while the whole country argued about whether the site should be restored, razed and rebuilt, or turned into some form of a monument.  Finally decided to take the costly course of rebuilding what had been considered a national treasure, the diocese centered at Christ Church was finally able to celebrate moving forward this last week.  They consecrated their new bishop in an outdoor service near the cathedral site while workers were finally beginning to salvage stained glass and clear rubble. Update has carried numerous stories on the controversy surrounding the site.  The most recent one is here.

Churches Respond to Confederate Legacies

This last week St. John's in Montgomery, Alabama, removed a pew dedicated in 1925 to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States.  Davis attended the church for a short while before the capitol of the Confederacy moved to Richmond.  The vestry removed the pew after discovering it was a newer pew and not ever associated with Davis.  What it was associated with was an effort in 1925 to emphasize white supremacy.  The parish joined a growing list of Episcopal parishes that have removed monuments to Confederate leaders.  Meanwhile in Virginia, Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia (formerly Robert E. Lee Memorial Church) was dedicating new facilities in their parish in honor of Jonathan M. Daniels, the Episcopal seminarian who was a civil rights worker killed in 1965 while shielding a black teenager from a shotgun blast. Daniels attended the parish for several years while a student at Virginia Military Institute.

Latest Bishop Elections Add to Diversity 

The latest round of elections of bishops has again added to the list of women who will be joining the House of Bishops.  Last week Update noted the election of Susan Snook as bishop of San Diego.  This week, the Diocese of Northern California elected its first woman as bishop, the Reverend Canon Megan M. Traquair, currently Canon to the Ordinary in Arizona. The Sacramento Bee article includes information not in the standard press release from the diocese.  At the same time, Maine was electing as its new bishop, the Rev. Thomas James Brown, from Winchester, Massachusetts.  Brown also brings diversity as a gay man to the House. He is married to the Rev. Thomas Mousin

Texas Court Asks for More Information in Fort Worth Property Case

The Texas Supreme Court has asked for both sides of the Diocese of Fort Worth property litigation to submit briefs on the merits of the case.  It also set a timetable for submission and responses.  The schismatic group led by Bishop Iker has taken this as a positive sign the the Supreme Court may want to actually hear their appeal of the Appeals Court decision granting the property to the group still part of the Episcopal Church.  There have been several filings of briefs by both parties trying to get the appeal granted or refused.  The Episcopal Diocese issued a statement saying they had expected the request and their lawyers have been working on a response.   

African Archbishops Urge Conflicting Responses to Lambeth 2020

Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria in his capacity as the chair of GAFCON issued another statement on Lambeth.  It basically condemned the Anglican Communion provinces for a series of things he felt were wrong, and demanded that the Lambeth invitation to Bishop Robertson of Canada (who recently was married to his partner in a large celebration at his diocesan cathedral) be rescinded. [As an aside,   the election of Thomas Brown (covered above) as Bishop of Maine only worsens matters.]  Okoh re-iterated his call for bishops to boycott Lambeth 2020 unless the Archbishop replaced invitations to the what Okoh considers offending provinces with invitations to the GAFCON sponsored alternative bishops in those regions.  Okoh's province voted in October 2018 to not attend. Meanwhile the Archbishop of Cape Town in Southern Africa was issuing a statement encouraging all bishops to attend, stressing that it was important for bishops who disagreed to be able to talk with one another.  He noted that Anglicans have a long tradition of remaining in communion despite differences.

Southern Baptists Reel From Reports of Abuse

In 2018 a movement led by women in the Southern Baptist Church forced the resignation of denomination leaders for being unresponsive or covering up charges of abuse.  Now Texas newspapers have done an investigative report detailing sexual abuse charges against 380 Southern Baptist clergy in 20 states who have been disciplined (lightly), with many being allowed to simply move to another congregation.  The report is worse than members of the denomination had expected.  If any reforms will follow is still unknown, but the congregational structure of the denomination makes concerted action difficult.