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, August 13, 2019

Week Ending 8/12/19

Cathedral Installs Carnival Ride

The Church of England Cathedral at Norwich has installed a fun fair ride called the Helter Skelter in the nave of the church.  The idea was to use the ride as a way to get up closer to the roof so they can see the medieval roof bosses better. It takes people up 40 feet, making the 60 foot high ceiling much more visible.  Needless to say, while many people are flocking to the attraction, others are upset. There is a fee to go up in Helter Skelter which helps cover the cost of the rental or the ride and puts a little extra into Cathedral initiatives. The ride will go back to its rental company on August 18.  

Lutheran Synod Round-Up of News

The General Synod of the  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has been meeting in Milwaukee. The Synod is the equivalent of the Episcopal General Convention, and like the General Convention, has been combining legislation, elections, direct action and resolutions.  The Synod re-elected Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton for another six year term.  She has worked closely with the TEC Presiding Bishop on a number of issues. The ELCA also made strong statements on immigration (by voting to be a Sanctuary Church) and by organizing a mass march to the ICE offices in Milwaukee.  The Synod also declared that sexism and patriarchy were sins and denounced white supremacy.

New English Marriage Registration Process Affects Churches

Passage of a law covering civil partnerships and marriages has led the British agency charged with keeping the official records of these life events to announce forthcoming new procedures.  No one is sure when the changes will go into effect, but the procedures moves the responsibility of for filing the documents with the government office from the officiating clergy or magistrate to the couple themselves.  Church officials are raising questions about the speed of the change (20,000+ clergy will need training), availability of the forms, cost to the Registrar's office and whether Churches will continue to keep unofficial records.  The law effects England and Wales. In Scotland a similar change was made a decade ago.  The church is frustrated because it was not consulted as the bill went through Parliament.

Hong Kong Churches Seek Peaceful Solution Amid Protests

The leaders of christian churches in Hong Kong are reminding their members that political differences should not lead to hatred, and urging protests and the responses to them all be peaceful.  The Three Bishops of the Anglican Province of Hong Kong sent a letter to their members reminding them that Christians should remember that  those they disagree with are still members of God's family and that they should be kind to others.  The organization representing all christian denomination has urged prayers for a peaceful resolution to the issues sparking the protest.  The Roman Catholic Church has sponsored both a candlelight vigil in support of the issues raised by the protester and a call to members that protests must remain peaceful. One independent church is offering trauma counseling. You can find out more in the article in Christian Today

New York Episcopalians Educate Public on Prostitution Legislation

 New York is one of four states considering decriminalization of prostitution.  There is also a proposal for a national law.  The Episcopal Diocese of New York Task Force Against Human Trafficking has been educating the general public about the issues involved, especially the ways it may make it harder to prosecute sex-traffickers.  The Episcopal News Service article has a fuller discussion of the issues involved and why the diocesan task force feels this is a step backwards for women's rights.

Continuing Stories

Sewanee  Offers Guidance on Confederate Symbols

The University of the South's project on Slavery, Race and reconciliation has announced  a pilot workshop in November for clergy about how to lead parish conversations about confederate symbols and memorials built into their parish buildings and grounds.That topic has been a painful one for congregations given that what is at stake is their understanding of their own history and artifacts that have been in place the entire life of most parishioners.  Given that the university at Sewanee had to go through its own painful discussions concerning memorials to 19th century professors who were high ranking Confederate Officers and leaders, the University has experience to draw on in planning the workshops, as well as a team headed by historian and two Sewanee Seminary graduates.  Update has carried stories on the removal of Confederate symbols at a number of Episcopal Churches.  

Mississippi Episcopalians Reach Out After ICE Raids

The Diocese of Mississippi has reached out with other churches to offer help to the communities and families affected by the Massive ICE raids at seven food processing plants in rural Mississippi.  ICE officers originally detained aver 600 workers, and while 300 were released after a day, the communities are now in shock. It was the first day of the fall school term for most of the communities, and many children were suddenly without parents to pick them up from school, care for them or feed them.  Both Episcopal News Service and local news outlets carried the story.  The Episcopal Church has been active in support of humane treatment for immigrants and immigrant rights and Update has covered church actions multiple times.

Clergy Protest Gun Violence at Senator McConnell's Office

Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring to the Senate floor any of the pieces of gun control legislation passed by the House of Representatives, he has become a target for protest in the wake of the latest round of mass shootings.  The Coalition of Concerned Clergy sent about two dozen clergy to the Senate office building to protest outside McConnell's office.  The protest was organized by Rev. Rob Schenck of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, and one of the main speakers was Bishop Mariann Budde of the Diocese of Washington.  Their comments are quoted in the Episcopal News Service  article.  The Update has posted numerous stories on Episcopalians working to end gun violence.