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         

Monday, December 16, 2019

Week Ending 12/16/19

Virginia Parish Bags Sweet Potatoes to Feed the Hungry

St. John's Episcopal Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, was the latest partner with the Society of St. Andrew to bag sweet potatoes to give to those in need.  The St. Andrew's  Society is a non-profit group with ties to the Methodist Church that partners with churches of all denominations to address hunger and poverty throughout the United States.  The Society arranged for a dump truck to deposit 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes at St. John's Church.  The parish then provided the labor to bag the potatoes in 10 pound bags - 4000 of them.  St. John's is a large parish in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia with membership of more than 1000 members.  For more about the parish go here.  Local news covered the story here and here.  Information on the Society of St. Andrew can be found at the organization's website.

Parish Restoring the Environment Through Native Plants

 St. Stephen's Parish, Birmingham, Alabama, a large vibrant parish with a membership of around 1500 is featured in a local Birmingham on-line guide for its work in restoring its large church grounds with native plants and trees.  The object is to create a more sustainable environment.  The restoration included removing large numbers of invasive plants and non-native trees, and replacing them with native plants.  The work was done largely by church volunteers.

Anglican Communion Creates Office for Gender Equality

Update was remiss in not noting earlier this month that the Anglican Communion has repackaged its post as Director of Women in Church and Society into one called the Director of Gender Justice. In early December the Anglican Communion Office announced that Mandy Marshall, a prominent activist to end violence against women, will fill the Directorship.  She officially takes up the post in April 2020.

Parish in Florida Keys Fills Housing Needs

St. Columba, a small parish in the Florida Keys has launched a major housing project with help from Episcopal Relief and Development to meet the needs of workers whose housing was destroyed in 2017 by Hurricane Irma.  The church sheltered a number of people made homeless by the hurricane and then began to look for a more permanent solution.  It ended up buying an 18 unit apartment complex which had been left a shell by the hurricane.  A combination of the ERD grant and parish volunteer labor, the apartment building is nearing completion and will offer apartments to low income workers still without permanent housing two years after the hurricane. The Living Church has the whole story

Updates on Continuing Stories

South India Anglican Bishop Cleared of Charges

The Church in South India (CSI), a united body that includes Anglicans and is treated as a province in the Anglican Communion by Archbishop Welby has had numerous legal issues and scandals over the last several years.  The moderator (primate) for the  CSI was arrested a year ago on charges of fraud.  A few months later the Bishop of Karnataka Central Diocese, the Rt. Rev. P.K. Samuel was charged with sexual harassment.  After a secular investigation of the complaint, and courts recently ruled the charges were unfounded.  Samuels is considered a possible candidae to replace the moderator accused of fraud, and Samuel's supporter think the charges are part of an effort to discredit his candidacy.

Pittsburgh's Calvary Parish and Tree of Life Celebrate December Holidays Together 

Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh made headlines when it reached out to the leaders of Tree of Life Congregation, which had been in exile from its building following the 2018 terrorist shooting at the temple that left 11 dead.  Calvary hosted the High Holiday services for the Tree of Life Congregation this fall.  Now the two congregations will again share Calvary's space for holdiay services in December.  On December 22, Calvary will have its usual Christmas pageant for youth at its 11:00 service, which will be followed at 12:30 with Tree of Life's Hannuka Celebration.  Members of both groups are invited to attend both services.  The Pittsburgh Jewish newspaper has an article on the upcoming event, and the December issue of the Calvary Newsletter has an announcement and reflection (p.8) on the two events.  Rector, Jonathan Jensen posted an invitation on Facebook as well. 

Falls Church Parish Celebrates 250 Years

Falls Church, Virginia was one of the most bitterly fought battles over Virginia Church property.  In 2012 the ANCA congregation reluctantly gave up possession of the historic building to the Episcopal congregation, but continued legal action until 2014.  Now the restored Episcopal congregation is thriving and is celebrating the church's 250th birthday