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, March 10, 2020

Week Ending 03/09/20

Islamic Foundation Makes Major Grant to Episcopal Relief and  Development

The Islamic Fund USA (IRUSA)  has renewed its support and partnership with Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) on a project to reduce violence towards women and girls in Liberia. The  ERD began the project in 2015.  This is the second three year grant that ERD has received from IRUSA for the Liberian project.  The project also receives funding from the UN program to improve women's status.  ERD is seeking to change the attitudes of christian and muslim religious leaders and youth towards women, and teach them how to speak out against violence to women.  Liberia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women, in part a legacy of the vicious civil war that ended in 2003.  Ties between the Episcopal Church and Liberia date to the country's formation in the early 19th century and the Episcopal Church of Liberia was a part of TEC until 1979.  Islamic Relief USA is the major charitable foundation for U.S. Muslims.

Bishop Barbara Harris Seriously Ill

Bishop Alan Gates sent a letter to parishes on March 7 informing them that Barbara Harris, the retired suffragan bishop had had surgery on March 1, and after initially appearing to be stable, she took a  turn for the worse.  The bishop reports "Barbara's condition has continued to weaken, and she is now being kept comfortable by the hospital medical team.  She is not receiving any visitors, but all of us hold her in our deepest and fondest prayers." So far there has been no update on her condition.  Harris, was the first woman to be come a bishop in the Anglican Communion.  She was consecrated in 1989 at a time when a number of provinces in the Anglican Communion and several TEC dioceses did not ordain women. African-American, liberal and female, Bishop Harris has been a pioneer on many fronts for the church. Harris will turn 90 in June. 

Updates on Continuing Stories

Coronavirus Impacts Churches  

Episcopal Church responses to Coronavirus-19 epidemic continue to evolve. Last week Update reported on early responses. Since then a number of additional dioceses have announced protocols for serives during the epidemic.  Following the news reports that the rector of the Episcopal Church in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. had been briefly hospitalized with the virus and was in home quarantine, Bishop Marian Budde has announced new protocols for the Diocese of Washington which include banning the common cup at communion, ending all physical contact at the peace or in fellowship following the service.  The infected rector had a attended a major church meeting in Louisville just before he realized he was ill, and he served communion last weekend to over 500 members of his congregation.  Bishops on the Pacific Coast where the virus has a strong presence have announced similar steps to that taken by Bishop Budde.    Presiding Bishop Curry has announced that the House of Bishops will not meet as scheduled this week at Camp Allen, but will hold its meeting using virtual technology.

More Christ Church College Responses

The fight between the Dean of Christ Church College and Cathedral in Oxford and faculty and visitors of the college continues to be waged through public press releases.  The latest is a response from the Dean.  Last week Update reported on releases by the governing board of the college and on leaked material from an investigation done earlier in the dispute. 

Cuba Officially Returns as Episcopal Diocese

Not even the Coronavirus-19 travel ban could keep Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and other U.S. Bishops from flying to Cuba for an official welcome back to Cuba Episcopalians.  A process set in motion in 2015 and approved by General Convention in 2018 came to its conclusion last week with the announcement that the Episcopal Church in Cuba was once against the Episcopal Diocese of Cuba.  Cuba is now the 12th diocese in Episcopal Church's Province II which includes not only all the dioceses in the states of New York and New Jersey, but also the church in Europe, the Virgin Islands, and Haiti.

Methodist Clergy Defy Church by Presiding at Same-Sex Wedding

The Methodist Church has been facing considerable resistance to the decision of the church's governing body to enforce rules against same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.  As Update has reported, the church will consider this year a plan to divide the denomination in order to end the war between factions.  Now a group of 12 clergy have given a clear challenge by all signing on as co-celebrants of the wedding of  a same-sex couple at Duke University Chapel.   The question is whether any of the clergy will be brought before church bodies for disciplinary action. It is a classic act of civil disobedience.

Service Scheduled on the Eve of the Lambeth Conference Sparks Controversy

Bishop Mary Glasspool, and the daughter of Archbishop Tutu have teamed up to offer a Eucharist in  
Canterbury on the eve of the start of the Lambeth Conference of bishops this summer. Rev Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, who now lives in the Netherlands, and resigned her position in South Africa after marring a same sex partner will preach.  Glasspool, the assistant bishop of New York will be the celebrant.  Glasspool was among the bishops whose same-sex spouses were not invited to Lambeth.  She was the first married lesbian to be elected a bishop anywhere in the Anglican Communion. Tutu van Furth and Glasspool intend the service to be a wake-up for those attending Lambeth.  It is likely to provoke a reaction from some of the African bishops attending.