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, July 14, 2020

Week Ending 07/13/20

Bishop McConnell Appoints Leaders for Diocesan "Beloved Community" Effort

Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has announced a new focus for racial reconciliation and social justice with the appointment of the Rev. Eric McIntosh as canon for the Beloved Community Initiative and Shahnaz Alam-Denlinger as Program Coordinator.  McIntosh is charged with developing a curriculum to guide parishes in exploring and coming to terms with racism and Alam-Denlinger with administering the program initiatives.  It is not clear how this effort will intersect with the existing Committee on Anti-racism and Reconciliation, although both McIntosh and Alam-Denlinger have been members of that committee.  

South Sudan Drops Apostasy Law Death Penalty

Several of the North Africa and Middle Easter Countries with Muslim majorities have laws that make it a capital offense for anyone to convert  from Islam to another religion.  The new South Sudan regime is trying to secularize government.  It has now removed the death penalty for apostasy, and Christian Churches are relieved.  The revocation,if it lasts, could make things safer for members of the Anglican Communion Province of South Sudan.  However, there is some concern that the government may be moving too quickly in efforts to modernize. 

Mark Lawrence Begins Planned Exit from Leadership

The five dioceses where bishops actually led major portions of the membership out of the Episcopal Church will all have had the original bishops retire by the end of 2022.  Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, Quincy, and Fort Worth have all completed the transition to a new ACNA bishop.  Now Mark Lawrence in South Carolina has requested the election of a bishop coadjutor, who will take full control of the ACNA diocese in 2022.  The blogger Steve Skardon has some comments and speculations in a July 10 posting.  It is interesting to note that there is another ACNA bishop responsible for parishes in South Carolina.  The ACNA Diocese of the Carolinas, which came to ACNA from the Anglican Mission in America, is restructuring to give two of its 4 bishops oversight of the South Carolina parishes in its diocese (including ones in Charleston, S.C.) and the other two will focus on North Carolina.  It will be interesting to see if there is any interest in merging the units. 

Continuing Stories

Church Continues to Following Command to "Do Justice"

The Episcopal News Service continues to provide stories on the ways that the Episcopal Church pursues social, economic, and environmental justice.  This week the news service highlighted an on-line gathering attended by over 2000, that was designed to connect political activism with the command to love one's neighbor.  The gathering was a joint effort of the ELCA and the Episcopal Church.  The Episcopal Church also expressed its support for the court decision granting a full environmental review of the pipeline that threatened the Standing Rock Reservation water supplies and sacred lands.  Update has covered the protests and earlier stages of the lawuit.

More On Adapting Ministry to Coronavirus

In Updates ongoing efforts to highlight parish adaptations to ministry during the pandemic, there are 3 stories to highlight this week.  First is the beginning of outdoor services on the grounds of the Long Island Cathedral.  A second story was about the handling of memorials and grief counseling by both clergy and funeral directors.  The Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena, is quoted extensively.  The third story is about Episcopal Dioceses that received federal funds under the Paycheck Protection Program.  Pittsburgh does not appear on the list.  

St. Paul's Richmond to "Reinterpret" Windows

St/ Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond had a rich array of Confederate Memorials which it began removing as early as 2015.  The plaques removed became par of a historical display where they could be interpreted with attention to issues of racism.  However, three stained glass windows were more difficult to deal with. Two were memorials to Robert E. Lee, one of which had a biblical setting suggesting he chose to be faithful rather than accept riches when he chose to support the Confederacy rather than lead the Union troops.  The third window honored Jefferson Davis with a biblical reference to unjust imprisonment.  The church has announced that the windows will stay, but will be re-interpreted.  The new interpretation was not outlined in the announcement.  With the current pressure to remove memorials to Confederates, the Church had to reach a conclusion on the windows's fates.  The Diocese and St. Paul's have been supportive of attempts to remove public statues of Confederate leaders and supporters of white supremacy.

Lambeth Conference Delayed Again

The Lambeth Conferences have generally followed a pattern of meeting every 10 years.  However,  dissention within the Anglican Communion led Archbishop Welby to delay the conference for two years.  It was to meet this summer, but as the coronavirus pandemic struck, the meeting was delayed to 2021.  Now conditions remain uncertain enough that a further delay has been announced.  The conference is now scheduled for 2022, a 14 year gap since the previous meeting of active bishops throughout the Anglican Communion. 

Reaction to Hong Kong Archbishop's Support of Security Law 

A month ago, Update posted links to criticism of the Archbishop of Hong Kong for his support of the Chinese imposed National Security Law.  Now both Christian Today and the Living Church have stories on the Archbishop's defense of the law.  What complicates the defense is that the Archbishop of Hong Kong also holds the position of Chair of the  Anglican Consultative Council which puts the Communion in an awkward position.