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 4, 2020

Week Ending 08/03/20

South Sudan Cathedral Attacked

Christians in South Sudan, which has been struggling to restore peace, continue to face violent attacks.  This last weekend the Cathedral Church in the Diocese of Athooch was attacked by gunmen who killed the Dean of the Cathedral and a number of women and children who had sought refuge there. The gunmen also burned the village. The latest count of deaths from the attack is 32 with another 20 wounded. 

Another Denomination Undergoing A Split

Nineteen of the 42 congregations in the Southeast District Conference of the Church of the Brethren withdrew at the Conference's recent annual meeting because the Conference did not take a strong enough stance against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  The majority of the conference was unwilling to strictly enforce church doctrine opposing homosexuality and same sex marriage.  The conference includes congregations in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and parts of Virginia and North Carolina.  Those leaving are expected to join the Covenant Brethren Church which formed in 2019 because of dissatisfaction that the Church of the Brethren was not "orthodox" enough.

Reconsidering Anglican Membership Numbers in Africa

Andrew McKinnon, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Aberdeen posted an interesting blog page that calls into question the claims of conservative African Anglican Churches to rapid growth. Growth in these churches has often been contrasted with the decline in membership in Anglican Communion members in North America, Europe, and Britain. The implication is that "orthodox" pl;aces are growing and "liberal" places are declining.   McKinnon's research puts the  numbers in Nigeria and  Uganda at about half what they are claiming.  You can find the whole of his analysis here.

Ongoing Stories

Feeding the Hungry

Update has been carrying links to news accounts of various Episcopal parishes creating innovative ministries or reaching out to those affected by the covid-19 virus and the economic hardships associated with it.   Holy Innocents Parish in Valico, FL has been addressing needs of those who are having trouble feeding their families a hot meal several times a month.  The parish is using fundraisers to cover the costs of the food.  Luckily a local cafe donates the rice needed for meals one Sunday a month.  The local news service, the Osprey Observer carried the story.

Episcopalians Challenging Racism

The Episcopal Church has sponsored a number of different initiatives to reduce racism and foster racial reconciliation.  The most recent Update  report on one of these is here.  Now The Episcopal Church has launched a film based series that is intended to foster discussion of racism and offer anti-racism training.  The series was launched with a major on-line event attended by several thousand people. The Episcopal News Service has a story on this effort and an article on clergy supporting the protests organized by Black Lives Matters in Portland Oregon and opposing the use of federal agents in the city.

Church of England Mandates Masks

The slow reopening of churches for in-person worship continues.  Update reported that Parliament had voted to allow churches to reopen buildings several weeks ago.  However, continued infections have led Church of England officials to mandate masks be worn in their church buildings at all times.

North India Diocese Tries to Leave Church

A bishop in North India, unhappy about an investigation into management of property owned by the diocese, has announced that his diocese is now autonomous and no longer a part of the Church of North India.  The Church of North India responded by placing the bishop on leave and appointing a commission to handle affairs.  They have no yet deposed the bishop, hoping for reconciliation.  The Church says that its constitution forbids a diocese unilaterally withdrawing.  The provinces of both North India and South India have been wracked by repeated charges of corruption and mishandling of church property.  Update has carried notices of these problems before.