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         

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Week Ending 3/22/21

Churches Take Different Approaches to Easter Worship

A Pew Research Center Study just released shows that there are major differences by by denomination in whether people expect to attend Easter Services in person, and that only about 12% are expecting to attend a service with no covid restrictions.  Over half of evangelicals can attend in-person worship, but over a third of those who usually attend evangelical churches stayed home. Roman Catholic, mainline Protestants, and black churches were much less open for in-person worship and continuing to rely on on-line worship. (Pew categorizes The Episcopal Church as mainline Protestant). 

Clergy Climate Activists Stage Protest in British Courtroom

Two retired clergy from the Church of England who have become climate change activists decided to use their court appearances for civil disobedience to further their protests. The purpose of the courtroom protest was to call attention to the complicity of courts in governmental inaction on climate change. They glued themselves to their chairs in the courtroom.  The Church Times focused on the background of the two clergy, while the story in Christian Today focused more on the climate change issue and the non-violent protest of the two. 

Episcopalians Respond to Vatican Same-Sex Blessing Statement 

The announcement by Pope Francis that the Roman Catholic Church will not bless same sex marriages because it cannot "bless sin" has resulted in a number of statements by Episcopalians countering the Pope and offering a welcome to LGBTQA people.  A number of Episcopalians also took to social media to offer support, comfort and an alternative theological position. The Episcopal News Service has a compilation of social media posts and comments here.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Diocese of Pittsburgh Parish is Vaccine Site

Last week Update carried notices of Episcopal sites in other states hosting covid vaccination events.  Later in the week, one of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh's own parishes  served that same purpose.  St. Mark's in Johnstown is a historic downtown church  that has dealt with disasters several times, especially the famous Johnstown Flood.  But this week it dealt with a flood of vaccine seekers.  Dur to a glitch in the phone notification process being used by sponsoring health agency, more than twice the number of people notified for appointments than the group had vaccines.  The line of those waiting for shots stretched around the block outside the church.  The  situation was corrected for a second day of shots at the church.  The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat carried the story.

Church Leaders Shrug Off Outside Legal Opinion

The Anglican Church of Canada, after a very close vote and some confusion at their 2019 synod has left it up to dioceses whether churches will bless same-sex marriages.  Traditionalists continue to fight that decision, as dioceses began to implement blessings.  Receiving little support in Canada, they sought  legal opinion from Canada about whether the dioceses were violating canon law and turned to two conservative canon lawyers in England.  The canon lawyers have issued opinions that the local options to bless do violate Canadian church law, but top church officials have shrugged off the opinions as just that - opinions with no legal status for the Canadian church. 

Sewanee Shaken by Another Racial Incident

Several weeks ago the Dean at the University of the South went public about the racial harassment he and his family had been facing at their on-campus home. The university is owned by the dioceses of Province IV of The Episcopal Church, and is also home to a seminary of the church. The university has been taking major strides to free itself from its historic legacy tied to the Confederacy and white supremacy.  This last week the campus was shocked when students from the campus began shouting racial slurs at the opposing team. All the spectators were required to leave and the campus apologized to the visiting team.  Others on campus organized a demonstration against racism, but the school is searching for ways to address the racist outburst and create a campus community that welcomes diversity.  The Episcopal News Service has more on this latest incident.