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 30, 2021

Week Ending 3/29/21

Churches Facing Puzzling Harassment

Two parishes on opposite sides of the U.S. are dealing with threats or harassment from unknown sources.  St. Mark's Episcopal Church  in Washington D.C. reported that someone had hung a hangman's noose from a tree on their church grounds.  The parish,  near the Capitol Building, has been open in its support of the Black Lives Movement, and police are treating the incident as a possible hate crime.  The Washington Post had the story.  Out west in Walla Walla Oregon, St. Paul's Church is dealing with the dumping of candles at their church front door.  It has occurred multiple times.  The first two times it occurred the candles totaled over 1200 pounds.  The candles are both new and used, and the church has to have them hauled away.  The most recent occurrences resulted in smaller numbers of candles.  The incidents were covered by both the Union-Bulletin and the East Oregonian.  The parish has no idea what is motivating the person doing the dumping.

Churches Respond to Recent Mass Shootings

Churches have responded to the mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado with marches n support of Asian-American, who were most of those killed in Georgia, and statements of concern about gun control.  Interdenominational marches were held in a number of major cities to show support for Asian American following a shooting that targeted businesses owned by Asian-Americans, and staffed mostly by Asian Americans.  It prompted Asian-Americans to speak out about the harassment they have suffered especially during the pandemic. The Episcopal Church's Asian-Americans sponsored a virtual gathering that documented their pain.  Following the second shooting at a grocery store in Colorado, Episcopalians were among those speaking out and issuing statements on the need for better gun control legislation. 

Latest Salary Study Show Clergy Gender Gap Persists

The Episcopal Church began to study gender pay inequity among clergy twenty years ago.  At that time the gender gap was 18%.  It has taken two decades to reduce that gap by 4.5%.  At least part of the gender gap in pay is explained by the absence of women from the highest paying clergy jobs -- those at large parishes and as deans of cathedrals.  There continues to be resistance to seeing women in those roles.  Another interesting finding was that for male clergy, having children correlated with higher salaries, while having children resulted in lower than average salaries for women.  the Episcopal News Service has more on the study results. The report itself is here.

Gallup Poll Says Less Than Half of Americas are Church Members

A recent Gallup Poll shows that under half of  Americans are now officially members of a religious congregation of any sort -Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any of the Asian religions.    The large number of younger Americans who are unaffiliated is a major factor in the decline.  Religion News has a story complete with some of the charted data from the study here

Continuing Stories

 San Diego Diocese Takes Lead on Helping Immigrant Children

The Episcopal Diocese has been asked to coordinate services for the unaccompanied minor migrants that are being housed at the San Diego Convention Center.  The Diocese has gotten all the volunteers it needed through a call issued on their web site for Spanish Speaking covid-19 vaccinated volunteers. They are now referring other volunteers to a community site which is expanding services.   The Episcopal Church has been active in immigration reform and as an advocate for migrants.  The San Diego Diocese has been one of the most active diocese in this outreach. 

British Government Allows Some Easter Singing

The British government released new regulations governing churches just in time for Easter.  The regulations allow outside church services with singing, and small gatherings in churches with some singing allowed there.  For more on the specifics see the Christian Today article.  Update has been regularly following the ups and downs of congregational worship during the pandemic.  The most recent previous post is here.

Supreme Court Allows Church Closing for Pandemic Violations

The Supreme Court has allowed  public officials to close a church in Chicago for numerous violations of public health restrictions intended to prevent the spread of covid-19.  The courts have been highly inconsistent in their rulings, striking down restrictions in some cases and upholding them in others.  In the latest case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal from  Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church.  The church had received a warning letter for exceeding the attendance limits initially in place in Illinois.  The limits have now been raised, but the congregation sought a ruling that would prevent a threat in the future should stricter regulations be reimposed.  Judge Amy Barrett did not participate in the decision to deny the appeal.  Update has carried notices of a variety of the cases involving churches challenging health restrictions.