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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, April 21, 2021

Week Ending 4/19/21

 Parting of the Ways for Community of St. Mary

The Community of St. Mary is the oldest Episcopal religious order.  The Community now functions as three separately governing bodies, located in New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  The New York Community, based in Peekskill, decided to follow their former bishop, William Love, ACNA and in ACNA, Love has been assigned to serve as their Bishop Visitor.  The other two regions for the Community have made no move to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC)  The Community of St. Mary based at Sewanee, Tennessee, issued this statement about their intent to stay in TEC.  The Tennessee group's history includes the early sisters who are known as the "Martyrs of Memphis" for their willingness to give their lives caring for victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic in 1878.

Volcanic Ash Closes Churches beyond St. Vincent

The recent volcanic eruptions have resulted in over 20,000 people seeking refuse away from the direct flow and dangerous gasses on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent.   Neighboring islands have been housing some of the refugees.  However wind-born ash has made conditions on Barbados, which is directly to the east of St. Vincent, so difficult that Bishop Michael Maxwell of Barbados advised all 52 of Barbados's Anglican Churches to be closed and use only on-line worship on Sunday April 18.  The churches there had begun cautiously to return to in-person worship after a lockdown to prevent spread of the covid-19 virus.

Continuing Stories

Fort Worth Parishes Vacate Buildings 

Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear the Episcopalians' appeal of the decision awarding all property to the schismatic group in Fort Worth, the six Forth Worth parishes that remained in the Episcopal Church were given notice that they would be required to vacate their property.  April 18 was the last Sunday for these parishes in their buildings.  The Episcopal News Service provided this story on their last Sundays.  The local Fox News stations carried a story on the changeover from the perspective of the schismatic group now in ACNA.  A Facebook post on the personal website of Katie Sherrod (a member of one of the dispossessed parishes, and a well-known journalist) provides a more personal look at the pain of the dislocation.  The editor notes that in dioceses where the Episcopal Church won the legal challenges, not all ACNA parishes have been forced to vacate.  In Pittsburgh, for example, several ACNA parishes have remained in their buildings for over a decade while acknowledging that the Episcopal diocese is the owner of the actual property.

Biden Refugee Policy Provokes Swift Response from Churches

Under President Trump admission of almost all refugees to the United States ground to a halt.  A number of churches, including The Episcopal Church had strongly protested the Trump policies. The Biden administration had promised a more welcoming approach to refugees, but when Biden announced that he would leave in place the tiny quota set by Trump for refugees in 2021, the Churches once again protested strongly, including the Episcopal Church.  By the end of the day, the Biden press secretary was announcing that the quota would be raised before the end of the year.  The Episcopal Church released this statement in response to that second announcement.   

Indianapolis Bishop Speaks Out After Still Another Shooting

The incidence of gun violence, including shooting deaths of multiple victims has been growing at an alarming rate.  Following the murder of 8 people at an Indianapolis FedEx site, Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, the Episcopal Bishop of Indianapolis, issued this statement, urging Episcopalians to not let the frequency of these shootings dull their outrage and pain at them.  The Episcopal Church has witnessed against gun violence and for better gun control laws regularly.  Update has carried numerous stories and statements from Church leaders about this issue.  The most recent previous post is here

Episcopalians Continue to Deal with Racist Past and Present

Under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the Episcopal Church has made racial reconciliation and anti-racism a major focus. Churches have responded in multiple ways including the removal of plaques and memorials honoring slave owners or featuring symbols of the Confederacy from main worship spaces.  The University of the South, including Sewanee Seminary has been trying to come to terms with its own founding as an institution steeped in traditions of the "Old" South.  In the last several years it has removed Confederate symbols and offered guidance to Episcopal parishes and other institutions faced with similar situations.  Recent racial incidents on campus have not slowed that process.  Most recently the University has announced a decision to replace parts of a stained glass window in the university chapel supposedly showing reconciliation of North and South following the Civil war and including a confederate flag with landscape images representing North and South and renaming the window "Reunification."  They have also decided to rename the Dubose lecture series.  The Rev. William Dubose was a noted theologian at the university, but he also had owned slaves and promoted white supremacy.  The Episcopal Church is not alone among the the provinces of the Anglican Communion in dealing with racism.  The Anglican Communion News Service recently carried this story on actions throughout the Communion to protest racism.

Forum Addresses World-Wide Inequity in Covid-19 Vaccine

Update recently carried a story about the request from the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Southern Africa to President Biden to made covid-19 vaccines more available to other countries.  Now Archbishop Makgoba participates in a virtual panel discussion sponsored by the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations.  Other panelists included Archbishop Linda Nicholls, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, a Bishop from the Church of England, and Rebecca Linder Blachly, the Director of the Episcopal Church's office of Government Relations.  The panelists stressed that the pandemic could not be stopped unless vaccinations were world wide, and that policies promoting an equitable distribution of the vaccines were imperative.  You can find more on the panel presentation here