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, May 11, 2021

Week Ending 05/10/21

Indiana Episcopalians Open LBTQA+ Shelter

Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis set out to use a house they owned as a homeless shelter, but ended up acquiring a different house and turning it into the first shelter for homeless LBGTQA+ youth.  Many of the young homeless were thrown out by their families after coming out.  The Diocese of Indianapolis provided support and has recognized the shelter as a diocesan venture.  The shelter is open to all although both Trinity and the Diocese will maintain seats on the governing board. The Episcopal News Service has more details on the shelter here.
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Lutherans Elect First Transgender Bishop

The Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has elected Megan Rohrer as its bishop.  Rohrer is the first transgender bishop in the ELCA, and in 2006 was the first transgendered person ordained in the ELCA.  Rohrer has been pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco, and also community chaplain coordinator to the city police department.The Episcopal Church is in full communion with the ELCA. 

New Jersey Parish Blesses Fire and Emergency Vehicles

On the date set aside to remember St. Florian, the patron saint for emergency responders, Christ Episcopal Church in Woodbury, NJ offered a blessing for all of Gloucester County's emergency and Fire Vehicles.  Local news carried the story with no further explanation, but over 26 pictures. It is a simple way to reach out to your community. 

Continuing Stories

Canada Takes Next Step to Create Indigenous Church

In July 2019, the  General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada voted to create an independent functioning Anglican Church for indigenous peoples and selected Bishop Mark MacDonald as archbishop.  After several years of committee work and consultation with indigenous peoples, the group has produced a draft constitution for the new church.  The tentative name for the church is "The Sacred Circle."  The documents now go to discussion and for approval to the meetings of the indigenous church.  The pandemic took a toll on the indigenous ministry, with 9 ordained clergy dying, and so part of the next steps are to  train additional clergy for the church.  The Anglican Church office for Indigenous Ministry has been providing support for the planning and for outreach to native peoples.

Church of England Looks for Help on How to Remove Racist Memorials

The Episcopal Church has been grappling for several years about what to do with memorials that are tied to slavery or racism.  Now the Church of England has announced it is seeking guidance in its efforts to deal with memorials to slavery  or with racist inscriptions in its churches and institutions.  While chattel slavery never had legal status in England, it did in its colonies, and many colonials brought enslaved servants with them when they visited or took up residence in England. England also participated in the slave trade for nearly 300 years. The whole Anglican Communion has been taking a hard look at racism, coming to terms with the fact that a majority of members of the various churches in the communion are people of color.

Missouri Bishop Protests Law Allowing Guns in Churches

Bishop Deon Johnson of Missouri has joined with a broad group of religious leaders in Missouri to issue a statement against proposed legislation that would allow concealed guns to be carried in churches without permission from the church.  Current law requires gun owners to ask permission before bringing a gun in.  If the new law goes into effect, churches would have to post signs forbidding guns  on the premises in order to remain gun-free.  The law also lowers the age for a concealed gun permit from 19 to 18 years of age, and permits carrying weapons on public transit.  Johnson is a member of Bishops Against Gun Violence, and joins a number of other bishops speaking out recently on gun violence.  Update's most recent story on opposition to gun violence is here.

Sydney Elects New Archbishop with Ties to GAFCON

The Anglican Church of Australia's Sydney Province will continue to be out of step with the rest of the Australian Church given that its recently elected archbishop is a board member of GAFCON.  He has carefully announced he will be consecrated by one of the Sydney diocese bishops, thus avoiding the possibility that he will have to deal with a bishop that either supports blessing same sex unions or women's ordination.  It will be interesting to see how he deals with other archbishops in Australia, given that at least one is a woman, and some support blessing same sex unions.  In other ways the archbishop-elect may be a breath of fresh air.  When he was elected Dean of the Sydney cathedral in 2016 he brought an emphasis on inclusion. Dean Kanishka Raffel, was a convert from Buddhism.  His parents were Sri Lankan immigrants to London, he emigrated to Australia in 1972 and converted to Anglicanism while studying law in Sydney.  His first statements after election as archbishop stressed ethic and racial inclusion.