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, November 16, 2021

Week Ending 11/15/21

Episcopalians Organize Action Against Disastrous Michigan No-Fault Policies

Changes to the Michigan no-fault insurance law has resulted in private insurers cutting services offered to those who were left with grievous injuries in accidents covered by the no-fault law.  These include such a services as 24/7 home care and partial services (such as for baths, getting into bed, or reaching physical therapy or doctors appointments.)  Instead the private non-profit that manages a fund created by insurance payments is planning on issuing refund checks to those who buy no-fault accident insurance. Bonnie Anderson, former President of the Episcopal House of Deputies has organized  an interfaith group of religious leaders to speak out on the need for corrective legislation.   Anderson has a son who needs such care as a result of a car accident. The cut in services not only has families stretched to the breaking point, but has damaged the long term home care providers who have had to let many staff go.  Bills have been introduced in the legislature to fix the problem, but Republicans are blocking them.

Ongoing Threads

Diocese of Virginia Votes Millions for Reparations

One of the leaders within the Episcopal Church and the country on the issue of reparations for the damage done to the African-American community both through enslavement and racism has been the Diocese of Virginia.  The Virginia Theological Seminary has already implemented a plan of reparations, focusing especially on the  descendants of African Americans who were enslaved or worked for the seminary.  Now the Diocese of Virginia has voted to create a fund of $10 million dollars to be used for grants and loans to individuals or groups from the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.  The funds and further recommendations will be overseen by a committee to be formed by the end of the year with representations of  lay and clergy and BIPOC, and liaisons from the other two dioceses in Virginia (both of which were originally part of the Diocese of Virginia.) The full resolution is here.

Welby Backtracks on Ghana Law Comments

Archbishop Justin Welby apparently stepped on a few toes by issuing a public statement  on the draconian law punishing any identification as LGBTQ or discussion of LGBTQ status proposed by the legislature in Ghana.  What prompted Welby was the endorsement of the law by the Bishops of the Anglican Church in that country.  Bishops in Ghana thought Welby should have talked to them first before responding to their public statement.  Now Welby has apologized for his actions as insensitive and disrespectful.  There is no indication that he is apologizing to the LGTBQ community for ways that his apology to the bishops may have hurt the targets of this law.   The Church Times and Episcopal Cafe give different takes on Welby's apology.

Wales Church Does First Same-Sex Couple Blessing

The Anglican Church of Wales announced at the beginning of September that it had approved a trial liturgy to use for blessing the civil marriages of same sex couples.  The announcement drew criticism from both conservatives (too much recognition of same-sex marriage) and from liberals (still not a church marriage).   Now the Church has implemented that decision with the blessing of a civil marriage between a Welsh priest (the Rev. Lee Taylor) and his partner (Fabiano Da Silva Duarte) at a service conducted at the parish where Taylor is priest-in-charge.  Making it even more official was that the person who presided was Bishop Gregory Cameron, who is the diocesan and thus the priest's boss. 

Episcopalians Provide Airport Welcome for Afghan Refugees

Episcopalians in Oklahoma City have taken responsibility for meeting Afghan refugees as they arrive on flights at the airport.  They greet, them, help with baggage, and other details at the airport and then transport them to hotels where they will stay until longer term housing is arranged. The City is expecting about 1000 refugees to be resettled in the area. Another 800 a destined for Tulsa. When the Episcopal Diocese learned how large a group would be settled in Oklahoma, they reached out to Catholic Charities to offer help.   Once at the hotel, case workers arranged by Catholic Charities take over. The Episcopal Church has been very active in refugee rights and resettlement activities around the country.  Update recently carried a notice of work with Afghan refugees in Wyoming.

Report From Episcopalians at Climate Conference

Last week Update carried a story about the prominent role members of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion were playing at the  U.N. sponsored climate change conference in Edinburgh. Now the Episcopal News Service has a story with an interactive link that lets people hear a brief statement from each of the Episcopal Church participants.  Click on a name in the Zoom frame to have that person's short video load.  It is clear that those attending, feel that the work has only begun and that follow-up to the conference is imperative. 

Pittsburgh Consecrates Ninth Bishop

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry presided at the ordination/consecration of Pittsburgh's ninth Bishop, Ketlan Solak.  The Bishops participating included two from Delaware (where Solak has been serving as a priest), one from Virginia (where she attended seminary and began her ministry), two from other dioceses in Pennsylvania, the local Evangelical Lutheran Church of America bishop (the Episcopal Church is in full communion with the ELCA), the 8th bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese,  and bishops from Newark and East Tennessee.  Bishop Solak is the first woman and the first person of African descent to serve as Episcopal bishop in Pittsburgh.  Thus it was fitting that three of those laying hands on her were African American, and three were women.  Update posted a notice of her ground-breaking election in June 2021.
The service at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh was filled with ceremony, banners, incense, and a special choir composed of members of four diocesan parishes.  The church was as full as covid-19 protocols would allow and all who attended were both masked and had given proof of vaccination. Roughly 1000 others watched on-line using one of 2 links to the streamed service.   The occasion was a celebration for the diocese which has been rebuilding since its seventh bishop led nearly half of the diocese out of the Episcopal Church.  The diocese has put legal issues behind it, including working out unique cooperative arrangements with a number of the former parishes. Both the local newspaper and the CBS station covered the event.