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 9, 2021

Week Ending 11/8/21

Episcopalians Lead Interdenominational Prayer Vigil Outside Courthouse

 The trial of three white men for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a black unarmed jogger, whom they suspected of theft,  has a group of clergy gathering each day at the courthouse to peacefully witness and pray for justice and racial reconciliation.  The group is interdenominational, but led by Episcopal clergy from Glynn County where both the trial and the killing took place.  The gathering is part of a larger effort of study and actions for racial healing that the group, Glynn Clergy for Equity, has been offering for over a year.  The Diocese of Georgia has provided a grant of $10,000 to the clergy group. The funds for the grant came from a larger grant the dioceses had received from The Episcopal Church as part of the Church's racial reconciliation efforts. For more, see the Episcopal News Service article

Community of St. Mary a Lead Plaintiff in Abortion Case

The Community of St. Mary in New York is one of the lead plaintiffs, along with the Catholic Church, in challenging a New York law requiring employers to include abortion services in their health plans. The state laws allowed a very narrow religious exemption.  Lower courts upheld the New York law, but the U. S. Supreme Court justices have vacated those rulings and sent the case back to lower courts to rehear the case.  Update carried notice of the decision of the New York branch of  the Community of St. Mary to leave the Episcopal Church and join ACNA.  Two other  branches of the Community remain in the Episcopal Church.

Continuing Stories

Another Anglican Province Chooses a Woman Bishop

In 2008, 18 women who were bishops attended the Lambeth Conference.  At the Conference scheduled for 2022, there will be more than 40 women diocesan bishops in attendance.   The number of suffragan and assisting bishops is even longer. The number of Churches (Provinces) within the Anglican Communion with women serving as bishops has just increased by one.  The  Anglican Church of Mexico  diocese that includes Mexico City has just elected The Very Rev. Alba Sally Sue Hernandez Garcia as its new bishop.  Earlier this year Kenya chose its first women bishops, despite expressions of concern by other members of  GAFCON.  Update has previously noted the increase in women serving in the Episcopate.  

Presiding Bishop Leads Powell Funeral

In a funeral service attended by Presidents Biden, Obama, and Bush, former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell was praised for his steadfast faith and love of his church.  Presiding Bishop Curry presided at the service with Washington Bishop Marion Budde assisting, and clergy from both of the Episcopal parishes that Powell attended in the Washington area among those reading or preaching.  Former Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright also attended. Update had earlier noted that the service would be held at the National Cathedral, but did not have information on those who would participate. 

Albany Standing Committee Opens Door to Same-Sex Marriage

Recently, the Diocese of Albany used parliamentary maneuvers  to kill a vote on proposed amendments to the Albany Constitution and Canons that would have removed the penalties keeping willing clergy from presiding at same sex wedding.  This week the Albany Standing Committee, which has served as the ecclesiastical authority in the diocese since Bishop Love resigned, announced that it would implement Resolution B012 of the 2018 General Convention.  The resolution provided a path for clergy and congregations to conduct marriage ceremonies and blessings for same sex couples by allowing conservative bishops to appoint another bishop to provide episcopal support to the couple and parishes.  Clergy and parishes were directed to consult with Assisting Bishop Michael Smith (formerly Bishop of North Dakota and now assisting in Dallas) who would then arrange oversight from a bishop who supported same-sex marriage.  The reason cited was a desire by the Standing Committee to address divisions within the diocese and a recognition of authority of General Convention.

Anglican Communion Takes a Leading Role in COP26  Events

The Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church, the World Council of Churches and two interfaith ecological organizations sponsored an official side-event at the United Nations Climate Change Conference meeting in Edinburgh (COP26).  The event focused on the need to work with indigenous peoples in combating climate change. The Anglican Communion News Service article lists the many of the speakers and the organizers.  The Episcopal News Service focused on statements from the conference, which ensured the voices of many indigenous people were heard by COP26 attendees.  Conference speakers stressed that attempts to solve the crises need to be sensitive to indigenous life styles and insights gained from caring for natural resources for generations.  The Episcopal Church has been active on issues of the environment and has sought recently to work with indigenous peoples, rather than colonize them. Update has carried a number of reports on Episcopal efforts to address climate change. The most recent is here.