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, December 7, 2021

Week Ending 12/6/21

All stories are continuations of previous threads.

Faith Groups Ramp Up Climate Advocacy

Religion News had an article on the ways a wide variety of faith groups are ramping up their actions to encourage better stewardship of the earth and to  deal with the growing climate crisis.  An Episcopal priest who is head of a climate activist  organization is quoted in the article.  The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion have been taking larger roles in climate activism as noted in a number of Update articles, the most recent of which is here.

Botswana Charts A Different Course

Recent attention to the severe legal restrictions on LGBTQA people in Ghana and other African nations, makes that much greater the contrast with the recent court decision in Botswana where the highest appeals court in Botswana has upheld a lower court decision striking down two laws criminalizing homosexual acts.   The courts declared that LGBTQA people have a right to privacy, equality, dignity, and liberty, and and that laws that made those who were convicted of same sex sexual acts liable to 7 years in prison were void. 

More Anglican Provinces Choose Women Bishops

Two weeks ago Update noted that the Anglican Church of Mexico had elected its first woman as a bishop.  Now Japan has joined the trend.  The election of the Rev. Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori as Bishop of Hokkaido in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai  makes her the first in Japan, and the second in Asia.  There also is a woman serving as a bishop  in South India. The two recent elections mean at least 13 of the 46 Anglican Provinces have chosen a woman as bishop.  Election of women as bishops has occurred frequently in the last several years in The Episcopal Church, and the Church of England has appointed a number of women to various sees, but the numbers in other parts of the world are now making the election more common throughout the Communion, and putting more pressure on the few holdout provinces where women are not serving as clergy.

Commentary Provides Background On Oxford Battle

For those who have been keeping track of the battle between Dean Martyn Percy and the faculty and board of Christ Church, Oxford (cathedral and college), update recently noted that there were signs the British Charitable Commission was not happy with efforts of the college to hold a third investigation of the Dean. A recent blog posting explains that the commission has a great deal of power if they find the college has been acting unfairly or wasting funds on continued pursuit of the Dean.  

Bishop Perry Responds to Michigan School Shooting

The recent school shooting in Michigan which resulted in 4 dead led Bishop Bonnie Perry of Michigan to issue a statement calling for time to grieve for those who died and were wounded and for their families and friends, and then to act on common sense gun regulation.  The whole statement is here. The Episcopal Church is on record supporting gun regulation and an end to gun violence, and many bishops are members of a group founded after an earlier school shooting, Bishops United against Gun Violence. Update has reported on the church's advocacy many times, most recently here.

More on Ministry to Refugees

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Newburyport, MA has been busy converting classroom and meeting space into temporary housing for Afghan refugees who are being resettled in the community.  The family of 13 arrived December 6, and  will stay until longer term housing is ready for them.  Getting beds, cribs, linens and other essentials to make them comfortable.  The Episcopal News Service article also recaps other parish and diocesan efforts to welcome refugees.  Update has covered these actions in earlier posts, such as this one.  Meanwhile the Episcopal Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe is also making waves.  The Convocation is part of The Episcopal Church and includes congregations in a number of European countries, with its cathedral in Paris.  Bishop Eddington has issued a statement calling on the French government to change its policies towards refugees after 27 refugees drowned while trying to cross the English Channel from France to England.  He put responsibility for the deaths on French authorities because of the inhospitable conditions imposed in refugee camps by the government .  Churches and non-profits, for example have restrictions on the amount of food they may provide the refugees. 

Oregon Food Ministry Defies City

At the beginning of November Update reported on an Oregon Episcopal Parish that was at odds with the local town council because people were complaining about the parish feeding the homeless four times a week.  The council did pass an ordinance restricting the parish to two feedings a week, but the parish has refused to cut down their efforts.  The Episcopal News Service reports that the diocese is backing the parish and its ministry and has offered to provide support for legal fees as the parish fights the ordinance.  All of this is happening at a time when Religion News reports a stepped up effort of faith-based groups to support food pantries and feeding the hungry. The article specifically mentions St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Woodstock, IL as the site of a regular food distribution to more that 160 families. Update has reported on similar parish efforts in the past.

Anglican Bishops Attend Search for Graves at Former School Site

Recent announcement of unmarked graves of many indigenous children who died while attending church boarding schools has led, in both Canada and the United States, to apologies by The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church who sponsored some of the schools.  It also led to the burning of several Canadian churches by angry members of the indigenous communities.  In Canada, two  Anglican bishops joined the search at a former school site in Saskatchewan for graves of children.  The school has been closed since 1947 when it burned down.  The site required a lot of clearing as part of the search.  The bishops met with local indigenous leaders and native people who are members of an Anglican congregation in the area.  Their presence was part of efforts of the Anglican Church to apologize and begin reconciliation.

Episcopal Sunday School Builds Tiny House

In 2019 Update reported on the efforts of the Sunday School  of St. Augustine  of Canterbury in Benton Harbor to raise the money for a tiny house to help the homeless.  The Sunday School was able to get a gift of land from Harbor Habitat for Humanity and with help from Andrews University.  They continued their own fundraising and now are about to bless the finished house with a 640 sq. foot main floor and a loft.  It will be turned over to Harbor Habitat to administer.