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         

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Week Ending 1/30/23

Once again I was traveling with limited internet service and so this posting covers several weeks.  My apologies.

New York Diocese Creates Credit Union

The Diocese of New York has received a charter for a credit union designed to serve church employees, church members, and others with a connection to the Episcopal Church.  It hopes to reach those low and moderate income people who have been unable to get a bank account because of fees or other barriers.  The union intends to provide basic banking, check cashing, and loan services to its members.  The diocese believes that some of its low income parishes may have a number of members that qualify, and church employees in low paying jobs may also benefit from the services.  For more see the Episcopal Journal article here

Continuing Threads

Another Diocese Joins Interfaith Effort to Challenge Anit-Abortion Laws

An interfaith group of church leaders have filed a lawsuit challenging Missouri's law banning almost all abortions.  Episcopalians in other dioceses, such as Florida, have been part of interfaith coalitions challenging abortion restrictions, but the Missouri suit is unique in that it is claiming the law violates several clauses of the Missouri constitution guaranteeing religious freedom and forbidding the establishment of religion.  The suit claims that the current restrictive law was passed to implement particular religious views thus establishing a religion, an act forbidden by the state's constitution.  Bishop Deon Johnson not only signed, but offered Christ Church Cathedral as the site for the announcement.  The group of 13 plaintiffs includes besides Bishop Johnson,  a number of Jewish leaders, several United Church of Christ Clergy, and some Methodists and Unitarian Universalist clergy.  You can read the filing here.  The Episcopal Church has had a "choice" position on abortion for more than 40 years, and reinforced that position at the most recent General Convention.   

English Bishops Move to Allow Blessing of Same Sex Unions

Update has been following the reactions to the latest study in the Church of England on same-sex marriage.  The matter is before the Church of England's House of Bishops, and the step being taken is to allow blessing of same-sex civil unions.  While this is a step forward, it falls short of what LGBTQA advocates and supporters sought, and is a step too far for conservatives who still see same-sex unions as sinful.  Archbishop Welby has come out with his one way of splitting the difference by announcing that while blessings may occur in the church, he will not perform and authorize them.  He is doing this in deference to his role as one of the instruments of union for the Anglican Communion and the fact that many of the independent provinces of the communion are opposed to any recognition of same sex couples.  The Living Church carried a story on his announcement here

Episcopal Leaders Concerned by Attempts to Limit Black History Teaching

The recent actions and laws limiting what can be taught about blacks and other marginalized groups has run afoul of the Episcopal Church's efforts to come to terms with its own racist past and institute a process of racial reconciliation and healing.  Leaders voiced their voiced their frustration with actions taken against libraries, teachers, and courses in Florida, especially the governor's forbidding of any school to offer the new Advanced Placement Course in Black history.  The Episcopal Church’s missioner for African descent ministries, the Rev. Ronald Byrd Sr.,called the efforts to restrict teaching of black history "educational malpractice. Update has carried numerous stories on the efforts of the church to uncover and come to terms with its own racist acts, including encouraging every diocese and parish to carefully explore its own history. 

Presiding Bishop Speaks on the Death of Tyre Nichols

The release of body camera tapes showing five Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after a traffic stop, has led to the latest round of protests and demands for police reform.  The Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry issued a statement that passionately and compassionately spoke for the whole church in condemning the actions. Memphis has acted swiftly to fire and discipline police and emergency responders, and the five officers directly involved in the beating now face criminal charges.  The church has tried to keep the issue of police reform and needless deaths of blacks at the hands of police before its members in a number of ways, such as memorial services for earlier such deaths, especially that of George Floyd in Minnesota. 

Michigan Bishops Step Up Pressure for Gun Control

Following the Democratic victories in state elections in Michigan, the three Episcopal Bishops  have joined lobbying at the state capitol to pass and implement stricter gun laws in the state.  The Episcopal Church has been advocating for stronger gun laws for quite a while, and update has carried numerous stories on these efforts, most recently here and here.