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, August 16, 2016

Week Ending 8/15/16

Presiding Bishop Announces Appoint of Director of Government Relations

One of the positions vacated by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's suspension and eventual firing of three senior administrators was the Director of Government Relations.  Alexander Baumgarten had held that position along with others.   (See Update story here and here). This week the Presiding Bishop filled that post by appointing Rebecca Linder-Blatchley as Director of Government Relations.  The new director has extensive experience in foreign relations with a special focus on Africa.  Most recently she served as Senior Policy Advisor for Africa for the Office of Religion and Global Affairs in the United States Department of State.  In her new role she will be responsible for making the positions of the General Convention, Executive Council, and Presiding Bishop known to members of the U.S. Government, in ecumenical settings, and to other policy makers.

Lutheran Synod Takes Major Decisions

The Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America meeting in New Orleans last week took several steps that should interest Episcopalians, especially since The Episcopal Church and the ELCA are in full communion.  The Synod took a firm stand against Israeli settlements in occupied territories of Palestine, including abstaining from investment in firms working in Israel.  The Synod also endorsed a program that aids migrants from Mexico and Central American, and approved at path-breaking joint agreement with the Roman Catholic Church called "Declaration on the Way" that outlines additional areas of agreement between the Roman Catholics and Lutherans in ministry.

Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa Elects New Leaders

The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa has elected the Archbishop of the Province of Central Africa, Albert Charma as its new chair, replacing the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi.  Charma most recently served as the host of the Anglican Consultative Council this spring.  Vice Chair will be the Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali.  CAPA tries to bring together all of the African Provinces, including more liberal South Africa to work on joint projects.  In recent years the leadership has pulled CAPA closer to the Global South. 

Two Parishes Reach Out

Stories published by the Episcopal News Service and And Anglican Communion News Service highlighted the efforts of two Episcopal Parishes.  The ENS carried a story about a Westchester County, NY parish's efforts to aid refugees, efforts that culminated in a furniture drive for refugees being settled in the Diocese of Connecticut.   The Anglican Communion News Service highlighted a local mission effort in the community of Jersey Shores, PA that attracts ecumenical support and completed over 90 projects done during a mission week coordinated by Trinity Episcopal Church.  Projects including painting, building handicap ramps, neighborhood clean-up and more.

Australian Church Service Disrupted by Right Wing Activists

Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales, Australia has taken strong stands in favor of refugees and same sex marriage.  These stands made it a target of a right wing group known as the Party for Freedom who masqueraded as muslims and disrupted the parish Sunday service using a bullhorn to shout anti-muslim slogans and play recorded parts of the Koran.  Their actions terrified some members of the congregation who thought they were muslim terrorists.  The protestors left without incident and then later bragged about their actions on their Facebook page.   The rector of the parish continued with his sermon after they left, but later said that the actions had traumatized some members of the parish who thought they were going to be blown up.