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 22, 2017

Week Ending 8/21/17

Fate of New Zealand Cathedral Continues to Perplex Everyone

Christ Church Cathedral, destroyed six years ago in a major earthquake has proved to be a political football.  The diocese is weighing options for rebuilding on site, building new on another site, or possibly donating the site to the government and letting them restore the building. The issues around the cathedral's fate involve cost, diocesan needs, and historic value.  The Cathedral was a national historic site before its destruction.  Now a fourth option, leaving it as protected ruins and possibly building an underground cathedral with skylights to the ruins has been proposed.  Update has been following this discussion and the most recent previous posts are here and here.  The issues around the cathedral's fate involve cost, diocesan needs, and historic value. 

Tennessee Parish Inspiration for Movie

After most of its members and priest left to form an ACNA congregation, All Saints Parish in Smyrna, TN seemed destined for closing.  However, the priest sent to the tiny congregation instead saw a rebirth as the parish was approached by Christian Burmese refugees who wanted a place to worship and then asked to use church land to farm.  The story has now been made into a movie which has been released this month.  The Anglican Communion News gives good detail on the movie and Episcopal Cafe provides some of the background on the parish.  The movie uses many of the local refugees and church members in their cast.  There were earlier news stories on this parish as it began to be successful.  The Voice of America one is relatively complete.  The minister also turned the experience into a book published this year. 

English Church Boots Musicians

 St. Sepulchre's Church in London has been one of the favorite sites for choral and orchestral group concerts and recordings because of its flexible space, seating for an audience of 400, and good acoustics.  It is known as the National Musician's Church and Henry Wood, the founder of the "Proms" concerts is buried there. Several years ago the congregation became part of an evangelical network that leans towards contemporary praise music.  The priest has now sent a letter telling all secular groups using the space that it will not be available beginning in 2018, supposedly because of increased church activity.  In the future all music will be part of worship services.  This has kicked up a major row in England, drawing comments from composer John Rutter and a petition with more than a thousand signatures.  The church seems to be backing off slightly, but the musicians are not finished protesting.  The Church Times and the Telegraph are among the newspapers that have carried stories.  The comments on the slippedisc.com web site are very revealing about some of the tensions between competing cultures that led to the row. 

Southern Africa Continues to Struggle with Same Sex Marriages

 The Anglican Province of Southern Africa includes most of the countries in the Southern part of Africa.  Of these only South Africa recognizes civil unions of same-sex couples.  The Church in South Africa has failed to convince the rest of the province to allow blessings.  Motions that would have supported this have failed at two previous synods (2011 and 2016).  The Archbishop set up a bishops committee to study sexuality and to begin conversations, but any change has been slow. The province affirms LGBTIQA people as baptized members, but does not allow clergy to be in same-sex relationships. Cape Town has been a leader affirming homosexuals for a number of years. (See update story from 2009)  However, the diocesan synod meeting at Cape Town held last weekend tabled a blessings resolution despite strong support from several clergy including the Dean of the diocesan cathedral. 

New York City Parish Provides Sanctuary to Immigrant 

Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights not only talks the talk, but walks the walk as a sanctuary church.  They announced at a press conference on August 18, that they now were providing sanctuary to Amanda Morales Guerra from Guatemala who has been an undocumented immigrant in the United States since 2004 and has 3 American-born children that she does not want to leave. She originally left Guatemala to avoid the violence there, and has gone to every appointment with immigration officials except for the last one. She was told by ICE officials that she faced immediate deportation, and should buy a one-way ticket to Guatemala.  She and her three children have found sanctuary at Holyrood Church, where the rector is from Puerto Rico and the congregation is bilingual.