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         

Monday, June 24, 2019

Week Ending 06/24/19

New Mission for Inner City Church

 St. Stephen's in the center of Philadelphia was closed in 2016 because its congregation had dwindled.  Only a few month later, the church reopened, but not for Sunday services.  Instead it is a church serving central Philadelphia during the week, offering social services, a respite for the homeless or those just wanting to meditate, a welcome to tourists, and  and weekday worship. Religion News featured this "new" way to do religion in an historic building.  You can find out more at the church's own website.

Nigerian Scammers Pose as Anglican Church Leaders

Nigerian scammers set up false Facebook accounts in the names of prominent Nigerian Anglican clergy, including Archbishop Okoh in order to solicit money from unsuspecting supporters who thought they were helping the clergy person in distress.  The scammers have now been arrested.

Japanese Clergy Testify to Impact of Fukushima Disaster

 At an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held last week in Sendai, Japan, clergy from the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Japanese member of the Anglican Communion)  testified to the devastating impact of the Fukushima nuclear melt-down on the communities surrounding the plant. The Church in 2012 passed a resolution at its General Synod in 2012 calling for an end to nuclear power plants and activities.  One of the clergy, who has a parish in the affected area spoke of  273 children  in his region diagnosed with thyroid cancer since 2012. The forum was attended by members of The Episcopal Church and other Asian churches in the Anglican Communion.

South Sudan Churches Urge Support for Rape Victims

Women have long experienced rape as a weapon of war.  The long conflicts in the Sudan made that very evident, and 95% of the survivors report being raped multiple times, often over several days. Sudanese culture in general considers rape to have shamed the woman, and many already traumatized women have been rejected by families and pushed to the edges of society with no support. Women thus have often remained silent about rapes in order to avoid the stigma.  The South Sudan Council of Churches, however, has issued a call for churches to support  women and girls who have been raped and to blame the men, not the women.  The Council urged support for the women and girls as an important step in healing and peacemaking.

Border Crossing or Mission-Building?

Merida, Mexico is home to a number of ex-patriot U.S. citizens and Canadians, as if evident from the times it has shown up on HGTV shows.  A popular Roman Catholic priest was removed from the priesthood several years ago for inviting a Episcopalian priest (female) to preach and particiapte in communion.  He soon found his flock of ex-pats wanted him to continue and he has now built a thriving congregation with a English language congregation and also a large Spanish language congregation.  However, the congregation is not part of the Anglican Province of Mexico and is building ties directly with congregations in the Episcopal Church.  Episcopal Cafe has a largely supportive story on the congregation, but we do need to ask, if the situation was reversed and the Church in Mexico were to start congregations in Los Angeles, San Antonio, or Raleigh, NC would we be protesting this a border crossing?

Continuing Stories

South Carolina Insurance Suit Broadens

Update reported two weeks ago that the Episcopal Church in South Carolina had filed a federal law suit against the Church Insurance Company of Vermont because it had paid claims for legal costs submitted by the schismatic leadership of St. Philip's in Charleston.  Now the Chuch Insurance Company has asked the court to decide if it is liable for claims filed by other of the schismatic parishes.  The June 20 blog post at scepiscopalians.com has the details.

International Group of Bishops Urge Attendance at Lambeth

The Bishop of Dallas, George Sumner has organized an appeal by 10 bishops from a variety of provinces in the Anglican Communion, including Africa, urging attendance at the Lambeth Conference 2020 despite theological differences.  While the appeal urges unity based on the common theology of our Books of Common Prayer, states a belief in "traditional" marriage, it does say that conversation across the divides brings better understanding, including with Provinces that are recognizing same sex marriage.  Sumner and Bishop Emma Ineson of the Church of England, both signers of the letter, served on the Lambeth Design Group, so it is not surprising they would urge attendance.  The only other TEC signer is Michael Smith who is currently serving as Assisting Bishop in Dallas.  The others are bishops from Honduras, Egypt, Mozambique, Canada, and the Primates of West Africa and Burundi.  Lambeth 2020 is still a year away, but has been caught in controversy by the decision not to invite same sex spouses of bishops, by a threat of boycott by several African Provinces, and by the alternative conference organized by GAFCON.

Episcopalians Testify in Support of Reparations

Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland and Katrina Browne (of Traces of the Trade fame) were among the panelists who testified before the House committee on constitutional amendments on June 19. Sutton was the only clergy person to speak.  Sutton sent his diocese a four page pastoral letter a  supporting reparations earlier this year.