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, March 23, 2020

Week Ending 3/23/20

Congregations Sponsor Drive-In Church

Several Episcopal Churches have responded to building closures by turning to something promoted by independent churches in the 1950s and 1960s, that is, drive-in church.  Christianity Today provides the background on this movement.  Local news in Myrtle Beach, NC and McAllen, Texas provide the details.  Both broadcast using low frequency radio so worshipers could listen on the car radio.  In North Myrtle Beach, the priest distributed communion at the end of the service.  In Texas, attendees were asked to respond at various points in the service, by honking their horns, using their wipers, or blinking lights.

Dioceses Adding Resident Rabbi

While Pittsburgh Episcopalians have long had various forms of cooperation with the Jewish community, and have built on it recently as Calvary Church hosted  the Tree of Life Congregation which has been unable to use its worship center since the terrorist attack in 2018, and with an announced shared 2020 Lenten program co-hosted by a rabbi and a member of the diocesan staff (unfortunately cut short by the coronavirus-19 shutdown), the ties have not been as formal as those in 4 Episcopal dioceses who actually have appointed resident rabbis.  Religion News has a feature on one of the four, the Diocese of North Carolina.

Continuing Update - Coronavirus Cancellations

Lambeth Postponed to 2021

Given the size of the gathering, and the huge number of international travellers involved in the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Communion bishops, it is not surprising that the Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that the gathering scheduled to begin near the end of July 2020 has been postponed to 2021.  The Lambeth Conference usually meets every 10 years, but the 2020 meeting had already been delayed from 2018, this will make the gap 13 years. Not surprisingly GAFCON has also called off their competing meeting of bishops.

Episcopalians Deal with Building Closures

With many dioceses across the country closing all church buildings for services, Episcopalians have been scrambling to move services on-line and to maintain ministries to the most needy. Churches have been forced to redefine how they "do" church at a time when people need spiritual as well as material support.  Presiding Bishop Curry has encouraged that the ban on public services  extend through Easter, and lent his support to on-line streaming by preaching at the first Sunday on-line service offered by the National Cathedral.Blogger Mark Harris offers thoughtful comments on the new situation in his blog here. The alternative to closing churches was made clear when a South Carolina ACNA parish that continued services now finds its senior clergy person in the hospital on respirators, and two other clergy as presumptive cases.  It is not clear how many parishioners might be affected. Blogger Steve Skardon provides the details  in his March 21 posting. 

Anglican Communion Begins Shutting Down to Stop Virus

In a series of announcements beginning with a modest social distancing order by the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed shortly by the closure of all London churches, and ending with the closing of all Church of England public worship throughout the country,  the Church of England is trying to deal with the rapid escalation of cases of covid-19 in England.  The Church in Canada announced social distancing measures, but has resisted an across-the-board shutdown. The archbishops of the churches in New Zealand have, however, ordered public worship services cease and other provinces around the globe are likely to announce their own closures.