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, April 28, 2020

Week Ending 04/27/20

Churches Ponder When and How to Reopen

The announcement by several Governors of that they were easing restrictions to allow state parks, beaches and businesses to function has led to discussions throughout the Episcopal Church about how and when Church buildings might open.  The bishops of dioceses in the states affected by the eased restrictions are taking a conservative approach and working on protocols for a gradual reopening in the future of on-site worship and activities.  There are no plans for immediate reopening. (See the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Georgia and South Carolina statements, for example.) The Diocese of Atlanta which had barred all live-streaming from church buildings, will now allow up to 9 people to assist a priest in live-streaming from church buildings.  The plans all require careful measures to ensure that churches will not be sources of re-infection.  What is clear from the discussions is that Church will not return to the old "normal" in the near future.  Bishops in various states are using different diocesan bodies to help plan for the future.  In Pittsburgh, the Bishop has turned to the diocesan Emergency Preparedness Committee for advice. 

Episcopal Navy Chaplain Coordinates Navy Hospital in New York

When the Navy sent its hospital ship, the Comfort to New York City to help with the covid-19 emergency, the ship also became responsible for a field hospital set up in the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  The ship captain appointed the senior chaplain on-board, Captain James Thames, in charge of all logistics for both on-land and on-board activities.  Thames is an Episcopal priest.  He entered the priesthood after serving in the army.  After 9 years of parish ministry, he became a Navy chaplain and in that role helped organize relief efforts in 2017 hurricane seasons that destroyed parts of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.  The Episcopal News Service has a good profile of Thames and his work here.

African-American Student Scholarship Endowed at Ambridge Seminary

William and Betsy Roemer, members of St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Sewickley have endowed a scholarship at Trinity School for Ministry for African-American students.  TSM is still listed as a seminary preparing students for Episcopal ministry as well as the Anglican Church in North America.  The Roemers were very involved in the creation of ACNA and the schism that occurred in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Updates on Continuing Stories

Ministry During the Pandemic

Ministry goes on in many forms throughout the pandemic, and Update has been tracking some of these.   Update has reported on the decisions of the Episcopal foundation in Wyoming to set aside $1 million for covid-19 relief to Wyoming communities. It started implementing this by giving each parish an initial sum of $10,000 to distribute in their area.  In the Sweetwater area,  Holy Communion Episcopal Church has made grants to several local agencies providing relief.  In Norfolk, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the down-town parish founded in the colonial period has set up a free mini food pantry to help those who are hungry, and in Michigan, the Diocese has partnered with two parishes to raise funds for a $100,000 matching grant for donations to the local food bank.

South Carolina Puts Bishop Search on Hold

The rebuilding Diocese of South Carolina which had begun a search for bishop that was very much on the same timetable as the search in Pittsburgh, has announced that the search has been placed on hold because of the covid-19 pandemic.  The Update reported last week that the Pittsburgh search had been extended (and Bishop McConnell's retirement delayed) until fall 2021.  The search committees of both Pittsburgh and South Carolina are continuing work, but nominations and interviews will occur later than originally announced.  South Carolina has not set a date for a convention, nominations, or announcement of candidates.