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, May 26, 2020

Week Ending 05/25/20

Virtual Service to Confirm New Archbishop of York

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York has officially retired.  His successor, Bishop Stephen Cottrell is being confirmed and installed in a first for the Church of England - a virtual service to be streamed to all who wish to see it.   The Archbishop of Canterbury will preside at the video conference service where Cottrell will officially sign documents and oaths making him the Archbishop of York.  At the conclusion of this service/ceremony, Cottrell's ministry then will be celebrated with a film released that same day.  Cottrell's enthronement will be held once the Church of England has resumed in-person services.

Comfort for Those Grieving on Memorial Day

Memorial Day provides a time for Americans to honor those in our armed forces who died in service.  This year, there was also an attempt to remember those who died in a new war, the struggle with covid-19.   The pain of the pandemic in New York are covered in a video released by the New York Times on May 22.  St. John's Hospital in Queens, an Episcopal hospital run by the Diocese of Long Island was its setting.   Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on the Eastern Shore of Virginia has planted a tree in memory of those who died and then has invited all those who are grieving to come and sit in peace and quiet near that tree.  On western coast of the U.S., St. Luke's Episcopal in Renton, WA has developed a live-streamed funeral service available to anyone trying to deal with the death of a loved one when holding in-person funerals means a risk of contagion or is limited to a handful of people being present. The service is customized to each occasion and includes a virtual time attendees to gather and remember the deceased.  Many Episcopalians participated in a 24 hour vigil honoring those who have died in the pandemic hosted on Facebook.  The Presiding Bishop participated in a memorial service broadcast on television for those who had died from covid-19.  This memorial service was sponsored by the National Council of Churches.  Sunday May 31, has been set aside for an interfaith day of prayer in memory of those who have died in the pandemic, as well. 

Continuing Stories

Major Disappointment for Forth Worth Episcopalians

Fort Worth Episcopalians have experienced a roller coaster as their property case moved  up the Texas court system, back down to the trial judge and up the appeals ladder again.  Judges overturned each other at every stage.  This last week the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the group that is now part of ACNA is  the continuation of the original Episcopal diocese.  The schismatics comments are here.  The Fort Worth Diocese i the Episcopal Church issued this statement.  Given that the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Dennis Canon had no effect in Texas, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely. 

Tennessee Cathedral Rallies Behind Death Row Inmate

The Cathedral in Nashville has had an active prison ministry, which has also led to Episcopalians in the Diocese of Tennessee working to end the death penalty in that state.  A year ago the diocese celebrated an agreement between prosecutors and defense lawyers of one death row occupant's sentence to life in prison after a judge ruled that his trial was unfair.  Now they are shocked to find that the state appeal of the agreement could put the inmate, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, back on death row.  Bishop Bauerschmidt confirmed Rahman as an Episcopalian in 2014.  A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for June.

Las Vegas Church Provides Covid-19 Testing to Hispanic Community

The latest in Update's  series about church outreach during the pandemic,  takes us to Nevada. All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas is located in an area with a large Hispanic population.   The parish is working with the Southern Nevada Health District to provide both telehealth consulting and covid-19 testing to the medically under-served area around their church.  The health center at the church was featured on local news.

Church Building Re-Opening Saga Continues

President Trump's announcement that all churches should reopen touched off a wave of responses this last week.   His statement was aimed at putting pressure on governors who were proceeding at a more cautious pace.  While the pressure seems to have borne fruit in some locations, including Minnesota where a suit by Missouri Synod Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church resulted in the governora  ruling that churches were not bound by the his emergency restrictions.  Meanwhile a federal appeals court upheld the California governor's restrictions on the size of public gatherings in a challenge brought by several churches.  In states that had already "reopened" experience was mixed, with some churches that had offered in-person worship backing off after members were diagnosed with covid-19.   In general Episcopal bishops were urging a much more cautious approach (see the statement by all five Episcopal diocesan bishops in California), although some Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Ohio may be opening.   Some of the other countries that were hit hard by the pandemic are beginning to reopen churches. The Anglican Center in Rome is among those making cautious first steps.   The Update has been covering the re-opening discussion for several weeks.  The latest previous post is here.