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 25, 2020

Week Ending 08/24/20

Church leaders Urge Protection of Arctic Wilderness

The decision of the Department of the Interior to sell gas and oil drilling leases in the protected Alaskan wilderness areas has led to a strong protest from Episcopal leadership.  Drilling not only threatens the native wildlife, but the way of life of indigienous peoples in the area, many of whom are Episcopalians.  The Episcopal Church has been on record as opposing drilling in this area for nearly 30 years.

Episcopalians Help After Iowa Derecho 

Nature seems intent on creating a lot of havoc this years with storms, fires, earthquakes and flood.  Iowans are used to flood and tornado warnings, but the hurricane force winds of the straight line  derecho that cut a wide swath across the state came with little warning.  Episcopalians were relieved that most damage to their church buildings was minimal, and so they have turned to offering assistance to their communities. The storm created major power outages, severe wind damage, blocked roads and shortages of food given blocked roads and lack of electricity.  Episcopal News Services has a report.

Nigeria Files Charges Against Anglican Bishop 

What began as an attempt by developers to take the property of an Anglican parish and tear down the church, has now escalated so that the Kaduna, Nigeria government has filed charges against the Anglican Bishop Abiodun Ogunyemi for the Zaria diocese.  Statements he made in support of the parish were deemed to be too critical of the government.  Locals are hoping that the matter will be able to be settled without going to trial.  Various African papers carried stories on the conflict.  One that is reasonably complete is here. Anglican.ink carried an earlier story with much of the background. 

Curry and Jennings Each Sign Amica Briefs Supporting LGBTQ Rights

Both the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, and the President of the House of Deputies, Gay Jennings, were lead Petitioners in amica filings in the case Fulton v. Philadelphia. The case involves claims of infringement of religious liberty by the city on Catholic Social Services.  The city rules allowed LGBTQ individuals and couples to serve as foster parents. Catholic Social Services sought an exemption from the rules.  Jennings is the lead petitioner in a brief signed by over 400 religious leaders, including a number of Jewish, Unitarian, United Church of Christ, and Presbyterian clergy arguing against the exemption.  Curry signed a brief filed by the heads of several denominations including the UCC, the ELCA, and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  It argued that the ability of a government to its own policies was a necessary bulwark for religious liberty.  The case tests an area not covered by the decision earlier this year on employment rights for LGBTQ people.  That decision explicitly left out the question of religious exemptions and referred it to future litigation.

Ongoing Stories

Music During the Pandemic

In more peaceful news from Kenosha, the local paper carried a story on an organ, virtual choir and carillon concert offered by St. Matthews Episcopal Church.  The story highlighted ways the parish was trying to offer a music ministry to the community during the pandemic.  Update has been trying to highlight as many of these ministries as possible.

New Responses to Racial Protests

When Black Lives Matter protesters were forcibly being cleared from a downtown area in Pasadena last week,  All Saints Episcopal Church quickly opened its doors as a refuge for protesters.  A group then camped on the church grounds overnight.  Update has reported on a variety of ways Episcopalians have supported the protests. Meanwhile another police shooting of an unarmed black man, this time in Kenosha, led to violence there and a strong statement from the Episcopal Bishop of Milwaukee, who also is a leading member of Bishops Against Gun Violence.   Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back as he tried get into his car while leaving the scene of a domestic violence call. His three young children were in the car.  Blake has survived, but is currently paralyzed from the waist down.

Bishop Budde's Benediction Makes News

Last week we carried news that Episcopal Bishop Budde of  Washington would offer a benediction on the second night of the Democratic National Convention.  Her short benediction was considered newsworthy enough to rate an after-convention story.  She evoked the Rev. William Sloan Coffin, the Rev. martin Luther King, Jr., the recently deceased Congressman John Lewis, and Abraham Lincoln in her short benediction.  You can read the full prayer here.