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, September 1, 2020

Week Ending 08/31/20

Another Episcopal First

Diana Akiyama was the first Japanese American woman ordained to the priesthood in 1989.  Now she will continue trailblazing as the first Japanese America woman elected bishop.  It will be a homecoming for Akiyama, the vicar of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Hawaii, for  she grew up in a Japanese-American community in Eastern Oregon. Elected on the second ballot, she will add to the growing number of women in the House of Bishops and broaden the ethnic and racial diversity of that house. 

New Zealand Anglicans Expand Refugee Resettlement

 New Zealand is known for eing restrictive on who may become a permament resident.  Thus refugee resettlement has been difficult.  The Anglican Church joined with Baptists and Catholics to initiate several years ago a refugee sponsorship program that admitted 40 families.  Now they have successfully lobbied for an expansion to 150 families.  They are however, continuing to encourage their country to removed certain requirements which mean that those who are more vulnerable can be included.  Currently, those admitted are not from the most hard-hit countries, and are among those most likely to find employment quickly.  More details about the effort are here.

Australian Diocese Raises Ethical Issues on Covid-19 Vaccine

The Archbishop of the conservative Australian Anglican Diocese of Sydney has joined with the Roman Catholic and  Greek Orthodox Archbishops to raise an ethical question about the covid-19 vaccine farthest along in clinical trials.  Apparently the vaccine makes use of cells gathered in a 1970s abortion.  The conservatives fear that this may result in many choosing not to get the vaccine.  They are urging the government to both make this particular vaccine optional and to seek other vaccine options. Their letter is available here.

Continuing Coverage

More on Feeding the Hungry

Update continues to highlight various outreach ministries during the pandemic.  Many Episcopalians have stepped into the breach to fill the needs of those short of food.  St. James Church in Alexander City, Alabama began a soup ministry, providing a drive-up soup-based supper once-a-week for those in need.  Now they have expanded it to serve all who come.  Originally handing out about 30 soup means in a bag, they are now serving about 70 each week.  They have added volunteers who help to prepare the meals, direct traffic, and hand the meals to the steady line of cars that come Each Tuesday between 5:30 and 6 p.m.   The Diocese of Maine has taken a different route, serving as a distributor in an effort to pair those who are short of food directly with farm produce from local farms.  The Diocese works with a non-profit and staffs several of the distribution locations. 

Worshiping During a Pandemic

The pandemic continues to affect worship in churches around the world.  One parish in Canton, Ohio has been able to put an eagle scout project done over 20 years ago to new use.  The project created an open air chapel for the parish in a wooded area.  Now it has become the site a appropriately socially distanced worship for the congregation.  The church had used the chapel about once a year.  Now it is the site of Morning Prayer every week.  Meanwhile the efforts of a woman in the Church of England to permit use of individual communion cups to facilitate serving  communion in both kinds has created a legal stir.  The House of Bishops responded that it would be against the law to do so.  A group of lawyers the woman asked to research the question says otherwise, and now others are weighing in.  The question is where the restoration of communion in both kinds or the use of the common cup is more theologically important.   Thinking Anglicans has links to a number of those who have weighed in to the discussion. Update has been following creative uses and debates about worship throughout the pandemic.

Residents Begin Return to Church High Rise

New stories originally appeared when displaced residents from a church-owned senior high-rise were afraid that diocesan support to them would be cut off while they waited for the completion of repair work from a fire.  Update carried that story, and a follow-up in which the bishop assured residents that they would continue receiving support.  Now the bishop has announced that nearly three quarters of the residents will be able to return this week.  Work continues of the building.  It appears that things are headed to a satisfactory conclusion.