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, January 5, 2021

Week Ending 01/04/21

Ecumenical Groups Speak Out on Election 

Episcopalians were among the more than 800 faith leaders who urged voters to choose the two democratic candidates in the Georgia Senate election.  The endorsement was organized by the New Moral Majority and Faithful America, two progressive ecumenical organizations.  Their endorsement was based on the values expressed by the two candidates and their desire to work for unity and justice.    More than 2000 faith leaders signed a statement sponsored by Vote Common Good Faith 2020; Bend the Arc: Jewish Action; and the Union Theological Seminary on another election issue - recognition that the presidential election had been decided.  "As faithful citizens, we are praying for a peaceful, smooth, and dignified transfer of power. A delayed and drawn out objection on January 6th would not overturn the will of the American people and change the outcome of the election. It will be nothing but a disservice to the idea of e pluribus unum – and every Member of Congress who believes in the sanctity of our democracy should say so.”  Bishop Mariann Budde of the Diocese of Washington was among the Episcopalians who signed.

Parish Celebrates Centennial of its Pioneer Radio Broadcast

On January 2, 1921 Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh became the first religious body to broadcast a religious service over the cutting edge media of its day -the radio.  The host station, KDKA organized the broadcast as an experiment, but one that was such a hit they continued broadcasting Calvary services weekly for the next 40 years.  On Sunday January 3, the parish, one of the largest in the Pittsburgh Diocese, commemorated the event with an on-line streamed service using much of the music that the church had chosen for its original broadcast.  Both the Episcopal News Service and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have more details.  In 1921 KDKA was itself a pioneer operation of Westinghouse, and the first radio station to broadcast election coverage of the 1920 presidential election and begin scheduled programming.

Continuing Stories

Still Another Chapter in the Trump-St. John's Church Story

When federal enforcement agencies used force to remove protesters from Lafayette Square so Donald Trump could have a photo opportunity posing with a Bible in from of St. John's Episcopal Church, the action touched off major criticism.  Update followed the original story, the statements of outrage that followed, and the building and removal of a fence around the historic church.  Now another detail has come to the forefront.  The man (Anthony Ornato) who organized the clearing of the square was a Secret Service agent on leave to work as Trump's Deputy Chief of Staff.  He also was responsible for organizing many of the Trump rallies held around the country which turned into super-spreader events for covid-19, infectiing politicians, attendees, and a number of Secret Service agents.   Since the Secret Service officers are supposed to remain non-partisan, his change in roles was unusual.  He is now leaving the White House, but will be in charge of the Secret Service training center.