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 19, 2021

Week Ending 1/18/21

Kamala Harris to use Marshall Bible During Inauguration

Kamala Harris will use two Bibles during her part of the inauguration.  One is the Bible of a family friend that Harris has used when sworn in to office in California.  The other is a Bible belonging to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and one of two Episcopalians that Harris mentions as inspirations to her.  Harris went to Howard Law School because of Marshall.  She also considered Constance Baker Motley, another Black Episcopalian as an inspiration.  Motley and Marshall were both noted civil rights litigators and Motley became the first African American woman appointed to the federal bench. Harris will be sworn in by Sandra Sotomayer, the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Africa Gains and Loses Women Bishops

This last week Kenya announced the appointment of Canon Emily Awino Onyango as assistant bishop of the Diocese of Bongo in Kenya.  The Anglican Communion news story has a good summary of her distinguished career.  Anglican.ink puts her in the context of the issues that her appointment presents for GAFCON which supposedly has an moratorium among its members on appointment of women bishops.  There were three other women serving as bishops in African provinces when the announcement of Onyango's appointment was made, but Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoy, the Bishop of Swaziland died from Covid-19 on January 19.  Wamukoy was lauded as an advocate for women.  thus Onyango's appointment will not increase the number of women bishops in Africa.   

Episcopal Church Condemns Arctic Gas and Oil Leases 

On its way out the door, the Trump administration rushed to auction oil and gas leases in the arctic national reserve.  Leases were supposedly signed on his last full day in office.  The Episcopal Church is on record opposing those leases.  The Episcopal News Service has a story on the issues involved and the reasons for the Church's stance.  The question remains what the new Biden administration will do about the last minute leases and any future ones. 

Continuing Stories

On Responding to the Pandemic

As the death toll rises, many Episcopal Churches around the country have joined in a commemoration on the nearly 400,000 who have died in the pandemic in the U.S. and the more than 2 million who have died around the globe.  At 5:30 on January 19, Churches began ringing bells to commemorate the dead.  The local news story here  highlights one of those churches in Tennessee.  In an ongoing effort to reduce future deaths, cathedrals in England are opening their doors as sites for mass vaccinations.  This story features Salisbury Cathedral (which is offering music during the day to soothe the sting of the needle), but others are also opening their doors.   The Update has regularly been featuring stories on responses to the epidemic.  The most recent is here.

More Outreach Efforts During the Pandemic

Update has also regularly noted parishes that are making the news for their outreach efforts.  This week there was a local story about a parish in Liberty, Missouri that has opened a free pantry food shelf to continue in a safe way the larger food bank work the parish has done.  In Louisiana, a parish has responded to the destruction of many trees in the hurricanes and other violent storms that have struck the state by creating an annual program handing out bundles of seedling trees to replace those destroyed by storms.  The parish hopes to make it an annual event.