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, February 16, 2021

Week Ending 2/15/21

Biden Re-establishes Office for Co-ordination with Faith Groups

Melissa Rogers has returned to a familiar role, heading the re-established White House Office of Faith- Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a job she had under President Obama.  Rogers will also sit on the White House Advisory Board for Domestic Policy, and have a deputy director.  The office will seek to coordinate work with a great variety of faith-based groups in seeking to promote economic and social justice, humanitarian outreach, and to balance first amendment rights.  Religion News has a more complete run-down on the office in its story

Sewanee Vice-Chancellor Dealing with Harassment

The University of the South's Vice Chancellor, Reuben Brigety II, used his address at last Sunday's  chapel service to outline the multiple acts of vandalism that have been directed at his family's living quarters in Chen Hall on campus.  The vandalism and threatening messages have been on-going.  Brigety, who is also a former ambassador, is the first African American to serve as Vice Chancellor  at the university.  The university, founded after the Civil War by former Confederate leaders was for many years known for its propagation of the myths of the "old South."  It is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, and its governing board includes members from Episcopal dioceses in the Southeast.  The campus has rallied around Brigety, but the harassers have not been identified yet.

Updates and Continuing Stories

Apologies Issued After Lucado Sermon at National Cathedral

Update reported last week on the controversy sparked by the invitation to Max Lucado to preach at the Washington Cathedral's Sunday on-line service.  Lucado has a reputation for  his anti-LGBTQ statements.  Both Bishop Budde and Dean Hollerith have now issued apologies for not realizing how painful this invitation would be to many LGBTQ people and those who support their full inclusion in the life of the church.  In addition, Lucado himself issued a statement, which while not changing his theological position, did state that LGBTQ people are children of God, and their families should be respected. 

Preparing for Lent in a Pandemic

As Americans approach Ash Wednesday and Lent after nearly a full year of pandemic precautions,  the Episcopal News Service has a story on ways churches are finding to observe Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week while covid-19 remains a major threat. Some parishes will provide packets of ashes so people can self-impose them.  Three parishes in Albany have made the local news by announcing they will do a drive through "Ashes to Go."  Update has been carrying notices about adaptation to worship caused by the pandemic since the start of the lockdowns last March. the most recent is here.

Supreme Court Schedules Conference on Fort Worth Case 

The long legal battles still going on around property issues in areas where there were diocesan schisms, are a process of "hurry up and wait"  --being sure to meet filing deadlines and then waiting for court actions.  Episcopalians in Fort Worth have filed an appeal to the U.S., Supreme Court, and all documents are in.  Now they are waiting to see if the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will hear their appeal.  This week there was some motion of the case as the court has scheduled a conference on February 19 for the case. 

More Stories of Churches Feeding the Hungry

 This week Update adds a parish in Bangor Maine, and one in Rome New York to its coverage of parishes continuing to find ways to feed the hungry.  St. John's parish in Maine, parks a truck outside the church once a month and church and community members fill the back with food and supplies which are then donated to a local organization working with those in need.  This month parishioners were also able to pick up ashes for their on-line service this Ash Wednesday.  In Rome, New York, Zion Episcopal will hold a series of monthly community suppers once a month during February, March and April.  Although free will offerings are gratefully received, there is no cost for the prepackaged meals, with a different menu each month.  People need to reserve in advance so the church can prepare enough food and have it ready for people.   The meal is take-out only due to the pandemic.