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, March 2, 2021

Week Ending 3/1/21

 Archbishop Makgoba Asks Biden for Vaccine

The Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Southern Africa has written President Biden asking his help in securing more supplies of  covi-19 vaccine.  A major concern is the price of the vaccine from its supplier.  What the archbishop is requesting is for Biden to use authority given him in legislation to waive the copyright protection on the vaccine so it can be produced locally in Africa at a lower cost by other manufacturers.  For more on the statement see the Anglican Communion News Story here.

Updates on Previous Postings

Churches Seek Balance Between Security and Openness

Despite earlier releases about the removal of a fence around St. John's Church on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., the church and its patios are still surrounded by a locked fence.  The parish is trying to overcome that barrier with local art work on the still-boarded windows, and outreach to the community. The parish has now engaged a landscape architect to help design greater security for the church that will preserve its historic welcome.  Other parishes in downtown Washington are also struggling with similar issues.  Their ministries include community outreach and activism, and yet they recognize that they are attractive targets.  The Episcopal News Service article has more on these issues.

Commemorating a Half-Million Deaths

Episcopal parishes have been using various means to mark major milestones in the death totals from the pandemic.   A number of parishes  used their Church bells to mark the deaths in early January. However, the total has grown rapidly, and St. John's Episcopal Church in Johnson City chose to tune up their bells again to honor the now more than 500,000 who have died.  On Sunday February 28 they rang their bell 500 times to memorialize the dead.  The local paper has more on the parish and its motivation.

And More on Feeding the Hungry 

Episcopalians around the country are taking seriously Jesus's command to "feed my sheep" and Update has reported on many of the efforts as they come to notice in local media.  The latest is a feature on KTSA-TV in San Antonio, TX about the ongoing efforts of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit to provide food to hungry families in partnership with Project Hope.  The recent severe weather in Texas has made the efforts even more important.

Baltimore Church Reparations Get More Exposure

Last week Update  carried a notice about the local attention Memorial Episcopal Church was getting for its efforts at reparations to the black community for the parish's past direct involvement in slavery.  Two more media stories appeared this last week, one focused on the removal  of a plaque commemorating founders of the parish to a non-worship space because of the founders status as slaveholders.  The other a news story on WBAL-TV looked at a range of the parish actions


GAFCON Groups at Odds Over ACNA Sexuality Statement

When ACNA bishops released their theological statement on the status of LGBTQ people in their church, they found themselves facing internal critiques from both those who thought it went too far and those who thought it did not go far enough.  Internally, a group of laity, clergy and one bishop signed a statement saying that the bishops had fallen short of recognizing that LGBTQ was an identity as well as an "attraction" and thus not affirming fully those who struggled to remain celibate as full members of the church.  Action by church officials has led to the withdrawal of that letter.  It is not so easy to silence the voice of the Archbishop of Nigeria who critiqued the statement for not condemning entirely  LGBTQ people.  This put the current GAFCON chair in an awkward position as he is the head of ACNA.  The responses suggest the deepness of divisions within the various GAFCON groups even after froups have withdrawn from more affirming provinces of the Anglican Communion. Thinking Anglicans has a good listing of the various responses here.