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, June 22, 2021

Week Ending 06/21/21

Church Leaders Respond to Supreme Court Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion last week that ordered the city of Philadelphia to reinstate its foster care contract with the Catholic Social Services agency despite the agency's refusal to place children with single parents or same sex couples.  The case pitted protection against discrimination against claims of freedom of religion. The court again chose freedom of religion over protection from discrimination.  The timing on the decision could not be worse as it came during  LGBTQ+ Pride month.  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings have issued statements in support of the LGBTQA community and expressing disappointment in the court decision.  Both Curry and Jennings had signed briefs supporting the decision of the city to end contracts with Catholic Social Services and one other church-based agency because they discriminated against same sex families.

Parish Facing Community Push-back for Helping Homeless

Before the pandemic, St. Timothy's in Brookings, Oregon was part of a coalition of local churches that provided food, shelter, and support for homeless in their small community.  However, the parish was the almost alone in trying to provide shelter and food once the pandemic had resulted in lockdowns.  Now the community is increasingly critical of their efforts and with the mentions of the parish being almost always critical and seeing them as helping "undesirable" people.  Twenty-nine residents petitioned the city to stop the church from providing services to the homeless since it resulted in people congregating near the church. The parish, however, is intent on continuing to serve those in need.

Interesting Items from Lutheran Partners

Lutherans have chosen a new General Secretary for their global communion.  The election of Estonian theologian the Rev. Anne Burghardt as General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation was a double first.  She will be both the first woman and the first Eastern European to lead the umbrella organization to which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America belongs.  The Episcopal Church is in full communion with the ELCA.  A number of other members of the Anglican Communion have similar arrangements with other members of the Lutheran World Federation.  The term of office for a General Secretary is 7 years.

Meanwhile, Lutheran parishes are, like Episcopal parishes, dealing with the impact of the pandemic.  Religion News  had a feature on a Lutheran parish in Midtown Manhattan which had a full quarter of their members, (60 out of 240) die from covid-19.  The parish included a number of low income, immigrant, and people of color, all groups hit very hard by the virus. The parish is responding by looking at increasing their social justice advocacy as a way of reducing the factors that put so many of their parishioners at risk.