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, July 6, 2021

Week Ending 7/5/21

St. Augustine College Forgives Money Students Owe It

The Episcopal affiliated, historically black St. Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina gave its students a major lift this spring when it cleared student tuition and fees amounts owed to the college by its students.  The College has long punched above its weight, turning out almost a third of all African-American Episcopal clergy, and serving as the main location in the South for nursing education for African Americans.  Several years ago the college nearly lost its accreditation because of financial difficulties, but an effort led by Presiding Bishop Curry stabilized the college.  The college is using much of the $11.4 million it received from the Cares Act to wipe out existing student balances. It will help many students and their families who were struggling due to work disruptions caused by covid-19.

Continuing Stories

English Methodists OK Same-Sex Marriages While Some U.S. Presbyterians Go the Other Direction

Update reported several years ago that the Methodists in England, Wales, and Scotland had begun the process of permitting their clergy and congregations to celebrate same-sex marriages in church.  That process is now complete.  The decision puts additional pressure on the Church of England to do the same, especially since the Methodists and Anglicans been exploring closer ties. Meanwhile leaders of the Presbyterian Church in America, a more conservative group and much smaller than the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), have declared that only celibate LGBT people can be ordained. The conservative group also does not ordain women. The announcement will have a limited impact on Pittsburgh Episcopalians because the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is affiliated with the larger, more liberal Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

Fort Worth Parish Worships in a New Home

Several weeks ago Update covered a story on St. Mary's Hillsboro, one of the parishes of faithful Episcopalians who had to vacate their buildings in Fort Worth.  The congregation was meeting in temporary quarters while it worked to refurbish and furnish a former bank building as a more long-term home.  The Diocese of West Texas provided many of the items they needed. On June 27,  the congregation celebrated Eucharist in their new space.

Birmingham Cathedral and Diocese Reach Accord

The Cathedral Church of the Advent  in Birmingham, Alabama, has long had a very uncomfortable relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.  It was using a liturgy written by its dean rather that of the Book of Common Prayer, and had pledge card that explicitly allowed members to direct all funds to the cathedral and none to the diocese and national church.  This latter is a position that will sound familiar to Pittsburgh Episcopalians who lived through the troubled period leading to the 2008 schism in Pittsburgh. Glenda Curry, who became Bishop of the Diocese a year ago has been working to improve relations with the cathedral. At the beginning of May, the departure of the cathedral dean cleared the way for the Diocese of Alabama and the cathedral to finalize an accord that offers an improved relationship with the diocese.  Under the accord, the cathedral will resume using the Rite I service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and will remove the "Advent" only option from the pledge cards.  Provision was made for those individual donors who wished to support the diocese but not the Episcopal Church.  The full agreement is here.

Anger Over Graves of Children Leads to Church Arson

Indigenous people in Canada have been uncovering large numbers of graves of children who were forced to attend schools run by church organizations, mostly Roman Catholic orders.  Long held pain at the forced separation of children from families, deculturalization, harsh treatment and abuse, and failure to notify families of the death has turned to anger, especially as the Catholic Church has refused to offer any apology.  The Anglican Church of Canada and other churches that ran schools have apologized, several years ago.  The Anglican Church has gone further, moving to create a special Church within a Church designed and run by native peoples. (See Update articles here and here.) Nonetheless the anger has resulted in a series of fires at Roman Catholic Churches in areas within indigenous communities.  One Anglican parish was also damaged.