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, August 17, 2021

Week Ending 08/16/21

 Rhode Island Diocese Provides Beach Transport 

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority issued a formal thank-you to the three Episcopal Parishes of Newport who provided a regular weekend beach shuttle from parts of Newport where many people did not have cars to take them to the beach.  It provided access to many who would have been shut in and unable to get a needed breath of fresh sea air during the summer.  It was an opportunity that was especially important given the pandemic.  Bishop Knisley helped organize the cooperation, and spoke at the thank-you event.  Rides began in June and will continue through the last weekend of August. 

Churches Responds to Critical Race Theory

Given that the anti-racism training required by the Episcopal Church acknowledges and explains systemic racism, it is not surprising that some church leaders have been vocal in criticizing recent legislative attempts to ban curricula supposedly influenced by critical race theory. the Presiding Bishop has made racial reconciliation the main theme of his term and has linked acknowledgement of racism to reconciliation and Christian theology.  In North Carolina, Bishop Samuel Rodman and Suffragan Bishop Ann Hodges-Copple published an op ed piece in the Raleigh News Observer urging defeat of a bill being proposed by the North Carolina legislature.  The bill would limit the teaching on race and mentions of critical race theory.  The bishops argued that the bill would prevent a full understanding of American history and society.  Healing and reconciliation require understanding.  In contrast, the ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach used a section of his address to the ACNA Provincial Council single out the terms used by those supporting ideas of systemic racism as divisive and not based in a "Christian" ethos.  He argued for a color-blind approach that would not mention racism while stressing that his denomination should evangelize among people of color.  Not all ACNA leaders are on the same page as Beach, but his is the dominant voice.

Massive Earthquake Adds to Haitian Woes

The Episcopal Church has a strong presence in the area most affected by the recent Haitian earthquake, and leaders have already begun trying to assess needs and work with their partners in the U.S. and Episcopal Relief and Development to bring needed support and supplies.  Les Cayes, near the epicenter had several church institutions, including an Episcopal School.  The director of the school was meeting with parents when the earthquake struck.  All rushed safely outside.  Several Episcopal schools in the area suffered major damage as did a birthing center.  The Episcopal News Service article has more information. 

Updates on Ongoing Stories

Assisting Bishops Appointed in Chicago and Albany

Update has carried previous stories on the delay of consecration for the new Chicago bishop elect due to a brain bleed, and of the search in Albany for a new bishop following the trial and resignation of Bishop Love.  Both dioceses have now found an assisting bishop.  An assisting bishop in such circumstances handles the sacramental and disciplinary things that require the presence of the bishop, but leaves the Standing Committee as the official ecclesiastical authority.  Bishop Chilton Knudsen will be working with Chicago.  Since resigning as the diocesan bishop in Maine, she has had assisting appointments in Maryland and Southern Ohio.  Knudsen has Pittsburgh ties, having degrees from both Chatham College and the University of Pittsburgh.  Albany will be working with Bishop Michael Smith who served as the diocesan bishop of North Dakota until his retirement and is a prominent member of the conservative group of bishops called the "Communion Partners."  Smith is also one of the few Episcopal bishops to be from an indigenous tribe.

Parishes Respond to Covid-19 Surge

The Delta variant of covid-19 has brought an upsurge of cases, especially among the unvaccinated, but with just enough cases among the vaccinated to concern churches in all areas of the U.S., even those with high vaccination rates.  In a cluster of states in the Southeast the pandemic surge is stretching medical facilities to the utmost. The Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta, GA has had to make major adjustments after three of its four clergy tested positive for covid-19.  In general Episcopal parishes are responding by re-masking, cutting some recently restored activities, or in some cases returning to on-line services.  Update reported on the start of this trend in a previous post.  Other parishes are stepping forward as centers for vaccination.  Emmanuel Parish in Rockford, Illinois, recently has received local news coverage as the site of a vaccination clinic.  (Update has reported on other parishes acting as a site, most recently here.)