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         

Monday, November 7, 2022

Week Ending 11/7/22

Stained Glass to Show Jesus As Middle Eastern Man

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, in University City, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri has replaced the stained glass windows in a side chapel with ones done by a local artist with a national reputation.  The artist is known for his work murals and paintings portraying African Americans. The commission, by the Church of the Holy communion, however was the first time he had done work for a religious institution.  What makes the windows special is that the Biblical figures, including that of Jesus, are  brown-skinned, a certainly more accurate depiction of the figures than the customary European features and pale skin color.  The congregation has grown more diverse, and wanted some of the art work in the worship space to reflect that inclusion. 

Continuing Stories

Another Pittsburgh Parish Closes Successful Medical Debt Retirement 

Update reported on the successful conclusion of a campaign by two small parishes in the Pittsburgh Diocese to raise the funds needed to forgive over $1.68 million in Medical debt owed by families in Southwest Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.  A third parish, St. Paul's in Mt. Lebanon just concluded its own campaign in which they raised just under $38,000 which then was used by RIP Medical Debt to clear more the $3.32 million in medical debt.  St. Paul's is a large parish with over 1000 members. The three parishes together raised  over $44,000 which was then used to clear over $5 million in medical debt.

South Carolina Delays Opening of Another Regained Church

In their continuing attempt to make the transition of parish buildings being returned to the Episcopal Church as gentle as possible, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has delayed the opening of St. James Church in Charleston until December 4.  It was originally scheduled for the first Sunday in November.  The departing ACNA congregation, however, was not able to get access to their new location, and rather than leave them homeless for a month, the diocese has delayed the restart.  Update announced the earlier date last week.  

Presiding Bishop Signs Interfaith Request for Investigation of Christian Nationalism

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was one of the religious leaders who signed a letter in June 2022 asking the Jan. 6 Committee of the House of Representatives include  investigating Christian Nationalism as a part of its work. The letter outlines ways that Christian Nationalism served as a motivating force in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and the many ways that this ideology is contrary to the religious liberty and freedom guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. The letter has only been made public recently.  A Baptist group opposed to Christian Nationalism began the effort, but the final letter was signed by Bishop Curry, and leaders of the ELCA, the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Baptist groups as well as the president of the National Council of Churches.  In addition, other individual clergy who have been raising concerns about Christian Nationalism also signed the letter.  Last week Update carried a notice of the panel the Presiding Bishop participated in pointing out the problems with Christian Nationalism.

Fallout Continues On Latest Church of England Study on LGBTQA Inclusion

Last week Update noted that responses pro and con to the latest document issued by the Church of England on inclusion, especially of the LGBTQA community, were starting to appear.  This week, following discussion of the document at a meeting of the Church of England's College of Bishops, there is more.  The Bishop of Oxford has published a statement saying that he supports the Church allowing clergy to bless same sex marriages and to preside at marriages.  Two other bishops have followed suit.  Conservatives are also weighing in.  Thinking Anglicans links to a number of the comments here.