The Post Split Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Profile is Released

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2011, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is moving forward, recognizing that it faces challenges as it works to achieve its mission. These include:
--Greatly reduced size of the diocese;
-- Large numbers of family-sized parishes struggling for the financial and human resources to carry out their ministries;
-- Need to raise up and train additional leaders;
-- Ongoing distraction of property disputes with the “realigned” congregations;
 --Continued need for healing and rebuilding of trust relationships between the diocese and the parishes, as well as among parishes and parishioners.
Despite these factors, we are a people of hope, bound together by faith expressed in our common statement of Mission, Vision, and Values. With God’s help, we intend to live into these matters of faith which bind us together. Read it all (29 page pdf).

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Posted August 28, 2011 at 5:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dan Crawford wrote:

Those family-sized churches struggling for financial and human resources? All they have to do is sell all the properties they’re on the verge of acquiring. Apparently they haven’t been too “distracted” - they keep repeating the mantra fed them by the national church about the “realigned congregations”. I thought everything with TEC-Pitt was hunky-dory.

August 28, 2:47 pm | [comment link]
2. Jason Miller wrote:

$400K budgeted for legal expenses.  Disgraceful.

August 28, 3:27 pm | [comment link]
3. sophy0075 wrote:

That $400k would go a long way towards ameliorating the “struggle.” But then, so would confessing the faith of Christ once crucified” and subscribing to the 39 Articles/the Westminster Confession/Nicene or Apostles Creed.

August 28, 3:55 pm | [comment link]
4. Statmann wrote:

The 2009 TEC Charts for Dio of Pittsburgh listed 28 churches with 8 having Plate & Pledge of more than $150K. Certainly, trust funds totaling about $22 million should be enough to help the other 20. And Dan Crawford correctly points out the huge funds which will occur if they sell the property now held by the ACNA. The new bishop will be “Money rich” and “people poor”.  That sounds just about right for a TEC diocese.  Statmann

August 28, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
5. David Wilson wrote:

Lionel Deimel fisks the Profile on his blog. 

http://blog.deimel.org/2011/08/closer-look-at-pittsburghs-diocesan.html

In a word he finds it loaded with conservative bias.  I guess the TEC-Pgh conservatives and progressives aren’t as cozy as we were led to believe.  Perhaps the conservatives will begin to speak up.

August 28, 5:32 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah wrote:

Deimel’s fisk is a fun read.  I don’t the “problems” he mentions as indicative of “conservatives” and progressives not being cozy. 

Here’s my take [as an outsider, so worth many grains of salt] on the substance of his issues:

First:
RE: “On the other hand, the text suggests a certain ambivalence about admitting what the diocese has been through. It is important to note that we are emerging from the dark spiritual forest in which Bob Duncan had confined us, but it is equally important for potential candidates to recognize the deep hurt experienced, particularly by the clergy of our diocese, during our spiritual exile from the wider church.”

So he didn’t get the histrionic drama from the profile that he would have preferred—sounds as if more moderate influences decided that either a) it wasn’t as dramatically a “dark spiritual forest” as Deimel purports or b) it’s not a great idea to place hand to brow and talk about how wounded an entity is when one is trying to attract candidates.  Regardless, he didn’t get the histrionics that revisionist activists suffering under a Christian who believes the Gospel would want to convey.

Second:
RE: “I believe that, curiously, the more moderate elements of the diocese that recognized what Bob Duncan was up to early and actively resisted his machinations emerged more hopeful and less cynical than the conservatives who were slow to do so but quick to criticize the Duncan opponents.”

Actually, the “conservatives” in that diocese aren’t cynical enough as many of them still appear to believe that one can “work with” revisionist activists in such a way that there will ensue a peaceful moderate diocese.  Won’t happen.  Only one gospel will win—it can’t be a “both/and” proposition.

Third:

Heh—the profile doesn’t mention Deimel’s leadership of the Progressive Episcopalians!  What a pity. 

But seriously, as nearly as I can tell the profile writers were striving to present some kind of “moderate” face.  Contrary to Deimel’s self-perspective, PEP was flaming revisionist, so featuring that sterling organization isn’t going to present the diocese as “moderate” as I expect the writers wished.

Fourth:
RE: “. . . I am concerned that it is a subtle attempt by conservatives of the diocese to downplay the role of more liberal Episcopalians and perhaps even to discourage liberal candidates from applying.”

Oh, I don’t think that revisionist activists of the sort that Deimel approves of will have the least hesitation in applying. 

Fifth:
RE: “Again, conservatives’ guilt may be reluctant to admit that the lawsuit, which was heavily criticized both within the diocese and without, and not by conservatives only, was, in fact, a brilliant move by Calvary rector Harold Lewis and attorney Walter DeForest.”

Oh, actually I expect the writers didn’t want to remind everybody of the massive quantity of lawsuits that the diocese is engaged in—you know, not a sign of “moderation.”  Even if it got “money” for the diocese, lawsuits in TEC are only considered a fine and wondrous thing by revisionist activists.

Sixth:
RE: “In fact, Trinity School for Ministry is itself a challenge and rather a problem for the diocese, something the profile tries hard to ignore. Trinity has been a primary engine for undermining The Episcopal Church in general and the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in particular.”

Heh—yes, by churning out clergy who actually believe the Gospel.  That definitely undermines the agenda of the current leadership of TEC.

Seventh:
RE: “I believe that reconciliation with those who left will not result in reunification in our lifetimes . . . “

I agree, but even his statement is faulty.  I don’t see reunification in *anybody’s* lifetime. 

Eighth:
RE: “Some other characteristics that I would like to see listed:
An unshakable commitment to The Episcopal Church that takes priority over any commitment to the Anglican Communion . . . “

Right—a foaming revisionist activist like Deimel.

RE: “Someone with no substantial disagreement with the general direction of The Episcopal Church over the past three decades . . . “

Right—a foaming revisionist activist like Deimel.

But I’ll give him some hope.  I think he’ll get just what he wants, with just a slight glaze of “moderate” on him—which is what the writers are hoping for. 

So I think he’s catastrophizing needlessly.  And I don’t think his quibbles with the profile depict divisions between “conservatives” and “liberals.”  It’s merely about trying to present a moderate face and asking candidates to present a moderate face.

I’m confident that the revisionist activist candidates will do just that.

August 28, 9:31 pm | [comment link]
7. David Wilson wrote:

Actually Sarah, points taken!  You are surely more right than I am.  The TEC-Pgh conservatives are so compromised that can’t speak up with any integrity.  Go-along-to-get-along is their vision statement.

August 28, 10:28 pm | [comment link]
8. AnglicanFirst wrote:

The ECUSA remnant in Pittsburgh has a difficult task in front of it.

First it has to convince many jaded congregants of its newly constituted diocese that it is worth ‘slogging on’ to remain members of a national church that seems to ‘stand for everything’ and simultaneously seems to ‘stand for nothing’ except for some secular political goals ‘popular with’/‘palatable to’ only a portion of the population.

And ‘stands for’ is a critical concept for those seeking a church-home.

For example, many young couples with children seek a church that will provide a spiritual education and set of Christian beliefs for those children.

But ECUSA is a church led by bishops who seem to be either confused in their Christology or or downright heretical in their Christology.  If an ECUSAn clergyman cannot without hestiation say that Christ is the Messiah (The Son of God) and that “Christ has died,” “Christ is risen,” and “Christ will come again,” then how can he/she claim to be a Christian and to convince others that he/she is a Christian.

And if in the moral and ethical plane of mortal existance many clergy of ECUSA openly view the preamble of each of the Ten Commandments to be ‘Thou may chose not’ rather than “Thou shall not” then how can those clergy convince others that they are teaching the Christian morality/ethics of the Church Catholic.

August 29, 8:18 am | [comment link]
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