(Post-Gazette) The Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh retires

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the Rev. Harold T. Lewis became rector of the mostly white and wealthy Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside in 1996, the city was reeling from racial turmoil, and Father Lewis, who is African-American, was expected to be a leader in addressing social injustice.
But circumstances have led him to retire as a renowned advocate for Episcopal canon law.
Five years before the 2008 schism in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, he filed a lawsuit to stop anyone from taking property out of the Episcopal Church.
"If you had asked me when I was ordained ... if I would ever sue my bishop, I would have said you were crazy," said Father Lewis, 65, who retired Sunday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained

6 Comments
Posted November 26, 2012 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. stjohnsrector wrote:

Fr. Lewis arrived at Calvary shortly after I became Rector of St. Mary’s in Charleroi (2001).  He had just lost an election to be bishop of the Virgin Islands (my Rector where I served as curate, Fr. David Moyer, was another candidate who lost that one).  Interesting that the article says that attendance is up to 1000.  The Episcopal parochial reports shows an increase from start to finish in A.S.A. of about 375 to just under 400.  http://pr.dfms.org/study/exports/5186-0526_20121126_11541172.pdf

November 27, 12:59 am | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

It’s been an odd fifteen years for Calvary. Harold+ is very different from say Sam Shoemaker in the 1950s or George Hodges in the 1890s, both of whom left distinct legacies to the national church. I suspect Calvary is less elitist and more inclusive (in its most positive sense) than it was before 1996, which is something to be commended. As to the lawsuit, well you pays your money and takes your choice as to whether that is something in which to take satisfaction.

The thing that still perplexes me is the race angle. I was pleased to see George Werner quoted on this (though it struck me a little as damning with faint praise), but I still wish this dead horse wouldn’t continue to be flogged. The Diocese of Pittsburgh has had its troubles with race in the past (in which a former rector of Charleroi played a part), but it was never a part of the contemporary Diocese. Indeed, then Canon to the Ordinary Robert Duncan won plaudits from liberals for his work with the Commission on Racism.

November 27, 5:10 am | [comment link]
3. stjohnsrector wrote:

Jeremy - are you speaking of Canon Wittkofski (St. Mary’s 1944 to 1976), who with Sam Shoemaker put together the Pittsburgh Plan (an education program)?

November 27, 9:39 am | [comment link]
4. David Wilson wrote:

With Harold Lewis, sadly,  it always comes around to race.  It’s how he chooses to define the world.  Bob Duncan is not and has never been a racist.  The separation from TEC and the formation of ACNA has never been about race.  I was disappointed that the author Ann Rodgers had no voices from the ACNA Diocese quoted in the article.  Yes, Bob Duncan declined to comment but there are plenty of other leaders within the ACNA Diocese that could have been contacted.

November 27, 11:23 am | [comment link]
5. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

StJohnsRector (#3),

Not so much Wittkofski himself (as far as I could determine) but some of his parishioners - and others in the Mon Valley - who understandably resented the fact that none of the concern expressed for the situation in the Hill District was lavished on white mining communities, many of which weren’t much better off economically.

It produced some messy diocesan conventions during the 1960s for which all parties bore a share of responsibility. You can read more about it in the chapter of the diocesan history dealing with those tumultuous decades and draw your own conclusions.

November 27, 12:59 pm | [comment link]
6. Charles52 wrote:

Ann Rodgers is a fine journalist. This bit of puerile hagiography its unworthy of her.

November 27, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
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