Lionel Deimel: Agreeing to agree

My friend Lionel Deimel has written an essay that speaks to a recent compact signed by a number of clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh (many of whom are also friends of mine).

I think the key point that Lionel makes is that the Diocese of Pittsburgh is not monolithic and is not of one mind in this area. Certainly there is a preponderance of opinion that is supported by this signed compact, but there is still a non-trivial sized minority in the diocese that continue to object to any action which would claim to remove the entire Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh from a subsidiary relationship with the national Episcopal Church:

“Ostensibly, the Diocese of Pittsburgh is engaged in a discernment process that will determine its destiny. In practice, the broad outlines of its future are clear, even if the path leading to that future is obscured. Anyone doubting this need only read the story in yesterday’s Boston Globe, which includes the following paragraphs:
Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who came to Nairobi for the consecrations, said he expects to see a new Anglican province in North America that will replace the Episcopal Church.

‘We are realigning,’ said Duncan, who added he would attempt to pull his entire diocese out of the Episcopal Church, a move that would raise an unprecedented set of legal and financial questions about the ownership of parish buildings and diocesan property.
Make no mistake; Pittsburgh is a conservative place, and its Episcopal diocese is one of the least progressive in The Episcopal Church. It is led by the moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, has petitioned for alternative episcopal oversight, and has unlawfully weakened the accession clause of its constitution. The diocese claims to have removed itself from its Episcopal Church province, sends no money to The Episcopal Church for the maintenance of the general church, and hosts Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, perhaps the institution most responsible for what the Rev. Tom Woodward has called the ‘undermining of the Episcopal Church.’

Despite Bishop Duncan’s efforts, however, his diocese is not monolithic. It is home to Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, one of the more liberal of the Via Media USA groups, which has been opposing the depredations of the bishop for the past 4-1/2 years. It contains at least a dozen parishes, including some of the largest in the diocese, that have opted out of Duncan’s Network. Among these is Calvary Church, which, in 2003, sued Bishop Duncan and other diocesan leaders in an effort to protect Episcopal Church property from alienation.”

What will happen to these parishes, to their portion of the Diocesan assets and to the legacy of the Episcopal Church in Western PA that they have sought to create over the past century and more should the Diocesan leadership decide to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church.

Read the rest: Lionel Deimel’s Web Log

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...