Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Press release about September 13 Meeting

Across the Aisle

1066 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker
Member, Across the Aisle Steering Committee
Telephone: +1 (412) 243-6100 or +1 (412) 716-7364


Group Announces Unity Event for Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — September 3, 2008 — A coalition of Episcopal clergy and laypeople today invited everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to an event promoting diocesan unity. “A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution” will present the case for rejecting proposals that, purportedly, would remove the diocese from The Episcopal Church. Speakers will explain how continuity of the diocese as a judicatory of The Episcopal Church will be maintained irrespective of the outcome of the vote on “realignment” at the October 4 diocesan convention.

“A Hopeful Future” will be presented at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1066 Washington Rd., Mt. Lebanon, Pa., from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, September 13, 2008. The program will be of special interest to vestry members, convention deputies, and Episcopal Church supporters feeling isolated in pro-realignment parishes. Those interested in attending may obtain additional information by calling St. Paul’s at (412) 531-7153 or by visiting its Web site at .

“A Hopeful Future” is sponsored by Across the Aisle, a coalition that grew out of conversations among conservatives, moderates, and liberals of the diocese who believe that withdrawal from The Episcopal Church and “realignment” with a foreign Anglican province is neither a proper nor a helpful response to the current controversies within The Episcopal Church. “The name symbolizes what we are about,” said the Rev. James Simons, rector of St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier. “We have reached ‘across the aisle’ in peace to those who are committed to Jesus Christ but who have different interpretations of scripture and events and who wish to remain part of one church.” Across the Aisle includes Episcopalians from more than 29 churches of the Pittsburgh diocese.

Across the Aisle has appointed a steering committee of six: The Rev. James Simons; the Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker, rector of St. Stephen’s, Wilkinsburg; Mr. Charles Jarrett, Chancellor Emeritus of the diocese; Dr. Joan Gundersen, Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; and Mr. Thomas Moore and Ms. Mary Roehrich, both of St. Andrew’s, Highland Park.

Most elected leaders of the Episcopal diocese have supported constitutional and canonical changes promoted by Bishop Robert Duncan to remove the diocese from The Episcopal Church. The constitutional changes will be voted on for the second and final time at the October 4 diocesan convention to be held in Monroeville.

The Episcopal Church has taken the position that individuals may leave the church but that parishes and dioceses are integral components that cannot separate. Those who vote for “realignment” and plan to leave The Episcopal Church may neither hold office in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh nor retain control of its assets. If convention approves the proposed measures, vacated leadership positions will have to be filled by Episcopalians staying in the church, and core diocesan functions will be performed under new leadership until the diocese regains control of diocesan assets. “We are making plans to assure continuity in the administration of the diocese,” said Simons. “It is with great sadness that we are undertaking these necessary preparations.”

The Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker
Member, Across the Aisle Steering Committee
Telephone: +1 (412) 741-1281 or +1 (412) 716-7364

On the Web:

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church:

The Episcopal Church:

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh:

2008 Diocesan Convention:


Marilyn Clifton Chislaghi said...

I will attend, and will be curious to examine the 'hopeful future' presented. 'Hope' is not an image that easily springs to my mind upon the thought of maintaining an attachment to The Episcopal Church.
Marilyn Clifton Chislaghi
Church of the Ascension

Unknown said...

I wonder what Natasha would say.

The Rev Canon Dr David Wilson said...

It is sad to see someone who I once worked with side-to-side for twenty years not only to be opposed to re-alignement but to work to defeat it. Very sad indeed!

Jim Simons said...

Natasha used to say that the church was constantly going through a reformation. That what we're going through is nothing new (except by topic) and that to engage it faithfully was a privilege.

Robert Christian said...

It is my hope that we will listening earnestly to what the Holy Spirit is telling us to do and not what we wish to do.

Marilyn mentions hope which brings to mind a hymn that ends with "faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love,"(1Cor. 13 I believe). Maybe that's the mindset we need to bring to these meetings.