The Diocese of Pittsburgh passed constitutional amendments and canons attempting to remove the Diocese from the Episcopal Church and realign it with the Province of the Southern Cone. The constitutional amendments needed to pass by majority votes of the lay and ordained orders voting separately. The vote as reported at the convention was
Clergy - Votes Cast 160 Needed to Win -81 Yes - 121 No - 33
Abstentions - 3
Lay - Votes Cast -190 Needed to Win- 96 Yes- 119 No- 69 Abstentions- 3
The following is the statement I read to the Press after the vote
This is a sad day. A majority of deputies to the diocesan convention voted for schism. They took the convention’s theme, “A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand,” and today caused the Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh to be divided indeed.
But – we still see a hopeful tomorrow.
Already, at least 16 parishes are on record as remaining united with the Episcopal Church. We expect many more parishes to stay. And we know that many individuals – in some cases large groups – will be joining with us from congregations that realign.
The good work of the Episcopal Church will go on.
The work of reorganizing the diocese within the Episcopal Church becomes an immediate priority. Members of “Across the Aisle” have already laid the groundwork for this task. As one member of the Diocesan Standing Committee -- the group in charge of the Diocese since Bishop Robert Duncan was deposed – I will seek to determine with certainty if any other Standing Committee members remain committed to the Episcopal Church. With them, or alone if necessary, I will appoint new members to the Standing Committee, which will appoint other diocesan leaders. All of us who remain in the Episcopal Church will look after those who are suffering because of this split. We will find someone to minister to us as a Bishop. We will be recognized by the national church. We will have a diocese, and it will be healthy and faithful.
In the coming months, every parish will need to make known where it stands. I believe this will happen sooner rather than later. We pray for our brothers and sisters as they decide where they stand, just as we pray for those who have left. We will always welcome anyone – at any time – who wishes to bear faithful witness to Jesus Christ in a reorganized Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The Rev. Dr. James B. Simons
Standing Committee Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Episcopal Church USA)
Chair of the Steering Committee for Across the Aisle
Speaking to the Soul: Alleluia! Alleluia!
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