Sunday, November 8, 2009

Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh grows with addition of parishes

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review-

Three out-of-state churches Saturday joined the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh — a group of 55 parishes that last year broke away from the national Episcopal Church of America over issues ranging from abortion to the consecration of a non-celibate gay bishop.

The new member churches are St. James Church of San Jose, Calif.; Holy Trinity Church of Raleigh, N.C.; and the Church of the Transfiguration of Cleveland.

An area church — Harvest Anglican Church of Homer City, Indiana County — was admitted to the diocese.

For the most part, the new member churches were attracted to the diocese because of its more conservative theological views than the national Episcopal Church, said Bishop Robert Duncan.

"There has been a secular drift in the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and in the Anglican Church of Canada. It has caused the church to stray from core theology," Duncan said yesterday at his diocese's first convention since the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh split in two last year.

"There is a whole sense of freedom and joy here. We are not spending time debating differences," said Peter Frank, a deacon at Grace Church in Mt. Washington.

For the Church of the Transfiguration of Cleveland, the realignment is an attempt to keep the church alive. The parish initially became interested in the Pittsburgh-based diocese when the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio said it planned to close the urban church.

"We left two years ago because we were going to be closed. We affiliated with the Anglican Church of Kenya, and now we are here," said the Rev. Barbara Harris, a priest.

The Pittsburgh-area parishes that remained with the national Episcopal Church met last month. They named a new bishop, Kenneth Price Jr.

The two dioceses are embroiled in litigation, and Duncan's group is appealing a Common Pleas Court ruling that stated that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh owns all diocesan property.

Duncan, who is also archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, said the group is seeking recognition as a province from the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is made up 38 provinces.

No comments: