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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The 146th Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh

The 146th Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh is being held today by two diocese, the TEC-Pgh diocese and the ACNA Diocese. No matter to me as I am sure they are much different gatherings but both well intended.

Our ACNA diocese welcomed 21 new parishes, congregations and congregations in formation to be part of our goodly fellowship. We now stand at 82 congregations. the largest we've ever been, even before the minority of parishes that left us in 2008.

It was awesome to have folks from far and wide --nothing like diversity within unity! This morning Gale and I ate breakfast at the Comfort Inn in East Greensburg where we stayed with the white female pastor of an African American parish in Cleveland OH, the Rev Connie Harris. I have known Connie since the early 1990s when we attended a PEWSAction Renewal Conference in Virginia Beach. They just left their building in downtown Cleveland and are starting over in another former Methodist Church nearby. The new church is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, which Connie said was a sign to her people that God was directing their move. She told me the Senior Warden recalled the words of Martin Luther King Jr when they left: "Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty we're free at last!"

We began our gathering last night with an awesome service of Holy Communion led by Bishop Duncan in the basilica at St Vincent's College. Even this Anglican Protestant was impressed with the facility and the blended worship. It was truly the convergence of the three streams of Anglicanism --charismatic, catholic and evangelical. The convention banquet followed. We were shoehorned into the main room of the Fred C. Rogers Center for a rather good banquet meal. (similar gatherings usually feature the rubber chicken circuit type offerings). To me it's rather humorous that two of the newest facilities at St. Vincent's are named for deceased Protestants: Presbyterian minister and TV personality Mr. Rogers and Winnie Palmer the wife of PGA golfer Arnold Palmer. Both Arnie and Fred must have given heavily to the school.

As part of the awards and acknowledgements after dinner, all the new congregations were presented with Terrible Towels --always a hoot. Bishop Louis Brant of the RC Diocese of Greensburg welcomed us and brought greetings from his people . The evening concluded with the Rt Rev Neil Lebahr, wife Marcia and former Senior Warden Harry Parsons as the keynoters, addressing us on the convention theme, "After the Exodus". Neal is the newly installed bishop of the new ACNA Diocese of the Gulf in north Florida. Marcia is a native Pittsburgher, having grown up in Sewickley. All in all a great night.

My bud Deacon Tara Jernigan has a good report on the convention here

As does friend Dr. Jeremy Bonner here


  1. Thanks for the update, David. On our side of the stream we met up at Christ Church in the North Hills. Obviously the Anglican Diocese is quite a bit larger than ours, but it sounds like both were energetic and forward looking. Both dioceses have many challenges, but we would pray for God's blessings on what good work we can do.


  2. Greetings Bruce:

    Sounds like your convention went well too. That's good news. Who was elected to your Standing Cmte: Jim or Moni?

  3. Moni was elected. The narrow margin (I believe the tally was 56/55--in any event, it was one vote) is something of a hint of the "political" complexity of our situation--though I think it's also probably not helpful to overinterpret. Both Jim and Moni have been very effective and gifted parish priests and diocesan leaders over many years, and both are well-liked personally by many who would differ with them on theological perspective. And of course at any particular convention you have some variables in things like attendance of retired and non-parochial clergy, etc. So it's hard to say anything much more than that both nominees had broad support. Moni is of course a brilliant scholar, and she is passionately committed to the work of the church in the inner city. The faithfulness and creativity of her work in Homewood over these years has been inspiring. And she has a well-honed BS detector (perhaps developed in her long service in the military, or perhaps in her time in the halls of the academy), with a wicked and fun sense of humor. I'm sure there will be many times on the Standing Committee when she and I will have strong and sharp differences, no question about that--but Moni and I are right next door to each other here in the East End, and I do know that we both care deeply about how the church can open the front door to meet the needs of our neighbors and share the love of Christ with them in the midst of some real distress. I expect we'll both spend a fair amount of time in that context singing from the same page of the hymnal.


  4. One may quibble about whether your diocese was conducting the 146th “Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.” I think it a stretch, but you can call it the 1000th convention of the Grand Empire for all I care. Only ours was the 146th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

    We too, are growing, though not by expanding into non-contiguous territories. But, do what works for you.

    I was pleased by Moni’s victory, but I don’t read too much into a one-vote victory. Random events could have easily given Jim the victory.

    In the end, of course, we will each be known by out fruits, not by our conventions.

  5. Thanks for the hat-tip David. Yours was the more comprehensive review. I'm looking forward to the Bishop of Greensburg's comments being available on the website. He was earthshatteringly phenomenal!

    Lionel, give it up, go in peace, and let others do the same. Its over, lawsuit and all. God's grace on you.