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Friday, March 30, 2012

Fox Chapel Episcopal Church is now Christ Church Fox Chapel

From their website

New Announcements: It is Official - We are now... Christ Church, Fox Chapel !

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Rector's Page

The Church Beautiful - THE NAME CHANGE

Our proposed new name is … CHRIST CHURCH, Fox Chapel. The identifying tag underneath the name is: An Anglican Fellowship.

It’s taken us a while to get to this place. It was not done in haste. There are some who have eagerly anticipated this change. There are others who don’t see the need at all. The vestry was mindful of these and many other considerations. If you recall, we have had two town hall meetings on this and related subjects. We did a Survey Monkey questionnaire for the parish, and released the results. We have observed a 30-day prayer experiment. We have had adult forums on the subject.

All know that we realigned within the Anglican Communion in 2008. All know that at the same time we truly wanted this parish to stay united. All know that people have left because of the realignment. Most know that these people, in all likelihood, will not return. Just about everyone I talk to agrees that we must forge ahead. We have had people come to the parish thinking we were Episcopal, and left when they discovered we were not aligned with the Episcopal Church, USA (or TEC) any longer. The traffic signs in Fox Chapel still say, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You.” Someone observed that this is false advertising, misleading. The general consensus was that we needed to address these changes with a name change.

The Vestry acted circumspectly in their decision-making. The debate included the inclusion of our borough’s name, our denominational affiliation, and the type or character of the parish that the name should communicate. Could there be a Saint’s name? Should we use a theological moniker like “Faith,” or ‘Hope’, or a name recollecting a mighty act of our Lord, like Ascension, or Resurrection, etc.

The date for final ratification of the name is the Annual Meeting of the Parish on January 29, 2012. Between then and now, we are desirous of hearing thoughts, opinions and responses. Any vestry person will be quite happy to talk to you about these things.
Fr. Tom

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UPDATED 3/31: Frank Lyons appointed Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh ACNA diocese

Frank Lyons appointed Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh ACNA diocese


The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced today that the Bishop of Bolivia, the Rt. Rev. Frank Lyons has been appointed assistant bishop in the Anglican Church in North America diocese.

According to the statement released by the diocese, Bishop Lyons “will assist with pastoral care and oversight to clergy and congregations in the Diocese of Pittsburgh during Archbishop Duncan’s tenure as archbishop. Bishop Lyons will also exercise a special superintendence of diocesan congregations located beyond the Pittsburgh area.“

Read it all

Diocesan Story Here

Interesting story from the Chicago Tribune in 2006 here (interesting spin),0,2163871.story

UPDATE: Post Gazette story 3/31/12 linked here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

St. David's moving to Canonsburg

By Terri T. Johnson
South Hills Almanac staff writer

The congregation of St. David's Anglican Church in Peters Township will hand over the church property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, relocate to the former St. Genevieve Roman Catholic Church in Canonsburg and be known by another name, The Anglican Parish of Christ the Redeemer, all by the end of May.

The Rev. David Wilson, rector of St. David's, said unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a settlement with the Episcopal Diocese since a 2010 court order stating the property is owned by the Episcopal Diocese, resulted in the move. St. David's was one of several Episcopal parishes to leave the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in October of 2008. The move was centered primarily on differences in ideology.

"Since the ruling of 2010, the congregation has continued to pay for a sizable mortgage on the property," Wilson said. "We have invested millions of dollars paying for a facility and countless hours maintaining a facility that the courts have ruled belongs to others."

The last service in the current building will be May 20.

The congregation has leased the former St. Genevieve Roman Catholic Church, 120 E. College St., Canonsburg, and the first service is planned for 10 a.m. May 27. The St. Genevieve site is temporary.

Parishioner David Ball said the intention is for part of the parish to eventually return to another site in Peters Township. A second part of the parish will remain and establish an Anglican church in Canonsburg.
The congregation voted unanimously March 25 to hand over the property and to relocate to St. Genevieve's.

"It's been an awful lot of turmoil," Ball said March 27. "Unfortunately, that's the way the court ruled, whether we agree or not. We've been through a grieving process and we're at the end, and the decision was made to move on."

Ball said at the parish meeting there were memories and tears and sadness.

"But at the end, it turned into a joyful thing. It's done. It's over and now we can move on," Ball said.

St. David's opened its door in Peters Township in 1954 with the current building constructed in 2001. There are 250 members with an average Sunday attendance of 140.

Wilson said he was assured by the Episcopal Diocese that organizations using the St. David's building, including the preschool, will not be affected by the property transfer.

On Leaving Our Parish Home

By David M. Ball
Special to Virtueonline
March 27, 2012

On Sunday, March 25, the parish of St. David's Anglican Church, Peters Township, PA, met for the last time as the parish of St. David's. At that meeting, the parish affirmed the vestry's decision to leave our current parish home and move to a new facility. I would like to share some of that day because the Holy Spirit was with us, working among us.

The journey to this day has been long and well documented so I will only sketch the basics. In 2008, the majority of the then Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh split from the Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, a Diocese of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). We did so knowing full well that the road ahead would require sacrifice, and it has.

Lawsuits, the trademark of TEC, followed and in 2010 the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County ruled that the property and buildings of 24 parishes, St. David's among them, were owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church. An appeal to the Court of Appeals was unsuccessful and the PA Supreme Court declined to hear the case. St. David's made several attempts to initiate negotiations regarding the property with the TEC Diocese to no avail. It became very apparent that we were paying a significant mortgage on a property that was not ours and that we had little chance of keeping. We realized that we had to leave the building we have occupied since 1954 and have twice expanded.

After considerable searching, we found a suitable new facility, an unused church building belonging to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh in nearby Canonsburg. As the plan to depart took shape, there was, expectedly, a great deal of sadness and concern among the members of our congregation. Many parishioners donated sacrificially to support the parish for years. Many have made substantial gifts and donated memorials. In the end, however, after much discussion with legal advisors and Diocesan leadership, we had to make the decision to leave.

A parish meeting was scheduled for the 25th of March with Archbishop Duncan in attendance. And then wonderful things began to happen.

The readings appointed for the Fifth Sunday in Lent were indeed there for us on that day. All four readings spoke of an end becoming a beginning and sorrow turning to joy.

The Prophet Jeremiah (31:31-34) warned of a catastrophe about to befall the people of Israel because they had failed to live as God intended. His words were not without hope, however. He also spoke of a New Covenant, not one on stone tablets like the Law of Moses, but of a relationship of the heart. The prophet spoke of travail and a new beginning, a new relationship with God. The old way became corrupt and the existing church was destroyed to be rebuilt in faithful obedience. This is an amazing parallel to the growing apostasy, secularism and willful disobedience to God within TEC and our commitment to remain Biblically faithful Christians.

Psalm 51:11-16 pleads forgiveness and voices the longing of the faithful soul for a new beginning. As Israel lost its treasures, so may we lose ours. Jeremiah prophesied a new covenant to be written upon our minds and the psalmist prayed that God would open our lips that we might praise the Lord.

Hebrews 5:5-10 is a theological essay written to encourage Christians suffering persecution. The writer assures Christians that Jesus not only understands their suffering, he identifies with it and even enters into it. Jesus agonized over his impending death. Jesus, we are told, learned obedience from what he suffered. So we must learn through our suffering to be obedient to his Word. Jesus was heard by God through his submission. We pray we may be heard through ours. We are not submitting to any force on earth but to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We leave this building because we have chosen faithful obedience to God's Word over earthly things.

In the Gospel reading, John 12:20-33, Jesus speaks of his own death and resurrection. He speaks of an ending being a beginning. Using the metaphor of a grain of wheat, we are told that as a single grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies to itself, it brings forth an ear of corn that then produces many grains that will fall to the ground and bring forth increased abundance. This is our opportunity to bring forth increased abundance. Jesus was in agony but there was no other way than the way of the cross. If there were another way to the Father, the cross would not be necessary. Christians are not protected from pain. Many of our parishioners suffer their own agony. We sorrow and we hurt. Jesus was not saved from the hour, he was saved for it and so are we.

It is no accident that God put these words before us on this particular Sunday. These readings present a clear message of an end becoming a beginning and sorrow turning to joy.

The meeting was convened with Archbishop Duncan in attendance. Several people gave moving testimonies of their life at St. David's. Many spoke of long membership, baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals. Others spoke of coming to know our Savior at St. David's. Tears were shed. The vote was taken to affirm the vestry's decision and to relinquish our building, our processions and our name to TEC.

Shortly thereafter, the vestry resigned and Archbishop Duncan received the resignations of the clergy from the parish of St. David's. Then the Archbishop announced that the name of the newly constituted parish would be Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church and that the parish was received into the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh of the ACNA and that the clergy were also received into the new parish. The vestry was then elected for the Parish of Christ the Redeemer.

The meeting ended with singing "It is Well With My Soul". Indeed it is.

A day that began with sadness ended with great hope and joy in God's great mercy. We ask your prayers for the new parish of Christ the Redeemer. We pray that we, like the grain of wheat, bring forth abundance for the Lord. God is indeed good and His mercy is everlasting.

David M. Ball is a member of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, Peters Township, PA

Monday, March 26, 2012

St. David’s Anglican Church, Peters Township To Hand Over Property to Episcopal Church

The congregation has adopted the new name of Redeemer Parish and will hold their first service at their new location in Canonsburg on May 27, 2012.


The Rev. David Wilson, rector of St. David’s Anglican Church in Peters Township, announced today that the congregation will hand over the property at 905 East McMurray Road in Peters Township to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. In 2010, the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas issued an order that St. David’s property and buildings were owned by the Episcopal Diocese. St. David’s was unsuccessful in its attempts to negotiate a settlement with the Episcopal Diocese that would permit the congregation to stay in its current location.

Since the ruling in 2010, the congregation has continued to pay for a sizable mortgage on the property. The Rev. Wilson said, “We have invested millions of dollars paying for a facility and countless hours maintaining a facility that the courts have ruled belongs to others. The court’s ruling was very disappointing for our church, but we believe in the rule of law, and will abide by it.” The congregation intends to hand over the property by the end of May.

The congregation at St. David’s has adopted the new name of The Anglican Parish of Christ the Redeemer. They have leased the former St. Genevieve Roman Catholic Church building at 120 East College Avenue in Canonsburg, PA from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh as a temporary church home and also to plant a new Anglican parish permanently in Canonsburg. Redeemer Parish will hold their first service on May 27 at 10 a.m. Services thereafter will be at 8:30 a.m. (traditional) and 11 a.m. (contemporary) every Sunday.

Although the congregation at St. David’s is leaving its McMurray Road location, it has no intention of leaving Peters Township for good. They are hoping to rebuild or relocate in the Peters Township area as soon as suitable property is identified.

“I’m proud of our people. Not five years after completing a $3 million expansion project, they took a stand for the gospel in voting to leave the Episcopal Church,” said Wilson. Former Senior Warden and Peters Township resident Scott Smith said, “I gave sacrificially to help pay for the construction of our current building in 2001 and I don’t regret it one bit. We’re leaving our building to start over again and I don’t regret that one bit either. We’ve followed God’s leading.”

Wilson said, “The leaders of the Catholic Diocese and the pastor and people of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Canonsburg have been helpful and supportive throughout this process. And the rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Canonsburg has blessed our efforts as well. It’s a great start.”

For nearly 60 years, the congregation at St. David’s Church has ministered to the people of Peters Township and the surrounding area. Their first building in Peters Township was constructed in 1954. Their current building was constructed in 2001. The congregation established one of the first Christian preschools in Peters Township in the 1960s. The congregation hopes that the preschool will continue serving the community uninterrupted by the transfer of property. The congregation has 250 members with an Average Sunday Attendance of 140.

Anglican Diocese story (above) from here

Episcopal Diocese response here

Ann Rodgers of the Post Gazette writes here

TEC-Pgh blogger Lionel Deimel writes as expected