A standing-room only crowd from across the Diocese jammed St. Paul’s Parish Hall to hear plans for continuing an Episcopal Diocese in Pittsburgh despite an upcoming convention vote to the contrary.
An estimated 325 people gathered here on September 13th, exactly three weeks before convention deputies were scheduled to vote on realigning the Diocese of Pittsburgh with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone based in Argentina.
But at St. Paul’s that Saturday, conservatives, moderates and liberals alike spoke of why and how they will continue to remain part of the Episcopal Church.
“We have to learn to work together despite our differences,” said one of the presenters, Mary Roehrich of St. Andrew’s Church, Highland Park, describing a “big tent” church. Roehrich said a reconfigured diocese would emerge after the vote to realign “with all the structures one expects to find in an Episcopal Diocese,” and with a mission that reaches out to all those who want to remain Episcopalian “no matter what their position on the split is.”
The Rev. Jeffrey Murph, Rector of St. Thomas in Oakmont, noted his parish spent all of Lent looking at the biblical passages dealing with false teaching and division. “Without exception,” Murph said, “the biblical command is not to cause division.” Murph was one of two presenters addressing “Why is staying the right thing to do?” The other was St. Paul’s former assistant, the Rev. Leslie Reimer.
“Trust and tolerance are part of the very heart of our character,” Leslie told the packed room.
The Parish Hall was prepared to seat just over two hundred people. As the crowds poured in, additional chairs were added to capacity. Even so, 50 or more people were left lining the walls for the two-hour session.
Camera crews from KDKA, WTAE, and WPXI covered the meeting, as did reporters from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review. News station KQV-AM previewed the event the day before.