Dear Friends in Christ,

Last year I outlined three strategic priorities for the Diocese of Pittsburgh – the proclamation of a Public Gospel, the development of Missional Communities, and an emphasis on Leadership Formation, both lay and ordained.

Practically, however, what do these things look like on the ground? How are they expressed in our own lives, as Christians and as congregations, whether our churches are small or large, urban or rural? Where do we begin?

There is a book called People of the Way – Renewing Episcopal Identity by Dwight Zscheile, an Episcopal priest who teaches at Luther Seminary in Minnesota. The book is an eloquent exposition of our three priorities, though Dr. Zscheile doesn't use exactly the same terms. However, there is much within its pages that will inform, bless, and encourage you about what our particular charisms as Anglicans have to offer to our Church and our world today.

The Strategic Planning Task Force of our diocese has read and been discussing this book in our meetings since the spring. Some parishes have similarly encouraged their folks to explore its ideas through Lenten programs and adult study groups. I'd like to invite the entire diocese to join with me in reading this book over the coming month. You might call it a "One Book/One Diocese" initiative, a "back to school" invitation for the entire Diocese of Pittsburgh as we continue in our discipleship with Jesus.

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Highland Park has invited the Rev. Dr. Zscheile to be the speaker at their Annual St. Andrew's Lecture on Friday evening, October 17. This lecture is a free event, open to all. On Saturday, October 18, St. Andrew's is planning a day of workshops to further engage Dr. Zscheile's ideas and to offer us the opportunity to reflect and discuss together and with this distinguished author how we live faithfully as churches in a changing world.

More information about these events will be forthcoming, but please mark your calendars now for October 17 and 18, get the book, and read it! I don't want any of our parishes to miss out on this incredible opportunity. You may pick up a copy of the book at Calvary Bookstore in Shadyside (412-661-0120 x133) or go to where you may also download the book to your Kindle or similar device.

I believe the People of the Way has much to offer us as we think and grow towards our future of Public Gospel, Missional Communities, and Leadership Formation. Please join me for these events as together we continue to build our common life in Christ.


Friday, October 17, 8 p.m.  The Saint Andrew's Lecture and Reception: The Rev. Dr. Dwight J. Zscheile will share: The Agile Church: Faithful Innovation in a Changing World. Dr. Zscheile is the author of People of the Way: Renewing Episcopal Identity. 

Saturday, October 18, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Responding and Looking Forward, Dr. Zscheile in conversation with Bishop McConnell and the Rev. Dr. Philip Wainwright, with an ecumenical panel of lay ministry leaders, seminarians, and local parish clergy, and with all of us as interested participants.  

Sunday, October 19, 4:30 p.m. Ministry in a New Apostolic Era?  Choral Evensong and Sermon, Observing James the Just, Bishop of Jerusalem. Preaching will be the Rev. Dr. John Macdonald, Associate Professor of Mission and Evangelism, Trinity School for Ministry.

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