The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s new bishop, Kenneth L. Price, has begun reaching out to dozens of congregations to address concerns they may have about the Episcopal Church, both now and going forward.

“You may be surprised to receive this” begins a letter Bishop Price mailed on January 20th to lay leaders and clergy of 40 congregations that have not actively participated in the Episcopal Church since October 2008. Bishop Price asks that his letter be received in a “conciliatory spirit.”

In it, the bishop invites face-to-face meetings where he can respond to criticisms and misunderstandings, and to learn of each congregation’s “hopes, desires, and concerns for the future.”

“This is all toward seeking an understanding and reconciliation of how each of us, even if we disagree, can still serve our one Lord and Savior,” Bishop Price says about his letter and its intended results.

“As soon as I arrived here late last month, I began visiting our 28 active parishes to help those congregations be the people they feel called to be,” the bishop further explains, “so I want to offer the same for those congregations that feel separated from the Episcopal Church.”

In one specific reference in his letter, the bishop acknowledges that a congregation might now regard itself as belonging to a separate Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, but that the Episcopal Church still considers the parish to be part of the Episcopal Diocese.

“I do not say that to provoke disagreement, but to only convey our perspective” the bishop writes in seeking to open discussions with the parish leaders.

The letter notes the Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh remains vibrant and united in Christ.

A copy of the letter was sent to the diocese’s former bishop, Robert Duncan, in his capacity as the leader of those who regard themselves as part of the Anglican diocese.

The content of Bishop Price’s letter can be viewed at http://www.episcopalpgh.org/docs/ParishLetter01_20_10.pdf.

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