On Monday, October 6, 2008, I sent letters (by e-mail and certified mail) to the other members of the Standing Committee informing them that it was my belief that they supported amending the Constitution of the Diocese in an attempt to realign with a province of Anglican Communion in South America (known as the Southern Cone) and asked that, if I was wrong in this, they notify me by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8, 2008.
On Wednesday afternoon, I received a phone call from David Wilson, President of the Standing Committee, informing me that in 15 minutes there would be a conference call with the other seven members and that they intended to remove me from the Standing Committee. Two reasons were given. First, I had not accepted my letter of transfer to the Southern Cone. Actually, I had missed the announcement at convention and the letter was never offered to me. When I returned home that evening I found it in the mail having been sent the previous day. The second reason given was that my parish, St. Michael’s, appeared on this web site as having decided to stay in the Episcopal Church. I was not asked to join the conference call and was offered no due process. I do not recognize the authority that purported to take these actions. Providentially at that moment, I was meeting with key leaders of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church. After I reported the phone call to those assembled, and with the advice of the Diocesan Chancellor, I immediately appointed two new members to the Standing Committee, which the canons give me the authority to do. This was done at 2:44 P.M. I am pleased to announce that Ms. Mary Roehrich and The Rev. Jeff Murph, who were in attendance at the meeting, immediately accepted those appointments.
Later in the day, I received a letter by e-mail from David Wilson informing me that the remaining seven members of his Standing Committee consider themselves to be aligned with the Province of The Southern Cone.
This information was conveyed to the Presiding Bishop’s office and today we received recognition as the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the Episcopal Church and because of the absence of a Bishop, the ecclesiastical authority.
I am also pleased to announce that the Standing Committee has made several staff appoints. Andy Roman has agreed to be our Chancellor, Rich Creehan is Director of Communications, Joan Gunderson is the Treasurer, the Rev. Scott Quinn is the Director of Pastoral Care and Alice Ramser is the Office Administrator.
I am also pleased to announce that The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will be holding a reorganizing Convention on Saturday December 13th. Details as to time and place will follow shortly.
This is an exciting time and there is much work to be done but I know that we are equal to the task. Keep all of this in prayer as we move forward in grace as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The Rev. Dr. James B. Simons
Next Steps: Moving Forward with Grace is an informational meeting for parishes and individuals who wish to remain in The Episcopal Church.