The three principal leadership groups of the diocese made progress this past weekend in writing new statements that define the mission, vision, and values of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Meeting again as one body, members of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council and Board of Trustees also addressed a set of goals and objectives for the immediate future.
The joint meeting on July 25 continued a process begun in May and is expected to continue until the diocesan convention in October.
In crafting a new mission statement, the group discussed how the wording must reflect a diocese’s unique function within the church.  This resulted in suggested phrases that focused on the diocese supporting the parishes and other communities that comprise it, and the idea of parishes working closely together among themselves.  The group hopes to complete the mission statement at its August meeting.
Each of the 28 members in attendance had been asked ahead of time to also write a statement of values for the diocese.  After being compiled into a single list, each person selected ten of the statements as a means of identifying the most-shared themes.
A sampling of these value statements includes:

  • "We are a community, Christ-centered and biblically-based.  Love of God and of his son Jesus Christ guides all we do.  We preach that love by our words and actions.  We strive to be the Face of Christ to the world; Christ-like in all we do."
  • "We are guided in our life by Scripture, tradition, and reason."
  • "We find unity in worship… The Nicene Creed is a statement of our beliefs." 
  • "We are a part of the Episcopal Church and participate fully in its life and mission."
  • "We are inclusive.  All are welcome in congregations throughout our diocese." 

More than a dozen statements in all are under consideration.
Work also continued on prioritizing and assigning responsibility for specific objectives for the year ahead.  These fall under goals, first identified in May, that concern strengthening parishes, diocesan leadership, financial growth, interpersonal relations, and communication.  Bishop Johnson has suggested the priority list be shared with the diocese at Convention in October.
The July 25 meeting was the latest in a series of Leadership Days.  They occur almost once a month.  Bishop Johnson introduced the idea to help the diocese rebuild by fostering a sense of shared responsibility and collegiality among its elected leaders.
In this case, it brought about friendly competition, too.
The Rev. Jeff Murph and Celinda Scott of the Standing Committee, Trustee Beth Hardie, and the Rev. Chips Koehler of Council each won a pound of Building New Hope coffee for being first to return their pre-meeting homework. 
The next session is scheduled for Saturday, August 29, 2009, at a location to be determined.  (A scheduling conflict prevents the use of the previously announced setting, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park.)
Reported by Trustee Dana Phillips, of St. Thomas Church, Oakmont, and the facilitator of the July 25th Leadership Day.


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