Two additional church properties have been returned to the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, as diocesan officials and the clergy of the vacating congregations worked together to allow for an amicable hand-off.

The clergy and parishioners of St. Martin's Church of Monroeville and Good Samaritan Church in Liberty Boro informed the Episcopal Diocese that they had decided on their own to leave those churches and property behind and to make a fresh start as new entities elsewhere. Those decisions came after the courts affirmed the Episcopal Diocese’s right to hold and administer the real property of the two churches. Both congregations relinquished the church properties as of January 2, 2012.

The Episcopal Diocese had informed these and other congregations that they were welcome to stay in place for the immediate future. No demands were made on them as a condition for staying, other than to remain good stewards of the property. For those still choosing to leave, the diocese further offered the time and cooperation necessary for an orderly relocation and transition of the property.

The Episcopal Diocese appreciates the cordial response and actions of the Rev. Kua Apple of St. Martin’s and the Rev. Peggy Means of Good Samaritan, who in cooperating with diocesan property administrator Joan Gundersen, made sure the transition went smoothly, the property was safeguarded, and historical items left with the Episcopal Diocese.

In return, the Episcopal Diocese also agreed to a request from the Good Samaritan congregation for an on-going loan of items for use in their liturgy and worship.

A diocesan task force is now studying the future use of these and other properties. Meanwhile, the Episcopal Diocese is making arrangements so that community and daycare groups can continue to use the church buildings. Other groups are welcome as well.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is a fellowship of vibrant communities united in Christ, whom we proclaim as Lord and Savior as we welcome all persons regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey.