A newly-formed task force has begun formulating a plan for where the diocese may extend its presence as it continues to rebuild over the next several years.

At its inaugural meeting on November 16th, the task force set a target date of March 15, 2012, to complete the first phase of its work. That study includes identifying geographic areas where Episcopal congregations might be re-established, existing parishes supported and strengthened, or new ministries planted to serve growing populations.

A report to be issued at that time would serve as a basis for recommendations to be acted upon by the bishop and three governing bodies of the diocese: the Board of Trustees, which oversees property matters; Diocesan Council, which controls the budget; and the Standing Committee, which advises the bishop on matters of pastoral care and ministry.

The timing also allows the report to be ready when a slate of candidates visits the diocese prior to the election of a new bishop. Those “walk-abouts” will take place March 20-23, 2012.

The task force began its work after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court resolved any remaining legal question as to whether the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should administer diocesan assets and hold title to various parish properties, including 22 locations where congregations are not currently participating in the Episcopal Church but continue to use the buildings. Several of these properties already have been voluntarily returned to the diocese. The diocese has informed the other congregations that they may stay in place for the immediate future by remaining good stewards of the property.

Bishop Kenneth Price has appointed the Rev. Jeff Murph, Rector of St. Thomas Church in Oakmont and out-going Standing Committee president, as the task force chairman.

The other members, also appointed by Bishop Price, are Randy Amis, Russ Ayres, Rich Creehan, Michael Donadee, Pam Gardner, the Rev. Canon Dr. Jay Geisler, Joan Gundersen, Carl Hockenberry, the Rev. Dr. Terry Hunt, the Rev. Tim Hushion, the Rev. Dick Pollard, the Rev. Canon Scott Quinn, the Rev. Dr. Bruce Robison, Mary Roehrich, Andy Roman, and Jim West.

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