Scroll To Top
World

Conservative
Pittsburgh Diocese Votes to Begin Episcopal Split

Conservative
Pittsburgh Diocese Votes to Begin Episcopal Split

Bishop_duncan_0

Representatives from the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly Friday to approve constitutional amendments that are the first step in leaving the national church in a widening rift over homosexuality and interpretation of Scripture. Pittsburgh joined dioceses in San Joaquin, Calif., and Quincy, Ill., in granting preliminary approval to separating from the national church, which the dioceses contend have wrongly abandoned Scriptural authority and traditional teachings on truth, salvation, and the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Representatives from the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly Friday to approve constitutional amendments that are the first step in leaving the national church in a widening rift over homosexuality and interpretation of Scripture.

Pittsburgh joined dioceses in San Joaquin, Calif., and Quincy, Ill., in granting preliminary approval to separating from the national church, which the dioceses contend have wrongly abandoned Scriptural authority and traditional teachings on truth, salvation, and the divinity of Jesus Christ.

''As a diocese we have come to a fork in the road,'' Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan said before lay delegates approved the measures 118-58 and clergy voted 109-24. ''Indeed, it has become clear that our understandings are not only different, but mutually exclusive, even destructive to one another.''

The division between conservatives and the Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the United States, has sharpened since the denomination consecrated New Hampshire bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is gay, in 2003.

Duncan is among the leaders of the conservative U.S. movement.

The Pittsburgh diocese wants to join another province of the Anglican Communion, a loose-knit worldwide coalition of churches that align themselves with the Church of England.

The amendments do not become final unless they are again approved at the next diocesan convention in November 2008. San Joaquin and Quincy have yet to take second votes on the changes in those dioceses, though San Joaquin is scheduled to do so next month.

Duncan said Pittsburgh would try to find a way for more liberal believers to stay in the diocese ''or be given freedom to separate from us and align more directly with the wider Episcopal Church.''

The Very Reverend George Werner, speaking for the Episcopal Church, praised Duncan for saying that he will try to have liberals and conservatives continue to share some facilities and programs, even if the split is finalized next year.

Werner was still critical of the vote.

''Splitting the community is not a good thing,'' Werner said. ''I am one who has always worked to keep us together. Sinners though we are, the whole is greater than the sum of our parts.''

A majority of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion hold traditional views that homosexuality is condemned by Scripture, while a majority in the Episcopal Church do not.

Diocesan spokesman Peter Frank said consecrating a gay bishop is a symptom of the split in the church, not a cause.

''We are in a church that funds causes that we don't believe are Christian, such as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice,'' Frank said. ''We are in a church that has such a radically different interpretation of what it means to be a Christian and is forcing that on us.'' (Joe Mandak, AP)

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories