Monday, November 5, 2007

Pittsburgh Episcopalians Take First Step in Leaving their Denomination


On Friday representatives from the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh voted to approve amendments to their constitution which grant initial approval for separation from the mother church. The Pittsburgh diocese joined other dioceses in San Joaquin, California and Quincy, Illinois in making these preliminary moves toward independence. For some time now Episcopalians have been struggling internally over differing views on issues of homosexuality, scriptural authority, scriptural interpretations, and other doctrines such as the divinity of Christ.

"As a diocese, we have come to a fork in the road," noted Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan just prior to lay delegates approving the amendments 118 to 58 and clergy by a margin of 109 to 24. "Indeed, it has become clear that our understandings are not only different, but mutually exclusive, even destructive to one another," he said.

Joe Mandak in his Associate Press article from Saturday, observed that the division within the church has sharpened since the Episcopalians consecrated New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson in 2003. Robinson is "openly gay," he noted.

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

The amendments passed on Friday, however, are not final. They must be approved again at the next diocesan convention in November 2008.

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