Monday, October 6, 2008

Pittsburgh Diocese Leaves Episcopal Church

The Diocese of San Joaquin of Fresno, Calif. (now known as the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin) became the first to leave in 2006. Now the Pittsburgh Diocese is following suit. Bit by bit the Episcopal communion continues to fray apart at the seams. It would appear that even in this country, where diversity is praised above fidelity, a church can become so liberal that people will still leave - and take much of their church with them.

Following the vote of clergy and lay members of the theologically conservative diocese to officially break from the Episcopal church, Assistant Bishop Henry Scriven commented: "I am delighted that what we have done today is bringing the Diocese of Pittsburgh back into the mainstream of worldwide Anglicanism."

Naturally not all were pleased. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the U.S. church, was critical of the vote saying: "There is room in this church for all who desiere to be members of it."

It would seem that what the bishop means is that the Epicopal church should be large enough to incorporate and accept a wide variety of behavior and doctrine, including the practice of homosexuality, even among its own clergy. However, many in this church body are taking the scriptures quite seriously and noticing that such behavior is clearly sinful and unacceptable in the Christian church.

After the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, Anglicanism represents the third largest Christian communion in the world today. According to the official website of the Anglican Communion the church body is comprised of over 80 million members in over 160 countries.

As a liturgically-appreciative Lutheran and self-professed anglophile, the Anglican church has long appealed to me. I am encouraged by these stands for the truth against what has been a constant erosion of faith and fidelity to the scriptures. It will be interesting to continue watching the unfolding developments in this church body as it wrestles with the strong pulls of liberalism in its ranks.

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