Diocese of Pittsburgh – Southern Cone

kinnon —  October 4, 2008 — 10 Comments


Well. The deed is done. By a vote of close to 70% for changing diocese oversight, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has left the Episcopal Church. (Note that this was the 2nd vote confirming the first taken a year ago.) Their statement is here.

Imbi watched the entire Diocese Convention on AnglicanTV today – and I primarily listened to it whilst working on other things from about 11am on.

It will be interesting to see what the next gambit of the “Presiding Litigator” will be (as a commenter at StandFirm called the Presiding Bishop). It will also be interesting to find out how many of those who voted to leave were driven to the decision by the “PL’s” new way of reading the Church Canons in her rabid rapid deposition of +Bob Duncan.

The Anglican Curmudgeon responds to some, now normal, silliness from a member of TEC’s Executive Council. My post, How is TEC like Hotel California? from 11 months ago, seems rather appropriate. The Curmudgeon says this,

The Episcopal Church, like each of the Dioceses which make it up, is itself an unincorporated association. What does that mean? An unincorporated association is, first of all, not incorporated—that is to say, it is not a permanent legal entity, as is a corporation. Second, it is an association—which is to say that it is a voluntary assembly of people who choose freely to belong to it. While they are members, they must obey its rules. But if the association had a rule that “members who join us may never leave us,” that rule itself would not only be unenforceable in any court, but it would violate the very definition of an association, in an effort to turn it into a permanent, corporate-like entity.

Expect some good comments from the folk at the Anglican Communion Institute who are working within TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada in hopes of reform. I would expect Ruth Gledhill to respond tomorrow or Monday. Cheryl Wetzel has a preface to the convention up at Anglicans United, was at the convention and will have a response to it shortly. And I’m sure David Virtue will have something pithy (and perhaps a little biting) up soon, as well.

We live in interesting times.

UPDATE: This “reaction” from the Presiding Litigator is almost funny. I especially loved,

“I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honored tradition within Anglicanism. Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy.

You can’t make this stuff up.


I should note that Imbi and I were both ordained in Pittsburgh – in a non-denominational church – and have spent hundreds of days in that fair city since 1992. I worked as a consultant two weeks of the month in the ‘burgh from ’02 to ’04. A dear friend of ours is also a rector of a now Southern Cone church in that diocese.

The picture used in this post was taken by Imbi Medri-Kinnon in the late summer of 2002.

And finally, here are the vote totals on the Constitutional Provision that allowed the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to leave TEC and join the Southern Cone for temporary oversight.

A total of 191 laity voted. 119 voted in favor. 69 voted against, 3 abstained. A total of 160 clergy voted. 121 voted in favor. 33 voted no. 3 abstained. 2 invalid ballots were cast. [via]



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

10 responses to Diocese of Pittsburgh – Southern Cone

  1. Thanks for the update and links regarding the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I’ve found myself working with some within the Episcopal Church and it always helpful to get your point of view.

    Keep creating,

  2. You’re ordained? As in Rev. Kinnon?
    what denominion?

  3. Bene,
    As I wrote above, it was a non-denominational church. And I was known as Pastor Bill to some… never Rev.

  4. bill, there is no joy in this for any “side”

    i was lucky enough to be part of a team that a teen program to DioPitt in the early ’80s. i have lots of friends who have served in that Diocese, folks all over the spectrum

    there are no heroes in this story, other than Jesus – no villians other than Stan and the Screwtapian politics we all bring to this

    An old friend reacted with glee at this news (he serves in a Dio that is thought of as traditional), then reflected with a sober sense of the pain & loss behind this mess – he emailed me:

    the Church is and always will be the unfaithful bride of Christ. Only God can sort all of this out!

  5. Bob,
    Your friend is right – and I’m going to assume you mean Satan, rather than Stan. Although, perhaps there was a Stan who was a villain in the piece.

    What I do find interesting, however, is the number of folk who will gleefully impale our Sister in Christ, Sarah Palin, for her lack of experience, gravitas and education whilst giving the “Presiding Litigator” a free pass – a woman whose theological education and experience (or lack thereof in both cases) should logically deny her the role she is playing – a role almost completely political. (This in no way suggests that I believe Palin should have been McCain’s VP choice but nor should KJS be the PB.)

  6. wow – comparing schori & palin – you worked hard for that, bill

    i respect you & your blog a lot

    using the term “Presiding Litigator” seems beneath you

    and when it comes to gleefully impaling, nothing compares to the way so many so-called traditionalists have found themselves playing propoganda wars about Barack Obama’s faith

  7. If it’s a none denominational church how can you be ordained?

    Ordained. As in going to a recognized, accredited seminary (and not what you’ve gone after Charles McVety for) earning your degree, being licenced by the province.

    That’s call saying Todd Bentley is ordained, or he is a pastor.

  8. Geez Bene,

    Lighten up.

    First off I don’t wander around calling myself either Reverend or Pastor Bill. Nor do I claim any other degrees other than my Bachelors of Applied Arts from Ryerson.

    Thanks, by the way, for conflating my mentioning of being ordained in Pittsburgh (a reality witnessed by about a thousand people) with McVety’s claims to advanced degrees and Todd Bentley’s “ministry”.

    Here’s what Wikipedia says about ordination:

    In most Protestant churches, ordination to the pastoral office is the rite by which their various churches:

    * recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry,
    * acknowledges that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call, and
    * authorizes that individual to take on the office of ministry.

    Do I have formal seminary education? No. Nor have I ever claimed I have. Did I go through a period of discernment (yes, ten years) – and did I have training related to the call (100s, if not, 1000s of hours). So, am I ordained? Yes. And in the state of Pennsylvania, based on the ordination by the non-denominational church who ordained me, and if I was still working with them, I would be licensed to marry and bury.

    A seminary degree is not a necessary qualification for ordination in many Protestant Churches.

  9. You answered my question.
    You don’t tend to use words lightly.

    Ordained. Legally enabled to perform religious rites.

    Thank you.

    Pennsylvannia has issued a degree you are legally recognized to hatch, match and dispatch, and be compensated accordingly. A thousand people in Pennsylannia saw you get invested with ministerial or sacerdotal functions, and they pay you to do so.

    It was a question, not a put down.
    Please excuse my surprise, because I am surprised. I don’t see how your ordination is any different than Bentley or McVety, that speaks to systemic issues not you personally. Obviously your ordination is honoured and valued by a body of believers and you aren’t asking us to call you whatever title they gave you.

    You’ve led an interesting life, I’m looking forward to hearing about it someday.

  10. Hi,

    My friend was one of the votes to leave. He said that he sensed on the ground that many people that he spoke to were pushed over to the leave vote by the way Bishop Duncan was treated. Pittsburgh is a very blue collar town and did not like the idea that people from the outside treated him that way.

    The vote was not just about the homosexual issue. For my friends church is what that Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is not wanting to declare Jesus as the way of salvation for all mankind. That was the final straw.

    The Episcopal Church is the USA is still born. Its dead, it just doesn’t know it. Faith grows and life reproduces. Orthodox Christianity in the USA will continue to grow.

    Great Blog.



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