Smaller Episcopal Diocese Rebuilds

By Erdley, Debra | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

Smaller Episcopal Diocese Rebuilds


Erdley, Debra, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


A vastly downsized Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh launched its reorganization Saturday, calling a senior bishop from North Carolina to serve as its interim leader.

The Right Rev. Robert Hodges Johnson, a retired bishop who previously served as interim bishop to a Virginia diocese in upheaval, will serve as assisting bishop to the Diocese of Pittsburgh through July 2009, as it reorganizes, the Rev. James B. Simons announced yesterday. Simons, president of the Standing Committee of the Pittsburgh diocese, made the announcement during his state of diocese speech at a special convention yesterday at which representatives from 28 parishes met to reorganize, ordain a new priest and elect new leadership.

"Bishop Johnson will help us begin the healing we so badly need," Simons told the convention that gathered at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon.

Johnson, who was not on hand for the convention, will reside in Pittsburgh two weeks a month. Simons said the assisting bishop will help rebuild the infrastructure of the diocese, handle administrative tasks and be available for confirmations and other sacramental ministries.

The reorganization follows a deep split in October in which more than two-thirds of the parishes in the Pittsburgh diocese voted to leave the national church body and realign themselves with the conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. Those parishes are working with others in Quincy, Ill., Fort Worth, Texas, and San Joaquin, Calif., and to form a new church, the Anglican Church in North America.

Delegates from Western Pennsylvania parishes that opted to stay with the national church body adopted a new budget yesterday that reflected their lesser numbers. …

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