FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2008
GROUP ANNOUNCES PANEL TO ARGUE CASE FOR STAYING WITH EPISCOPAL CHURCH
PRESENTATIONS FROM DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES FIND COMMON COURSE OF ACTION
Pittsburgh, PA — A diverse group of clergy and lay leaders, all committed to
staying in The Episcopal Church, will present their case this weekend at a
forum designed to signal that a significant Episcopal presence will remain in
Southwestern Pennsylvania, even if the Diocese of Pittsburgh votes to leave
The group will speak Saturday at “A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese
of Pittsburgh: An Alternative Solution,” a public gathering timed to coincide
three weeks before a diocesan vote on realignment. Speakers at Saturday’s
meeting themselves are far from agreement on theological and church matters
but are united in believing that staying together in one church is the
The panel, announced today, represents a cross-section of church
conservatives, moderates, and liberals. Presentations include:
The Rev. Jeffrey Murph, Rector of St. Thomas Church, Oakmont, and the
Rev. Leslie Reimer, Associate Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church,
Shadyside, reflecting on “What is the Right Thing to Do?”
The Rev. Dr. James Simons, Rector of St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier,
and Ms. Mary Roehrich of St. Andrew’s, Highland Park, presenting a
vision of what a continuing Episcopal presence in Southwestern Pennsylvania
would look like and what ministries it would engage in.
Mr. Thomas Moore, also of St. Andrew’s, and Mr. Charles Jarrett of
Calvary, addressing the legal and practical steps to be taken at both a
diocesan and parish level for that presence to continue.
The Rev. Dr. Bruce Robison, Rector of St. Andrew’s, will speak to the concerns
of members of congregations who find themselves moving in a direction
opposite of where their parish may be heading.
The session will be moderated by Jon Delano,
a Vestry member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which is hosting the event.
“A Hopeful Future for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh: An Alternative
Solution” is set for Saturday, September 13, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at St.
Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1066 Washington Road (Rt. 19 South), Mt. Lebanon.
Directions and additional information is available at http://stpaulspgh.org or by calling
The event is sponsored by Across the Aisle, a group of clergy and lay people
representing nearly 30 parishes committed to staying in The Episcopal Church.
The association’s Steering Committee consists of Simons, Roehrich, Moore, and
Jarrett, as well as the Rev. Nancy Chalfant-Walker, Rector of St. Stephen’s,
Wilkinsburg, and Dr. Joan Gundersen of Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote in convention on October 4
whether to remove the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh from the U.S. Episcopal
Church and realign with a more conservative Anglican church in South America.
The move would be the second such attempt by a diocese in the U.S, following
a similar vote in San Joaquin, California, last December. The Episcopal
Church maintains that individuals only may leave the church and that dioceses
and parishes cannot.
Unlike in California, a significant number of parishes in the Pittsburgh
diocese oppose realignment. Across the Aisle has been working for more than
seven months to ensure that structures are in place to remain part of The
Episcopal Church should the realignment vote pass.
Saturday’s session is open to the public. Special letters of invitation have
gone out to all clerical and lay deputies who will vote at the October 4
convention. Invitations were also sent to Senior Wardens and Vestries—the
elected lay leadership of each parish—who will need to clarify their parish’s
standing after convention should the diocese vote to realign.
For additional information contact:
The Rev. James Simons
Chair, Across the Aisle Steering Committee
St. Michael’s of the Valley, Ligonier
This document may be
found on the Web at
A Media Advisory regarding coverage of the September 13 event to follow.
Across the Aisle is a theologically diverse group of clergy and laypeople
committed to staying in The Episcopal Church.