The breakaway faction that thought it controlled the property of St. James, Penn Hills, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh has left the building. Now begins the hard work of rebuilding the parish. Lionel Diemel visited St. James on Sunday and liked what he saw.
The congregation numbered about 10, and included no one from the recently relocated congregation. Some people were there for the same reason I was, but there were others. For example, I met a former senior warden and his wife who had left St. James’ before the congregation decided to follow Bob Duncan out of The Episcopal Church. They have not been attending church at all, but they seemed ready to return to their former parish.
I was talking to the organist after the service when a woman walked in asking the time of the service. The newspaper article she read did not give a service time, and she was surprised to learn the service was over. We made her feel welcome, however, and invited her to have refreshments with the rest of us. As it happens, she is a Roman Catholic living in Penn Hills and looking for a more welcoming place to worship than she experienced in her own church. I think she left a recipient of warm hospitality and a few mini-lectures on The Episcopal Church. I suspect she will be back.
How can the church best help parishes like St. James'?