The Chapter of Trinity Cathedral in the city of Pittsburgh, PA has voted to end its dual relationship with both the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and and the Anglican Church of North America. It is now exclusively the cathedral of the Episcopal diocese.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh has the following statement on their website:
The governing board of Trinity Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh has voted to reaffirm its historic role as the cathedral church only for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Since 1928 when it first became the cathedral church for the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church, Trinity Cathedral has served as the symbolic seat of the diocese. When some members of the diocese decided in 2008 to leave The Episcopal Church, Trinity sought to serve both the Episcopal Diocese as well as the diocese established by the former Episcopalians. By its vote on December 15, 2011, a clear majority of the Cathedral Chapter indicated that the time and purpose of that dual service had now passed, and that in the interest of the Cathedral’s future, it was necessary to re-affirm its original charter.
“Trinity’s effort to serve two dioceses was well-intentioned in its time, which was a period of uncertainty,” said Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese. “With much of that uncertainly behind us, the Episcopal Diocese stands ready to help the Cathedral grow in its mission as a church open to all and serving all in the name of Jesus Christ in the heart of the city,” said the bishop.
Lionel Deimelwrote yesterday:
In anticipation of the split of the diocese in 2008, the Cathedral Chapter declared in a Special Resolution that the cathedral would be available both to the Episcopal and to what came to be known as the Anglican dioceses. In recent years, members of the Chapter have come from the congregation and from each of the two dioceses, and Trinity Cathedral has been the cathedral of both dioceses. It had become increasing clear, however, that this unorthodox arrangement was not really working.
At last night’s Chapter meeting, the question of returning to a strictly Episcopal church (and to being the cathedral for only the Episcopal diocese) was put to a vote. The question was carried, after which members of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh on the Cathedral Chapter walked out.
The Cathedral had the following statement on their website:
December 16, 2011
Dear Trinity Cathedral Family and Friends,
Yesterday evening the Chapter of Trinity Cathedral voted to re-affirm its Charter of Incorporation. Article II of the Charter states its purpose as “For the support and maintenance of a cathedral church for the public worship of Almighty God according to the faith, doctrine and discipline of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America” and Article V further clarifies Trinity Cathedral’s historic identity: “This corporation acknowledges religious allegiance to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and that portion of the same known as the Diocese of Pittsburgh and will be subject to and governed by the laws, rules, and regulations of the same as set forth in the constitutions and canons of said Church and said Diocese.” Chapter’s decision brings to conclusion the difficult and weighty matters with which they had been wrestling during the past six months. It also effectively ends the governance provisions of the Special Resolution which was adopted by Chapter in August, 2008 and ratified by the parish in September, 2008.
This decision was not made lightly or hastily. All the members present were given ample time to express their views before the vote was taken. Many, if not most of the comments made during the lengthy time of discussion had been previously raised in past several months of the Chapter’s work on discerning the best possible future for the Cathedral. This work began in discussions with the bishops of both the Episcopal and Anglican Dioceses of Pittsburgh and included the production of several drafts of a “White Paper” that attempted to explore all feasible options. In the end, the Chapter was not able to achieve consensus about the direction and the timing of the best path forward.
In the current Strategic Plan for Trinity Cathedral, the two central priorities are “Grow the Parish Family” and “Strengthen Our Role as Cathedral.” We believe that the clearer sense of our identity as an Episcopal Cathedral will help us to refocus our efforts and gain ground on both priorities. Our mission, “to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the heart of this metropolitan community” remains unchanged. We will continue to be a “house of prayer for all people” and everyone is welcome in our worship and community. This vote, and the reaffirming of our Charter, does not compel anyone to leave our Cathedral, regardless of their affiliation. We would welcome opportunities to host the Pittsburgh diocese and larger body of the Anglican Church in North America should they choose to use our facilities for future events.
Our parish family should have an opportunity to discuss Chapter’s decision and its impact on our corporate future. With the Christmas season nearly upon us and many of you planning for travel and other obligations, there will be a Special Parish Meeting on Sunday, January 7, 2012 at 9:15 a.m. in the Blue Room. Until then, I ask that you would continue to keep Trinity Cathedral and its leadership in your prayers.
In Christ Jesus,
The Rev. Canon Dr. Catherine M. Brall, Provost