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Editor: The Rev. Diane Shepard



A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice


A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice was created by Pittsburgh Episcopalians alarmed at the prospect of our diocesan leaders trying to take the diocese out of The Episcopal Church. On October 4, 2008, our fears were realized. The diocesan convention voted to transfer the diocese from The Episcopal Church to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

The action of the convention was improper and, therefore, null and void. Alas, it was supported by all but one member of the Standing Committee, which, in the absence of a bishop, was the highest authority of the diocese. In light of the departure from The Episcopal Church of his fellow committee members, the non-“realigning” Standing Committee member, the Rev. Jim Simons, appointed two additional members of The Episcopal Church to the committee, and the resulting three-person Standing Committee was quickly recognized as the ecclesiastical authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Meanwhile, the “realigners,” who are illegitimately in control of many diocesan assets, are not properly a diocese, and, although they claim to be a part of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, are in no way eligible for such a designation by the canons of that Anglican province.

The main task of A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice, which was to educate members of the diocese in preparation for the “realignment” vote, has now been completed. We were unsuccessful at avoiding a painful schism in our diocese. It is now time to rebuild our diocese and not look back on the painful events that brought us to our present situation.

As of October 10, 2008, we will no longer be updating this site, although this note may be revised to reflect changing circumstances. We will, however. be leaving this site on the Web, as it contains links to material of continuing interest. As October 24, 2009, this site is the responsibility of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh.

Note that the Web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh may now be found at

As of October 25, 2008, this site has been off the Web for about three weeks. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Click on a category below to view available material in that category. New categories will be flagged as they are added, and categories that have been updated will be so marked.

NOTE: Readers unfamiliar with many of the recurring terms encountered here, may want first to look at “Questions on the Current Controversy Facing The Episcopal Church,” under Preliminaries. This document is now a bit out-of-date, but much of it is still useful. “Realignment Reconsidered,” under Church Polity, will help you understand the pressing issues in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2008 and will help bring your understanding up-to-date. Happy reading!

Introductory and general background material


New matters of interest


Anglican Communion Relations
The Episcopal Church & the Anglican Communion


Church Polity
Issues of church governance (including constitutional changes)


Episcopal Church
The nature of the Episcopal Church

Property issues, including the Calvary lawsuit

Reasons for staying together, rather than splitting apart


  Featured Document

As the diocese approaches a vote on “realignment,” the Anglican Communion Institute has published a surprising paper by Mark McCall titled “Is The Episcopal Church Hierarchical?” Attorney McCall makes legal and historical arguments that support the organizational theory of The Episcopal Church promoted by Bishop Robert Duncan, namely that the church is a confederation of independent dioceses that are free to leave the church at any time.

Historian Joan Gundersen has written previously about the early history of The Episcopal Church in her 2004 essay “History Revisited: Historical Background of the Proposed Amendment to Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.” (That document is available here.) Gundersen’s latest contribution is “A Response to Mark McCall’s ‘Is The Episcopal Church Hierarchical?’” In this essay, she points out provisions in the governing documents of the church that McCall missed or misinterpreted, as well as documentation of the meetings that established The Episcopal Church that McCall also missed. She concludes that the church is surely hierarchical and that dioceses are inextricably bound to the larger church.

A Response to Mark McCall’s ‘Is The Episcopal Church Hierarchical?’” can be found in the Polity category here. The PDF version of Gundersen’s essay can be found here.

Read about all the documents that have been featured on this page by clicking here.

We invite you to send feedback about A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice or to suggest additional materials for inclusion here. Click below to send us your thoughts and suggestions.

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