The Episcopal Church has been much in the news in the past few years, but it is difficult to be thankful for all the publicity. Whereas, historically, The Episcopal Church has been notable for its ability to accommodate diverse points of view, even on important matters of theology, one could easily get the impression from reading the New York Times or the Washington Post that we are an especially contentious lot. Well, perhaps, we’ve always been that, but we have usually stayed together in spite of our passions.
The prospects for staying together in my own diocese, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, however, are not good. Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, has made it clear that he wants to remove the entire diocese from what he sees as a heretical church. That isn’t going to happen, of course, if only because many Pittsburgh Episcopalians are quite happy with our church, if not with our angry bishop and his angry followers.
Thinking that people in our diocese needed to hear from local Episcopalians who are content to be in The Episcopal Church, an ad campaign called “Welcome to my church...” was launched in October. The ads, which have appeared in the weekly church sections of three newspapers in Southwestern Pennsylvania, each picture an Episcopalian talking about his or her church and what it means to him or her personally. Each ad features a different church. There have been seven such ads so far, and more are on the way.
Here is sample. This one features my own church, St. Paul’s, in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania:
A new Web site has just been unveiled that shows all the ads and, in addition, contains links to information about The Episcopal Church. You can click here to have a look. Perhaps a similar campaign could build goodwill for The Episcopal Church in your diocese.