February 15, 2010

A Celebration of New Ministry

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh marked a milestone yesterday as the new ministry of the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Jr., as provisional bishop was celebrated at the downtown Trinity Cathedral. Bishop Price, who retains his position as suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, was elected provisional bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese at its convention last October. As a singer in the combined diocesan choir, I was one of sixty or more people playing a formal role in the event.

The service was a joyous event and, in most ways, a quite traditional one. There were some jarring contemporary elements, however, as when Bishop Price was presented with a laptop to “help us to communicate clearly and fully to the people of this Diocese” or when the bishop offered a gift of coffee “as a sign of our fellowship and support of one another.” There were few glitches, however, and the service was followed by a reception in the cathedral lunchroom.

Service bulletin
Service Bulletin

At the suggestion of a friend, I took a digital camera along, even though, as a choir member, I knew I would have little opportunity to photograph the service itself. I did take a few photos of varying degrees of quality—I still am more comfortable with my Canon SRL in hand—and I wanted to share them here.

As I walked from the parking garage to the cathedral carrying my choir robe, I encountered this sign on the cathedral fence:

Sign outside Trinity Cathedral
Sign on Cathedral Fence

Trinity Cathedral has been straddling the fence—no, not the above fence—with regard to the two dioceses resulting from the schism of 2008. It has cast its lot decisively neither with the Episcopal diocese nor the “Anglican” one. As you can see from the sign—here and elsewhere, click on a picture for a larger version—the cathedral claims to be serving both “The Anglican Church in North America” and “The Episcopal Church in the United States.” Many are uncomfortable with this claim and believe such a status is untenable long-term, but the cathedral is making a sincere effort to live up to the declaration on its sign.

Because I arrived early to practice with the ad hoc choir, the church was nearly empty when I entered through the west portal:

Trinity Cathedral interior
Trinity Cathedral Interior

After the service, I managed to snap the picture below of the bishop, his wife Mariann, and, I think, representatives from the Diocese of Southern Ohio. The pose was being struck for the benefit of other photographers. I just happened on the scene and hurriedly took this photo before anyone had a chance to move:

Bishop Price poses after the service
Bishop Price Poses after the Service

Finally, I should note that, as the choir was lining up in a hallway for the coming procession, I noticed a directory board on the wall. It was another reminder of Trinity’s ambiguous status. My picture of it is my worst effort of the day:

Directory
Directory

Since you likely cannot read the text in this photo, let me reproduce the first two entries:



ACNA DIOCESAN OFFICES ONE ALLEGHENY SQUARE
SUITE 650

THE MOST REV. ROBERT WM. DUNCAN JR. ARCHBISHOP




TEC DIOCESAN OFFICES SUITE 502
4099 WM. PENN HGWY

THE RT. REV. KENNETH L. PRICE PROVISIONAL BISHOP



Seal on bishop’s chair
Seal on Bishop’s Chair

4 comments:

  1. I'm curious if their 'straddling' is clergy led, or demanded by the laity? I don't know how they can be part of two denominations at once... Does Duncan claim it as his see?

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  2. Fr. Craig,

    Just before the October 4, 2008, realignment vote by the Pittsburgh convention, Trinity Cathedral passed a complex resolution of neutrality, the idea for which is attributed to the Rev. Catherine Brall. Obviously, however, the congregation supported the idea. I recommend that you read Trinity’s resolution.

    Trinity Cathedral has significant symbolic value, so neither side wants to lose it. For now, both sides are respecting the terms of the resolution.

    It is not clear how or when this anomalous situation will be resolved.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just when you think religion can't get any more ridiculous...

    ReplyDelete
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