The annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh concluded yesterday afternoon. There really is little of interest to report. (In what, under Bob Duncan, was a very contentious diocese, this is not a bad thing.) The most important action taken was the passage of a resolution to begin the search for a new bishop. The revised resolution was amended to make it absolutely clear that nomination by petition will be in order only after the Nomination Committee has announced its minimum of four candidates. Various elections were held, including those for General Convention deputies. I would characterize our new lay deputies as somewhat liberal and our clergy deputies as somewhat conservative. (The diocesan Web site contains information about convention events and more should be posted soon.)
My favorite aspect of the convention was the presence of a banner representing the Episcopal Church shield that was prominently displayed during business sessions. (See photo at right.) It would have been inconceivable that such a banner would be displayed during the latter years of the Duncan episcopacy.
I might have been inclined to write more about the convention, but Jeremy Bonner, on his blog—see his two posts here and here—has done a reasonable job of presenting an overview of the event. I would quibble with a few of his statements, though not many.
The one sour note sounded during the convention came from Dr. Bonner himself. Trinity Cathedral, where the convention was held, is in the uncomfortable (and ultimately untenable) position of being the cathedral church both for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Its chapter includes both Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of North America members. Curiously, Dr. Bonner appears to be a deputy to the conventions of each of these churches, though he is apparently not an Episcopalian. No one questioned his credentials, though I certainly thought about doing so myself.
Anyway, when the convention began discussing the local canonical changes needed to accommodate the recently revised Episcopal Church canons dealing with clergy discipline, Dr. Bonner gave an angry little speech telling Episcopal laypeople that the new Title IV puts their clergy at risk of unfair prosecution, a notion promoted by the Anglican Communion Institute, whose apparent mission is to find fault with everything the Episcopal Church does. Neither the laypeople present nor the reputedly at-risk clergy seemed moved by these remarks, and the canonical changes were approved with no further discussion and virtually no opposition.
Everyone except Dr. Bonner seems to have gone home happy.