The Chapter vote was taken Thursday night, December 15, 2011. The Episcopal diocese posted the story “Trinity Cathedral Reaffirms Tie to Episcopal Church” on Saturday. The story includes this explanation suggesting why it is now appropriate to end the unorthodox arrangement of being a cathedral in two different (and, in many ways, antagonistic) churches:
“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.Today, December 19, a story has finally been posted on the Web site of the Anglican diocese. It is worth quoting “Trinity Cathedral Withdraws from Anglican Diocese” in full:
Governing body reverses position by nullifying special resolution
On December 15, 2011, the governing body of Trinity Cathedral voted (11-7) to withdraw from the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh and affiliate exclusively with the Episcopal Church (TEC).
The motion, introduced by Mr. Andrew Thiros, was intended to nullify a special resolution passed overwhelmingly by members of Trinity Cathedral in 2008 to serve both the Episcopal Church diocese and the Anglican diocese. The vote was conducted when three members of the Anglican diocese were absent and without prior notification to members of the governing body. The special resolution under which Trinity Cathedral had been operating required a two-thirds majority of both the Cathedral governing body and a two-thirds majority of all members of the Cathedral to be altered or overturned, neither of which was satisfied by the December 15 motion. Nonetheless, the governing body, under the leadership Bishop Ken Price (TEC), contends that the motion to affirm the charter of Trinity Cathedral effectively invalidates the special resolution.
The December 15 motion was an about-face for the governing body of Trinity Cathedral, which had previously affirmed “their intention neither to withdraw from The Episcopal Church nor to withdraw from a realigned Diocese of Pittsburgh, and affirm[ed] that they do not wish to be associated with one exclusive of the other.” It is also a reversal of the position of the Episcopal diocese which had previously been supportive of sharing the space at Trinity Cathedral.
Trinity Cathedral had served as a point of unity for the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. It was used for Anglican ordinations and services for high holy days, such as Easter and Christmas.
“We are saddened to learn that Trinity Cathedral has decided to end their relationship with us. We have invested in their best interests over many years. They have chosen to embrace exclusivity, rather than inclusivity,” said Archbishop Robert Duncan.The story from Archbishop Duncan’s diocese suggests that the vote was unfair. After all, three Chapter members from his diocese, it is claimed, were not present. Of course, if they had been present and voting, the vote would still have been 11–10 in favor of returning to the status quo ante. I have been told that “Special Resolution” appeared on the meeting agenda for Thursday night, and it would not have taken much of a leap of imagination to recognize that a motion such as the one actually passed could possibly be presented.
My reading of the Special Resolution does support the claim that two-thirds of the Chapter and two-thirds of the congregation were needed to retract the provisions of the Special Resolution. In any case, the Cathedral’s charter, which was never changed, requires that all members of the Chapter be members of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Many—perhaps all—the provisions of the Special Resolution were improper from day one. Moreover, since only members of The Episcopal Church could properly vote, it is reasonable to expect that any valid vote on returning exclusively to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh would have been unanimous.
In reality, Trinity had not “served as a point of unity for the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.” Each diocese held events at Trinity, but the events were more or less exclusively attended by parishioners from whatever was the sponsoring diocese. Episcopalians and “Anglicans” came together at Chapter meetings and in regular worship services. The two-church arrangement was more a source of conflict than reconciliation and did not seem to have the potential to become otherwise.
It is disingenuous for Duncan to suggest that Trinity Cathedral has embraced “exclusivity, rather than inclusivity.” He has not made any of “his” parishes especially welcoming to Episcopalians! Trinity Cathedral is no more choosing exclusivity than would be a Lutheran church that did not also host Methodist services. The archbishop is simply bitter, as another property he tried to remove from The Episcopal Church has apparently slipped through his fingers.