Pittsburgh Episcopalians should immediate recognize a problem here. All parishes listed were Episcopal parishes four years ago, and, arguably they still are. Unfortunately, many of the buildings are currently occupied by Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) congregations. They are, as we usually say in Pittsburgh, “Duncan churches.” In particular, Church of the Advent and Church of the Atonement (among many others) listed above are Duncan churches in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Episcopal Church Web site is directing visitors to churches of a rival denomination!
The church finder function on the ACNA Web site is considerably more up-to-date. It is reached from a link at the right of the home page, which takes the visitor here. As on the Episcopal Church site, one can enter a ZIP Code and a search radius. The results corresponding to the search I did on the Episcopal Church site are shown, in part, below:
When I discovered the problem with the Episcopal Church Web site, I thought of contacting the Episcopal Church Center myself. Considering the matter further, however, I decided that the request for a change to the list of Pittsburgh parishes ought to come from the Episcopal diocese itself. I therefore contacted my friend Joan Gundersen, who has been responsible, since the departure of the Duncan faction in 2008, for keeping The Episcopal Church straight on who is or is not an Episcopal priest or deacon in the diocese, as well as which churches are occupied by Episcopal congregations and which are occupied by ACNA congregations. At least as far as parishes are concerned, Joan expressed despair of ever getting the Church Center to get things right.
I don’t know if the church finder function on the Episcopal Church Web site handled the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh properly before the latest redesign was implemented or not. Either the transition was done poorly, or it was executed using erroneous data from the start. I can only hope that this post will help shame the Episcopal Church powers that be into getting the Web site right and ceasing to send Episcopalians to ACNA churches.
By the way, the information for St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon, is correct on the Episcopal Church Web site.
Update, 2/23/2012: Gary Gaertner read the above post and decided to encourage the communications folks at the Episcopal Church Center to eliminate ACNA churches from the parish finder. This required several e-mail exchanges, but, I am happy to report, he seems to have been successful in getting ACNA churches removed. Of course, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh believes that parishes that are controlled by ACNA are properly Episcopal Church parishes, but they are, one might say, under ACNA occupation. It is silly to send someone looking for an Episcopal Church parish to such a church.