May 15, 2012

Changes Coming to Pittsburgh Diocese

Calvary Rector to Retire

The Rev. Canon Dr. Harold T. Lewis has announced that he will be retiring from his current position as rector of Pittsburgh’s Calvary Church. He plans to devote his time to writing. Lewis is the author of several books and numerous hymns. He will perhaps remain best known in Pittsburgh for the lawsuit he initiated against then bishop Robert Duncan and other diocesan leaders in 2003. The litigation resulted in the parties signing a stipulation two years later. That agreement was responsible for the court’s awarding diocesan property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh after Duncan supporters voted to leave The Episcopal Church in 2008.

St. David’s to Return as Episcopal Parish

I noted on March 26, 2012, that the parish property of St. David’s, in Peters Township, is to be returned to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh later this month by the congregation—part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh—currently occupying the building. There has been much speculation as to the future of the property, on which there is a substantial mortgage.

As it happens, not everyone will be leaving Peters Township to begin worshiping in an unused Roman Catholic church in Canonsburg on May 27. Some people will be staying behind to become the congregation of a restored St. David’s Episcopal Church. Initially, the congregation is expected to number somewhere in the 30s, but it is likely that former parishioners who have stayed away from St. David’s during its “Anglican” period will return. Others may be drawn to a more mainstream Episcopal church from the residential neighborhoods surrounding the East McMurray Road property.

St. David’s, for the time being at least, will not have its own priest. Instead, two priests from my own parish, St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon, will conduct services at St. David’s. Rector Lou Hays and associate rector Kris McInnes (who grew up at St. David’s) will alternate performing duties at the nearby church. This is made practical by the addition of Michelle Boomgaard to the St. Paul’s staff as associate rector. The recently ordained Boomgaard has been serving as an assistant at Church of the Redeemer, in Squirrel Hill. A grant from the diocese is allowing St. Paul’s to replace Mabel Fanguy, a part-time priest who left St. Paul’s recently, with the full-time Boomgaard.

Episcopal services return to St. David’s on Pentecost, May 27.

Update, 5/15/2012: A letter to “My sisters and brothers in Christ” from Harold Lewis arrived in the mail this morning announcing the upcoming retirement of Calvary’s rector after sixteen years. According to the letter, Lewis’s resignation takes effect February 28, 2013, but his last Sunday will be November 25, 2012. He and his wife Claudette plan to remain in Pittsburgh after his retirement.


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  2. Lionel, just a quick clarification. Dr. Lewis was granted three months of accrued sabbatical time which is the reason that his official tenure will end on February 28, 2013. However, as stated in the letter, he will leave office on November 30, 2012.


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