July 7, 2014

Quinn Out as Canon, In as Interim Cathedral Dean

I was surprised to see this listing in the new directory from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Apparently, as of July 1, 2014, the Rev. Canon Scott Quinn is no longer Canon to the Ordinary, and the Rev. Tim Hushion, Jr., is no longer Priest-in-Charge at Trinity Cathedral. Quinn, in addition to his long-time position as Rector at Church of the Nativity in Crafton, Pennsylvania, is now Interim Dean of Pittsburgh’s Trinity Cathedral.

To date, there appears to have been no notification by the diocese of this personnel change, not even to Pittsburgh clergy. Yesterday, the cathedral posted a welcome note on its Facebook page, but, as of today, there is no mention of Quinn on the cathedral’s Web site, and Hushion is still listed as Priest-in-Charge.

The health of Trinity Cathedral has been of grave concern to the people of the diocese, particularly in light of the cathedral’s near loss to the schismatic Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Why is this change seemingly being made under the radar? Personnel changes, particularly one so important, deserve to put publicized. Alas, communication from the diocese continues to be desultory.

The Quinn appointment is particularly interesting from a number of points of view. There has been much dissatisfaction with the fact that the Pittsburgh diocese, which is facing financial difficulties, has been supporting three canons. There has also been dissatisfaction among progressives that all three canons are conservative. Quinn’s performance as Canon to the Ordinary has not always been considered stellar. The move to the cathedral looks like an acknowledgement of the fact. Quinn has spent virtually his entire career in Crafton, something of a suburban backwater. He is hardly an obvious pick for a struggling urban parish.

Bob Duncan had installed the Rev. Cathy Brall at Trinity, probably because he thought she could be coerced into following his lead. He gave her the title of Provost, however, rather than the more conventional title of Dean, a move widely considered a slight. Even after Duncan’s departure, the succession of bishops in Pittsburgh failed to undo the slight. And, particularly after the cathedral dumped its untenable two-diocese experiment, it was assumed that Trinity could not support a dean with a track record suggesting that he or she could make Trinity a going concern. Does the fact that Trinity now has an interim dean mean that it will be looking for a permanent dean, or is the change just about finding a place for Quinn?

Brall, of course, was removed from the cathedral to become Canon Missioner for the diocese. Will she also take on some of the duties of which Scott Quinn has now been relieved?

Stay tuned.

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