October 5, 2008

Episcopal Diocese Votes to Leave Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join a more conservative province of the Anglican Church.

The vote was taken today at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Monroeville. The results were greeted with silence.

Immediately after the results were announced, the Rev. Harold Lewis from Calvary Church in East Liberty announced that his church would stay with the Episcoal Church and not follow the lead of the diocese.

"This is a very sad day. There are no winners here," he said.

The clergy voted 121 in favor of the split, 33 against, three abstentions and two invalid ballots.

Among the laiety, 119 voted in favor, 69 were opposed and there were three abstentions.

Those who supported the split say it has been decades in coming. They point to Episcopalians who doubt the divinity of Jesus, blessing dogs as part of the liturgy, allowing marriage of same sex couples and the ordination of openly gay teaching. A majority of the 80 million-member Anglican Communion, a worldwide coalition of churches that align with the Church of England, say Scripture condemns homosexuality. A majority in the Episcopal Church do not.

Originally published by The Tribune-Review.

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