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PA Diocese Votes to Ignore ECUSA's Non-Scriptural Acts

by Jim Brown
November 19, 2004

(AgapePress) - The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has further distanced itself from unbiblical teaching promoted by the national church. Delegates to the diocesan annual convention have overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment allowing the diocese to disregard the unscriptural policies of the Episcopal Church USA.

The delegates of the Diocese of Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly to pass the measure that permits its churches to ignore any actions taken by the denomination that run contrary to scripture and traditional church teaching. The decision further complicates an already precarious relationship between the diocese and the national church, which consecrated an openly homosexual bishop last year. Pittsburgh's Bishop Bob Duncan says his diocese is not willing to embrace such "theological innovations."

The diocese designed the new measure to be unambiguously biblical. "Our constitutional amendment says simply that we're going to be committed to Jesus Christ and the witness of the holy scriptures above all other things," Duncan says. This means, he explains, that if the Episcopal Church again does as it did last year and "makes decisions that are contrary to the plain sense of scripture, that they'll have no effect here in the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

One liberal parish recently filed an ad litem lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Diocese and its bishop in an effort to prevent conservative parishes from taking church property if they split from the national church. But he says neither this nor similar actions by the national church have distracted his diocese from carrying out its ministry.

"I think most of the time our people are not thinking about the Episcopal Church nationally," Duncan says. "What they are thinking about is their local mission, and that's what we keep pointing our people toward: How are we going to reach the lost and the hurt, the broken, those who don't know Jesus? How are we going to reach them with the gospel? That's what our people get focused on."

During its convention, the diocese also approved a new partnership with Uganda Christian University in Africa. The Bishop of Uganda and other African Anglican bishops have expressed sympathy and support for conservative Episcopalians who disagree with the direction of the American Episcopal Church.

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