"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blogging From Diocesan Convention (Pittsburgh)

Pittsburgh, having just accepted six new parishes into the diocese, including Christ Church in Plano, seems to be growing exponentially. It leaves one to wonder how such growth will change the face of our diocese over the next few years. Having no delusions of perfection, I find the concept to be very exciting, though I imagine it would be, for some, also frightening. That sort of puts perspective on those who, while claiming to want their churches to grow, are fearful of change and of outsiders actually having voice and vote to direct their beloved churches.

The church must not be static. Grounded, yes, in the God who never changes. But growing because as broken people we have to grow. Growing because our world is needy. Growing because it is the only way to conform to that ever stable and holy standard of our God.

It is an exciting thing for me to see St. John the Evangelist in Oakmont accepted into our diocese. These people are my friends. I have been part of their congregation, though from a distance and they have welcomed me as if I were one of their own. It was delightful to accept All Saints in Springfield, MO into our diocese. It is fun to watch our boundaries extend, to see our missionary congregations going forth toward that goal of "the ends of the earth." And their rector is a dear friend and mentor. These, though I do not know them, are not truly strangers.

But more telling is how we receive those churches that are strangers, including (to me) Christ Church Plano which is a large and powerful new voice among us. Do we welcome them as we welcome strangers? Or do we welcome them, as we must, as brothers unmet. Those who are divided from us only by geography, not by theology, devotion, or place in the family of Christ.

So, in short, welcome to our new churches, both local and "Beyond the Burgh."

3 comments:

  1. It will I'm sure be a very interesting situation, even challenge. I don't know how permanent these arrangements are intended to be, of course, and it may be that as interim, provisional relationships they won't cause much change in the system. So much of diocesan life is related to community. Southwest Pennsylvania with its distinctive culture, its particular challenges in ministry, in so many ways quite different from, say, Dallas or St. Louis. On the other hand, just the idea of seeing a Black and Gold Steeler banner flying high over Plano is enough to make me like the idea . . . .

    BruceR

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  2. Bruce,
    These arrangements range from ambiguous to those who have specifically stated that eventually they would like to plant a diocese. Both sides have to offer some good faith, although until we accepted a monolith like Plano, I don't think that was really obvious and the stakes were low for those of us local to PGH. Anyway, it is cool to see Christians overcoming geography to lay claim to relationship. Now if only we could overcome a few other obstacles, too.

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  3. I was somewhat offended that most of the references to CCP were how glad the Diocese is to have their "voluntary" tithe

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