Communities of Faith: Healing Episcopal divisions in Pittsburgh
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA was the epicenter of what would become a huge division in the national church and its international parent body, the Anglican Communion. Over several contentious years, many churches broke away from the local diocese. Long-standing relationships were broken and the financial implications were dire. Newly-installed Bishop Dorcey McConnell sought to change the relational landscape by helping people speak and listen to one another across theological divides in more respectful ways, and to seek their input on impending, potentially divisive decisions about the church’s approach to same-sex unions.
My colleague Mary Jacksteit http://www.whatisessential.org/practitioner/mary-jacksteit-jd-ms and I worked with Bishop McConnell and a terrific planning group to create a dialogue program and train facilitators to implement it across the diocese. The input from participants was included as part of the Bishop’s deliberation and decision-making. A video from some members of an initial dialogue discussing its process and effects: http://www.episcopalpgh.org/diocesan-conversation-on-human-sexuality-update/.