Parish “Resources” Offered by New Sites


August 25, 2007. The leadership of the Diocese of Pittsburgh is encouraging parishes to consider their future relationship to The Episcopal Church. (See “ Diocese Asks: What Next?”) To facilitate such discernment, the diocese has created a new Web site called “Parish Toolbox.” According to the July 26 announcement of the site:

Parish Toolbox logoPittsburgh Episcopalians will have an online source for materials, opinions and news about the choices facing the diocese and each parish in light of the decision of The Episcopal Church not to place moratoria on same-sex blessings and the election of bishops in same-sex relationships and to unequivocally reject the request of Pittsburgh and six other dioceses for Alternative Primatial Oversight.

The announcement promised to post material “from all perspectives.” It explained how the inclusion of particular material could be recommended, but noted that “[t]he diocesan office reserves the absolute right to reject or to edit submissions.”

Parish Toolbox is clearly a work in progress, and the early experience of Episcopal Church supporters who have made submissions to the site has been mixed. Submissions have not always been posted evenhandedly, and posting delays have been significant.

In order to make material supportive of the Episcopal Church and opposed to schism available to parishes in a timely manner, Pittsburgh A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice logoEpiscopalians have created an alternative site, “A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice.” Development of this site is not intended to signal an abandonment of Parish Toolbox as a repository of more moderate opinion, but it will allow material to be posted more expeditiously. Additionally, users may find the organization of A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice to be more user friendly than that of Parish Toolbox. Documents on A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice are grouped by topic, rather than by source, as they are on Parish Toolbox.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice already contains two unique items. A new document, Questions on the Current Controversy Facing The Episcopal Church” answers basic questions about The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the current disputes besetting the world of Anglicanism. (See “Q&A Handout Helps Explain Conflict.”) This should prove a popular handout in parishes to orient Episcopalians to help them understand ongoing developments. Also on the site is “Connecting the Dots,” the report of Bishop Sauls’ committee to the House of Bishops. This report is available elsewhere, though not widely. Only on A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice are all the appendices bundled together in one PDF file, along with the report itself. The report makes clear what is happening to our church: “TEC is dealing with a well-thought-out, well-organized, and well-funded strategy designed to enable and justify the removal of assets from use for the Church’s mission and ministry in the world.” The report makes interesting reading.

Anyone wanting to suggest material for posting on A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice should send e-mail to Submissions to Parish Toolbox should be sent to Episcopalians should feel free to send their submissions to both sites.