CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DIOCESE
Many of these characteristics speak to the strengths of our diocese and the exciting ministry awaiting our bishop. They include:
Diversity of every kind that makes it impossible to take a “business as usual” approach to ministry
Our diocese also has characteristics that can be challenging:
Members of the Diocese are ready for thoughtful leadership and carefully guided change.
From the Holy Conversations, it seems clear that any positive change within the diocese will require greater collaboration among parishes. The conversation participants stated clearly that they are tired of parish closures and want to prioritize resources for growth and renewal for struggling parishes. We also know that the diocese must operate as a resource-sharing network.
In common with some other dioceses, we also recognize a need to restructure our resources. The diocesan Standing Committee has proposed that the diocese incorporate and revise the diocesan governing structures so that the Diocese of Pennsylvania will be more effective and more responsive to missional objectives.
In so doing, our parishes will have an opportunity to recommit to each other in Christ, in all their diversity. We know that our next bishop will lead us in re-introducing ourselves to each other as the Body of Christ that is the first and founding diocese of our Episcopal Church.
Forming Priests, Deacons and providing theological education for the laity.
The work of reconciliation continues with the broadly shared conviction that we must include and connect with one another despite real and abiding differences. Several parishes which had long been alienated now participate in diocesan life again. Inclusion and social justice, which are so central to the Gospel message, continue to be foundational components of our DNA.
We are striving to be an anti-racist church, to support the full inclusion of LGBT people in the church and society at every level, and to acknowledge and celebrate theological and liturgical diversity. We are working to address inequities in the larger community, such as food insecurity and the crisis in urban public education. And, within the church, we’re committed to reduce the inequalities in compensation and deployment that women clergy continue to face.