I realize that this is surprising news at a lot of levels: a bishop leaving a diocese to serve a parish, a Reformed Episcopal bishop coming to Pittsburgh, etc. The blogs are likely to have a field day! Some of you might have some concerns. Let me assure you that this is a gift. Early on in my time as bishop, I visited +David in his diocese, asking him (as the Chair of the Holy Orders Task Force) to help me understand the various perspectives on women’s ordination that were present in the ACNA (especially the more Anglo-Catholic ones). He was very gracious and gave me two days for significant conversations. His kindness, openness, patience, hospitality, collegiality and wisdom made a deep impression on me.
+David and I disagree on whether women should be ordained as presbyters. His coming to Pittsburgh represents no shift in his thinking nor any shift in my support of women in ordained ministry. We do, however, share a deep mutual respect and believe that this issue should not divide the Church. Female priests who have known or worked with +David (including Mama Shari) have experienced him as respectful and gracious. +David loves Jesus and His Church and is committed to living on mission. All of us share that with him.
Bishop David has a pastor’s heart and will be functioning as Rector of St. Peter’s. If need arises, however, and Bishop David is available, I may call on him occasionally to function as a bishop.
I look forward to you getting to know him. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to let me know. I’d be happy to talk.
The Rt. Rev. James Hobby, Bishop of Pittsburgh