The Rev. Dorsey W.M. McConnell, bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, clearly understands the sporting loyalties of his new diocese.
At the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church held in Indianapolis, McConnell appeared before the cognate Committee for the Consecration of Bishops on Wednesday, July 4. At the conclusion of the hearing, the committee voted to move a resolution of endorsement for McConnell to the full General Convention for its approval of his consecration as bishop. After the committee voted in favor of McConnell, jubilant members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh's deputation congratulated their bishop-elect and presented him with a Pittsburgh Pirates ball cap and a Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel.
The next day, Thursday, July 5, the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies agreed to consent to the election of McConnell and seven other bishops of the Episcopal Church.
The deputations to convention from those eight dioceses escorted the bishops-elect onto the floor of the House of Deputies for introduction Friday, July 6. As the Pittsburgh deputation escorted McConnell into the House of Deputies, the bishop-elect was smiling and wearing his new Pirates cap. His introduction was greeted with the waving of some Terrible Towels from the audience.
After receiving a standing ovation from more than 850 deputies, McConnell and the other bishops-elect were officially seated, with voice, in the House of Bishops.
McConnell will succeed the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., who has been serving as bishop of Pittsburgh on an interim basis since 2009. Price, who also is a suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, serves as secretary of the House of Bishops and is a former rector of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Wheeling.
McConnell's consecration as bishop is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20, at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh's East Liberty section. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, is expected to officiate.
McConnell, 58, worked as a publishing executive in New York City and in other careers before being ordained a priest in 1983. Most recently, he has been rector of Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
As some readers know, I had the privilege of serving as a lay deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in Indianapolis July 4-12.
Four lay members and four clergy from each diocese are elected by their diocesian conventions to serve as deputies to the General Convention. The House of Deputies and the House of Bishops meet concurrently during sessions that run throughout the day and sometimes extend into the evening hours.
The main purpose of the triennial General Convention is, of course, to conduct the business of the church. In addition, as many observers have noted, General Convention resembles a big family reunion, offering countless opportunities to reconnect with old friends and colleagues.
During General Convention, I had a chance to catch up with many priests and a number of bishops who formerly served in the Wheeling area or in West Virginia. I visited with the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., interim bishop of Pittsburgh and secretary of the House of Bishops, and his wife, Mariann, who celebrated her birthday at General Convention. As noted in the previous item, Price is a former rector of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Wheeling.
I also chatted on several occasions with two former assistant rectors of St. Matthew's, Wheeling: the Rev. Henry "Randy" Randolph and the Rev. T. Scott Allen. Randolph was a deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana, where he serves as rector of a parish. Allen was a deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Pa., where he serves as a parish rector.
In addition, I was able to converse with the Rev. Brian Reid, a former interim rector at Lawrencefield Parish Church, Wheeling. Reid was a deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, where he serves as a canon in the diocese and continues in interim and supply ministry. I also ran into the Rev. Donald Bretz, a former rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Wellsburg, who is now an Air Force chaplain, and Sister Barbara Jean Brown, an Episcopal nun who resided for a time at Sandscrest Retreat and Conference Center in Wheeling. She now serves in the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware.
Also, I got to talk with the Rev. Scott West, another former rector of Christ Church, Wellsburg, who was a deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. His wife, the Rev. Anne West, who is now serving at Christ Episcopal Church, Clarksburg, was a guest at convention.
It was also good to see the Rt. Rev. C. Franklin Brookhart, bishop of Montana and former rector of Lawrencefield, Wheeling, and the Rt. Rev. James Waggoner, bishop of Spokane and former canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of West Virginia.
Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net