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Appointment & Grant Strengthen Ties to PTS

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Posted on May 21, 2021 Posted in Diocesan News and Information

Bishop Dorsey McConnell has appointed the Reverend Canon Dr. Cathy Brall to be the coordinator of the Episcopal/Anglican House of Study at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, effective June 1, 2021.

Additionally, the diocese has announced that the Maplewood Foundation has awarded $120,000 over three years to support the growth of that same program.

These two developments bolster a partnership that was cemented with the 2019 introduction of a formal program of Episcopal/Anglican studies at the seminary that provides Episcopal candidates for ordained ministry an academic and spiritual formation in a local, ecumenical setting.

The House of Study is one of several at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary open to students in the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies programs who are being trained for their denominational settings. These houses are an outgrowth of the recent curriculum redesign and were established to provide learning environments where students can deepen their capacity to reflect theologically upon their denominational traditions and further develop their sense of vocation.

The Episcopal/Anglican Concentration and House of Study provide more specific preparation for individuals who desire deeper knowledge in specific fields such as Episcopal church history, doctrine, liturgy, and practical theology.

Among her duties, Dr. Brall will provide students pastoral support and guidance, coordinate Episcopal worship as part of the PTS Chapel program, and convene seminars and other conversations concerning the Anglican tradition.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to mentor students and to see this program grow because of the great potential Pittsburgh Seminary provides,” said Dr. Brall.

As a member of the bishop’s staff, the coordinator’s position serves as a liaison between formation programs within the diocese and beyond. Several nearby Episcopal dioceses have sent students to PTS and other dioceses have expressed an openness to doing so.

“The Episcopal/Anglican Concentration and House of Study provides an excellent environment for Episcopalians in this region and across the country to prepare for ministry at PTS,” said the Rev. Charles L. Fischer III, Vice-President for Seminary Advancement and himself an Episcopal priest of the Pittsburgh diocese.

Dr. Brall’s new position marks the latest chapter in her service to Pittsburgh Seminary and its students.  She previously was Director of Field Education, an adjunct faculty member, and sat on the Board of Directors.  She was ordained a priest in 1995 and holds a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.  For many years she served as Provost of Trinity Cathedral.  Since 2015, she has been priest-in-charge of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Canonsburg, and will continue in that capacity on a part-time basis.

OUR COMMUNITY

We are Episcopalians – little kids, older folks, and some of us various ages in-between. We genuinely enjoy each other and care for each other in prayer and many other practical ways.

Our members come from in and around Canonsburg as well as other parts of Washington and Allegheny Counties and from a variety of faith/church backgrounds – some with little or no previous church experience.

We welcome all visitors to participate as fully as they would like.

We share the sacrament of Holy Communion with all baptized Christians because even if you belong to some other denomination, in our minds, you are our brother or sister in Christ. 

Our parish family is connected to others in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, which is The Episcopal Church in southwest PA and part of the world-wide Anglican Communion. 

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OUR STORIED HISTORY

Canonsburg is the oldest incorporated municipality in Washington County, its charter dating from February 22, 1802, eight years before the Washington Borough was incorporated.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church was organized October 1, 1890. Worship was conducted in halls throughout the town until 1900, when a lot was purchased and the present building erected in 1901-02 at a cost of $5,000. It was dedicated December 20, 1902.

A history of St. Thomas Episcopal Church has been compiled and published by one of our parishioners, Samuel J. Richards.  Below is a summary of the book:

In 1866, Antebellum America was a place of change filled with many questions when Episcopalians of the Chartiers Valley began gathering in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. One year later, Pittsburgh's first Episcopalian bishop visited to name the mission after St. Thomas the Apostle. In the 150 years since then the ministry of St. Thomas' Episcopal Church has illustrated the struggles and triumphs of small mainline churches as they wrestle with questions of finance, leadership, theology, and mission. 

Richards' work is based research in the records of St. Thomas' Church, the Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and interviews of past and present clergy and members of the congregation. His history was written with consideration for multiple audiences. The narrative is helpful for students of church history, genealogists seeking information about family, local history buffs wanting to know a bit more about how Christians approached life along Chartiers Creek from their earliest arrival to the present, and those who have found a spiritual home at St. Thomas' Church. 

Historic images of the church and its people help illustrate the text.  In addition, appendices include sermon examples ranging from 1947 to 2013, several membership rosters from past church directories, and a transcribed list of all entries from Volume I of the parish Canonical Record of Baptisms.

To buy THE MIDDLE HOLDS, click here

Click here to buy:  "The Middle Holds"

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