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January 10, 1992 Church Withdraws from Diocese of Pittsburgh 92008A

Episcopal News Service

Orchard Hill Church in Franklin Park, Pennsylvania, voted to withdraw from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, citing "biblical, theological, and moral issues." "There is more to this than gay ordination," said the Rev. Stuart Boehmig, Orchard Hill's pastor. "If the church had passed the appropriate canon last] summer, we would not have left the [Episcopal] Church," Boehmig said. He was referring to General Convention's rejection of a canon prohibiting clergy from engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage. "The parting is as amiable as it could be," said the Very Rev. George Werner, a member of the diocesan Standing Committee. The church and diocese will mark the congregation's departure by holding a joint prayer service. Orchard Hill Church was the diocese's second largest church and the fastest growing Protestant congregation in the Pittsburgh area. Though the church became an Episcopal mission fellowship shortly after its formation in 1989, it never formally became a parish.