Editor’s note: A truly inspiring story on this Easter Sunday.
When Leonard Williams attends the Easter service today at Shepherd’s Heart Fellowship, an Anglican church for the homeless in Uptown, like Christians everywhere he will be celebrating the resurrection of Christ from the tomb.
But Mr. Williams, 53, and others who attend Shepherd’s Heart also will be celebrating the new life that has been breathed into their church after a recent significant agreement between Pittsburgh‘s Episcopal and Anglican dioceses. A long-running conflict in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh resulted in a 2008 split, with many of the churches leaving and creating the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, linked to the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America.
Shepherd’s Heart was originally founded as an Episcopal church by the Rev. Michael Wurschmidt. But after the split in the diocese, Rev. Wurschmidt switched his affiliation to become an Anglican priest. At that point, Shepherd’s Heart became one of a number of congregations caught between the two dioceses.
While few settlements have been reached over parish assets, the Episcopal Diocese agreed in October to give Shepherd’s Heart and its ministry to the homeless a clear title to all of its property and assets, despite its affiliation with the rival Anglican church. It is the lone case in which a parish kept all of its assets and its Anglican affiliation.