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Pittsburgh Episcopalians install new bishop in tradition-bound ceremony

| Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, 3:38 p.m.
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Reverend Dorsey McConnell is ordained as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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Chief consecrator and presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori prays over the ordination of Reverend Dorsey McConnell as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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Choir members sing during the ordination of Reverend Dorsey McConnell as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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Reverend Dorsey McConnell lays on the church floor in front of the alter as part of the ceremony of his ordaination as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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A crowd of people sings the recessional hymn as the ordination of Reverend Dorsey McConnell as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church comes to a close and participants walk down the aisle in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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Reverend Dorsey McConnell stands in front of a group of consecrators as part of the ceremony of his ordination as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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The Reverend Hurmon Hamilton, teaching pastor at Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, CA, gives the sermon at the ordination of Reverend Dorsey McConnell as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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Incense burns as participants wait before the ordination of Reverend Dorsey McConnell as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
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Julie Muhl, 14, of Mount Lebanon, lights a candle with a match before the ordination of Reverend Dorsey McConnell as the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review

A church rocked by divisions over beliefs came together in jubilation on Saturday as leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh consecrated the Rev. Dorsey McConnell as its first permanent bishop since 2008.

“The last four years have been trying, but it's wonderful to have someone here now, especially a man like Bishop McConnell,” said Judith Waldorf, 62, of Shaler, who was among 400 people who filled Calvary Episcopal Church in East Liberty for the ceremony. “This is a wonderful day and I'm blessed to be here.”

Church leaders elected Mc-Connell, 58, to bishop in April. He previously served as rector of Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, Mass. He succeeds the Right Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., who served as provisional bishop since 2009.

“The people have chosen you and you have affirmed their trust in you,” the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop, told McConnell. “You are called to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; and to be in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ.”

Conservative congregations split from the diocese in 2008 and formed a rival denomination in response to the church's stance on same-sex unions and the 2003 ratification of an openly gay man as bishop of New Hampshire.

Before the schism, the diocese had 66 parishes and 20,000 members. Today, the diocese includes 33 active congregations and 9,000 members in 11 counties.

McConnell, who received a bachelor's degree from Yale College and a master's in divinity from General Theological Seminary in New York, wore a white robe during most of the ceremony until consecrators presented him with a white and gold vestment, a cross, ring, crown and staff. Schori presented a Bible to McConnell and presented him to a joyful congregation shortly before 1 p.m.

“I'm so happy for him, and so happy for the church,” said Daniel Ehrlich, 54, of Shadyside.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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