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Anglicans might share Lutherans' Brackenridge church

| Saturday, April 28, 2012, 8:33 a.m.

Parishioners at St. Andrew's Anglican Church could end up worshipping at a Brackenridge church of a different denomination this summer.

The parish is searching for a new home because of its split with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, which owns the church property on Edgewood Road in New Kensington.

In his monthly newsletter, the Rev. John Bailey wrote that the parish can't afford to remain in its building and maintain full-time clergy.

For that reason, the parish might temporarily move to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brackenridge.

"In my view, a move to St. John's is our best move rather than staying in a building we cannot afford to maintain and then waiting for The Episcopal Church to show us their offer," Bailey wrote.

"TEC has not made an offer that is small or easy on anybody. They are within their rights to ask for market value, and that is what they have consistently asked."

St. Andrew's parishioners voted 60 to 3 on April 15 in favor of renting space at St. John's. An average of 80 people attend Sunday services, Bailey said.

The Rev. Jerome Panzigrau, pastor of St. John's, said his congregation will hold a vote on Sunday on a prospective lease.

Rich Creehan, spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, said the diocese isn't trying to force the parish out of the building.

"There has been no push from us," he said. "We have invited them to stay and would prefer it if they stayed."

The Anglican Diocese formed when 41 parishes broke from the Episcopal Church in 2008 over theological differences.

In November, the state Commonwealth Court upheld an Allegheny County Court decision that the Episcopal Diocese should retain the properties it owned before the split. Twenty-four Anglican parishes have been forced to negotiate with the Episcopal diocese for church properties.

Most likely, St. Andrew's will hold Sunday services at 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. St. John's services begin at 11 a.m.

Bailey said if the lease is approved, services could begin at St. John's by mid-August.

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