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PITTSBURG: New Trinity Dean Installed in Cathedral


By David W. Virtue

PITTSBURGH, PA. (10/9/2004)--The new Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, told 600 orthodox Episcopalians at his installation in Trinity Cathedral that he would have an orthodox, undeviating commitment to the faith once and for all delivered in both faith and morals which would remain "unexceptioned and unqualified".

"We are standing on the foundation of apostolic, catholic, scriptural orthodoxy and we will not allow an "impermeable ecclesiasticism" to trump the substance of the gospel," said the Very Rev. Dr. Paul Zahl in accepting his new role as the fifth Dean and President of Trinity.

"We are launching out into a fluid ecclesiastical landscape where there is huge transition, but we should never allow geographical or canonical considerations to trump biblical givens," said the former dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama.

"It is time for Anglicans to reclaim a bona fide triumph of substance over form, focusing on spiritual power, weakness and redemption," he said Zahl said that orthodox students today were carrying the wounds of Jesus in their side for the sake of the gospel. "What lies ahead of us is to job train men and women for normal real coal face humble service in parishes and church plants. We are not training people who are panting to be in fancy suburban parishes".

The youthful Dean received cheers and prolonged clapping from the assembled orthodox glitterati of The Episcopal Church which included seven bishops, as well as an African and an AMIA bishop, dozens of clergy, seminary faculty and laity from across the country.

"It’s a big day because at this particular point in the Episcopal Church’s history, the stakes feel high because the conflict in the Anglican Communion is very real. In the midst of that conflict, it is an enormous source of hope and joy that God has called Paul Zahl to be the Dean and President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry at this
historic juncture," said the Rev. Paul Nelson Walker, in a sermon.

"The range of his [Zahl's] intellect is matched by the depth of his love for others." said Walker. Paul is an unusual mix of both scholar and pastor,” said the 40-year-old who had been mentored by Dr. Zahl.

"We praise God for appointing a man like Paul to this work, but it must be said that the task before him – the task before all of us – the task of taking the real gospel to the real world - is fraught with conflict, uncertainty, trouble and suffering."

Critiquing contemporary versions of peace, which he described as having a "flawed anthropology" Walker said, "The task of taking the gospel to the world is fraught with conflict, uncertainty, trouble, and suffering, we shall need more than the peace the world gives to keep our hearts untroubled and unafraid. We shall need the peace that Jesus gives.

"If the hippie peace is a peace apart from suffering, and the Tony Robbins peace is a peace in the face of suffering, the peace the Jesus gives is a peace in and through suffering. It is a kind of peace that the human heart could not dream up. This is why Paul calls it a “peace that passes human understanding.” (Phil 4:7) It is peace found within
and because of conflict, uncertainty, trouble and suffering. And this peace is the only peace that will “guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7), he said.

Former Pittsburgh Bishop Alden Hathaway read the letter of institution and said that 27 years ago Trinity represented the evangelical tradition, and then as now it sought earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered.

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan welcomed the orthodox crowd and said the vision given in the 1960s that Pittsburgh might be as famous for God as it is for steel was still the vision today. "We receive Paul Zahl as fifth dean and president of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry."


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