By Douglas LeBlanc
The Rt. Rev. Francis Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia for 11 years, has accepted an invitation to become assistant bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. He begins his new work Aug. 1.
The appointment is unusual because it involves the mother diocese of the Anglican Church in North America calling a bishop from another Anglican province, rather than consecrating a new bishop or receiving a former bishop of the Episcopal Church.
An announcement by the diocese said that the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop of the ACNA, initiated the invitation, which the diocese’s standing committee supported unanimously.
Beginning in the mid-2000s, Lyons provided episcopal oversight to 40 congregations that left the Episcopal Church. Some members of those congregations wryly referred to their new home as “the Diocese of Bolivia’s Northern Deanery.”
The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America no longer provides episcopal oversight to congregations in the United States. Its primate, Héctor Zavala Muñoz, recently was restored (along with the Rev. Katherine Grieb of Virginia Theological Seminary) as a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order.
The diocese said Bishop Lyons will assist with pastoral care and oversight, both in Pennsylvania and in other ACNA congregations affiliated with the diocese. (The diocese includes congregations in California, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.)
“We are delighted to welcome Bishop Frank and his wife, Shawnee, to the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh,” Archbishop Duncan said. “Bishop Frank is a highly capable leader who brings with him a wealth of experience. I am confident that he will provide the support our clergy and congregations need during this amazing period in our life together as a diocese.”
“Bishop Frank’s spiritual sensitivity, cross-cultural experience, and passion for the Gospel will be a wonderful asset to our leadership team,” said the Rev. Canon Mary Hays, the diocese’s canon to the ordinary.
The diocesan announcement said the bishop’s new work “is being funded chiefly by investors from outside the Diocese of Pittsburgh who want to support Archbishop Duncan in his dual capacity as Diocesan Bishop and Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.”
Lyons is a graduate of Wheaton College and holds four graduate degrees from Wheaton Graduate School, Nashotah Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Carey Theological College. Frank and Shawnee Lyons have served with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders for 25 years. They are parents to seven children, two of whom they adopted in Bolivia.
Photo: Bishop Lyons visits Christ Church, Selly Park, Birmingham, England.
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