Potential Reunification between The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem and DioCPA

At the 152nd Annual Diocesan Convention, the resolution, “Seeking Study of a Potential Reunification of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Bethlehem,” was passed to begin talks about what a potential reunification would look like for both dioceses. To learn more about the Potential Reunification, watch the video of Bishop Scanlan and Bishop Nichols below.

An Invitation

The Reunification Discernment Committee of our dioceses wants to hear from you! In June and July, the Committee will be hosting an initial round of Listening Sessions and distribute an online survey for input. The Listening Sessions will be held via Zoom and will be open to lay and clergy members of both dioceses. 

Your input is critical to this discernment. Know that in addition to these opportunities, there will also be others through which you can offer your thoughts and questions as we move through this discernment process. 

Please follow this link to register for one of these upcoming (Zoom) sessions. 

The sessions will be facilitated by members of the Discernment Committee and will last for one hour.

Creating a Reunification Discernment Committee

The Diocesan Conventions of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Bethlehem each passed the resolution mentioned above and in effort to manage the work, a Reunification Discernment Committee will be created.

The work of the Reunification Discernment Committee is to explore opportunities in the areas of general operations, formation, finance, pastoral care, stewardship, social justice ministries, staffing, and children and youth ministry, as well as the gifts, strengths, and priorities of each diocese and this Discernment Committee will consider a plan for full reunification as well as any interim sharing of resources and, if feasible, seek to provide a draft timetable for those efforts.

To read the November 14th, 2022 detailed letter to the diocese, click here.


Reunification Discernment Committee Named

On December 14, Bishop Scanlan stated, “we’re excited to share the following people have been named to the Reunification Discernment Committee.” See list below.

  • Mr. George Park, a member of Mt. Calvary, Camp Hill, has served in leadership capacities as a Warden and on the vestry. He’s served, also at Penn State Health as a Sr. Compliance Specialist and is a real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway Realty.
  • The Rev. Jim Jenkins, Deacon, serving at St. Paul’s, Bloomsburg, and Christ Memorial, Danville. He is recently retired from Geisinger, where he worked as Sr. Director of Revenue Management Compliance.
  • The Rev. John Harwood, is a priest in the diocese serving at St. Mark’s, Lewistown, and retired from Penn State as Associate Vice Provost.
  • Mr. Michael Miller, is one of the Vice Chancellors of our diocese. He practices law at Ekert Seamans, specializing in management-side employment and labor law.
  • Mrs. Drew Dorgan is the President of our Standing Committee and the CEO of a Lancaster-based marketing and advertising firm, Global HMA.

Committee Meeting kick-off retreat, January 26 - 28, Lancaster

The Discernment committee attended a kick-off retreat at The Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster in January, where they began their prayerful exploration of the reunification of both dioceses. 

The committee members shared ideas, the Eucharist, and meals, as they got to know each other better. The retreat was led by the committee’s consultant, The Rev. Jennifer Adams, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Holland, MI.

Read the detailed retreat information below.

January 2023

The Reunification Discernment Committee of the Dioceses of Bethlehem and Central Pennsylvania met for the first time with our Bishops in Lancaster on January 26 through 28. During this retreat, we began to get to know one another and engage the process of discernment before us. 

In October of 2022, our diocesan conventions agreed to “enter into a period of intentional exploration” with one another of our “future reunification as one diocese.” Per that agreement, there are ten of us on this Committee with equal representation from each diocese. We come from a range of backgrounds, roles in the dioceses, life experiences, and professions. We all care deeply for the Episcopal Church and its presence here in Pennsylvania. During this retreat, we shared stories about how this Church became home for each of us and why we are here now. 

In addition to committee members, our Bishops appointed two chaplains who will prayerfully support us and an outside consultant present to listen, support, and guide.  

Our first phase of work involves gathering data and stories from programmatic and organizational areas of diocesan life as well as exploring our own history and entering into conversation with other dioceses who are themselves in similar discernment processes. We’ve set ourselves up in teams and are ready to go!

Per the Convention Resolution, the Committee will report quarterly to the Standing Committee of each diocese. The Standing Committee will work with the Communications department of each diocese to share updates with the wider dioceses. We will also need to hear from you, as we invite input and feedback at various steps along the way.

For now, know that we are grateful to have been invited into this work.  Please keep this Committee and our Bishops in your prayers. We trust that together, with the Spirit’s help and yours, we will discern a faithful way.

Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan, Bishop
Ms. Drew Dorgan, SC President
The Rev. John Harwood, Diocesan Council
The Rev. Jim Jenkins, At-large
Mr. George Park, At-large
Mr. Michael McAuliffe, Esq, Vice Chancellor

Diocese of Bethlehem

The Rt. Rev. Kevin Nichols, Bishop
The Rev. Rodney Conn, At-large
The Rev. Sidnie Crawford, Diocesan Council
The Rev. Douglas Moyer, SC President
Ms. Ginnie Schoonov, At-Large
Mr. Ty Welles, Esq, Asst. Chancellor

Table of Contents