October 4, 2008
Conservative Episcopalians Jump Ship
Pittsburgh diocese votes to join conservative Anglican province.
As long expected, the exodus of conservatives from The Episcopal Church is gathering steam. This afternoon, the Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to leave TEC and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina.
What does this mean for TEC and global Anglicanism?
My analysis is that the bluff of TEC and its left-leaning House of Bishops is being called. Right now, TEC and a number of dioceses around the nation are so involved in litigation that the situation is moving beyond unmanageable.
Starting another court fight over Pittsburgh's decision would be staggering in its expense. TEC probably is spending more per month on litigation nationwide than at any other time in its history. However, actual figures are being withheld from public scrutiny.
Keep reading for the entire press statement from TEC Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and from the soon to be recalled Pittsburgh Bishop Duncan:
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October 4, 2008
I believe that the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans will be intensely grieved by the actions of individuals who thought it necessary to remove them from The Episcopal Church. I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honored tradition within Anglicanism. Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy.
There is room in this Church for all who desire to be members of it. The actions of the former bishop of Pittsburgh, and some lay and clergy leaders, have removed themselves from this Church; the rest of the Church laments their departure. We stand ready to welcome the return of any who wish to rejoin this part of the Body of Christ. We will work with remaining Episcopalians in Pittsburgh to provide support as they reorganize the Diocese and call a bishop to provide episcopal ministry. The people of The Episcopal Church hold all concerned in our prayers ? for healing and comfort in time of distress, and for discernment as they seek their way into the future.
The mission of God, in which The Episcopal Church participates, is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We cannot do one without doing the other. We believe that it is in serving the least among us that we discover the image of God, and the presence of a suffering Christ. It is in serving those least that we rediscover our common mission, which transcends our differences. Jesus weeps at the bickering of his brothers and sisters, particularly when they miss him in their midst.
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October 4, 2008
DIOCESE BEGINS PROCESS TO RECALL BISHOP ROBERT DUNCAN
The Standing Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh today took action to recall Bishop Robert Duncan to his position as diocesan bishop. Bishop Duncan was involuntarily removed from the post by The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops on September 18. While the diocese remained in The Episcopal Church, it submitted to the decision. Now that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is part of the Province of The Southern Cone, it is free to invite Bishop Duncan back into leadership.
The move came minutes after the close of the 143rd Diocesan Convention. After a short meeting, the Standing Committee officially announced the diocese's plans to elect a bishop on November 7. The election will take place during a special convention of the diocese. It is expected that Bishop Duncan will be the only candidate on the ballot.
"This is a great day for the diocese. Bishop Duncan has served the Lord and this diocese faithfully and well through one of the most significant periods of our diocesan history. We look forward to welcoming him back to his episcopal office," said the Rev. David Wilson, president of the diocese's standing committee. Fr. Wilson also announced that the Standing Committee had agreed to ask Bishop Duncan to function in the diocese between now and November 7.
Archbishop Gregory Venables has appointed Bishop Duncan to be the Southern Cone's "commissary," or representative, in the diocese. In this role, Bishop Duncan will be able to visit parishes and offer episcopal ministry such as confirmation on behalf of the Standing Committee while it continues to serve as the Ecclesiastical Authority until the completion of the election on November 7," explained Fr. Wilson.
"I am deeply grateful for the possibility of serving as both the seventh and eighth bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. We have been through much together over the last years, but I am convinced a new day is dawning for all of us," said Bishop Robert Duncan.