Saturday, September 20, 2008

Robert Duncan

September 19, 2008

So our House of Bishops has voted to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh for ‘abandoning the communion of this church’ by a vote of 88 to 35 with 4 abstentions. He was received immediately as a ‘bishop at large’ by the province of the Southern Cone. A quick search of the web will lead you to many statements including a number that call the deposition illegal or unethical without suggesting any grounds for such claims. Bishop Duncan who I remember as a superb chaplain at the University of North Carolina has apparently made a number of statements and taken a number of actions by which he has placed himself beyond the bounds of the Episcopal Church and declined an opportunity to refute or deny those statements in the House of Bishops of which he was a member until yesterday.

The confusion will continue as the Diocese of Pittsburgh moves towards a vote to ‘realign’ with the Southern Cone (apparently the Diocese of Fort Worth is also quite a way down that path). The standing committee of the diocese (with one dissenting member) supports that path and we will have a situation similar to that of San Joachin pretty soon with two entities claiming to be the church in the area and doubtless legal wrangling over property. Those who wish to leave the Episcopal Church also wish to take over the ‘brand name’ of Anglicanism and do not want to forgo what they see as ‘their’ property when they leave. There are many in the wider Anglican world (and within the Episcopal Church) who support them and abhor our affirmation of gay and lesbian Christians. That continues to be the issue underlying this turmoil, complicated by large amounts of money supporting a conservative cause and course of action.

I find the whole business very sad and think it would make sense to recognize that we are looking at a world-wide division with progressive Christians in the Anglican minority. If leaders in England, Canada, Australia etc. and were to stop hoping that they could ‘dodge the bullet’ we could probably get on with an equitable (and non litigious) separation.

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