Thinking Anglicans

Pittsburgh: an email from the bishop

Updated Wednesday evening
The authenticity of this email has now been confirmed and the original recipient identified as Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Diocese of West Texas. See Bishop Duncan Shares Concerns on Windsor Continuation Group.

The following email has now appeared on several blogs.

From: Duncan, Bob [mailto:Duncan@pitanglican.org]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:35 PM
To:*********
Subject: Windsor Continuation Group Concerns

Dear *******,

It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG.

I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.

The WCG proposes “cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.” There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.

The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to “freeze” the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church. The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped — constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the “holding tank” whose stated purpose is eventual “reconciliation” with TEC or thevAnglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.

For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.

I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)

Blessings to you and yours,
+Bob

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Father Ron SmithPeter of WestminsterMalcolm+Pat O'NeillFord Elms Recent comment authors
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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

As I suspected, even before TEC has an opportunity to consider the moritorium suggested for it, the border-crossers have rejected the moritorium suggested for them.

Walsingham:

Do you see now why I was so skeptical of the “talk” at Lambeth?

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

After this, can anyone still see the point of TEC agreeing to the proposed moratorium?

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Wow, that happened quicker than I thought it would. I figured the conservatives would insist on enforcing moratoria on gay/lesbian bishops and same-sex blessings while feeling perfectly free to continue diocese poaching or cross-border interventions. And so it begins on the moratoria: “We can’t go first, they have to go first!” “No we don’t, you have to go first!” “You started it!” “Did not!” “Did too!” I love +Duncan’s denunciation of the equivalence of the three moratoria. After all, everyone knows that those immoral unbiblical uppity gay and lesbian people and their supporters can’t possibly be compared to the pure,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

It would seem, then, that the proposed moratoria have already been skittled – by this revelation of the intentions of the Global South and CANA etc. not to reverse their territorial incursions into the US and Canada. The dubious question of the lack of a ‘moral equivalence’ put forward here by Bob Duncan is, surely, not to be taken seriously. If the re-asserters were serious about Church Order, then they would recognise the need for withdrawal from this patently political stance by Global South for moral supremacy. How does this square with their supposed status as ‘Orthodox Anglicans’? With this… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Echoes and resonances of the emperor in Star Wars telling Darth Vader and others: It is all going according to my plan, as I have foreseen it. Just go back, not that long ago, and read through the conservative realignment plan – say, from IRD? You might have to decode IRD narratives a bit, but surely the sense is there. Or go back to the Chapman Memo? In writing and in between the written lines, you will find the gist of what has happened, is happening, and per GAFCON or Duncan or ???? will continue to happen: If we cannot… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Exactly as expected really, and so the show goes on. Many people are wearing rose tinted spectacles at the moment, and they might want to enjoy the hue, but the Province of North America in GAFCON might lead to some being taken off.

davidwh
Guest
davidwh

The fundamental problem is, of course, that TEC isn’t just defying the majority of the Anglican communion, or even just defying the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ meeting. If that were all, they would possibly get some support, or at least sympathy, for their [nice but misguided] commitment to the normalization of same-sex sex. But the situation is much worse… they are defying the clear will of God – as revealed in both Testaments!! and taught by the Church for the last 2000 years! How can any Christian who is committed to the teaching of Christ and… Read more »

thomas bushnell, bsg
Guest

“suicidal”??

Bob in SW PA
Guest
Bob in SW PA

Does anyone know how this letter was leaked? Those who will follow Duncan out are going. My concern is when will the purple shirts discipline their own? As this lingers on I find myself more and more angry at the clerics. At least in Pittsburgh, this mess has been clergy led. In many of the parishes Duncan’s minions have blasted TEC as a new age religious drifting heretical organization. Shame on the senior bishops who voted no to his inhibition. Maybe Peter Lee wanted to keep his old family friend on the Christmas card list! Maybe after Duncan leaves for… Read more »

John Henry
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John Henry

+Bob of Quittsburgh and +Jack the Lion of Sp-Iker-land always make my day. They conspire to leave TEC and steal the silver on the way out, but claiming the high moral ground for their thievery and acts of deception. Deposition by the HoB’s is the only solution to restore a modicum of order. Nothing else will stop the “drama queens” claiming victimhood.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Davidwh:

I’ve called you on this before and I do it again: hubris! You do not know “the clear will of God” any better than I do.

Furthermore, if being a Christian were only about being “obedient” we’d have a law of our own as long and complicated as Leviticus. We don’t.

davidwh
Guest
davidwh

ps The dioceses and churches that are opting out of TEC are only taking their own assets with them. TEC’s behavior is just typical political bully-boy – I’ve beaten you and now I’m going to take your lollipop before I let you go home! pps Very few people, even in TEC, argued the homosexuality was a “normal” sexuality until VERY recently. Both the orthodox parishes and diocese and the rest of TEC were paid for and endowed by people who would have rejected TEC’s new, heretical beliefs and practices. If you could ask them they would probably suggest that TEC… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Davidwh – obviously another deluded person who feels he has a hotline to God’s thoughts! – And only from the king James version, probably. David, as a newcomer to this blog, you may not have heard the Good News of Jesus Christ in the gospels, which mainly informs the comments of our fraternity/sisterhood here. Have you tried the Global South (Anglicans?) web-site? I think it might be to your taste. They have a good line on ‘obedience’ – to messrs Akinola, Duncan, Orombi, Jensen, et al. You might just be more welcome there to cosy up to the moral crusaders.… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

Venables announced before Lambeth was even over that he would not cease his piracy in North America. About the same time Orombi stepped up and said the same.

It is absurd that people are still discussing the moratoria as though they meant anything. The proposal was dead before the bishops left Lambeth.

It’s like everyone pretending that grandma is merely taking a nap on the couch, just resting her eyes a bit, even though the stench tells us otherwise.

Pluralist
Guest

I think we have Rowan Williams’s own analysis of the Pauline text to show why there is no such “clear will of God” on this matter and that biblical literalism constructs very little.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“they are defying the clear will of God – as revealed in both Testaments!” Davidwh, You accuse TEC of defying the clear will of God. Yet God’s will is also crystal clear with regard to those who would oppress His children. Still, you have spoken in support of those who ignore the oppression of God’s children; who by their words and actions help to create a situation where that oppression is considered not only acceptable, but virtuous; and, in some instances, have actively promoted such oppression. How is it that conservative defiance of God’s will in this seems acceptable to… Read more »

Paul (A.)
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Paul (A.)

Note that Bp. Duncan’s “moral equivalence” phrase does not appear at all in the Windsor Report and is not so far as I can see in any way implied in it.

The phrase does, however, surface in the Dromantine Communique. Who was the ghostwriter for that?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“ps The dioceses and churches that are opting out of TEC are only taking their own assets with them. TEC’s behavior is just typical political bully-boy – I’ve beaten you and now I’m going to take your lollipop before I let you go home!” Except the canons of the parishes and dioceses say quite clearly that those assets are held in trust for the entire church. You are espousing that these people violate the canons they vowed to obey and uphold at their ordinations and consecrations. Isn’t there anything in your Bible about taking false oaths? “pps Very few people,… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Davidwh, I’m no canonical or secular lawyer, but I do know this. The TEC Diocese of Colorado has had to deal with parishes “seceding” from the Diocese of Colorado and TEC since the early 1980s over the ordination of women and the 1978 BCP. I have been told consistently ever since that time that the title to parish property is held in trust for the Diocese (and TEC) by the parish. The parish has full use of the property, but it ultimately belongs to the Diocese (and TEC). As one bishop has said, if you want to leave TEC, that’s… Read more »

Richard Zevnik
Guest
Richard Zevnik

Well, David, we’ll all find out soon. I just today received notice from the California Supreme Court that oral argument in the St. James, Newport Beach, case will take place on October 8, 2008. Its decision should issue by year’s end. As you may know, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, found pursuant to the canons and settled United States and prior California Supreme Court precedent that the properties belong to the Diocese of Los Angeles and the national church, not to the parishes.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

JPM wrote: “The proposal was dead before the bishops left Lambeth.”

Surely, it was dead before it was uttered. It was never seriously meant.

Paul wrote: “The phrase does, however, surface in the Dromantine Communique. Who was the ghostwriter for that?”

You mean Dromantine of Eucharist in-fame?

;=)

davidwh
Guest
davidwh

Pat, Ron The mission of the Church is summarized at the end of Matthew’s Gospel as follows: “… Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NRSV) Now you may think that I am deluded in thinking that this gives us… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“their own assets” No, they’re not. They are trying to take from TEC things that were given to God by their forebears, and which are held in trust by TEC. We are not congregationalists, Davidwh. Perhaps it is difficult to understand for someone from a more congregationalist tradition, and I figure, brought up to believe that a congregationalist model is superior, more free, and perhaps even by God’s design. But the idea that the church building in which our congregation worships is owned by us, the parish, and not the diocese is something I just can’t relate to. I can… Read more »

davidwh
Guest
davidwh

Ford,

Even showing some graciousness to leaving congregations based, for instance, on their own contributions of the assets, is not being mooted. It’s just nasty political calculation (in my somewhat jaundiced opinion) the maximizing of power and control.

TEC’s liberals are just ungraciously fighting tooth and nail for every brick, and all the jewelry, because they reckon, rightly, that it will deter many people (clergy included) from doing what they want to do… join an orthodox branch of Anglicanism.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“join an orthodox branch of Anglicanism.” There is no such thing. Besides, the only thing that word has ever meant in the history of Christianity is “We’re right and you’re wrong”. You can expect a bit of ungraciousness when you leave if you have spent the last several years condemning your fellow Anglicans for faithless heathen reassessors who believe nothing and seek to bless sin in search of the approval of the world, and you are separating yourself from them as they are not “orthodox”. Where is the graciousness of the conservatives? I can’t see it, they have spent the… Read more »

Richard Zevnik
Guest
Richard Zevnik

David: it’s clear you are completely uninformed as to the lengths the Diocese of Los Angeles went to accommodate St. James Newport Beach and the other three congregations before they debarked for Uganda, and it’s also clear you are completely uninformed as to the “ungracious” manner in which the clergy of those congregations comported themselves with respect to the Bishop and the Diocese when they announced their decision. I do know, and your statements stand on nothing, and are worth as much.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Now you may think that I am deluded in thinking that this gives us some hotline to God’s thoughts, and that obeying is a part of Christianity…. but I think that, by rejecting the scriptures, your christianity has become just something you are “making it up as you go along”!” To quote a well-known conservative politician: “Well, there you go again!” Nobody here, not me, not Ron, is “rejecting the scriptures”. We are looking at them differently than you do. Just as some Christians look at the scriptural banning of idols and take it to mean that statues and stained… Read more »

magistra
Guest

TEC’s liberals are just ungraciously fighting tooth and nail for every brick, and all the jewelry. I don’t know the details about US law, but in the UK there are specific powers for the Charity Commission (which regulates charities) to intervene in any case where are charitable assets are ‘at risk of loss, damage or misuse’. If the Church of England allowed another body simply to take over substantial assets belonging to it (as would happen with breakaway parishes taking buildings etc), it would be in serious legal trouble itself. I suspect the same is true for TEC: the assets… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

You’re right, DavidWh. We liberals are totally self seeking. We have a masochistic streak in us, which is why we remain in the church when we know that we have to spend all our time there wilfully distorting God’s word to suit our immoral aims. There’s not an ounce of integrity in us. The plain moral intentions of God are so obvious after all, and there is not an ounce of ambiguity in Scripture anywhere. We’re so astonishingly arrogant, we don’t only kid ourselves and need enlightened people like you to put us straight, we even seriously believe we can… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Notice how davidwh’s narrative takes as a given that everyone making decisions on behalf of TEC is pure evil, while the saintly schismatics are motivated by nothing but the pure love of the Lord. What self-serving tripe. Despite the constant “conservative” lie, not a single Episcopal or Anglican cleric has been disciplined based on simple dissent from the liberal position. They have been deposed based on distinct and deliberate violations of canons that have exactly NOTHING to do with the matter at hand. And in general they have only been proceeded against following repeated violations of canon. If the TEC… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

‘The mission of the Church is summarized at the end of Matthew’s Gospel as follows: “… Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NRSV) – posted by Davidwh -23 August 2008 Precisely. Davidwh! What you are saying here is that… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

David W wrote: “The trouble with many liberals is, I think, being too married to your cultural milieu” On the contrary, dear David, It is precisely the “cultural milieu” and the anti Moderns that are anti Gay. Whether “Christian” or Muslim they depend on Ancient Hellenism (Alexandria). The famous clobber passages have been manipulated to express those cultural understandings: Philosophy contra the Gospel. First and foremost in the Parisian Versio vulgata of the Scholastics around 1200. So they are n o t “the plain moral teaching of the Christian scriptures” but “Culture”. The last round of Social political change comes… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“It is precisely the “cultural milieu” and the anti Moderns that are anti Gay” Exactly, Goran! I muse a lot on how it can be that people who basically support a societal structure that has existed for centuries can believe themselves free from cultural bias. Supporting the dominant cultural patterns is not “countercultural”. Neither is blindly supporting all those who rebel against the established culture. Both sides, I think, get very muddy on what counterculturalism is in the Christian context. It means opposing ALL unjust cultural structures, whether or not they are new or old. Again, while I think both… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

I have mused before about what would happen if a hypothetical liberal parish in the Diocese of Abuja declared themselves out of communion with Peter Akinola and claimed to be part of the Episcopal Church.

Would the Bishop of Abuja treat that parish the way the “conservatives” in North America claim to expect they should e treated? Would Peter Akinola let that parish keep the property?

Funny thing is, the “conservatives” never bother to answer.

If they say “no,” it hopelessly undercuts their position.

If they say “yes,” everyone will know they’re lying.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Malcolm:

I think it entirely likely that Akinola would have the priest of such a parish immediately deposed and declare him apostate. If the parishioners insisted on their decision, he would undoubtedly close down the parish.

Malcolm+
Guest

Indeed, Pat.

In fact, we have seen the evidence of what happens when anyone disagrees with the primatial invaders. Unlike the authentic North American provinces, where no “conservative” has been sanctioned except for deliberate (and often repeated) violations of canon law, simple dissent from the hardline fundamentalism is sufficient to have clerics deposed in the provinces of the Global South thieves.

Peter of Westminster
Guest
Peter of Westminster

Malcolm+ wrote:

“I have mused before about what would happen if a hypothetical liberal parish in the Diocese of Abuja declared themselves out of communion with Peter Akinola and claimed to be part of the Episcopal Church.

Would the Bishop of Abuja treat that parish the way the “conservatives” in North America claim to expect they should be treated? Would Peter Akinola let that parish keep the property?

Funny thing is, the “conservatives” never bother to answer.”

Davidwh — as a conservative yourself, maybe you could give us an answer.

Peter of Westminster
Guest
Peter of Westminster

davidwh wrote:

“TEC’s liberals are just ungraciously fighting tooth and nail for every brick, and all the jewelry, because they reckon, rightly, that it will deter many people (clergy included) from doing what they want to do… join an orthodox branch of Anglicanism.”

Well, there is a vote of confidence by davidwh in his “orthodox” friends! Though by their own account they see God’s will for us all most clearly, they will be deterred from doing His will by mere bricks and jewelry.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“And there was silence in heaven for half an hour”

What’s the matter, Davidwh, cat got yer tongue?