Friday, 2 February 2007

Pittsburgh: PEP criticises Bishop Duncan

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh has issued a press release, Revised Appeal Reveals Coup Plans against Episcopal Church which starts:

The release, on January 29, 2007, of the text of a third version of the request for alternative primatial oversight (APO) advanced by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should dispel any doubts about the goals and strategy of its leaders. The Rt. Rev Robert Duncan is clearly attempting an ecclesiastical coup against both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion…

The text to which reference is made can be found here. Links to the earlier versions are in the press release.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 12:02am GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

Obviously Tanzania is the opportunity coming up, but it is futurology...

Bishop Duncan. We seek APO.
Archbishop Williams. I cannot offer you this.
Bishop Duncan. It would only be temporary; we want to develop a new Anglican Church for my diocese and others.
Archbishop Akinola. I can offer you that, now.
Archbishop Williams. So what shall we put down for the minutes of the meeting then? You proposed and you accepted.
Bishop Duncan. Yes.
Archbishop Akinola. Yes.
Archbishop Williams. (turning) So put that down then.
Secretary-General Kearon. If I must.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 1:51am GMT

If you read the Appendix of the second request -they quote the PB at length in order to demonstrate that she is hostile to them, thelogically unsound, etc. etc. I have to say I was mystified by what they saw there. I certainly didn't see it. And I wonder if the ABC would have gotten all worked up, as well. Of course, the ABC may now be worked up about the third request. Particularly, if he invited Duncan without knowing about it. Do we know whether he knew about it, or why Duncan thought he had to go to the GS Primates? Had the ABC turned him down?


Posted by: C.B. on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 3:11am GMT

It looks like Duncan's lawlessness is about to be rewarded by Rowan et al.

A lesson there for us all. Bullies have been getting their own way since Henry V111. I think the new PB will be up to their wiles. They have no power over TEC and its Constituion and Canons.

I think Donald Coggan's invention is proving disaatrous. I had thought up to recent years that the meetings of primates 'for leisurely conversation' was one thing he got right. Can't blame him, for what Carey did to these meetings, followed by Williams now.

Posted by: laurence on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 4:15am GMT

Shock, horror: liberals don't like what +Bob is doing!

"Coup against.... the AC"?
Notice most of the AC agrees with +Bob and notice the ABC has issued an amazing invitation to a meeting of Primates! He is being treated with incredible respect for a coup-leader against the AC!

Is he not being treated more like a loyal soldier in an area occupied by rebels?

The attempted coup against the AC was shown up in 2003, by the actions of TEC. Rebels have been tolerated (and paid!)while they subverted the church for decades but that aggressive action of TEC, against the clearly expressed wishes of the AC, was the coup attempt....doomed to fail but that was the cause of all the current problems - hope it was worth it, TEC!

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 7:43am GMT

I wonder if this is less a matter of +Duncan "being treated more like a loyal soldier" than "...if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." That might be giving ++Cantuar a bit too much credit, but I like the way it sounds nonetheless.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:25am GMT

Jeremy - +Duncan is no "enemy" of the AC

He did not deliberately tear the fabric of the communion in 2003 - did he??

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 11:34am GMT

"more like a loyal soldier in an area occupied by rebels"
Ah, but ought he not be treated as a faithful Christian in disagreement with other faithful Christians? Your use of military imagery is telling. Also, I have had communication from both Dallas and Pittsburgh, NP, and the listening that you believe Duncan to have done secretively, as per an earlier discussion we had, did not happen. He did not obey Lambeth either. Neither did Iker. Not that this makes them wrong, but requiring obedience from others when they have disobeyed themselves does make them hypocrites. As to payment, you really need to look at where the funding for people like the American Anglican Council comes from.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 1:25pm GMT

Ford - well +Duncan is going to get a chance to "listen" at the Primates meeting if you are right and he has not done so before (which I still doubt but I don't know him to ask) - but please remember that listening to hard experiences of people is not the main point however important that is: the argument to justify as good something which is clearly not described as such in scripture has been going on for decades and that, I am sure, +Duncan and others have listened to carefully and come to clear views.

The military language is not that telling - mainstream Anglicans in TEC are clearly under siege and seeking allies in the AC to help: don't you see a battle going on?
Paul encourages us to live like disciplined soldiers, as you know

Sorry to say that it is not logical to see this whole thing as a discussion between 2 groups of faithful people - one side must be wrong and therefore being unfaithful (just being logical)

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 2:56pm GMT

The only thing surprising, and that a mild surprise at best, about the details of documents like this (Chapman memo revisited?) - is that their campaign has on occasion been disguised and/or denied by this or that leader of the conservative realignment campaign. So? Spin, spin, spin.

Are we dizzy dried, yet?

We hear similar disguises and denials when it comes to other related realignment issues. Especially in public and/or media communications materials?

Some of my ConsEvs favorite speciments include: (1)this is not about sex, it is about the (our? magical? presuppositional?) right way to read scripture; (2) none of us ConsEvs folks dislike queer folks, we love, love, love them, ever so dear, dear, dearly; (3)putting queer Nigerian citizens in prison for five years is a great blessing to them, because the Muslims will just kill them outright; (4) there is one conformed Anglican way to follow Jesus, all around the planet, and we are it; (5)we love women, too, but we don't want them helping us think things through in the family; (6) queer couples in public should be ashamed to show their faces, and none of us can figure out why they stopped hiding?

My all-time favorite so far: We have got to stop talking about sex, or else the next Lambeth will be nothing but a jamboree. (AKA orgy?)

This last from Akinola of Nigeria.

All of this would be rather fun if ConsEvs leaders were not trying to steal the silver bequeathed to General Convention by former generations, all the while they spin and jive and shuffle.

Tanzania is just another step in the unfinished spiritual journey. I pray that we can continue to rely on PB KJS to speak cleanly, speak clearly, and remain true to the progressive witness and progressive service that more or less typifies General Convention at the moment.

The reply to Akinola and other Primates at Tanzania, in part, should perhaps simply be: Queer folks are not more categorically condemned by scripture than the Gentiles in the early church were. And look what the Holy Spirit did for and with and among those Gentiles?

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 4:16pm GMT

The great theologian, Calvin, actually presciently addressed this very question:

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 4:20pm GMT

Even when all indications seem to contradict looking for the best in Williams, I have tried to believe that he is giving Duncan, Akinola, etal more than would be reasonably required only so that, when he finally says "NO", as surely he must, they will never be able to claim they were not accorded fair treatment.

I have tried to believe this; but unfortunately I don't.

Posted by: canonical on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 5:23pm GMT

I iterate the questions of C.B. The third document as presented to the global south bishops is far different from either 1 or 2. If the ABC was not privy to it, it is a major concern as the "way forward" and "cover" presented suggest a course that is in opposition to how the democratically governed churches of the covenant do business. In the US, TEC is governed by it elected General Convention. It has canons and a constitution, also developed in the democratic process. The electorate is broad including lay, persons, female priests and bishops etc. Its CEO is the Presiding Bishop duly elected by same. The APO suggested by +Duncan appeals to an off-shore group to appoint, not elect, a CEO for it, a CEO who will replace the duly elected one, an election in which it participated. It will remove the Diocese from being subject to the discipline of TEC's CEO and the Episcopal Church. And it requests this governance only until an alternative church it prefers can come into existance. In addition, the proposal offered by +Duncan is for Network Dioceses (AND) network parishes outside those dioceses to be so governed.

Here is the issue: If you are a primate of any country, do you wish to consent to this? If +Duncan's proposal to the Global South is successful, it means that a diocese in your jurisdiction can also seek APO if it doesn't like you until it can set up an alternate church in your province?

If you are said primate, would you consent to allowing the congregations of the dioceses of your respective bishops to move too? How would your bishops respond?

This measure attempts to remove Network dioceses AND parishes, (regardless of geography) from the oversight of TEC. It is designed to set up an alternative (and competitive) church in the US. And, in opposition to the US democratic system.

I know that ++Jefferts-Schori will have difficulty trying to explain our system to those in other parts of the world where autocracy or oligarchy in state and/or church polity has been or is the norm. I am reminded of Churchill's comments again and again in his multi-volume history of WW2. Stalin and Hitler had options that neither he nor Roosevelt had, they could make and break state policy in a moment. Britain and the US required time to propose resolutions, debate them and vote. I often wonder if the outcome at TEC's General Convention would have been a little different if we just hadn't run out of time.

Posted by: EPfizH on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 6:40pm GMT

Having just watched an insightful documentary on how the internet has been used to indoctrinate young muslim radicals in a twisted, militaristic version of their faith, I was shocked to see similiarities in the tone used by NP in some of his posts here. If this poster is a young man in particular, I encourage him to discuss his faith with real live rectors/vicars and not to only get his information about Christianity from the internet. We are not in a war here - we are "thinking Anglicans" engaged in polite debate and the military metaphors are really unwarranted in any case. Peace be with you.

Posted by: Byron on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 4:31am GMT

I apologize for bringing Biblical history into this discussion, but such men as +Duncan remind me of the Israelites of I Samuel, Ch. 8, who gave up the merciful rule of God and clamored for a "real" king to rule over them. However, Samuel makes clear that this new king will introduce yet another form of slavery, rape and pillage. Nonetheless, the Israelites clamor for a king so that they might be "like the other nations." And so, Saul was anointed. Things went well for a bit, but Saul then showed the corruption wrought by his power. Some bishops of the Global South have already shown their wrath and tolerance of evil. One wonders at what point God will reject these bishops as He did with Saul.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 7:46am GMT

Come now, friends. Let's please steer clear of personal attacks on the various leaders here. Agree or disagree with them, they are men and women of faith who have dedicated their lives to God, however they may have come to understand him.
On conservative blogs, KJS is demonized. Here, it's Duncan. Let's not focus on personal attacks, and keep the discussion on the issues, please.

Duncan and many others feel TEC has left the faith. That's pretty clear. Allowing them to remain Anglican in a parallel province while TEC sorts out how its changes impact its place in the communion seems a good idea to many of us who are simply looking for a place to worship God as we understand him, and let others do the same.

Posted by: Harvard Man on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 5:47pm GMT

Along the line of comments by EPfizH, The Church of Nigeria has called for a Special session of its General Synod to be convened February 6 -8th. Akinola has something he wishes to get from or tell to the Nigerian Church prior to meeting with the GS Primates, and Tanzania. In a few days, we will see what he has unilaterally decided for his church and its relationship to the AC.


Posted by: C.B. on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 6:20pm GMT

Harvard Man - Just want to understand this - you simply were not able to worship God as you understand him in your local Episcopal Church? Did they change the BCP, the creeds? -or was it you could not worship God as you understand because in order for you to do so it is necessary for you to have your understanding of God reflected back to you by your priest, your bishop and your PB as well. If so, that is not "traditional" Anglicanism. You simply seek place that has never been TEC.


Posted by: C.B. on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 7:04pm GMT


I do feel the church leadership is effectively changing the creeds. What do you call it when the PB and other bishops of this church deny core beliefs stated in the creeds?

Bishops make statements denying resurrection, virgin birth, or other difficult elements of our faith, and the TEC of this era does not address such challenges.

What does this church stand for, other than human justice? That's all well and good, but if it becomes the focus of the church, then we've elevated it above Jesus as the focus of our worship.

To say God is doing a new thing, when it is in direct contradiction to scripture and the faith as we've been given it from the apostles, well that's changing the faith. Don't make those who believe that faith as handed down out to be bad.

If a congregation can't abide these innovations, why should it not be free to associate with others who share these traditional beliefs, yet within our communion? In the great Anglican tradition of working with ambiguity, what's wrong with allowing a parallel province in this fashion?

Posted by: Harvard Man on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 1:30am GMT

"Duncan and many others feel TEC has left the faith. That's pretty clear."

The problem is that they've begun to believe their own propaganda. The assertion is absurd on its face, however, it has been repeated so many times that it's taken on a life of its own and appears to be taken seriously.

Posted by: ruidh on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 3:01am GMT

Harvard Man - ruldh is right. Repeating talking points over and over doesn't make them true. Church leaders don't "efectively change the creeds by emphasizing love. It's easy to say a creed, it's hard to love. Loving your nieghbor IS a form of worshipping Jesus. Accorrding to Paul the highest form for without it all worship is empty, and according to Jesus the penultimate commandment. And what is this new thing God is doing this time ! Reaching out to those who through no fault of there own find themselves loving people of the same sex! What a horrible new thing! Really???? Right up there with contradicting scripture on slavery and divorce. They weren't a new things of God either, I suppose.

The PB has NOT denied the core beliefs stated in the Creeds!!! She gave an interview to a secular magazine to reach out to the unChurched, using language that they could relate to, she was not trying to give dissertation on her personal theology.

Keep repeating "tear the fabric of communion" "walking apart"
"doing a new thing" "changing core beliefs" No one has a problem with you worshping anywhere you want, but the very parallel province you have in mind is devoid of ambiguity and therefore is NOT in the tradition of Anglicanism.


Posted by: C.B. on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 11:44am GMT

"I do feel the church leadership is effectively changing the creeds."
How so? I mean, seriously. There are a few out on the fringe who deny the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection,etc. but they are not many. There are also not punished. Neither are priests who insist on throwing the Blood of Christ down the toilet or worse, pour It back into the bottle! It is manipulation of people's worst fears to claim that they represent the majority. And why do Evangelicals, whose attitude towards the Mother of God seems to me at best lukewarm, CARE if some Liberal denies Her virginity? Please give some evidence for your contention.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 1:09pm GMT

"mainstream Anglicans in TEC are clearly under siege"
Some "Liberals" would put it this way:
They are the faithful remnant fighting a cabal of conservatives who are seeking to take over the Church and:
1. Are legalists who know nothing of the Tradition of the faith, but defend the morals of a few decades ago as if they represented True Christianity put into practice and
2. Are very well funded by wealthy Americal ultraconservatives, many of whom are not Anglican, who have a history of supporting anti-gay political measures, who are all linked to the Bush Republicans, and many of whom are also involved with the Institute for Religion and Democracy, and
3. Are led by a bunch of clerics seeking power.
I don't buy it, despite the fact that I tend to agree with #1, #2 is plain fact, and #3 seems to me pretty obvious. Human intrigues are much more complex than that. You can imagine then what I think about cries of oppression from a bunch of self-righteous strife breeders who declare themselves out of communion with their bishop because they can't force him to say that unless you are a Christian you are going to Hell and they don't like the person he has chosen to provide them with alternate Episcopal oversight. It is manipulation of people's basest fears, it sells us the attractiveness of being martyrs for some great cause, a sin of self glorification the early bishops often warned their flocks against in times of true presecution, and it encourages us to doubt the very victory that Scripture tells us is given to us by Christ. He tells us to "be stilll and know that (He) is God". It is hard for us all to do that, but we all have to try, or we fall into the kind of fear that has gripped you.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 1:54pm GMT

Byron - SAINT PAUL uses the analogy of a soldier - this is not from the internet!

Not surprising we are in such a mess with TEC if people who think themselves qualified to comment have so little knowledge of the scriptures - I am amazed!

Posted by: NP on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 3:36pm GMT

And I am amazed that people who think themselves qualified to comment have so little knowledge of Tradition. Guess we're even. I too have my concerns about what seems to be the lack of willingness and perhaps ability on the part of Western bishops to make Scriptural arguments, but be reasonable, what we say here will have no effect whatsoever on what will happen at the next Lambeth, or anywhere else. We're just arguing here, not making a mess of anything except the health of each other's souls. And I say again, the image of the faithful embattled remnant defending the True Faith against some nefarious plot by The Other Side to take over the Church is seen on both sides, and it is not only wrong, but also serves to fan the flames. You Evos are no more in a persecuted minority than the Lefties who feel the same way.

The analogy of a soldier with respect to the practice of the faith, as you well know, is not a command to go out and kill people, nor is it justification for military service. That's why it's an analogy! Is it OK to be a demon since Scripture says they too have faith?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 7:26pm GMT


I believe the point Byron is trying to make is that certain passages of Scripture are now repugnant in polite society and only those who claim Reason as a guide will be able to divine the parts we need to black line.

I really just wish I could get my Reasonable Revised Version of the NT so I know what to ignore - it would save so much time in my devotionals.

Posted by: Chris on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 10:25pm GMT

Ford - Tradition comes way below Scripture in Authority, as I expect you will agree (it is Tradition which allowed slavery and other abuses of people because Tradition is defined by people) This is why the issue is Scripture and its authority.

Chris says "certain passages of Scripture are now repugnant in polite society" - well, certain passages have always been unacceptable in society - what is your point? Should we follow society?
Don't really want to do that as we have thousands at our CofE church in London but those churches which have followed society keep on shrinking

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 9:31am GMT

No, NP, Scripture is part of Tradition. We have argued this over and over here. Sola Scriptura, pretty much your position it seems, comes out of the Reformation. People began to see that in certain areas, the Church had obviously gotten it wrong, and this created a crisis of authority. If the Church got things wrong that were in the Bible, what about all the other stuff that wasn't in the Bible, especially when the Church was so obviously abusing Her authority? The only place to go for authority was the Bible, as far as they could see, and they gave the Bible an authority it had never had, or been meant to have. It seems a tad arrogant to me to claim that they now knew better than 1500 years of Christian Tradition, kind of like some prolonged adolescent "You're not the boss of me" rebellion against the Church. The Reformation was necessary, but everywhere went too far, even in England. What you need to realize, NP, is that, right or wrong, sola scriptura is NOT holy Tradition. The ancient tradition of Christianity, including the real Orthodox whose title you would usurp, does not regard the Scritpure as you do. So, no, I don't agree with you. That is the point, that is why this entire debate is about authority. Your camp seeks the innovative Reformation position of putting all authority in Scripture, many others of us, whether or not we agree with the "liberals" who cause you so much fear, do not. The thing is that Evangelicals, it seems, cannot get beyond their "all or nothing" position. If I won't put all authoritty inScripture, then I must not be "Bible believing". It's that totalitarianism that scares me. When the Anglo-Catholics were in the ascendant, there was no move to get the Evos out of the Church, yet this current debate seems, in my eye, to contain an element that is only to anxious to make the Anglican Church Evangelical. The continued talk of the rise of Evangelicalism makes me wonder whent he day will come that all our dioceses, or most of them, will have no room for those who are not Evangelical.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 11:51am GMT

Ford - I guess we disagree that the idea of scripture having the highest authority was an innovation. Just because the Reformers stated it clearly, it is not necessarily an innovation...was it not always true? Many verses support the high view of scripture as you know.

On the issue of the "purge" you fear - well, we have to be honest about the situation: both sides clearlly differ but were coexisting up to TEC's deliberate actions in 2003, ignoring the pleas that they do not "tear the fabric of the communion."
That was the action (implicit in it was to say that scripture can be ignored on a certain issue) which has led many (most?) to feel that coexisting with supporters of TEC's unilateral action is no longer possible - while being honest and seeking genuine communion.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 2:19pm GMT

NP, the very polite admonition about your militaristic language (and inbeddedly about the stridency of your tone) was a way of reminding you, that what is proper for Paul isn’t necessarily proper for Nersen.

And then one must ask Which Paul? The real Paul? quasi-Paul?? or pseudo-Paul???

NP wrote: “… (it is Tradition which allowed slavery and other abuses of people because Tradition is defined by people) This is why the issue is Scripture and its authority.”

I am sorry, but this is not at all true. The Bible (a pre Modern collection of pre Modern scriptures) takes Slavery for granted, allows Slavery, admittedly puts some strictures on it but finds it not only perfectly legal, but OK.

Not to say, that several pro Slavery arguments were anything but Traditional, such as the new “moral” justification reading of the before and since defunct Canaan story, as Ham d e s e r v i n g the state of Slavery (in latter days resurrected by Robert Gagnon as anti-gay ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 5:43pm GMT

"was it not always true?"
No, it wasn't always true.

"implicit in it was to say that scripture can be ignored on a certain issue"
And yet you still refuse to acknowledge the ways in which you ignore Scripture on certain issues. You need to stop proof texting, too, NP, that's a really disrespectful way of reading the Scriptures.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 5:43pm GMT

Ford Elms asked: “And why do Evangelicals, whose attitude towards the Mother of God seems to me at best lukewarm, CARE if some Liberal denies Her virginity?”

This would indeed be most interesting to know ;=)

Might it be "Spin, Spin and Spin, Spin"?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 5:43pm GMT

Ford - you made me laugh by saying "NP, that's a really disrespectful way of reading the Scriptures" - given you want to support some who clearly have a pick'n'mix approach to it.

So, is it respectful to say, "This is just a book, guys, you don't have to obey the bits in it that you don't like!"

Remember the issue: was what TEC did in 2003 right or wrong?
This question must be answered with strong scriptural support for the answer.

Goran - you seem confused yet again - Mary clearly had more than one child (obvious in the NT) so your point seems nonsensical.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 7:23am GMT

No dear NP, it is not "obvious" in the NT. Just ask Rome or the real Orthodox. They will tell you 2 conflicting stories (much dogma involved).

Fact is that terms of relation in pre Modern Clannish Societies are anything but exact.

Brother may mean biological brother, social brother, such as brothers at arms and partnerships, ethnical "brother" and so on;

Nepos may mean brother, nephew, grand-nephew, and so on.

And so on...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 1:56pm GMT

To sum it up:

The 7 main defences of Calvos are

1. Spin,

2. Evasion,

3. Changing the subject,

4. Outright lies,

5. "Statistics",

6. Accusations,

7. ad hominem attacks.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 1:59pm GMT

"So, is it respectful to say, "This is just a book, guys, you don't have to obey the bits in it that you don't like!""
No, of course not, but no-one's saying that, except for those who claim that it is their opponent's position. Talk about your false witness! Especially when they happily ignore the bits they don't like, then, when confronted, fudge away the issue in a manner they deplore in their opponents.

I also think you need to learn more about the Tradition of the Church. You might try reading this:

The Orthodox, you see, argue "We believe it because we have always believed it. It is what we were taught." Personally, while I have big problems with their behaviour around Empire and nationalism, I find the Orthodox to be a great inspiration in so far as their attitude towards the faith and the Tradition, you might want to give them a look.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 1:52pm GMT
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