Thursday, 5 June 2008

Pittsburgh proposes to join Southern Cone

Updated Friday

The Pittsburgh diocesan website has published the resolutions to be proposed to the diocesan convention: See this page here.

The resolutions are in a PDF file here.

They are reproduced in full below the fold.

Friday update

Episcopal Café draws attention to information originally at Preludium concerning the financial provisions being made by the senior staff of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Joan Gunderson writes:

“The situation in Pittsburgh is such that even if Bishop Duncan were to be deposed at a House of Bishops meeting in September, the Standing Committee would go forward with the vote at convention to eliminate the accession clause from the diocesan canons. In fact, the diocesan leadership decided at its spring leadership retreat to move the convention forward to the first weekend in October (usually first weekend in November) so that there would be less time between such a deposition and the convention.

Please note that Bishop Duncan has assured himself of a comfortable transition. He has built a retirement house on land owned by the diocese and he and his wife have been deeded (as of November 2007) a life interest estate (to the longest lived survivor) in that house. The diocese also loaned Bishop Duncan the money to build that house (terms not in the public record.) In addition we understand that he AND Bishop Scriven have signed consultant contracts with the diocese for two years at full pay which will go into effect SHOULD BISHOP DUNCAN BE DEPOSED.

The Standing Committee has an overwhelming majority that supports ‘realignment,’ but there is one member who signed a public letter saying he was not realigning. This person is working hard to encourage parishes to stay in TEC. Trying to bring members of the standing committee up on charges before ‘realignment’ would be useless because the group (‘The Array’) that would conduct any Title IV proceedings is itself packed with supporters of realignment. Furthermore, there is no provision for trying the 4 lay members of Standing Committee.

However, rest assured that there are people planning for the future of the EPISCOPAL diocese of Pittsburgh. The group doing the planning represents the full cross section of those who will still be Episcopalians AFTER convention. This includes clergy and parishes who until this year have voted for all the measures put forward by those now pushing ‘realignment.’ We are a larger group than you might think.”

Later on David Wilson, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, President of that Standing Committee and a supporter of Bishop Duncan’s writes with this small correction to Joan’s words:

Just to set the record straight, the consultancy contracts are for one year not two and also include Canon Mary Hays as well as the two bishops.

Resolutions to be Forwarded to the 143rd Diocesan Convention
Deemed in proper form by Diocesan Council

RESOLUTION ONE
New Canon I (All subsequent Canons to be Renumbered Accordingly)
Provincial Membership within the Anglican Communion
The Diocese of Pittsburgh shall be a member of that Province of the Anglican
Communion known as the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

RESOLUTION TWO
WHEREAS, Diocesan Provincial Realignment is a matter to be considered by the 143rd
Annual Convention in the form of a second reading of a series of Constitutional changes;
and
WHEREAS, a new Canon I establishing Provincial alignment with the Anglican
Province of the Southern Cone is also proposed; and
WHEREAS, the decision of Convention takes effect immediately, and supersedes all
local existing provisions to the contrary; and
WHEREAS, many congregations will have to consider how to alter their By-Laws and/or
Articles of Incorporation should the constitutional changes and new Canon I be adopted;
and
WHEREAS, some congregations will require a season of discernment about whether to
accept re-alignment or to petition to break their union with Convention; and
WHEREAS, charity and generosity continue to be embraced as virtues in diocesan life
where matters of fidelity and direction profoundly divide us;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by this 143rd Annual Convention of the Episcopal
Diocese of Pittsburgh, that all parishes of the diocese shall have twenty-four months to
bring their By-Laws and/or Articles of Incorporation into conformity with the Provincial
alignment adopted by this Convention; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Diocesan Council shall have the authority to lengthen
the discernment period on a parish by parish basis, as shall seem wisest to Council and to
the representatives of particular parishes; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that negotiation between any parish seeking to break its union
with Convention over the matter of Provincial alignment shall be undertaken with
Christian grace and charity, and conducted in good faith, consistent with the
Constitutions and Canons of the Diocese, consistent with all legal obligations, and
consistent with the settlement of debts and other diocesan interests related to the parish
property or assets.

RESOLUTION THREE
WHEREAS, the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (the “Diocese”) has
this day voted to realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America
(“Province of the Southern Cone”); and
WHEREAS, as a consequence of such realignment the Constitution and Canons of the
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America otherwise known as The
Episcopal Church are no longer applicable to the Diocese, any Parish of the Diocese, or
any Clergy of the Diocese; and
WHEREAS, neither the Constitution and Canons of the Province of the Southern Cone
nor the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese address certain matters of administration,
discipline and order that would benefit from a written and publicly available set of
policies;
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church be
adopted as advisory policies, until a more comprehensive set of Constitution and Canons
can be developed and approved by the Diocese, to provide guidance in those areas of
administration, discipline and order that are not otherwise covered by the Constitution
and Canons of the Diocese.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, for the avoidance of doubt that it be understood that the
adoption of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church as advisory policies by
the Diocese should in no way be interpreted to suggest that The Episcopal Church has
any authority over the Diocese, any Parish of the Diocese, or any Clergy of the Diocese.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 12:01am BST | TrackBack
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Comments

curious. i would have thought the southern cone already had perfectly good constitution and canons. apparently not.

Posted by: thomas bushnell, bsg on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 12:56am BST

All this is, of course, utter nonsense. The constitutional change that reputedly allows realignment has been deemed null and void by the church’s Executive Council. Episcopalians who think it sinful to disobey rules you have sworn to live by (i.e., Episcopalians staying in the church) will simply not recognize this nonsense and will, alas, through the courts, eventually reclaim diocesan assets. By virtue of the Calvary lawsuit, this may happen sooner, rather than later.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 2:04am BST

So Fort Worth are joining Southern Cone, so they don't have to ordain women priests and Pittsburgh, and the new Canadian diocese have introduced women priests to the Southern Cone.

What a price Venables is paying for his "orthodoxy."

I wonder is there any dissent in Southern Cone?

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 6:28am BST

What an original idea. Sure to turn out well...

{sarcasm/OFF}

Lord have mercy! God bless TEC, and all the faithful Episcopalians in Pittsburgh!

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 7:32am BST

You see, this is the problem with the church: BUREAUCRACY and LEGALISM

Posted by: BIGDAN on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 8:10am BST

From whatever way you look at it, it has "confusion" and "litigation" written all over it.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 1:06pm BST

But, Jim, that's the point. What's the fun in having a huge public fuss in which you paint yourself out as the oppressed true believer if you don't get to extend that "martyrdom" in court? The meek shall inherit the Earth, and presumably the Chruch buildings situated thereon, but who pays any attention to the meek?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 1:29pm BST

I'm wondering it the senior bishop(s) who voted not to inhibit Duncan are now happy with their choice? I would've thought Peter Lee would've been a little more sypathetic to us here in Pittsburgh considering the problems he's had in his own diocese. Maybe he and some others still think Duncan plans on staying (Sarcasm)!

I think it's time for the house of bishops to take this man and his asst. out.
IMHO

Posted by: Bob In PA on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 2:21pm BST

I've said it before about San Joachim, and it applies here as well: I'm not totally sure whether or not it's possible for a diocese to leave TEC (which is different from a parish leaving a diocese, which I am convinced is a no-no).

But I *do* know that it's canonically impossible for Southern Cone to take any North American dioceses *in*, based on *their own canons*:

Art. 2, CASA C&C: "The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, which shall henceforth be called The Province, is composed of the Anglican Dioceses that exist or which may be formed in the Republics of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay and which voluntary declare themselves as integral Diocesan members of the Province." No mention of North America. Elsewhere it also refers to Latin America repeatedly. Again, no mention of North America.

Schofield is even too old to be a diocesan bishop under Southern Cone's canons (maximum age 68, Schofield's 69), and Robert Ian Williams rightly brings up the interesting bit about women's ordination to make things even more...interesting.

Another reason why I have strong sympathy for some, even many, conservatives -- but definitely not others.

Posted by: Walsingham on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 2:56pm BST

Hmm the details of Duncan and company's self-protection plan are most welcome to be revealed to all. Surely this is one way to get some modicum of pious safety when threatened by uppity women, queer folks, or all the others who are supposed to be so dangerous, so dirty, and so utterly disgusting according to realignment folklore?

Do not be surprised if future revelations demonstrate similar self-protection strategies, including more about conservative realignment appropriations of property and money once held in common with middles and lefties. Looting is, after all, biblical: a unique modern legacy of the conservative realignment Exodus - taking pharaoh's gold with you as you go because God says so?

Any promises made, any denials of your departure, any solemnities of allegiance to TEC in ordination vows - all cow flatulence?

It's not over till the last dime looted goes clink. Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 3:38pm BST

+Jack Leo Iker is on study leave in Rome. Is he exploring an alternative to the Southern Cone? Down the road there may be women priests in the Province of the Southern Cone, an option totally unacceptable to Jack the Lion of Ft. Worth.

Posted by: John Henry on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 4:53pm BST

"The diocese also loaned Bishop Duncan the money to build that house (terms not in the public record.) In addition we understand that he AND Bishop Scriven have signed consultant contracts with the diocese for two years at full pay which will go into effect SHOULD BISHOP DUNCAN BE DEPOSED."

I guess I'd be more outraged...

...if the Pittsburgh Standing Committee hadn't just provided the grounds for their OWN removal.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 6:59pm BST

The Lead quotes Ms. Joan Gunderson, one of the TEC-loyal leaders, describing how +Bob Pittsburgh has protected himself in the event that the HoB should depose him. Diocesan property has been diverted to provide the schismatic leader and his spiuse with a lifetime episcopal residence and a consultant's contract (for at least 12 months).

The split is not all about TEC's alleged apostacy. There is also the "greed factor" that prompts +Bob's ungodly actions.

Posted by: John Henry on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 7:06pm BST

++Venables says that the change is pastoral in nature and "temporary."
Pittsburgh is moving ahead with changes that look permanent.
Who is telling the truth?

The Constitution and Canons of the Southern Cone does not grant their Presiding Bishop the powers he is assuming. Further, the Constitution has no provision for receiving dioceses from other provinces. Even, if the Southern Cone wishes to change the Constitution, the changes have to be reviewed by ACC, and approved by ALL the Southern Cone dioceses, a process that may take quite a long time or, indeed, it may never happen.

So, the Constitution and Canons are valid in so far they are not against whatever they would like to do!

Thomas+

Posted by: Thomas+ on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 8:13pm BST

To quote Ms. Gunderson as per The Lead article: "Please note that Bishop Duncan has assured himself of a comfortable transition. He has built a retirement house on land owned by the diocese and he and his wife have been deeded (as of November 2007) a life interest estate (to the longest lived survivor) in that house. The diocese also loaned Bishop Duncan the money to build that house (terms not in the public record.)"

In addition, we understand that he AND Bishop Scriven have signed consultant contracts with the diocese for two years at full pay which will go into effect SHOULD BISHOP DUNCAN BE DEPOSED.

Got that? No longer bishop(s), they'll be paid bishop(s)' salaries, as "consultants"?

Posted by: John Henry on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 8:53pm BST

"I'm wondering it the senior bishop(s) who voted not to inhibit Duncan are now happy with their choice?...Maybe he and some others still think Duncan plans on staying (Sarcasm)!"

Should Bp Duncan be inhibited for the actions of his diocese? Suppose he is inhibited and doesn't even show up at the convention but the diocese then goes ahead and votes to realign. Should Bp Duncan be held accountable? This is a very likely scenario. I think that if you want a near unanimous vote, go ahead and inhibit or depose Bp Duncan prior to the convention.

Posted by: robroy on Friday, 6 June 2008 at 9:25pm BST

The thing I love about the Southern Cone is that they are missing a couple of canons:

1) they have no canon on marriage whatsoever;

2) their discipline canon has no definition of a disciplinary offense.

Therefore, if a priest in the Southern Cone should decide to preside at the marriage of a same-sex couple, there is nothing in the canons to prevent it.

Bring him (or her) up on charges? First question from the defence: "where is it written that the action of the accused is prohibited?" First answer from the bishop: "Nowhere".

Case closed!

Question: how can I join the Southern Cone?

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Saturday, 7 June 2008 at 1:25am BST
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