Sunday, 5 October 2008

press reports on Pittsburgh secession

Updated Monday morning

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal diocese chooses to secede by Ann Rodgers

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Episcopal diocese votes to split by Brian Bowling

New York Times Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese Votes for Split by Sean D Hamill

Associated Press Diocese to Break From Episcopal Church and there was this earlier report, prior to the vote from Rachel Zoll Episcopal dioceses mulling split over Bible, gays.

Agence France-Presse US diocese splits from Episcopal Church amid gay crisis

The glossy brochure mentioned in some reports can be seen as a PDF file here.

Monday morning update

A further report in the New York Times by Sean D Hamill After Theological Split, a Clash Over Church Assets

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 8:29am BST | TrackBack
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Comments

It's a darkly humorous coincidence that the American financial system and the Anglican Communion are both falling apart at the same time.

Posted by: Weiwen on Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 6:25pm BST

It's very weird that they still call themselves (according to the brochure) the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, while rejecting the Episcopal Church.

Posted by: BillyD on Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 8:04pm BST

The more I look at this the more I realise that the 'majority' choosing to leave isn't very convincing. Bishop Duncan has lost a good proportion of his troops in this realignment.

There seems to be a good deal of hubris on his part in this whole exercise. In the near future it will begin to look like a pyrrhic victory.

Posted by: penwatch on Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 10:36pm BST

Yesterday 4 new parishes were admitted to the diocese. They asked to be a member of the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh and TEC only to vote (about an hour later) to leave it. That gave them 8 more lay votes and possibly 4 more clergy votes. The one parish was the break away group from Somerset (St. Francis in the Fields).
I guess so much for catholicity. Of course Henry will return to England as the assistant bishop for Oxford. He'll be sure to join up with Rochester, Lewes and Winchester.

Posted by: BobinSwPA on Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 11:58pm BST

Nice to have the brochure ready ahead of the meeting (It takes time to design and publish that level of glossiness). The decision had been made, all that was in question was who and how many were going with them.

Schori and her team did the right thing when they drew the line. This camp's path had already been determined and it was merely a case of seeing how much collateral damage they could do before they got out.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 12:09am BST

Mary Hays said the diocese will become a home for women clergy from all over the world. Could anyone tell me how women clergy can call themselves Orthodox in light of what the bible and tradition say concerning women in the priesthood? Why is it right for the orthodox to be able to pick and choose which parts of the bible they wish to follow and the rest of us are damned?

As for David Wilson, as well as other mumbled snide comments under their breath every time a liberal got up to speak (I sat right in the middle of this group since they are/were in my parish's district). So much for being Christian.

Dean Werner is probably right in suggesting that some parishes will face real hardships as members will change parishes or simple stop going to church altogether. I know some who have also left for other denominations.

Posted by: BobinSwPA on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 12:19am BST

Cheryl, all

I wonder how bishops like Peter Lee feel about their vote now? They didn't want to oust Duncan until after the vote. This document certainly should show that this was all planned (and my understanding is that other documents were found as part of the Calvary lawsuit). I have a copy of the brochure. Our rector went over it today and talked about what some will be saying (we are not realigning and have been opposed to Duncan since 2003). This was prepared and sent to the printer well in advance. Your right in your assessment. They only wanted to pad the numbers with the 4 new parishes. All of this was well thought. They also had a voters guild that listed the orthodox running for diocesan offices. The liberals weren't allowed to put such stuff out but you could use their guide to vote (process of elimination).

Some things to note. The second, third and fourth largest parishes in the diocese are not realigning. According to the stats there were 4 parishes with over 1000 members. I would say one third of the diocese is able to keep their buildings. There are a lot of small parishes. If you didn't get a Trinity Grad and start down the path of praise bands and projecting the BCP the diocesan position was to let your parish die. They truly had a vision based on the mega churches not the traditional parish.


Posted by: BobinSwPA on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 3:59am BST

Out of interest could TEC sue Southern Cone , as the latter are aiding those leaving the Episcopal Church and helping with the taking of their assets?

Imagine what would happen if Canada also sured...

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 7:00am BST

Well, the New Ebionites have now left the ranks of TEC. Will they follow the same path as their biblical predecessors? It seems that on this issue - of theological and ritual purity - they have direct connection to the first Ebionites, who deserted the early Christian Church because of Paul's liberal attitudes towards the need for the rite of circumcision.

Both sets of 'believers' thought that their view of what was required to fulfil the needs of the Gospel was true. Apparently, the first lot ended up in the Islamic camp. Will these do the same?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 11:26am BST

"It's a darkly humorous coincidence that the American financial system and the Anglican Communion are both falling apart at the same time."

Weiwen, you owe me a new keyboard.

"Could anyone tell me how women clergy can call themselves Orthodox in light of what the bible and tradition say concerning women in the priesthood?"

But Bob, "orthodox" means "thinks gay people are icky." Essentials raised marriage and sexuality to the level of the Trinity years ago, see the Montreal Declaration. The Jerusalem Declaration showed they no longer consider Christology at all important in the definition of the term. And we all know it's ok to be selective in which parts of the Bible you adhere to, as long as the parts you ignore are beneficial to your own particular group. So, those who benefit from usury get to ignore the bits that condemn it, and on and on. The anti-gay bits are different of course, being definers of 'orthodoxy',the whole weight of the Law comes down on you if you don't pay particular attention to them.

And they actually brought four parishes into the diocese hours before leaving? What's wrong with that? I mean, in Virginia, Baptists could vote to leave the Episcopal Church (I know, it's odd, leaving what you never joined, but, who am I to argue with the True Church?)

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 11:42am BST

Bobin

Thank you for confirming timelines that could only be construed by the materials presented. It is no longer a supposition, witnesses confirm chronological unfoldings.

Thank you.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 12:19pm BST

"Apparently, the first lot ended up in the Islamic camp."

Well, their attitudes towards Scripture are certainly more in line with Islamic thought.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 1:02pm BST

>>>The Jerusalem Declaration showed they no longer consider Christology at all important in the definition of the term.

Ford, this doesn't surprise me at all, given that homosexuality is now the sole issue of any importance, but could you please explain the so-called "orthodox" position on Christology?

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 1:14pm BST

The Jerusalem Statement affirms "the Four Ecumenical Councils". There were seven, of course. Now, I know the Anglican position on councils, they can err. All the same, the Seven gave us our traditional Christology by which we have always defined orthodoxy. Assuming the ones they DON'T affirm are the last three, are they Monophysites, Monothelites, or Nestorians? What is more interesting is that most of the conservatives who have even addressed this here seem to think it no big deal, meaning, I gues, that for them Christology isn't all that important in defining "orthodox Christianity". If they do not understand, or downplay, the significance of this, it represents a huge shift in what we consider to deinfe "orthodox", I think. Christology IS important, always has been, and a shift away from it to issues of sexuality as definers of orthodoxy represents an unacceptable innovation, a "reassessment" of the faith, son't you think? So who are the innovators and "reassessors" after all?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 5:38pm BST

I agree, these new Anglicans will mainly compete with the USA evangelical mega-churches, not with big tent traditional Anglicanism. They neglect Christology because the incarnation as Anglicans have variously understood it to date, pulls us too far for their comforts, closer to the Imago Dei and away from Calivinistic doctrines of utter depravity in human nature. Watching Duncan and company, however, one pauses to reconsider doctrines of depravity and human nature, and struggles to remember the Anglican appreciations of God at work in the fully human Jesus of Nazareth to teach, pray, heal, and minister to us among us. What ironic, delicious crumbs do fall, from the global conservative realignment tables. I forget, how do all these shenaningans make them better than the rest of us?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 6:01pm BST

"one pauses to reconsider doctrines of depravity and human nature"

Not here, it doesn't. But then I've never accepted the narrow Protestant obsesssion with justification. We are fallen creatures, fallible. Christians understood this for 1500 years till the traditional understanding proved too vague for a bunch of people who used the manifest need for reform as an excuse to push their radical innovations forward as somehow God given. So, now, fallen isn't enough, totally depraved becomes the order of the day, redemption becomes nothing more than escaping punishment, and God's profligate love gives way to corrupt ignoring of crime, grudgingly given to those who debase themselves appropriately and conform to society. That this conformity is understood as the transformative power of the Gospel just shows up how far they are from the Truth.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 6:33pm BST

If dioceses like Pittsburgh had sought to secede, with their assets, IMMEDIATELY after the passage of the Denis canon 30 years ago, they might have stood a chance.

But you can't accept the principle of "It doesn't belong to us, it belongs to the Episcopal Church, in perpetuity" for that long, and then think that courts are going to buy into the (novel) contention that "We always considered the property ours, personally."

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 8:44pm BST

I liked your response Ford :) JCF Pennsylvania law favors the heirarchical church. That coupled with the Calvary Lawsuit should make getting the properties back or financial compensation a little easier. I hope !!!


Posted by: BobinSwPA on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 3:33am BST

Ford

An excellent posting but the comment about God's love being "grudgingly given to those who debase themselves appropriately and conform to society" is off the mark for these people.

They are not after confirmation to society, but acquiesance to their theology, irregardless of its impact on the broader society.

In fact, they see a society that moves to protect the weak and vulnerable and to give legal rights to the outcaste and shunned as "evil".

One of their major claims is that the liberals are in error in trying to adopt this compassionate humanism. Their self-righteousness has made them blind to this liberal theology being the cornerstone of these reforms, and completely consistent with God using the prophets such as Moses and Jesus to punch into human history to affirm, succour and protect the wretched and outcaste. God is the great humanist.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 11:12am BST

"They are not after confirmation to society, but acquiesance to their theology, irregardless of its impact on the broader society."

Cheryl, most of us don't really see that there are several societies around us. There is the world of the conservatives, one of wealth, privelege, and power, where those without the above are manipulated by fear to support the status quo. It often works. "Liberals" see this as the power, and "fight the power" as an act of Christian counterculture. Conservatives do not see it as "society" but as the way the world is supposed to be. They see "the world" as being pushed by hedonistic liberals who now have the majority of the power and any day will oppress the True Faithful conservatives for their lack of "obedience to the world." Opposing this, for them, is Christian counterculture. Liberals, on the other hand, do not see THIS as "society" but instead see it as the way the world should be. But there are also others, who are somewhere in the middle. Those of us who feel an attachment to older more traditional cultural forms, often quite romanticized, get lost in the shuffle. There's no place for the peasant in either consumerism or Marxism. Conservatives do not seek so much to make us agree with their theology, but with their ideas of what is right WRT society. Those ideas come out, not so much of their understanding of Scripture, but of their use of Scripture to support the morals of a few decades ago as somehow God-given. Did you ever notice how conservative Evangelical concepts of the Kingdom of God look a lot like 1950's America, while liberal concepts of the Kingdom look like a socialist paradise, as though the Kingdom of God is either Ozzie and Harriet or the Dictatorship of the Proletariate?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 2:40pm BST

A good friend in Pittsburgh informs me:

The diocese has attracted a number of English evangelicals. There were lots of non resident clergy present and voting (for Duncan) as well. Steven Noll flew back from Uganda (he heads Uganda Christian University), Peter Moore now lives in South Carolina (former head of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry - the source of much of our trouble), Doug McGlynn and Arnie Klukas came from Wisconsin where they are on the staff of Nashotah House Seminary, and the list could go on and on. Ask yourself why a diocese with 74 parishes had 219 canonically resident clergy.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 5:52pm BST

In the Diocese of NY clergy who are canonically resident lose their vote if they are not also actively ministering within the diocese; the requirements for which are minimal (one need not have a cure in the diocese, but at least function, IIRC, three times a year as an officiant at a public liturgy).

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 7:26pm BST

Dear Robert Ian Williams,

I'm still mightily intrigued with your obvious passion about the 'goings-on' in the world of the Anglican Communion. As a newly-conscripted RC, I would have thought you would have found many more 'justice' issues to ramble on about in your new world of pre-Vatican II romanticism. Is it that you are still hankering after the intrigues of your former Church, and have not yet ceased from the delicious thrills of debating its so-obvious flaws? Or do you really think that the rest of us - who have remained Anglican, despite our problems with its current leadership - are really interested in your snippets of gossip from your former contacts in the Anglican Communion.

Also, Robert, are you sharing your secretly rampant Anglo-phobia with your remaining-Anglican family in Wales? Just curious.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 10:57pm BST

Bobin: "...should make getting the properties back or financial compensation a little easier."

Don't you find it a bit telling, Bobin, that you're more concerned about 'financial compensation' than you are about the fact that there's an irreconcilable rift in the communion of the church?

Posted by: Joe on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 2:27pm BST

"there's an irreconcilable rift in the communion of the church"

Joe, I think you'll find that we are all concerned that there is an irreconcilable rift in the Communion. I think you'll also find that it is the conservative schismatics who are obsessed with financial compensation, to the extent of trying to steal from the Almighty what their spiritual ancestors gave Him. I know conservative revisionism sees all this as oppression, but those of us who have no yearning for an Imperial altar upon which we can refuse to burn incense and thereby win the crown of martyrdom don't see it that way at all. Some even find it funny the way people in power try to make themselves look oppressed when they lose that power and become just like the rest of us. It's kind of like being told "You'll be able to see how oppressed I am as soon as I take my boot off your neck." BTW, assuming you are the same Joe, I asked you a question on the thread titled :

Pittsburgh: deposition performed

It's the last entry. I'm still waiting for an answer.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 5:10pm BST
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