Comments: Network conference in Pittsburgh

I think it is vital that liberals and reappraisers here should be forming stronger and closer links with our friends in ECUSA. I find it so heartening that there are still those brave enough to speak out for what they believe, despite conservative opposition.

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 11:32pm GMT

NYT says 2400 attended. IIRC that's fewer than attended +Gene's consecration.

Posted by Tim Stewart at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 12:51am GMT

Duncan, Akinola, and the other Neo-Puritans:

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Stop talking about leaving and just leave so the rest of us can get on with the mission and ministry of the church. And don't even think about ransacking the store on the way out. Individuals leave the church, not parishes.

Posted by Pete at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 1:40am GMT

As I have noted on my blog in the comments, the AP article was disappointing, especially the headline. But it is good to see the majority of reports get it right.

Posted by Kendall Harmon at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 2:12am GMT

(sigh) Yes, I *do* wish that all the "conservatives" would *please* dispense with the outrageous PR spin and pointless political maneuvering before GC2006, and just get this over with.

But I seriously wonder if that will happen. The farther along this goes, the more I'm convinced that the AAC-types want revenge before they leave. That they are as motivated by a desire to do harm to us as they are to claims of "orthodoxy."

Posted by Simeon at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 2:14pm GMT

Oh, dear! More manufactured claims of victimhood from those actually engaging in exclusion of traditionalists. So predictable!

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 3:31pm GMT

Kendall, can you be more specific about what is disappointing in the AP story? The quote from Abp Akinola seems to be confirmed elsewhere, and the headline which is, I suspect, based on that quote, therefore does not seem that big a stretch.
I can understand it's not the headline you want to see, but is there anything else in the AP story that is actually "wrong"?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 4:40pm GMT

I strongly recommend the Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser's Comment in Friday's Church Times. He talks about the phenomenon of the "Bible Traffic Wardens", the likes of the Primate and Metropolitan of All Nigeria and his cohorts who seem to have hi-jacked the Anglican Communion. The events in Pittsburgh expose the schismatic GS and Network bishops for the schismatics they really are, hell-bent on robbing the store before they leave - ECUSA's assets and the Church Pension Fund.

[Simon adds, see here for the link ]

Posted by John Henry at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 5:03pm GMT

Alan, I resisted rolling my eyes at your predictable response and decided to ask a question instead.

You know, don't you, that the more extremist "conservatives"* in TEC have a snowball's chance in Perdition of getting their way at GC2006 or thereafter. That being given, why are you folks staying ? The only, possible reason I can think of is so that you can continue with the now-typical bellicose behavior that has become the norm for AAC sympathizers.

I'd respect you guys a LOT more if you had the integrity to actually *live* what you claim to believe, instead of hanging around and fighting a pointless war for no useful reason. Thus my comment above. (BTW, if you're not a member of ECUSA, feel free to ignore the question - matter of fact, feel free to ignore me entirely :)

* As opposed to mainstream Episcopal conservatives who are not encouraging schism, engaging in hateful speech & conduct, etc... I'm happy to share TEC with these folks, and wouldn't dream of "forcing my views down their throats" or some such. Their presence enriches our church a great deal.

Posted by Simeon at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 5:43pm GMT

I think some of the above comments are not accurate assessments of what motivates leaders like Akinola and Duncan. It's more that they cannot understand why ppl who even according to their own stated beliefs are more move-with-the-times liberal humanists than Christians should persist in classifying themselves as Christians.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 5:59pm GMT

I wish Kendall Harmon would clarify his objection to the AP Headline "Anglican Bishops Urge U.S. Church Split," because the headline is entirely in keeping with the comments being made on his blog re the latest round of irregular ordinations. In fact, the commenters by and large seem to think that the schism is already consummated and that they already belong to a denomination which has entirely separated from the Episcopal Church.

For example:

"Bishop Ihloff [of Maryland] might as well complain about Catholics ministering in his sacred territory without his permission."

"Hello Bp. Ihloff! This is America. Your canons and legalistic rules have no authority over free Americans to worship as they wish. The earthly power of these bishops is evaporating under the power of the Risen Christ. One could argue that ECUSA is no longer a true Anglican church, but why bother, it is like swatting a gnats. We’ve moved on Bp. Ihloff, maybe you should to, in charity."

I call on Kendall Harmon to explain to these enthusiasts (and perhaps to Dave on this blog, as well) the problem with such statements, from the Anglican point of view. I'm sure he can do that better than I can.

Posted by Charlotte at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 6:37pm GMT

"Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said he expects liberal activists in the Episcopal Church to attempt to depose him as bishop here."

Rather like the murderer who kills his parents, and then defends himself saying "Forgive me, I'm an orphan"?

+Duncan's played *host* to an illegal ordination---in direct violation of Windsor. If that's not *just* cause for a presentment, what is?

The democratic majority of ECUSA has been turning the other cheek for so long, we've become mistaken for *doormats*.

In the Name of the God of *Justice* (and to show God's *mercy* to all whom Duncan & Co have persecuted: LGBTs all around the world), this has to come to an end.

I love Bob Duncan: God help me, I do.

But I *hate the sin of schism*, and that sin cannot be glossed over. >:-/

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 7:07pm GMT

The more I read the more sad I become. I was at Pittsburgh and was energised and enthused. It was the most encouraging gathering since Plano in 2003. The comments do indicate how divergent are both sides in this. We gathered to share and most of us are convinced that there are two religions now competing. One follows Scripture and the historic Anglican formularies of the Apostolic Faith. The other appears to follows Canons and a mythic form of religion which may be dressed in Christian symbol and language but whose content and message is simply the spirit of the age in disguise.

I am reminded of John the Baptist's response to those who so proudly called themselves children of Abraham. John the Baptist went on to talk of God raising up children of Abraham from "these stones." Jesus talks of whited sepulchres in his references to the Pharisees and scribes. I believe that the liberal and revisionist agenda is rightly being challenged by these Primates, bishops, priests/clergy and lay people. It is a hijacking of Christianity. When we get together to pursue fellowship and to organise for ministry in spite of the hostility and objections of whose who promote this "other religion" we expect to be vilfied. These vilifiers are the desperate voices of those already found wanting by the Anglican Communion in Windsor, Primate responses and ACC meeting.

We continue to fight because the soul of our "church" is under assault by those who peddle this heresy. The souls of our parishioners are at stake.

Pittsburgh was a mountaintop to those of us in the trenches as we see the ECUSA juggernaut devouring the faithful people, clergy and parishes of this great country. Thank God for the faithful men and women of Global South represented by these primates who have offered rescue. Thank God for the faithful bishops such as Bob Duncan who are willing to face down these innovators, extremists and ecclesiocrats who want to impose their new religion on the people of God.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 8:20pm GMT

"The more I read the more sad I become."

Well, I'm with you on that, Ian: my heart is breaking.

O God of infinite compassion and reconciliation: WHY is it, that those who claim to know You *definitively* seem to know nothing of Your LOVE? Why do they condemn/persecute the least of these, Your LGBT children, who are happy w/ the *crumbs* from Your table? Why, Lord, Why???


Lord have mercy!

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 9:51pm GMT


Don't hold your breath. Don't expect accountablity from Heretics who act like they are the new orthodoxy.

Posted by FriarJohn at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 10:59pm GMT

The fundamentalist revisionists can say whatever they want to say, but they are supporting a movement which is abandoning Canterbury and the Anglican Communion. It is no more complicated than that.

I have only been an Anglican for twenty-nine years, but I grew up in the pre-Vatican 2 Roman Catholic Church, with seventeen years of Roman Catholic religion and theology classes. My faith did not really change, although my understanding certainly did.

As a product of Vatican 2, I witnessed, in that faith community, those who refused to accept change from what they felt was the historic church. It did not matter to them that the Church had been changing from the earliest days of its existence.

Indeed, some RC's still feel that Latin is the only way to say the Mass, and other liturgical changes are also unacceptable to them.

In similar fashion, some Anglicans feel that only the King James Version is the appropriate Bible, or that only a specific prayer book is acceptable. But the division goes much deeper than that.

The Anglican Communion had been a broad community of faith, with some differences in provincial or geographical interpretation, and it was a comfortable home to a great breadth of individual Anglican beliefs. It was a home, in my numerous parishes as I changed jobs or locations and moved, to significant differences, but we all accepted those different beliefs based upon study and faith, and we lived and worked together.

If I had wanted to be a Calvinist, I could have transferred from the Roman Catholic Church to the Baptists, or some other fundamentalist Christian communities, and I will not stand idly by to allow fundamentalists to hijack the Anglican Communion.

Whoever wants to transform their personal faith into Calvinist communities, whether in England or in the USA or elsewhere, is perfectly welcome to depart with respect, and even love, from those who remain with Canterbury.

Such divisions have happened over the millennia, and will happen again and again until, no doubt, the end of time.

Just stop trying to make the rest of us Anglicans into fellow-traveler fundamentalists.

Posted by Gerard Hannon at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 11:54pm GMT

May I offer an opinion on why Kendall Harmon objects to the AP headline?

It seems to point to an underlying fracture on the conservative side. Akinola and the Global South conservatives are quite willing to "walk apart" because they are not willing to be part of a communion which even talks about homosexuality. This was shown by the recent amendments to the Church of Nigeria's constitution. They want to get on with what they see as their mission in their part of the world, and sweep the issue of homosexuality under the carpet, rather than to continue to fight, at Lambeth 2008 and beyond. For this I admire their honesty, integrity and focus on mission (even though I disagree with them).

On the other hand, the North American conservatives are focused not on mission but on the struggle for control of ECUSA and the ACC, and especially control of property, 815, and the Pension Fund. The Washington Times article noted that Bishop Scriven pointedly did not applaud Akinola's remarks, because to walk apart as Akinola suggests means financial cost, especially for someone just a few years away from a full pension. For them, the agenda is to fight, fight, fight, so that, even if they lose at GC2006, they can walk away with a healthy settlement, or leave nothing but scorched earth behind them. Meanwhile, Duncan and Co. are trying to have it both ways, setting up rival structures without leaving the church.

I'm happy to be in a church that includes Don Harvey, Terry Buckle and Charlie Masters (or Bob Duncan and Kendall Harmon) as well as Gene Robinson, but if they don't really want to be in a church that includes gay and lesbian clergy and couples, then they should go their own way, with God's blessing.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 2:58pm GMT

"...mainstream Episcopal conservatives who are not encouraging schism, engaging in hateful speech & conduct, etc... " Simeon

You are absolutely right! Thank God most of our American conservatives are Latitudinarians, without mean bones in their bodies!

Posted by Kurt at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 3:21pm GMT

It is interesting to read the more liberal comments. A general theme is that those who hold a classical, traditionally orthodox position are a) trying to hijack the church, b) pushing their new beliefs, c) horribly breaking boundaries by their ordinations and linkages.

How is it that these commenters appear to be ignorant of the fact that the Lambeth Conference (resolution 1.10 reaffirmed), the Primates Meeting, The Windsor Report, etc. all affirm, reaffirm and promote the same position as these traditional, conservatively orthodox members of ECUSA?

Why is it that you will be so happy when this group gives up and leaves, when their position is closer to the official Anglican position?

Why should those who hold a faith in continuity with the Anglican Communion have to be the ones to leave and give the property and endowments to those who have headed out in a different direction?

I know the more liberal reformers think they are right. Can't they see that the Lambeth Conference, Primates and Windsor Report disagree with them?

Posted by David in Wisconsin at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 3:51pm GMT

Jim ; I think it goes further than that.

I also think that the US conservatives want to be in charge and the accepted outpost of Canterbury in the US.

I don't think they are too enthralled at the idea of being a tiny denomination led from Nigeria.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 7:15pm GMT


I don't usually see the term "Latitudinarian" and and the term "conservative" put together. However, it is not an altogether incorrect classification. There are always some soft-core conservatives without any real conviction who are willing to swing with the times. Likewise, this creature is balanced in the pews by some latitudinarian wishy-washy liberals who lack conviction and would also swing with the times if things were going the other way. And, it is true that both species lack what you refer to as "mean" bones--but, only because they also lack any "backbone" when it comes to the issues in question. Most can be readily forgiven for this--they are old, tired, confused, or just out of their depth. As for the rest . . . they're yours I suppose, and I can't feel too bad about that. But remember, its always dangerous to count anyone as an ally that would turn on you if the battle started moving in the other direction.


Posted by steven at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 7:41pm GMT

May I remind Davis in Wisconsin, that there were 14 other Resolutions at Lambeth 1998?

They are never heard of.

This might have something to do with today's situation in the Anglican Communion ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 9:33pm GMT

Both sides in this argument are pretty disgusting right about now. Everyone sounds like a bunch of boys in a schoolyard match of King of the Mountain, trying to shout and shove one another till someone comes out on top. What is more important: all this bickering over who's right (when that really isn't our job to begin with!) and who's going to be in control, or doing what Christ commanded and helping those who are so desperately in need? Funny, I don't see fighting anywhere in the commandment to love one another.

Posted by Amy at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 9:52pm GMT

Jim, thanks for your "read" on the situation of North American conservatives vis-a-vis the Network. I'd also thought I'd seen signs of a split, though my "read" is closer to Merseymike's.

That is, I believe I see a larger group of North American conservatives willing to distance themselves from ECUSA and ACoC and possibly join a Network-affiliated church, but unwilling to go along if at some point the Network breaks with Canterbury, or ceases to be recognized by Canterbury.

I think I also see a smaller group who are ready to form a worldwide "continuing church," to be comprised of those loyal to the current Primates of about seven or so "Global South" provinces, and the the most radical of the disaffected minorities (primarily Evangelicals) in the rest of the Communion. This group is willing to split with Canterbury as well as ECUSA and ACoC. The videos distributed at the "Hope and a Future" conference seem to be products of the latter group and meant to urge their audiences to split with ECUSA.

So I wonder what it is about the headline "Anglican Bishops Urge Church Split" that Kendall Harmon finds misleading. It seems an accurate reflection of what happened at the conference in Pittsburgh.

Only he can answer this question, however.

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 14 November 2005 at 11:01pm GMT

I am troubled.

I do not belong to the AAC; I do not belong to Via Media. I belong to Christ. I claim only that which already has a claim on me. Seems a faithful (and orthodox) place to be.

I have heard and seen so much before and since GC03. I hear those from various perspectives
within my own diocese (Central Florida). Concerning the Pittsburgh conference, I have read quotes in the media reports and read countless comments from blogs across the perspective.

From both sides of the aisle, most of what I see are people who, with all integrity, stand in their places. But then the integrity is lost (it seems to me) because it doesn't stop there. It seems that no one can stand in their place and be. It seems that, most of the time, the only way that people can feel that their place can be validated is by vilifying the place where someone else stands.

I am troubled, deeply, because, aside from a wholly inadequate "Have mercy on your church, Lord," I simply do not know how to pray for us any more.


Posted by Marc at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 2:25am GMT


Your prayers are your own, but I would pray for a quick, fair and painless separation of the two sides. There is nothing to be gained from staying together at this point.


Posted by steven at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 4:20pm GMT

Marc, I'm in the same diocese you are. You might think of me as one of the vilifiers -- and in fact I might be. But in my own mind, of course, I'm merely a terrified middle-aged woman -- frightened to death to be living in this diocese, where what reads to me as extreme and lethal prejudice is proudly displayed, and from the pulpit, no less.

I tend to operate on the principle that bullies will back down if one stands up to them. But I would rather not have to do it at all. I don't love conflict, and particularly not in the Church.

There is a difference between argument and warfare, between disagreement on issues and hatred of other persons. I think we might all agree to live together in charity, in the Episcopal Church, and in the Anglican Communion, while we continue to argue out the "issues." Can we all commit to ongoing listening-discussion of the intelligent arguments that can be made on all sides? If we can, there is no need for vilification -- or schism.

Posted by Charlotte at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 6:54pm GMT

"Can we all commit to ongoing listening-discussion of the intelligent arguments that can be made on all sides?"

Aye, Charlotte, there's the rub: I saw one of the episcopal (presumably African, though I'm not certain) participants declare at the Pittsburgh event (to *great* applause) "The time for talk is OVER!"

[Which is why I would add "It's time for non-violent civil disobedience": all ECUSA bishops should commit to attending ANY conference of "world-wide Anglican bishops" *whether or not* they're invited. Call it a new "Salt March"! A Freedom Ride! :-D]

Steven and MerseyMike: how in the world is "amicable divorce" even possible? ***I want to see homophobia sent back to the HELL it came from***: NOT a "you do your thing, and we'll do ours".

I just don't see an alternative to continuing *struggle*: please dear God, may it be a nonviolent one! (Starting w/ an end to the violence being perpetrated against God's LGBT children ad nauseum, already)

Lord have mercy!

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Tuesday, 15 November 2005 at 11:02pm GMT


I think your read is fairly accurate. The report I heard from someone who attended an Essentials conference is that there are both "stayers" and "leavers" (his terms) in the movement, those who are committed to staying within the church and in communion with Canterbury, but distancing themselves from actions they disagree with, and those who intend to leave (or have already left) if they can't get their way. Essentials even makes this distinction on their web site.

Maybe it the suspicious lawyer in me that says "follow the money" and ascribes financial, rather than purely theological motives to their postures.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 12:09am GMT

JCF ; as much as I agree with your stance, I think the realistic possibility of us all coming to a point of agreement is nil.

Thus rather than spend the next however many years arguing, I think that a split within the Anglican church would be preferable.

Like you, I will never give up working for change.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 12:30am GMT


You should know by now that I have a lot of respect for you as a person even though I seldom agree with a thing you say. The reason for my respect is simple: You seem to have a very low nastiness quotient, which makes for a nice change on this site (despite the fact that you are a steady advocate for the wrong side). But, I think your own nice-ness is blinding you (and maybe some others on this site) to the facts here. Merseymike and I are right on this one. There is going to be a divorce--nothing can stop it because both sides are polarized and moving farther and farther apart. More importantly, there is no intermediate or compromise position between the two sides that could be acceptable to both and serve as a basis for some sort of accommodation or settlement. (And NO, more listening and waiting and talking is not an acceptable compromise position). So, if there is going to be a divorce shouldn't we, in Christian charity, seek to make it as amicable as possible? This may not be possible, but at present it is the best that can be hoped for.


Posted by steven at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 12:47am GMT


I tried to e-mail you privately, but couldn't easily get past your spam protection. Just wanted to let you know that I'm not (necessarily) speaking of anyone in particular; certianly not you. It's just a general sense that I have (don't want to villify anyone while decrying villification...)

Anyway, (given a comment I remember you making some time ago) you're not alone in this diocese. There are a handful of us who are faithful, orthodox clergy and laity who want no a part of the AAC or Network.

Peace and blessings,

Posted by Marc at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 2:45am GMT

MM wrote: "JCF ; as much as I agree with your stance, I think the realistic possibility of us all coming to a point of agreement is nil."

Amen - to BOTH. JCF is an authentic and honorable person whose stance I can also agree with. But I'm afraid it just ain't gonna happen...

steven's post above is pretty well spot-on. We can either get an amicable divorce now, or a nasty one later. And I fail to see how a nasty divorce, or remaining in an abusive relationship, is good for anyone involved.

(Yes! I agreed with steven! And in tomorrow's news, Sun rises in the West! and monkeys fly out of my...errr, nevermind ;)

Posted by David Huff at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 3:30pm GMT


Maybe I'm missing something here. Do the 14 other resolutions have anything to do with what is in dispute here? If not, why bring them up?


Posted by steven at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 4:44pm GMT


Yes, I believe you're missing something.

Precisely that there were 15 resolutions at Lambeth 1998 and not 1.

That's why I bring it up.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 6:29pm GMT

David Huff:

I think that more and more liberals are coming around to this way of thinking, so don't feel like you are all alone. And, as for agreeing with me--well, as someone said, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Likewise, even a die-hard curmudgeonly traditionalist like me can't be wrong all the time (as much as I try). Also, thanks for the spot of humor at the end. Posts on this board are generally pretty humorless, ranging from righteous indignation to . . . well, even more righteous indignation. I think the worse will be over when people start to laugh again, and not at each other.


Posted by steven at Wednesday, 16 November 2005 at 7:03pm GMT


Who cares how many resolutions there were? That has absolutely nothing to do with the current situation. The only resolution at issue is the one ECUSA has spurned.


Posted by steven at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 8:20pm GMT

And the 14 resolutions of Lambeth 1998 that the other Provinces have spurned?

What about them? You don't care?

Do they not count in you eyes?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 17 November 2005 at 9:21pm GMT


You're playing games. I am aware of no communion-wide outrage over breaches of the other 14 by anyone, nor am I aware of why you would argue that they have been breached or how you would back up this accusation. Frankly, this is a red herring and I am still at a loss to try and figure out what kind of point you think that you are making with this. LOL


Posted by steven at Friday, 18 November 2005 at 8:27pm GMT

I think his point is this. Some of the other resolutions are not being observed either. Their content is immaterial: either resolutions are binding or they are not.
Of course, the fact is that nothing about Lambeth Conferences is legally binding upon anyone.
But if somebody believes they are binding, then it is illogical not to agree that all of them are binding.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 18 November 2005 at 8:30pm GMT


This is exactly what I have been trying to get out of Goran--which ones are being breached and by who? Finally, will the ones who are allegedly in breach agree that they are in breach?

This is already a distinction in terms of ECUSA.
I don't think there is any doubt or issue about ECUSA's breach, nor do I think its advocates would deny its willful and knowing breach. They have, in effect, entered a guilty plea. However, allegations of other parties breaching other provisions are, as far as I know, not established by proof, confession, or even acclaim.

If I am wrong on these points, please let me know. (It's always possible--a lot goes on that I don't know about).


Posted by steven at Friday, 18 November 2005 at 11:54pm GMT


And, of course, political propaganda, clad in self righteousness ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 19 November 2005 at 6:47am GMT


Posted by WANWA KAHAR at Thursday, 20 July 2006 at 1:36pm BST
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