Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA has written to Robert Duncan Bishop of Pittsburgh. The full text of this letter has been published by ENS and also appears here, below the fold.
According to Episcopal News Service similar letters will follow to other bishops who are actively seeking to withdraw their dioceses from the Episcopal Church.
Read the full report by Jan Nunley Presiding Bishop reaches out to bishops attempting to withdraw dioceses.
…Of those dioceses considering “realignment,” Springfield appears not to have yet acted, and Quincy declined in its recent diocesan convention to pass a proposed canonical revision.
Fort Worth’s convention, meeting November 14-15,is set to consider the first reading of a constitutional amendment that would remove accession to the Constitution and Canons of the church, as well several canonical amendments that eliminate mention of the name of the Episcopal Church. Jefferts Schori intends to send a letter to Bishop Jack Iker, who advocates these changes, before the convention notifying him that such a step would force her to take action to bring the diocese and its leadership into line with the mandates of the national Church.
A similar canonical change is set to come before the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s convention November 2-3, and Jefferts Schori has written to Pittsburgh’s bishop in this regard (see link to letter cited above).
In December the Diocese of San Joaquin is scheduled to hear the second and final reading of its constitutional accession amendment, a proposed act that may prompt “more dramatic action” beforehand…
A year ago, the Presiding Bishop also wrote to Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin.
Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.
I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.
If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church — by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased — and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.
It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain
Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori