Thinking Anglicans

Pittsburgh convention votes to leave

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has voted in favour of Resolution One, which starts out this way:

RESOLVED, that Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Diocese of
Pittsburgh be, and it hereby is, amended and restated in its entirety to read as follows:

The Church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh is a constituent member of the Anglican
Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces and regional churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.

RESOLVED FURTHER, that a new Section 2 of Article I of the Constitution of the Diocese of Pittsburgh be, and it hereby is, adopted to read as follows:

The Diocese of Pittsburgh shall have membership in such Province of the Anglican
Communion as is by diocesan Canon specified.

Read the rest of it in a PDF file here.

The diocesan press release about this says:

Clergy and deputies to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s 142nd Annual Convention strongly approved a resolution that begins the process of amending the diocesan constitution. If the amendment passes a second reading, slated for November of 2008, a future diocesan convention would be able to realign the diocese to another province of The Anglican Communion if it so chose.

Deputies voted 118 to 58 with one abstention to approve the change. Clergy voted 109 to 24 in favor. An effort to instead return the diocese to full “accession” to The Episcopal Church was defeated by voice vote.

“This vote does not change the diocese’s current affiliation with The Episcopal Church. In fact, nothing at all changes until such a time as the next annual convention approves a second reading of the proposed amendment,” said Bishop Robert Duncan…

Bishop Duncan’s address to the convention can be found in full here.

His letter in reply to the one from the Presiding Bishop is as follows:

1st November, A.D. 2007
The Feast of All Saints

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh

Episcopal News Service has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg: Pittsburgh bishop declines Presiding Bishop’s offer of reconciliation.

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Tim Stewart
Tim Stewart
13 years ago

It’s about time!

People have to do what they have to do, and it’s time to get it over with.

All IMHO, YMMV of course.

JPM
JPM
13 years ago

Now Duncan thinks he’s Martin Luther. This, overseas friends, is but one example–and not the most egregious–of the preening, self-righteous histrionics that the so-called “orthodox” here in TEC have made their specialty. This sort of thing is what we have been forced to listen to for decades now. Whether it’s Duncan declaring himself to be the 21st century’s Martin Luther, or Iker and his entourage ostentatiously flouncing out of the room whenever Gene Robinson is present, or Schofield fluttering his hands coquettishly and making Carol Channing faces while denouncing The Pink Menace, this crowd could give Lillian Gish herself a… Read more »

Steve Lusk
Steve Lusk
13 years ago

As Heywood Broun said long ago, “Hell is paved with great granite blocks hewn from the hearts of those who said, ‘I can do no other.'”

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

To xBob, et al, I bid you depart in peace. Lord have mercy on us all…

***

Now, onto more important things: the Pittsburgh Cathedral is BEAUTIFUL, and how sweet it will be to have an Episcopal bishop (to lead Episcopalians and future Episcopalians) in it again! Come, Holy Spirit, Come! 😀

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

Mr. Robert Duncan is now subject to presentment under the Constitution and Canons which he once vowed to obey and uphold at least three times-when ordained a Deacon, a Priest and a Bishop of this Church. Now, he rejects the very Church that gave him his miter, episcopal elections requiring not only a majority vote of clergy and laity of diocesan convention but also the consents of the majority of diocesan bishops and standing committees before the PB may take order for the consecration. If an honorable gentleman, Mr. Duncan would have resigned his orders held in a Church which… Read more »

ettu
ettu
13 years ago

Two things interest me regarding the Pittsburgh vote and resolution. First, the vote reveals a significant split– with the subtext that there should accordingly be no problem reconstituting TEC’s structure if and when Duncan etal. leave TEC. Secondly, it is interesting and reassuring that Pittsburgh still “accedes” to the “See of Canterbury” – Duncan AND a Primate AND the See of Canterbury will have an interesting tri-partite agreement to hammer out – with an aggrieved TEC loooking over their shoulders or, possibly, joining in the negotiations. Will Canterbury roll over and allow Pittsburgh to cherry pick among the willing Primates… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

It seems to me that declaring oneself a independent Diocese is quite a different thing from being a “faithful remnant”; namely the difference between “faithful” and un-faithful…

And what about “duly constituted”? Does this qualify as “duly”?

Antics, indeed.

Rodney in Melbourne
Rodney in Melbourne
13 years ago

It occurs to me to wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Diocese of Pittsburgh which is not part of TEC is in communion with his see. Any information?

Rodney in Melbourne
Rodney in Melbourne
13 years ago

Of course! The diocese sees itself as “Windsor compliant” and so, following the opinion of the ABC expressed to Bishop Howe, in communion with Canterbury. So I suppose the question is, “Has the ABC made a declaration that Pittsburgh is a ‘Windsor compliant’ diocese?”

commentator
commentator
13 years ago

I presume that the Presiding Bishop of TEC will now be in communication with the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss his response SHOULD the Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh (TEC) enact this change. He must decide if the action which removes those concerned from the Episcopalian Diocese of Pittsburgh and creates a new body also creates a body in communion with him. Dr Williams is famed for maintained silences, as when it pleases him, but surely a word now might save many from actions that would in reality tear the very fabric of the Anglican Communion.

Thomas Renz
Thomas Renz
13 years ago

First a disclaimer: I am not sure that this resolution makes much sense and I am not writing to defend it. But I am intrigued to read here what looks suspiciously like a standard top-down hierarchical argument and this after all the lyrical waxing about how different TEC is, how its bishops are democratically elected, and the importance of its laity… While posters picked up on “Here I stand”, what about “nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them”? Should he have argued that people must stay whatever happens? Should he be content with people leaving… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
13 years ago

As an english “outsider” I notice the vote was much closer among the laity than the clergy-it will be interesting to see what happens.Fewer “rooted”lay Episcopalians may join Bishop Duncan and he and his friends will presumably recruit new people from evangelical protestant backgrounds thus ,I suspect, altering the sort of Anglicanism hitherto present.We see this sort of thing happening in some english parishes too-they become quite strong congregations but a lot of the parishoners go elsewhere to find what they are used to.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

The Rev. Dr. George Werner, former president of the General Convention’s House of Deputies and a senior Priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, says it all in a New York Times interview: “A spokesman for Bishop Jefferts Schori referred questions to the Rev. George Werner, president of the House of Deputies for the national church until last year. ‘Katharine Schori is extremely clear,’ Mr. Werner said. ‘If a diocese like this chooses to claim $30 million in trust funds and 70 churches, she’d be negligent in her duty to let them leave. She can’t back down.’ Mr. Werner was referring… Read more »

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
13 years ago

If Rowan Williams attempts to bypass TEC and deal directly with these dissidents, then it is time for TEC to withdraw from the Anglican Communion.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

A letter to PB Jefferts Schori from +John Howe, who was lately in communication with ++Rowan Cantuar: The Presiding Bishop 815 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017 Dear Katharine, I have read with great sadness your letter to Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh. And, since you have chosen to make your letter to him public, I will make this one public, as well. I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Bob in the efforts of the Network to reverse the course of The Episcopal Church with regard to recent decisions regarding human sexuality. I part company with him in his… Read more »

Thunder Jones
Thunder Jones
13 years ago

The curious question is whether or not he will receive his invitation to Lambeth. He may or may not be interested in going (as is the fashion among his supporters), but it will define how Canterbury views his no-affiliated affiliated diocese free church.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

“First, the vote reveals a significant split–” There is mention elsewhere on TA that in the lay order, the vote barely made the required 2/3 in favor of the motion. It was not close in the clerical order. My understanding is that for some years past, +Bob Pittsburgh has sent all his prospective priests to the fundagelical seminary, Trinity, and that he is very wary of allowing priests from other seminaries to be called to churches in his diocese. It’s impossible to hand-pick the laity, although individual churches and priests can make non-conformers uncomforable enough to get them to leave.… Read more »

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
13 years ago

“The curious question is whether or not he will receive his invitation to Lambeth. He may or may not be interested in going (as is the fashion among his supporters), but it will define how Canterbury views his no-affiliated affiliated diocese free church.”

I think the invitations have already gone out. Gene Robinson and Martyn Mims were both omitted from the list. Will Rowan Williams withdraw invitations such as Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania in light of more recent developments? He’s pretty much already taken the position that he alone decides who will be invited, regardless of the actions of national churches.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

From +Howe’s letter: “Dioceses voluntarily join (accede to) The Episcopal Church.” This is flat-out FALSE. If they weren’t joined to TEC, they wouldn’t be a *diocese* would they?! ONCE AGAIN: *persons* join, *persons* may leave. Dioceses and parishes do NOT! Reasserters who, um, reassert that “we built this parish, from the ground up, and by gum we’ll take it with us!” are similarly mistaken. A person may have put in every brick, every nail into a parish edifice, but it is THE CHURCH—the Episcopal Church—who “built the parish”. That a person—lay, priest, or bishop!—could believe “this parish (diocese) is MINE!”… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

I think Cynthia has done an excellent job of describing the dynamics of hand picking, grooming, and social pressures on the laity.

It is the most succinct and clear analysis of these dynamics that I have seen yet.

Bob in SW PA
Bob in SW PA
13 years ago

As someone who was at this convention I can also say that several new rectors were not allowed to vote since they have not met the cannonical residency requirement. Two are rectors lead non network parishes. Also several other priest are canonically resident in other diocese and not allowed to vote. Some of the voters for dissassociation don’t even live in this diocese but are still resident here. Several laity were absent and how many who voted for or against were retired? The numbers from the clergy aren’t the best indicator. One priest said, he was in favor only because… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“Reasserters who, um, reassert that “we built this parish, from the ground up, and by gum we’ll take it with us!” are similarly mistaken. A person may have put in every brick, every nail into a parish edifice, but it is THE CHURCH—the Episcopal Church—who “built the parish”.” Fascinatingly, today at the convention of the Pennsylvania diocese, we celebrated the creation of a new parish–Holy Nativity, Wrightstown. (BTW, take that, NP–now who’s growing and who isn’t?) The rector of that new parish, thanking the assembled for their support in its years of growth from a mission church in borrowed space,… Read more »

Anthony W
Anthony W
13 years ago

Would Pittsburgh’s action make it part of the Church of England? I.e. a free-floating diocese claiming to be under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury? Isn’t this the implication of Archbishop Williams’s letter to Bishop Howe? Is Archbishop Williams going into competition with Archbishop Akinola et al? And if not, why not?

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

“Duncan is quite mad not just nuts.
Welcome to the macadamia ranch aka the diocese of pittsburgh.”

I think his letter to ++KJS shows an astonishing amount of cognitive dissonance. So much nuttiness in so few words!

“Here I stand..” – he’s Luther.

“the sheep who elected me” – he’s the Good Shepherd.

“Pax et bonum” – he’s the Pope.

“+ Bob of Pitteburgh” – he’s both brezzy AND pretentious.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

+Bob Pittsburgh’s pictures in the press releases make him look quite grim, Since he took the liberty of invoking Martin Luther’s HERE I STAND, to justify his defiance of the General Convention Church, which gave him his miter, may we all intune Luther’s hymn, Ein’ feste Burg, verse 3: “The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.”

“One little word” from the HoB: deposed.

JNWALL
JNWALL
13 years ago

+Bob of Pittsburgh, having quoted Martin Luther AND, apparently, the custom of the Franciscan order, without giving credit to either, is, regardless of anything else, a flagrant plagiarist.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

What is that ACN madness all about, with +Bob Pittsburgh as Moderator? Katie Sherrod, Diocese of Fort Worth, put it very bluntly on her Blogsite: “Both the presiding bishop AND the president of the House of Deputies are women. That alone is enough reason for these men to be enraged. Priests who are women have sullied the priesthood for these men. We have ‘girl’ bishops and even a gay man as a bishop, and that’s just spoiled the whole episcopate thing for all those manly priests out there who are convinced it is their destiny to be bishops. There’s a… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

Cynthia Gilliatt says Luther, Shepherd, Pope…

Agreeing, I Couldn’t resist (attempt at visual satire):

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/11/papal-luther.html

NP
NP
13 years ago

Pat – growth is not shown by random examples. TEC’s own numbers show decline year on year and less than 0.9m people coming on a Sunday (=0.29% of the US population which you tell me TEC is really in tune with but the megachurches are not!) And, JCF – beautiful cathedrals with few in it are really not worth having…. +Howe’s letter is very interesting in the light of what the ABC wrote to him…….. so, the ABC says the diocese in communion with Canterbury is the real Anglican representation in the US and TECUS is an “abstract reality” and… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“growth is not shown by random examples. TEC’s own numbers show decline year on year and less than 0.9m people coming on a Sunday (=0.29% of the US population which you tell me TEC is really in tune with but the megachurches are not!)”

Numbers are clearly all that matters. All together now: a hundred thousand lemmings can’t be wrong

NP
NP
13 years ago

John Henry seems quite excited about the division in TECUSA eg “”One little word” from the HoB: deposed.” Now, John….are you expecting “one little word” or more from the AC to TECUSA? No doubt the Lambeth Palace bureaucrats are working on a way of delaying making any decisions for yet another year (if not more)….but many, not just the GS but also Americans like +Duncan, are sick of delay and internecine bickering….there is work to be done and churches full of people to work with…..too much time (4 years already!) has been wasted already with the AC repeatedly saying TECUSA’s… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

The problem for all Christianity in the US (not just TEC, but all Christianity) is precisely the megachurches, NP. Church attendance over all is in decline. The megachurches may be growing, but are they attracting the unchurched or just “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by swiping congregants from other churches? The megachurches present an image of Christianity that the public as a whole rejects–one that is intolerant, that seems to raise appearance of faithfulness over faith itself, that seems to have more to do with entertainment than worship, that seems to value attachment to words over attachment to people. All… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
13 years ago

Perhaps we can all help =Bob Pittsburgh be even more pretentious if we can come up with a Latin translation for Pittsburgh …

NP
NP
13 years ago

Pat – you love these surveys of young people but never quite make the connection that there ain’t many at all coming to TECUSA and the megachurches do very much better, for all their many faults, in reaching young Americans…..you ever thought why? The same excuses for declining liberal churches made used in England…..the CofE charismatic and evangelcal churches have literally thousands of teenagers and young adults right next door to dead “liberal” parishes…..but I am often told here on TA that “liberal” churches are empty because evos put people off…..quite tragic reasoning and failure to take responsibility – I… Read more »

PHIL
PHIL
13 years ago

How can anyone in this esteemed blog say Bob Duncan’s rhetoric in the letter to our PB is any more over the top than Susan Russell’s or other self-styled “progressivists’ claims to be leading a “NEW THING” of the Spirit??? I would think that “thinking Anglicans” are capable of a little critical self-awareness. Let Bob be Bob. He is a man of as deep a conviction that he is right as progressivist activists are. Strong egos all around. That’s human. That’s history. Focus on their theologies, ecclesiologies, etc. and we might have something more fruitful to discuss… again, as “thinking… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“the megachurches do very much better, for all their many faults,” All their many faults? The point is, NP, what is it they are better at, bringing people to God, or putting on a good sound and light show every Sunday? Confirming that people’s comfortable middle class lifestyles are Divinely ordained, and that Ozzie and Harriet were good exemplars of the True Christian Life? That they can prove themselves good Christians if they don’t like gay people, give to charity once and a while, a feel guilty that they drive an SUV? In short, if they can successfully profess a… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

Ford “But whatever, you are irritating at times, but in reality, if your fantasy world gives you some joy, then why am I so opposed to you enjoying it?” Bit more judgmental than normal today, mate. Anyway, I did not imagine the hundreds of people in their 20s at church last night……we ain’t no US megachurch – just a CofE Anglican church (one of many thriving in England, based on the faithful preaching of the word of God……it’s irritating, I know, that the “inclusive” include far few people and have less diversity in their congregations than the supposedly “exclusive” but… Read more »

PHIL
PHIL
13 years ago

The interesting thing is that BARNA is an evangelical– and quite capable of self-criticism. And now Bill Hybils, the icon of megachurches has made public an in-depth study of the ‘success’ of his Willow-Creek model called REVEAL at the WC website. It more or less confirms the problems noted by BARNA, but with even more troubling detail. I think it is remarkable that evangelicals are, at the same time, recovering deeper ecclesiologies in the Great Traditions. See Simon CHan’s new “Liturgical Theology,” for example. But rest assured, they will not be drawn to ECUSA’s revisionist or ‘progressivist’ rendition of the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

NP: But what percentage of young Americans (or Brits) are the megachurches attracting? Even if their total attendance under 20 were as high as 5 million (which it isn’t), it would be but 6/100 of one percent of the total US population in that age bracket (total is about 82 million). Where are the other 77 million, NP? I’ll tell you–mostly nowhere. They are completely turned off by the image of Christianity in this country…an image formed in the largest part by the conservative yahoos who have hijacked our religion for their political and social agenda. Until our teens and… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

NP wrote. “Bit more judgmental than normal today, mate.”

Ford will never mate with you, Nersen.

revkarenm
revkarenm
13 years ago

I try not to take NP’s bait, in part because I can’t imagine what he/she is doing trying to convince progressive Anglicans of the error of our ways. In the AC and in our churches, we are not going to agree on the interpretation of certain scriptural texts.Just as we do not agree on capital punishment, war (especially GB’s ‘pre-emptive war’); divorce and re-marriage; the ordination of women to name a few issues of diagreement. Yet, in spite of decades of disagreement about these issues, now is the time that the conservatives believe that they must initiate schism over the… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

A priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh justifies leaving the General Convention Church BECAUSE: “Over the past 40 years there has been a drift away from orthodox ways of speaking about God. In some places in TEC instead of God being referred to as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He is addressed only by function as creator, redeemer and sustainer, and not in personal ways. The problem with this approach is that it makes God more remote and the fact is God has revealed himself to us through the Scriptures not just by function, but in personal terms as Father,… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Correction to my previous post–math not being my strong point: 5 million is 6/10 of one percent of 82 million, not 6/100.

Apologies.

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Hmm. There always seems to be a lot of folks at TA willing to argue that megachurches, evangelical churches, charismatic churches, conservative churches, etc. are actually barely successful in terms of the overall population–despite their seemingly teeming congregations and growth. Of course, it is a bit ironic that advocates of the withering liberal church (a proven failure) would, unblushingly, criticize others–whose growth and retention numbers are far in excess of their own–for not being “good enough” in this regard. There is, I believe, more than a hint of “sour grapes” in all of these remarks. Still, putting aside for the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Further correction: I still got it wrong…told you math isn’t my strong point. Obviously ten percent of 82 million is 8.2 million…so 5 million would be about 6 percent.

My point still stands, however…no matter how we divvy it up, the vast majority of US residents under 20 aren’t going to church at all.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

Re.: “God be with you” versus “The Lord be with you” in my posting above: Those who advocate change from “The Lord be with you”/”the peace of the Lord be always with you” to “God be with you”/”God’s peace be with you” are more in line with the Septuagint (LXX) Greek language, in which KYRIOS means Elohim (Heb.”God”) in lieu of YHWH (“Yahweh”), the divine name not to be used in vain, according to the prohibition of the 2nd Commandment. In Pauline usage, KYRIOS (“the Lord”) was a counter-cultural affirmation that “Caesar was not God”, but the crucified Jesus was… Read more »

Anthony W
Anthony W
13 years ago

People interested in the success of various denominations in retaining young adults (at least in the USA) ought to check out Robert Wuthnow’s new book “After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion” It really doesn’t give anyone a reason to congratulate themselves but offers some practical advice. No protestant churches of any flavor are being very successful with this group. Solid scholarship from Princeton University Press. To me, the conclusions in Wuthnow’s various books are fascinating, but his style can put me to sleep. But he at least provides the solid research… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

The point is, Steven, that I would prefer an atheistic society to one dominated by your sort of Christianity.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

on the subject of Episcopal growth or not…and its comparison to other mainline churches, I recommend the following link:

http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/evangelism/diagnosing_mainline_decline.php“ Demography and time trends in membership in the Episcopal Church

NP
NP
13 years ago

Pat – forget the calculations….think on why TECUSA says itself that it is declining year on year and why it attracts so few from any age group, especially the young when it proclaims itself as being modern and progressive (not like the backward conservatives who attract more people even in the US)

Liberals lecturing evos on church growth……bit like the US lecturing the rest of the world on pollution and climate change except the US govt has too much self-awareness to do that

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