Thinking Anglicans

Pittsburgh: realignment challenged

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) has issued Realignment Reconsidered a point-by-point rebuttal to the 8-page handout from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Frequently Asked Questions About Realignment (both documents are PDF files).

The PEP press release: Pittsburgh Episcopal group disputes diocese’s defense of schism

…“Diocesan leaders have been telling parishes that realignment is both proper and innocuous; we believe it is neither,” explained Lionel Deimel, PEP board member and principal author of the new document. “Parishes who trust what they are being told—conveniently packaged by the diocese in “FAQ About Realignment”—risk losing both their parish property and their status within the Anglican Communion.”

According to the new document, “It is the position of The Episcopal Church, supported overwhelmingly by diocesan chancellors and legal scholars, that a diocese cannot properly remove its accession clause from its constitution, nor can it remove itself from The Episcopal Church.” PEP cites events in the Diocese of San Joaquin as evidence that The Episcopal Church will act boldly to protect its interests.

PEP hopes that “Realignment Reconsidered” will encourage Episcopalians in Pittsburgh to examine the risks and benefits of realignment more critically. “It is ironic,” suggests PEP secretary Alfred Mann, “that people want to break away from a church that is so tolerant of different views, but that toleration seems to be one of the characteristics of The Episcopal Church they most dislike.”

Lionel Deimel gives some background to the document here.

Some extracts from the document can be found at Episcopal Café.


  • L Roberts says:

    An excellent, well researched, thoughtful response.

    Those who do not wish to be ‘realligned’ whether in TEC, the C of E, or any where else, MUST take action.

  • EmilyH says:

    It is indeed unfortunate that San Joaquin did not have such a rebuttal. +Schofield required that on two successive sundays in November ’07 his pastoral letter be read to the congregations. Letter Sadly, that letter contained several statements of assurance that, should San Joaquin leave, its place in the communion and its relationship to Canterbury assured through Southern Cone. The letter referenced a reliable source for this assurance. That reliable source could be no other than +Venables. Ruth
    Gledhill of The Times added to such assurance by more than implying, from her interview with +Venables, that the “plan”, (her word), was seen by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a “reasonable way forward” +Venables subsequently stated that no such approval was sought or given, but that was too late for the people of the San Joaquin who trusted +Schofield and his well-informed source. It was not true and never had been true.

    It appears that the Diocese of Pittsburgh is spinning the same line to its people. For this reason, it is particularly important that the people of Pittsburgh have access to the truth, the whole truth so that, whatever decision they make, is an informed decision.

  • BabyBlue says:

    And while we’re speaking about truth, exactly how much is 815 spending on litigation and where are they getting all the money?

    We know, for example, that 815 is now not only paying millions for the litigation – but 815 has now added paying for the expenses to prop up the shadow congregations and a shadow diocese as well, including the hiring of clergy and a bishop.

    So if we add those expenses to the costs of litigation – exactly how much is now being spent and where are they getting all that money?

    If we are going to “have access to the truth, the whole truth so that, whatever decision” is made it is “an informed decision,” then perhaps those progressives in Pittsburgh also know that 815 will be pick up their expenses fas well – as 815 appears to be doing in San Joaquin, Colorado, San Diego, Virginia, Ohio, Connecticut, and New York.

    It might be very helpful for the laity to know exactly how the PB is spending and funding all these millions of dollars of litigation expenses so that they may, indeed, make a truly informed decision.

    Or is some truth more equal than others?


  • ettu says:

    Forewarned is indeed forearmed. Thank goodness for Lionel Deimel and company and let us hope that those who have ears will not only hear but will listen with an open heart and then will act promptly.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Joan Gunderson, historian par excellence has done an excellent job….Bishop Duncan is in for a very rough ride.

  • EPfizH says:

    Baby Blue brings up a good point…where are the monies coming from? Pittsburgh has not paid its assessment to 815 in years, but interestingly, funds that liberal congregations (other than Calvary) in Pittsburgh may have well been diverted from mission purposes, they might support, to pay Pittsburgh’s legal costs. The following:
    An Episcopalian in Pain: Reflections on the Diocese of Pittsburgh written by Pat Smith Wed. 05, 2007
    Prior to the Pittsburgh convention, I searched for convention materials on their website. I found it quite interesting that they had adjusted their upcoming budget in the legal fees category. Due to the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s lawsuit with Calvary Episcopal Church, a parish in the diocese, the Diocesan Council in March 2007 voted to transfer $120,500 from the Budget Reserve Fund and the Energy Relief Fund to cover the defense costs of the diocese. (Calvary Episcopal Church, one of the largest churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, has withheld paying its assessment to the diocese in a disagreement with Bishop Duncan regarding property ownership. For more information, go to

    At the November Diocesan Convention of 2007 there was a resolution requesting an additional $100,000 from the Budget Reserve Fund, making the total transferred to date $220,500 to assist in the payment of defense costs. The 2008 budget does not have an entry because it is expected that there will be no balance in the Budget Reserve Fund in 2008. In addition, a secretarial position was cut, 22% in Mission Grants were cut, and there were reductions in the Happening staff and in expenses for Calvary Camp, Clergy Conference, Leadership Overnight, Deacons’ Hospital Ministry, Commission on Racism, Absalom Jones Celebration, the Commission on Ministry, Diocesan Convention, and Communications. The legal fees line item from the Convention Approved Budget for 2007 was $2,000. The legal fees line item from the New Revised Budget for 2007 is $500,000.
    My own experience in trying to interpret how the Diocese of Pittsburgh spends money is that all of the funds to which it may have access are not necessarily discussed in its budget, i.e. trust funds, donations to the Common Cause Partnership etc. Allocations for legal fees of TEC can be found in its budget.

  • JCF says:

    “And while we’re speaking about truth, exactly how much is 815 spending on litigation and where are they getting all the money?”

    Are you preparing for your patricide “…but I’m an orphan!” defense, BabyBlue?

  • Virginia Gal says:


    You are a woman of great faith, articulate and have good taste in literature. But please remember that you came to the Episcopal Church in a parish that is steeped in a minority (for TEC) evangelical tradition. In the via media debate, you are decidedly Protestant.

    I see the PB, and the 815 staff, as aggressively preserving a way of life that is important to the majority of TEC members. I speak to you as a member of the only parish church in Truro and Fairfax Parishes that the revolutionary heroes saved – not the ones they deserted to the will of the Virginia General Assembly, and the evangelical denominations that stripped us of our land, our chapels, and glebe farms. There are many in Virginia who do not want to see that happen again. I am one of them. The spirit of those patriots lives on – oddly enough in a very inclusive church.

  • ettu says:

    As to the money issue raised by bb , in my opinion, it is reasonable for those who feel threatened – i.e. TEC – to use whatever resources are available. It seems silly for those opposed to TEC to try to “watch out” for TEC’s resources when they are not privy to all the information necessary to make an informed decision. Certainly they can ask for such information but much of it is already available in the public record and the rest is none of an outsider’s (really an opponent’s) business.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Quick aside : Gafcon have just published their programme in Jerusalem.

    “Worship and exposition” is how several segments are labeled. Exposition of course means a sermon, and Bishop Iker will not be worshipping the Anglican Eucharistic elements!

  • counterlight says:

    I’m with JCF.
    Talk about murdering your parents and then pleading for mercy because you’re an orphan!
    If the congregations wanted to leave and start again in a new location in a new building there would be no problem. Indeed, ++Akinola and ++Orombi advised them to do that very thing.
    The only reason any of this is in litigation is because these congregations want to leave with the real estate and the silver.

  • Lois Keen says:

    Brava, Virginia Gal! Et tu, ettu!

  • Pete says:

    Any time Duncan and his band of traitors and thieves say anything, just refer back to the Chapman Memo to get your bearings straight.

    The time for negotiation has long come and gone. TEC has gone the extra mile trying to come to terms with a group that has no honor and no shame. TEC should make it clear that if individuals want to leave, go in peace but the parish and the property remain with TEC. All clergy involved in this fiasco should be deposed and, if it were up to me, stripped of ALL pension (though I doubt this can be done legally). Let Akinola and these other thugs pick up the tab.

    Duncan should be deposed–now–not later. And so should any clergy in Diocese of Pittsburgh who stand with him.

    These rebels have brought this litigation upon themselves. Their whining now is pathetic.

  • Bob In PA says:

    PEP has been trying to counter the claims of this clergy led “we must realign,” movement. Without their voice and the voice of Calvary, St. Stephen’s and a few others, the clergy would lead the faithful, like lemmings over a cliff to …..

    I was in a parish that has one of Duncan’s strongest supporters. At first I listened to this priest but my gut told me all was not as it seemed. I did a little exploring and I started to find out that the faithful were hearing one side and a very slanted version of reality.

    If TEC is guilty of one thing, it’s not do enough with adult forum. We need to educate not only new members but old members about what it means to live in a theologically broad church. Hopefully, in the future we will have less of these Baby Blue folks, evangelical converts who craved liturgy but not the diversity that came with that liturgy.

  • EPfizH says:

    The ENS has reported an a story out of Africa on Kunonga’s excommunication which may have a bearing on cases of bishops and dioceses attempting to leave their provinces in Canada or the US. What is of interest is not that Kunonga and his followers have been excommunicated but the reasons offered for why. The ENS reported: “Chama said that he pronounces upon Kunonga ‘and all those who support him the sentence of Greater Excommunication, thereby separating them from the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the Anglican Communion, by the actions taken of withdrawing from the Province of Central Africa, forming another Church, and casting aside the Constitution and Canons of the Church of the Province of Central Africa”
    Kunonga was first deposed for trying to take the Diocese of Harare out of Central Africa. (He tried to join it to Kenya but was refused.) Then, because of Kenya’s refusal (and maybe other provinces?) he attempted to create his own church. He and his followers are being excommunicated for that. In both cases, the deposition and excommunication, the reasons given by Central Africa were violations of provincial order and governance. If the reasons being given by Central Africa (violations of polity) are not the real reasons for the deposition and excommunication but fear of reprisals by the Mugabe government if +Kuonga’s conduct is addressed, then Central Africa, it would seem, would have to accept the logical consequences of the reasons it presented. If +Kunonga was wrong for violation of church order, then, logically, so is +Schofield, +Duncan etc. Although now retired, I believe that +Melango still serves as a member of the Windsor Continuation Group. He was still primate when Kunonga was deposed. Therefore, it would seem that, should he support +Schofield, +Cavalcanti etc., in the actions they took, it would undercut the validity of the actions taken by his province against Kunonga. EPfizH

  • BabyBlue says:

    “I see the PB, and the 815 staff, as aggressively preserving a way of life that is important to the majority of TEC members,” writes Virginia Gal.

    Hmm … Exile can be quite comfortable, warm and gracious, indeed. But it’s still not home. I am not orphaned, I am in exile.

    Yet there are times when I hear the elitism of Virginia Episcopalians who extend their little pinkies from their glasses of gin and tonics and whisper to one another disdainfully, “oh, dear me, thankfully we’re not like one of those.” More flock into exile. And still the elite whisper, “oh, we are quite grateful we are not like one of them.”

    Or what was it T.S. Eliot wrote?

    “Time for you and time for me,
    And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea.”

    So, it appears, it is as we feared – even for those at Pohick for we’ve met your Vestry members at coalition meetings. It is not the people, but the steeple that matters most of all.

    14th Generation Virginian and probably related to you. Unless, of course, you’re new in town.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Kunonga’s excommunication”

    How many Anglican excommunications have there been in the past 500 years? I have never heard of it, though I know it is quite allowable. While I deplore Kunonga’s actions, I can’t help but see in this an authoritarianism that is alien to me as an Anglican. All the same, good on ’em. Glad they did it, not at all comfortable with what it says about their understanding of power.

  • JCF says:

    “bb 14th Generation Virginian and probably related to you. Unless, of course, you’re new in town.”

    Oh, BabyBlue, do NOT go there (Unless, perhaps, you’d also like to share how many “generations of Virginians”, your ancestral 14 generations OWNED?)

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Oh Baby Blue, I pale in comparision…I am not worthy of your presence..

    Only the second generation in the USA… with two sides from Devonshire, and the other two from Wales.

    Both sets of Grandparents talked with British accents (and my mother as well when she got angry). No, you don’t compare.

  • JPM says:

    Since we are on the subject of money, perhaps BabyBlue can let us know who is footing the considerable legal bills of the Virginia Secessionists? Shysters don’t work cheap, so this little show is costing someone a pretty penny.

  • kieran crichton says:

    Well, the PEP pamphlet says a lot of things that need to be said, and about time too. I wonder what use it will be in more miopic quarters.

    Oh, and JCF – don’t talk about the (Civil) War!!!

  • Bob In PA says:

    Baby Blue… we don’t do Gin but Single Malt Scotch, preferably Laphroaig or Talisker, Cadenhead Cask. As for 14 generations, I’ve got you beat.

    As far as exile, my parish joined the network and basically pushed anyone who didn’t agree with their theology, out the door.

    I guess this all depends on your perspective.

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