Thinking Anglicans

House of Bishops votes on Bishop Duncan

Updated Friday evening

The American House of Bishops has considered the case of Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh. ENS reports that House of Bishops votes to depose Pittsburgh bishop for ‘abandoning Communion’:

After nearly two days of prayerful and solemn closed-door sessions, the House of Bishops on September 18 voted by a two to one majority to depose Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh. The vote authorizes Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to remove Duncan from ordained ministry.

The vote total was 88 to 35 in favor of deposing Duncan, according to Episcopal Church spokeswoman Neva Rae Fox. There were four abstentions…

The Presiding Bishop issued this statement:

The House of Bishops worked carefully and prayerfully to consider the weighty matter of Bishop Duncan. The conversation was holy, acknowledging the pain of our deliberations as well as the gratitude many have felt over the years for their relationships with, and the ministry of, Robert Duncan. The House concluded, however, that his actions over recent months and years constitute “abandonment of the communion of this church” and that he should be deposed. Concern was expressed for the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the face of leadership which has sought to remove itself from The Episcopal Church. In the days and months ahead, this Church will work to ensure appropriate pastoral care and provision for the members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, so that mission and ministry in that part of Pennsylvania may continue in the name of Jesus Christ and in the tradition of the Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops Daily Account Thursday, September 18 contains comments from different sides of the debate.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a press release, Diocese of Pittsburgh Maintains Course after Purported Deposition, the Standing Committee has issued this statement. Bishop Duncan himself has issued this statement.

The Anglican Communion Network issued Network, Common Cause Leaders offer Support for Bishop Duncan and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America issued TEC’s Unilateral Removal of Bishop Duncan.

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh issued PEP Hopes Diocese Will Move Forward Gracefully After Duncan Deposition.

Episcopal Café points out that the Standing Committee statement is not unanimous, and has links to various other statements. And more background is here.

Friday evening updates

The Episcopal Café article titled Duncan deposed has been revised in a write-through. The remarks of Bishop Paul Marshall of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) are particularly noteworthy.

Statements from other bishops can be found at Archbishops offer support to Bishop Duncan, Pittsburgh (Egypt, Sydney, Rwanda, Kenya, West Indies and Southern Cone), at Blogging bishops weigh in on the Duncan deposition and here (Fort Worth) and here (Western Louisiana).

And Stand Firm reports this:

“As was resolved by resolution made at the Provincial Synod in Valparaiso last November 2007, we are happy to welcome Bishop Duncan into the Province of the Southern Cone as a member of our House of Bishops, effective immediately. Neither the Presiding Bishop nor the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has any further jurisdiction over his ministry. We pray for all Anglicans in Pittsburgh as they consider their own relationship with The Episcopal Church in the coming weeks,” said Archbishop Gregory Venables.

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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

I love the CANA headline: “TEC’s Unilateral Removal of Bishop Duncan”…trying to make the move seem particularly arbitrary. Well, how could it be anything except “unilateral”? Did anyone think Duncan would seek his own deposition?

BTW, this now puts the two largest dioceses in PA–Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and surrounding counties) and Pittsburgh–without episcopal oversight.

jnwall
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jnwall

How ironic that CANA wrote to assure Duncan that he is still a bishop in the Anglican Communion, since the bishops of CANA, like the bishops of the AMiA, are not part of the Anglican Communion.

counterlight
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What took them so long?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Ah well! “Promises is promises” – and I guess Duncan just didn’t keep his – to TEC (& God?).

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“On this day when Bishop Duncan was allegedly deposed by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, Bishop John-David Schofield joined in welcoming Bishop Duncan as a Brother into full membership of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Bishop Duncan’s own continuing status as a bishop in The Anglican Communion has been secured by the Province of the Southern Cone.” – Stand Firm web-site notice – One now wonders what will be the attitude of the Primates Meeting and the next gathering of the ACC towards this high-handed and certainly unorthodox move by the Southern Cone Primate… Read more »