Thinking Anglicans

press coverage of Pittsburgh

Upated Friday evening

The Church Times has Pittsburgh diocese votes to secede from Episcopal Church by Pat Ashworth.

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there is Minority recognized as ‘true’ Episcopal Diocese by Ann Rodgers.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has Episcopal Church recognizes loyal parishes by Craig Smith.

Friday evening

Episcopal News Service has Pittsburgh Standing Committee fills vacancies, seeks Presiding Bishop’s assistance by Mary Frances Schjonberg


  • ettu says:

    Napoleon once said (to paraphrase)” ..and now the drawing room talk will begin and that is what will be remembered as history” In much the same vein one can see the subtle spin in one newspaper putting quotes around “true” and emphasizing minority whilst the other uses the word loyal in it’s banner. Despite these carefully chosen words the facts remain that the Duncanites have left and the remainder will be purer and stronger for it. The despicable act is the way Duncan has willfully chosen to gum up the way forward by clinging to worldly possessions rather than taking his staff in hand – shaking dust from his sandals – and setting out on his new journey both unencumbered and trusting in God to provide. His lack of Biblical faith and trust in God’s love is as startling as the current break in the financial markets.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    In the nineteenth century the Evangelicals within the Episcopal Church defected en masse in 1873. The movement eventually dwindled to a few was a tragic mistake. I rather feel Bishop Duncan has made the same false move.

  • penwatch says:

    Robert Ian Williams is absolutely right. It is characteristic of the whole of North American Christianity that it is in essence congregationalist. The sense of catholicity is weak as Christianity moves in tandem with the competitive capitalist market.

    It is easy therefore for American schismatic groups, like Bishop Duncan’s, to break away and after while they settle into small separate churches. See for example:

    There you will find a long list of such traditional/orthodox/anglican/etc/etc churches.

    History will show this period to be a defining one in the emergence of a defined world Anglicanism as one that is conciliar, confident and broadly liberal – although not in the pejorative sense that is usually implied these days by conservative factions. Even the Equatorial Africans will be back in fold in due course.

    This will take a while but for sure there will be no lasting world-wide schism only a few groups of rather sad purists joining the Anglicans online list.

  • David R. Lyon says:

    Quite agree with Robert Ian Williams…The awesome joy of the Anglican way , is that up until recently, theological differences have never split
    us from the love and intercourse of being in a “larger” family …

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) called her (Bishop Katherine’s) decision irrelevant”. – article:
    (Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post Gazette).

    In this pericope of her article on this thread, Ann Rodgers refers to the departing schismatics as ‘The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, quote: (Anglican)’. What she might have said, instead of ‘Anglican’ was, more appositely ‘South-Conal’

    This would more clearly indicate the true extent to which the Dissenters might claim to be a member of the world-wide Anglican Communion. It may just be that this grafting onto to the vine of the Southern Cone might not be seen as a valid act of fusion by the upcoming meeting of ACC. This could lead to the future ‘rejection’ of the intentional transplantation – in order to meet the authentic guidelines of membership within the Communion.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    Don’t forget the old story about the person stranded on an island for years and years.

    Finally a ship comes, and the rescue party sees three huts. They say to the castaway, “This hut is obviously your living place, but what are the other huts?”

    The answer: “This nearer one is my church. The other one is the church I used to belong to.”

  • Robert Ian williams says:

    Contrast Pat’s CT balanced reporting and that of George Conger in the CEN…it is almost laughable.

  • Charlotte says:

    David R. Lyons, I wish you had been right when you said “The awesome joy of the Anglican way , is that up until recently, theological differences have never split us from the love and intercourse of being in a “larger” family …”

    But theological differences have led to splits in the past: between Calvinist Dissenters and Anglicans in the 17th century; between Methodists and Anglicans in the 18th. There have been splits over the practice of infant baptism; splits over what happens in the Eucharist; splits over allowable church vestments and liturgies; splits over the understanding of Scripture.

    It is part of the Anglican tradition to seek to maintain a “broad tent” approach to disputes, but in every dispute there are some who will not maintain fellowship with others if they disagree. Seeking a purified church, they split, muttering imprecations on wishy-washy, lukewarm, muddle-through Laodiceans.

    So now it happens again. The only thing different about this century’s split is that it is happening within a worldwide Communion of churches, and not a national church.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    The Benefits of Evangelical defection.

    In the US, during the 19th century the Episcopal Church grew through Christians rejecting more Protestant denominations…

    With the Evangelicals moved out the Episcopal church was largely able to avoid party strife…which was rocking the Church of England. It was a blessing….meanwhile by 1990 there were only 6,000 Reformed Episcopalians. Interesting when separated from ECUSA the Reformed Episcopal Church ( REC) nearly tore itself apart over whether ministers should wear black scarfs. It revised the 39 articles to 37…only recently reversed because of high Church refugees from TEC …who have split the REC and caued evangelicals to leave!

    The REC gave episcopacy to the Free Church of England in the 1870s. It soon split into three denominations with less than 3,000 adherents. It was re-united in 1927..but was riddled with feeemasonry and never grew, There are now less than 1,000 members in England and they are divided..beteween conservatives and fundamentalists…with massive law suits ahead. One breakaway bishop ( on the conservative faction) is a former Roman Catholic priest.

    In South Africa the evangelicals refused to join the Anglican province in the 1870s ( and that church was saved internal party strife becoming largely Anglo-catholic) With the help of Sydney it became a denomination in its own right…the Church of England in South Africa ( CESA)… the bishops of the latter presided at Apartheid funcions of state.

    It is also interesting that most of the high church dioceses are riddled with former Roman Catholics, many of whom are re-married divorcees
    who could not secure annulments.

    What interesting folk Anglicans are.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “It is also interesting that most of the high church dioceses are riddled with former Roman Catholics, many of whom are re-married divorcees
    who could not secure annulments.
    What interesting folk Anglicans are” – (RIW)

    Thank you Robert Ian Williams for your wisdom.
    Your true colours are showing. I suppose the real catalyst for this outburst is the fact that there are ‘former Roman Catholics’ (apostates from your new-found religion?) among those who now populate the ‘High Church dioceses’ within the C.of E., whom you now refer to in this post.

    Dear me, Robert, your whole world must be turning upside down – with all the mixed up antipathies you are trying to reconcile within your newfound religion. I wonder if the ‘Forward in Faith’ -‘Backward in Despair’ – afficionados would find you useful (or not) in their ongoing lust for credibility in today’s world of the Church?

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Dear Ron, I thought my comments were helpful.. I am pointing out that the Evangelicals left the Episcopal church in the nineteenth century and left it in peace.devoid of their litigatoons and schismatic spirit.. it was only in the 1960s that they came back, with institutions like the Trinity Episcopal Schol of Ministry…that is what lies behind CANA and the Pittsburgh schism.
    Will some one please stand up and defend me!

  • Ford Elms says:

    I agree with yout comments on Evangelicals, but, I’m a self confessed anti-Evangelical bigot trying to mend his ways. However, I have also tried to avoid wading into your spat with Fr. Ron, not necessarily successfully. You left Anglicanism and went to Rome, and from what you say it wasn’t out of love of Rome and acceptance of what Rome teaches as much as it was out of hatred/disappointment/hurt of Anglicanism. I sympathize, I still have some sense of it, and there was a time I was singing form your hymnbook. Fr. Ron seems to be reacting to your anti-Anglican antipathy. But, I agree entirely that the modern rise of Evangelicalism has brought dissention with it. How could it do otherwise? Those who KNOW they are more holy because they are so much more obedient than the rest of us aren’t all that motivated to get along with people they think of as a bunch of unrepentant sinners. Fear and weak faith are dangerous things.

  • Erika Baker says:


    “I’m a self confessed anti-Evangelical bigot trying to mend his ways”

    If you’re serious about that, you could do worse than to start here.

    It’s a short thread but contains good info on further reading.

  • RIW,

    In your comment “The Benefits of Evangelical defection” missed a couple of points. One relatively minor. The REC adopted 35 Articles of Religion, not 37.

    The second problem was an error of omission. The new bishop of the Free Church of England – Evangelical Connexion is a CONVERTED former Roman Catholic priest. He has published articles declaring the error of his former ways until saved by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ.


  • Cheryl Va. says:

    Thanks for the link Erica. Her response to Turnbull is more gentle than my own and well considered.

    Turnbull’s suggested four marks of what makes an Evangelical were depressing:
    – Supreme authority of Scripture for all matters of faith and conduct
    – Doctrinal marks – the heart of which is – Substitutionary Atonement
    – Personal relationship with a personal God
    – Evangelism (as opposed to ‘mission’)

    Nothing in there about a loving God. Nothing in there about faith before works or law. Nothing in there about God’s rolling out of Creation. Nothing in there about respect for the prophet/prophetic works.

    It reads more like

    “The scribes are the only ones who’ve got it right”.

    “We scribes all agree, and Jesus is the fall guy for any mistakes we make (BTW all else are condemned and damned to hell- because the real God is capricious and vengeful and only Jesus can calm that God down – but apparently Jesus has replaced that God. Conundrum – who is the wrathful and vengeful God for whom subsitionary atonement is required? Perhaps that’s why it’s okay to do forced conversions and genocide – Jesus is now that wrathful and vengeful God in complete fulfillment, so to obviously someone else has to suffer…”

    “Scribes can’t do anything wrong because we have a personal relationship with god, and god told us to do these things, so we are innocent (and if suffering is required see point 2 above – if someone is going to suffer it won’t be the scribes)”

    “The scribes are not on a mission to save or heal this world, they are on a mission to recruit evangelicals like themselves who will aid and abet their tyranny and scriptural hyperboles”.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “He has published articles declaring the error of his former ways until saved by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ.”

    Because everyone knows that Jesus taught the Gospel to His Disciples for three years, they preached the Gospel to others, then, for some reason it just disappeared until, 1500 years later, some men in Europe began reading the Bible in their own languages and suddenly the Light of the Gospel sprang forth for the first time in a millennium and a half. That it was the True Light was shown by the fact that it barely resembled anything that had gone before. And, of course, the fact that it promptly shattered into several thousand different groups based on various interpretations of some small point or other, all believing themselves better than those whose interpretation of those small points is different, well, that’s proof that it is truly from God and not just a matter of fallible human beings having to be right and trying to impose their will on everybody else.

  • Ford Elms says:

    Erika, thanks!

    Cheryl, my sentiments exactly. But, the blogger doesn’t think this way. I look forward to reading more. What I am currently asking is how anyone can claim that non-Evangelicals do not have a personal relationship with God, or consider that mission and Evangelism are not both sides of the same coin, especially given what Scruptiure says about doing the will of the father and letting one’slight shine, etc. That and this whole business of Substitutionary Atonement being central. I look forward to experiencing more of the thoughts of an Evangelical who does not seem to need the Law laid out clearly either as a salve for weak faith or a yardstick by which to measure everybody else’s righteousness.

  • David H. says:

    I rather enjoyed RIW’s brief, historical summary of evangelicalism in the Anglican world. And as Ford commented above, “I agree entirely that the modern rise of Evangelicalism has brought dissension with it. How could it do otherwise?…”

    I also quite agree that the mindset of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, and the priests they graduate, is behind a great deal of the schismatic mischief in TEC these days.

    So Robert, would that count as a defense ? 🙂

  • Cheryl Va. says:


    The blogger is nicer than I am.

    My job is not to make friends, but either to heal this world or ensure that all souls are provided suitable dwellings in what comes next.

    What some solo scriptural scribes have forgotten is that everything (and I do mean everything) comes from God. So God can be found in animism, paganism, buddhism, islam….

    God is just and God does not show favouritism nor partiality in Law. Therefore all souls will be fairly and compassionately dealt with. (After all, to treat one camp with compassion and all others with wrathful vengeance would show both favouritism and partiality).

    E.g. Exodus 23:2-3 ““Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.” (Would that they had remembered this before Pilot when there was a chance for clemency for Jesus).

    Leviticus 19:15-16 “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. “ ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “ ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD.””

    Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”

    See also Acts 10:34 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 James 2:1 Deuteronomy 1:17 Deuteronomy 16:19 2 Chronicles 19:7 Job 13:8-10 or 34:17-19 Proverbs 28:21 Luke 20:21

    Malachi 2:9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”

    1 Timothy 5:21 “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.”

  • Ford Elms says:

    “So God can be found in animism, paganism, buddhism, islam…”

    I firmly believe this, so did the Fathers. Didn’t Augustine say there’s nothing new in Christianity, it’s there in paganism somewhere? Everybody got some of the Light till it was fully revealed in Christ. I can’t wait for the consevos to jump on this as some kind of pluralism. Reject the Fathers and pretend to be “orthodox”. How fun!

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