Friday, September 19, 2008

Something Different???

I've been thinking today about what happened just yesterday with the supposed "deposing" of the Rt. Rev. Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh by the Episcopal House of Bishops. I've read enough of the Canons to know that what "occurred" yesterday, in fact, did not occur because the HOB and the Presiding Bishop didn't follow their own rules.

All of this was expected to happen. Why? Because the Presiding Bishop of TEC wanted it to be so. Bishop Duncan, like Bishops Schofield and Cox, was denied the "due process" that the Canons of the Church specifically spell out. At least Bishop Schofield had the courtesy of being "inhibited" and the 60 day grace period to recant his actions (clearly something that he wasn't ever going to do). Even so, like +Schofield, +Duncan was denied any opportunity to face the "charges" against him and to give defense. Does that sound anything like a Christian approach to you? It doesn't to me either, nor will it to other Christians around the world. But TEC seems not to care about that.

From various reports, there were several attempts made before the HOBs to draw attention to these realities and provide for the "intent of the Canons." All were summarily dismissed, but again that was no surprise.

To be certain, and this is good news to the faithful in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Duncan is STILL a Bishop! When you don't follow the rules, your actions don't stand! TEC will pretend and act like they are valid, but that doesn't make them so. Like Bishop Schofield, Bishop Duncan has been received unanimously into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone by their House of Bishops and by Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables. When Pittsburgh votes on October 4th at its own Convention to depart from TEC (as with the Diocese of San Joaquin) Bishop Duncan will return again. I hope in the meantime, Bishop Bob has time for some rest!

All this plays out almost exactly like a Monty Python sketch - except that its not funny. Not funny at all. It's sad. Sad that the grand old Episcopal Church has become like this. In truth I was actually hoping and praying that "Something Different" would happen! That the TEC HOBs would stop and reflect upon what they were doing and ask, "Is this right? Is this godly? Is this charitable? Is this legal?" But THAT would be Something Different!

So what happens now? I certainly think the time to realistically consider that what TEC is doing will continue. Although the opportunity for the Church to repent of is ways is always possible - it's just not probable.

Recently, Steve Wood (and I'm assuming this is the Rev. Steve Wood) who identifies himself as the Senior Pastor (Rector) of St. Andrew's Church in Mt. Pleasant SC recently had dinner with the Presiding Bishop in New York. He was invited because the dinner gathered representatives of the largest Episcopal parishes in the country - of which St. Andrews qualifies. To make a long story short though.... on his own blog ( he predicts what's going to happen next:

What I think:

I think that the financial challenges facing the reorganization of the
National Church offices could be addressed with a return to creedal Christianity
and a cessation of the lawsuits.

I think that the conservative/re-asserting remnant will get their legislative
clocks cleaned at General Convention 2009.

I think that B033 is going to be repealed at General Convention 2009.

I think that the marriage (in States where the legislature or courts have
ruled this legal) or blessing of same-sex persons will be authorized at General
Convention 2009.

I think that the 2009 General Convention will modify the “Dennis Canon”,
giving the National Church property ownership (it’s hard to remember that until
1979 PARISHES “owned” their property - not the Diocese or National Church).

I think that many in leadership at the 2009 General Convention will be
content to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

I think that based on the experience with women’s ordination the 2009 General
Convention will debate, and defeat, a “conscious clause” with regard to same-sex
ordinations and blessings/marriages.

I think that the above actions will render it impossible for anyone left from
“my side” to remain within TEC (though, of course, some will).

And so... I also hope and pray for Something Different to happen. But I think Steve is right on the money!
God bless Bishop Duncan, Bishop Schofield, Archbishop Venables... AND...
God Bless YOU!!

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