See Mark Harris’s reflection on this post on Preludium here
The saying is the Holy Spirit moves during the election of bishops. The news out of ACNA is who was nearly elected by the special convention of ACNA’s Diocese of Pittsburgh. The special convention was because Bishop Bob Duncan is retiring. Duncan had earlier stepped down from his other position as Archbishop of ACNA.
The ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh has elected the Rev. James Hobby on the fifth ballot. The election to succeed Bishop Robert Duncan, founding Archbishop of ACNA, took place Saturday in a special convention. Bishop-elect Hobby is subject to confirmation by ACNA’s College of Bishops. Unlike in the Episcopal Church, there is no role for standing committees of other dioceses in the confirmation of bishops-elect.
The Rev. Jonathan Millard, who is divorced, ran a close second to Hobby. Millard was nominated from the floor, joining five nominees presented by the nominating committee.
Peter Smith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Duncan cautioned deputies about a vote that would challenge the teaching of the College of Bishops:
Before balloting on Saturday morning, delegates (sic) held a closed-door discussion about the ramifications of the candidacy of Rev. Millard. While pastor of a large parish and experienced in administration, he had been divorced last year after an extended separation. Bishop Duncan cautioned that, given the bishops’ emphasis on “the lifelong permanence of holy matrimony,” it would be a challenge for them to confirm such an election.
The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has this statement from Bishop Duncan on a page titled From the Floor:
Confirmation Caveat From the Bishop
All elections must be confirmed by the College of Bishops. Bishops are servants not only of the local diocese but also of the whole Church. The Anglican Church in North America has worked very hard to restore teaching about the life-long permanence of Holy Matrimony. It can be anticipated that the College of Bishops will find the confirmation of a bishop-elect who has been divorced very challenging, and it is possible that confirmation may be denied. This is a matter for consideration in Special Convention deliberations and for the same prayerfulness that has characterized the whole of the discernment process.
The tabulation of the vote comes via email from Peter Smith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Clergy vote first, lay vote second.
The Rev. Bill Driscoll – 8, 9
The Rev. Jack Gabig PhD – 12, 11
The Ven. Canon Jack Lumanog – 13, 23
The Rev. Jonathan Millard – 38, 35
The Rev. Jim Hobby – 32, 23
The Rev. John Paul Chaney – 12, 6
D – 2, 1
G – 7, 4
L – 15, 24
M – 44, 41
H – 41, 36
C – 5, 0
M – 48, 41
H – 48, 44
L – 16, 22
M – 51, 39
H – 55, 53
L – 8, 14
H – 93, 75
L – 18, 30
Despite Duncan’s caution, the special convention came very close to creating a crisis in ACNA. A significant portion of clergy and lay voted for a candidate whose behavior violated the “teaching about the life-long permanence of Holy Matrimony” as delivered by the ACNA College of Bishops.
After an overwhelming vote here over the weekend by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that created the second schism with the national church since the 2003 election and consecration of an openly gay Episcopal bishop, both sides were hoping for a simple resolution.
“If the national church would stay out of it, we could work it out,” said the Rev. Jonathan Millard, who favored secession and led the convention on Saturday. “And I think 90 percent of the churches here would agree with me.” Mr. Millard was referring to that most secular of issues: resolving who owns what among the millions of dollars’ worth of diocesan and parish property.