UPDATED - Pittsburgh foresees a fork in the road

UPDATE - The Boston Globe reports

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who came to Nairobi for the consecrations, said he expects to see a new Anglican province in North America that will replace the Episcopal Church.

"We are realigning," said Duncan, who added he would attempt to pull his entire diocese out of the Episcopal Church, a move that would raise an unprecedented set of legal and financial questions about the ownership of parish buildings and diocesan property.

Original post

153 clergy and lay leaders associated with the diocese have signed "A Pittsburgh Compact for a Way Forward in this Season." Several phrases indicate the season: "... a season where fundamental differences of faith and practice have torn our Church and our Communion, perhaps beyond mending ... perhaps there is a fork in the road ahead that may divide our fellowship ... it appears to us that our Church is choosing to ‘walk apart’ from the fellowship and life of the Anglican Communion. In response, God appears to be calling many of us to disassociate from the Episcopal Church while at the same time He is calling others to remain as missionaries within an increasingly hostile ecclesiastical culture...."

The compact concludes:

We are concerned that the history of the church is littered with the wreckage of strife and division, and we do not wish to add to the ruins. We are mindful that our own hands are not clean in the development of this history, and we are particularly brokenhearted over the pride that has too often accompanied our witness. Even as we stand in the shadow of emerging divisions, we beg God for the forgiveness we need and the opportunity for a different future than the one we fear is rapidly coming upon us.

We are mindful of God’s weakness displayed in Christ’s Cross, and of the Apostle Paul’s consistent advocacy of the weakness of the Cross as the way of Christian life and ministry. Because of this, we forsake the spirit of condemnation and the opportunity for litigation. We look instead for clarity and charity towards all, and will work towards any prospect for just mediation. We pray to God for the heart to bear any difficulties with joyful grace, peaceful spirits, and confidence in His provision.

Among the signatories are clergy at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. Bishops of the diocese did not sign the compact.

Conservative comment on the Compact is available here.

The Diocesan, Bob Duncan, was present at the cross-boundary Episcopal consecrations in Kenya and Uganda, as well as the cross-boundary consecration of Martyn Minns. The Living Church reported on July 31

“Never, ever has he [the Archbishop of Canterbury] spoken publicly in defense of the orthodox in the United States,” Bishop Duncan said of the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, adding that “the cost is his office."
Williams has not invited Minns to Lambeth 2008.

The compact is posted on the diocese's Parish Toolbox website. The website's about statement begins "Parishes and people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh face significant choices this year about our continued relationship to The Episcopal Church. http://www.parishtoolbox.org is a diocesan resource developed to help parishes and people make those choices." (July 27, 2007)

Comments (3)

I haven't gone back to read all of the relevant documents, but this seems to contradict everything that Bishop Duncan said to the judge in the case that Calvary Church brought against his diocese.

Interesting to note the Bishops Duncan and Scriven did not sign along with other 153. If Bishop Duncan is so unhappy in The Episcopal Church why does he not renounce his orders, wish us well and leave for a faith community he feels more at home in rather than continuing this soap opera - it's getting to be rather tiring after four years. I'm sure the folks who really believe he is on to something will gladly follow him into a new community of christian purity.

Richard Warner


At first read, the full text seems full of contrived wording (forsaking litigation, recognizing that "our own hands are not clean" without offering remedy, etc.).

It may also be worth noting that this diocese has now officially altered its diocesan materials to remove any future option of a full relationship with the Episcopal Church (see http://parishtoolbox.org/index.php/tbx/entry/30/).

There is a lengthy list of signatories -- perhaps 120 or so clergy and a couple of dozen "lay leaders." Is it known if/whether any clergy refused to sign on? Or whether they felt pressure or coercion to sign?

Rick Dulaner

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