Daily Archives: September 19, 2008

Bishop Bruce MacPherson (Western Louisiana) writes his diocese from the HoB meeting

There are so many excellent statements being published by various bishops and Primates. We will not be able to post them all. But Bp. MacPherson’s letter from Salt Lake City, posted at Brad Drell’s blog, is worthy of a stand-alone entry. Bp. MacPherson is the President of the Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice. As his letter indicates, that gave him a big role in the proceedings. This elf is thankful for his bold and consistent witness, that his position of leadership has not caused him to compromise. –elfgirl

An excerpt:

In the course of the session during which the charge was addressed, the Presiding Bishop’s ruling to depose was challenged, and I was amongst those to support this challenge, and this being based upon the irregularities stated above. This action failed as a two-thirds vote of the House was required to overturn. This was subsequently followed by a request for a roll call vote was asked for by nine bishops, myself included.

A question now is where this will lead, and this is unknown at the moment. What we do know is the Diocese of Pittsburgh will face many challenges, and sadly, challenges that will be disruptive to the ministry of the Church and proclamation of the Gospel in word and action. Our prayers for Bishop Duncan, his family, and the people of the diocese, are important and urged.

I must stop for now as I the remainder of the meeting is before me, and my flight home to follow shortly thereafter. I will however, close with a concern. The concern that I have is the fact that by this action, a dangerous precedent has been established as applied to the interpretation and execution of the Constitution and Canons of the Church. The danger in this is that it can, and unless terminated, will lead to the living out of a polity and governance in a manner that is not a part of our heritage nor the intent of the Canons as established by General Convention.

Go to Brad’s blog and read the whole letter!

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

More statements on Bishop Duncan — updated

NOTE: I expect to turn this into a more-organized round-up later, grouping responses by various categories (Primates, TEC Bishops (no voting / yes voting), Anglican Organizations, etc.) Feel free to let us know what would be most helpful. For now this is a bit of a jumble — basically adding links as we find them. Stay tuned. We also hear the Dio. Pittsburgh may be setting up a special website to archive all the messages of support received for Bishop Duncan from around the world. Please post links and statements received by your own diocesan bishops in the comments. Thanks! –elfgirl


Abp. Peter Jensen of Sydney

Bishop Iker

There are statements by various TEC bishops, including +Paul Marshall, +Gary Lillibridge, +Jon Bruno and +Dean Wolfe (and others) at the Lead

Here’s a statement by Anglican Mainstream
Anglican Communion Network / Common Cause
CANA / Bp. Martyn Minns

Update 2: More statements — added 11 a.m. Eastern

Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bp. MacPherson, Western Louisiana
the Rev. Todd Wetzel, Anglicans United

Update 3 2 p.m. Eastern
Bp. Cavalcanti, Anglican Diocese of Recife
Bp. David Anderson, American Anglican Council
Bp. John Howe, Central Florida (received by e-mail, posted above)
Forward in Faith International
Archbishops +Venables, +Gomez, +Nzimbi, +Kolini
Bp. John-David Schofield, Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (received by e-mail, posted at SF)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Archbishops Express Support for Bishop Duncan (+Venables, +Gomez, +Nzimbi, +Kolini)

From the Diocese of Pittsburgh website, here are statements from +Venables, +Gomez, Nzimbi, +Kolini. Also posted there are statements from +Mouneer Anis, +Peter Jesen of Sydney, and +Cavalcanti, Diocese of Recife.

A Joint Statement from Archbishops Venables of the Southern Cone, Gomez of the West Indies and Nzimbi of Kenya.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen. We the undersigned are grieved at the violation of catholic order in the declaration of deposition of The Right Rev. Robert Duncan by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and consider it to be invalid. Legitimate actions of catholic order must rise from Biblical catholic faith. Actions such as this continue to alienate countless Christian people not only within, but beyond the limits of the Communion. We continue to recognize the fidelity and validity of Bishop Duncan’s orders, role, and ministry. Without reservation, we continue in full sacramental communion with him as an Anglican bishop. We thank God that by the vote of the Provincial Synod he has been given membership in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Our fellowship and shared ministry with him is not disrupted.

Yours in Christ,
The Most Rev Gregory Venables
The Most Rev Drexel Gomez
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi

From Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda:
September 17, 2008

News is circulating around the United State and the Anglican Communion that the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops is likely to depose the Rt. Rev. Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, this week at a special meeting. I have known and worked with Bishop Duncan for a number of years, and I know him to be a godly man.

As he faces this time of trial, I encourage him to remember that he is not being deposed by God, but only by man. He will remain very much a part of the new work that God is creating within Anglicanism. In addition, he and his family will remain in my thoughts and prayers, and I am confident that the Lord will bless Bishop Duncan in this new season of ministry.

I am reminded of Joseph’s words to his brothers that are recorded in Genesis. <> (Genesis 50 : 20a, New King James Version). May this also be true for Bishop Duncan as he continues his faithful service to God and the Church.

Most Reverend Emmanuel Kolini
Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, West Indies

Bishop Howe writes his diocese re: the HoB action against Bp. Duncan

Received via e-mail from the Diocese of Central Florida, here is an update from Salt Lake City by Bishop John Howe:

Bishop Howe provided a recent update on the House of Bishops’ meeting in Salt Lake City and granted his permission for me to share that update with the Cathedral community.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I suspect that by the time I have finished composing this post you will have already learned that the House of Bishops has this afternoon voted to depose Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for “abandoning the communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of this Church.”

The vote was 88 in favor of deposition, 35 against, and there were 4 abstentions. I voted against. I want to share with you my impressions of what has just happened.

First, the background of “where we are” was reviewed last night primarily by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Beers. He apprized us of his interpretation and advice to the Presiding Bishop regarding the meaning and interpretation of the Abandonment canon. He told us that he had conferred with a number of Diocesan Chancellors in rendering his opinion, and that the Parliamentarian of our House agrees with his interpretation and advice.

In particular, it is his contention (and the PB told us in her letter last week that it would be her ruling) that the House may move to depose without the necessity of the PB first imposing inhibition on the Bishop in question (an action that would require the consent of the three most senior active Bishops), and secondly, he contends that “a majority of all those entitled to vote” refers to those PRESENT at the HOB meeting, and not to ALL the Bishops of the House, whether present or not.

My own conviction is that on both of these points Mr. Beers’ interpretation is incorrect, as both I and our Standing Committee have previously stated (following similar depositions last spring).

This afternoon I offered this argument: “I want to compare what Mr. Beers said last night to the argument that many have advanced in favor of ordaining persons directly to the priesthood – without the requirement that they become deacons first. Cogent arguments can be made for that position, but that is not what our canons stipulate. They say a person SHALL be a deacon first, and only afterward may they be ordained priest. You can wish it were otherwise, and you can speculate all you like about intent, but if you want to change things – change the canons.

“Similarly, our canons are clear – not at all ‘ambiguous’ – however much you might not like them. ‘A Bishop SHALL be inhibited, with the consent of the three senior Bishops,’ before deposition can be imposed. The way to change that is to change the canons. Bishop Bob Duncan has not been inhibited, and he cannot be deposed.”

However, in today’s meeting both that ruling and the one regarding how much of a majority is required for a deposition were upheld by a vote of the House. (It would have required a 2/3 majority to overturn them, and the votes were not even close to a simple majority.)

I told the Diocesan Board last week that I was contemplating the possibility of disassociating myself from the vote altogether, in that I believed it was canonically illegitimate. However, with the PB’s rulings being upheld by the House (and having no other, final, authority to determine the matter), I saw no other course but to vote No with regard to the deposition.

The discussion and debate today lasted across both this morning’s and this afternoon’s sessions, for a total of approximately six hours. There was a good deal of sentiment expressed that any action by this House should not occur until after the Diocese of Pittsburgh has voted for a second time to remove its accession to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, a matter which is scheduled to be before its Convention within the next couple of weeks. A number of people argued that until/unless that decision becomes final “abandonment” has not actually occurred, either by the Bishop or by the Diocese as a whole.

Others, however, argued that in allowing and urging the Diocese to withdraw its accession, and thus to attempt to remove itself from The Episcopal Church, Bishop Duncan has long since violated and “abandoned” his loyalty to The Episcopal Church. Some of the Bishops who are also lawyers argued that the case law of Pennsylvania would make it more difficult for The Episcopal Church to press its case if we delayed our action until after Pittsburgh’s Diocesan Convention.

My sense of the discussion today is that it was respectful, painful, and deeply tinged with sadness. There was a good deal of recognition and concern that many, both within The Episcopal Church and across the Anglican Communion, will see today’s action as precipitous, pre-emptive, and vindictive. Some expressed the concern that this may well solidify the previously undecided in Pittsburgh to join in the support of Bishop Duncan, by making him, in effect, a “martyr.”

In the end there was a Roll Call vote, and, as I stated above, 88 voted in favor of deposition, 35 against, and there were 4 abstentions. A simple majority was needed to depose (under the PB’s ruling), but in fact slightly more than 2/3 voted to depose.

I understand that Archbishop Greg Venables of the Southern Cone has already declared that Bishop Duncan is a member in good standing in the Province of the Southern Cone, and the widespread expectation is that a) the Diocese of Pittsburgh will, indeed, vote to remove itself from The Episcopal Church, and align with the Southern Cone, and b) once it has done so it will ask Bishop Duncan to continue serving as its Bishop. And then, of course, the real battles will begin.

Bob Duncan is my friend, and Pittsburgh was my Diocese from 1972 to 1976. Bob and I have not always agreed, but we have been on the same side of most of the “issues,” and I believe him to be a fearless and courageous contender for the Faith. I believe this is a very sad day for the Church, and I find myself in mourning.

As always, thank you for your prayers.

Warmest regards in our Lord,
The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Statement by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. on a Comprehensive Approach to Market Developments

The underlying weakness in our financial system today is the illiquid mortgage assets that have lost value as the housing correction has proceeded. These illiquid assets are choking off the flow of credit that is so vitally important to our economy. When the financial system works as it should, money and capital flow to and from households and businesses to pay for home loans, school loans and investments that create jobs. As illiquid mortgage assets block the system, the clogging of our financial markets has the potential to have significant effects on our financial system and our economy.

As we all know, lax lending practices earlier this decade led to irresponsible lending and irresponsible borrowing. This simply put too many families into mortgages they could not afford. We are seeing the impact on homeowners and neighborhoods, with 5 million homeowners now delinquent or in foreclosure. What began as a sub-prime lending problem has spread to other, less-risky mortgages, and contributed to excess home inventories that have pushed down home prices for responsible homeowners.

A similar scenario is playing out among the lenders who made those mortgages, the securitizers who bought, repackaged and resold them, and the investors who bought them. These troubled loans are now parked, or frozen, on the balance sheets of banks and other financial institutions, preventing them from financing productive loans. The inability to determine their worth has fostered uncertainty about mortgage assets, and even about the financial condition of the institutions that own them. The normal buying and selling of nearly all types of mortgage assets has become challenged.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Stock Market

Vast Bailout by U.S. Proposed in Bid to Stem Financial Crisis

The head of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve began discussions on Thursday with Congressional leaders on what could become the biggest bailout in United States history.

While details remain to be worked out, the plan is likely to authorize the government to buy distressed mortgages at deep discounts from banks and other institutions. The proposal could result in the most direct commitment of taxpayer funds so far in the financial crisis that Fed and Treasury officials say is the worst they have ever seen.

Senior aides and lawmakers said the goal was to complete the legislation by the end of next week, when Congress is scheduled to adjourn. The legislation would grant new authority to the administration and require what several officials said would be a substantial appropriation of federal dollars, though no figures were disclosed in the meeting.

Democrats, having their own desire for a second round of economic aid for struggling Americans, see the administration’s request as a way to win White House approval of new spending to help stimulate the economy in exchange for support for the Treasury request. Democrats also say they will push for relief for homeowners faced with foreclosure in return for supporting any broad bailout of struggling financial institutions.

“What we are working on now is an approach to deal with systemic risks and stresses in our capital markets,” said Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary. “And we talked about a comprehensive approach that would require legislation to deal with the illiquid assets on financial institutions’ balance sheets,” he added.

One model for the proposal could be the Resolution Trust Corporation, which bought up and eventually sold hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of real estate in the 1990s from failed savings-and-loan companies. In this case, however, the government is expected to take over only distressed assets, not entire institutions. And it is not clear that a new agency would be created to manage and dispose of the assets, or whether the Federal Reserve or Treasury Department would do so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Stock Market

Hannah Seligson on the practice of Group Dating: All Together Now

To the untrained eye and ear, the scene of young professionals sipping cocktails with a steady stream of popular music playing in the background seemed like a typical Thursday night at Forum, a trendy Union Square watering hole for those born around, say, 1983. The only clues that there could be something out of the ordinary taking place were a bright orange sign that said “Ignighter” and a large supply of blue drink tickets that were cycling through the crowd. No, this wasn’t a corporate morale booster, an alumni gathering or a charity event. It was a group date.

Group-dating — think of it as double-dating on steroids or as Facebook in the flesh — is making a noticeable blip on the dating radar, as a younger generation turns away from such courtship rituals as the blind date. Even Web sites like e-Harmony and Match.com have become passé. Instead of just going out alone or in pairs, a bunch of people — roughly equal numbers of each sex — engage in a social activity together. One group of three or four friends meets up with another.

Group-dating plays to the tastes of a generation that’s become disillusioned with Internet dating sites, particularly the lies that users tell about themselves online; the futile process of trying to meet people at bars; and blind dates that feel like job interviews. Instead, these young men and women want to have their dating lives simulate the way they meet people in real life: through concentric circles of friends. Especially for recent college graduates who suddenly find themselves without the social anchors of a campus, going out on “a random,” as Internet dates are referred to, is like jumping into a pool of sharks.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Couple fight California's gender-neutral language in wedding license

Last month, Rachel Bird exchanged vows with Gideon Codding in a church wedding in front of family and friends. As far as Bird is concerned, she is a bride.

To the state of California, however, she is either “Party A” or “Party B.”

Those are the terms that have replaced “bride” and “groom” on the state’s new gender-neutral marriage licenses. And to Bird and Codding, that is unacceptable.
“We are traditionalists ”“ we just want to be called bride and groom,” said Bird, 25, who works part time for her father’s church. “Those words have been used for generations and now they just changed them.”

In May, after the California State Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal, the courts mandated state officials to provide gender-neutral licenses and other marriage forms. “Bride” and “groom” became “Party A” and “Party B.”

Bird and Codding have refused to complete the new forms, a stand that has already cost them. Because their marriage is not registered with the state, Bird cannot sign up for Codding’s medical benefits or legally take his name. They are now exploring their options, she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

ACI: The Deposition Vote

From here:

The Anglican Communion Institute receives favorably the news that considerable canonical discussion took place, or was sought, by as many as 36 Bishops in yesterday’s proceedings. It is significant that over a quarter of the House of Bishops (and, including the probable votes of those not present, it would be close to a third) voted against this deposition, many apparently on the basis that the Presiding Bishop and her supporters were overturning the constitutional and canonical foundations of the church on this matter. The legitimacy of the House’s action and the Presiding Bishop’s leadership has been placed in serious question before the eyes of the Communion and the larger public. No one should minimize the role this may play in the unfolding re-establishment of the Communion’s common life.

Over the past weeks we have been pleased to be able to post Mr Mark McCall’s discussion of these and other matters, of interest to all who do not wish to see the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church bent to foreign purpose. The Communion Partner Bishops and many others on this occasion clearly recognized the danger of dismissing procedures put in place precisely to avoid preemptive deposition of a Bishop of the Church (the inhibition phase and a required majority of all Bishops). We are grateful for their witness. We will shortly be posting a response from Mr McCall on the issue of hierarchy and canonical order in TEC. This addresses a paper, prepared for a group in Pittsburgh , defending a form of hierarchy which arguably extends to what was manifested in yesterday’s vote to depose.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Bishop Robert Duncan out as bishop

“It is a sad day for me, a faithful son of that church,” Duncan said following the House of Bishops’ decision at a meeting in Salt Lake City. The bishops voted 88-35 with four abstentions to unseat Duncan.

Duncan, who has been the bishop in Pittsburgh for 11 years, remained upbeat.

“It is a hopeful day because of the unstoppable reformation that is overtaking the Christian church in the West,” he said.” It is also a hopeful day for me personally as I am unanimously welcomed into the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, an act applauded by Anglican archbishops, bishops, clergy and people all around the world.”

A spokesman for the Pittsburgh group Across the Aisle, which opposes Duncan’s efforts to secede, said the bishop and his family “remain in our prayers.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Notable and Quotable

For former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who flew in the face of world opinion in imposing capital controls to ride out the financial crisis 11 years ago, the current credit crisis provided a chance for yet another swipe at Washington. “I remember how well we were told never to bail out failing companies,” he wrote in his blog (www.chedet.com) this week. “But in the last one year the Fed has bailed out dozens of failing banks, mortgage corporations and other businesses,” the 84-year-old mused.

The South China Morning Post

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Episcopalians vote to oust Pittsburgh bishop

Bishop Duncan will remain on the diocesan payroll as an administrative adviser, but with no sacramental ministry or authority to act for the diocese, said the Rev. David Wilson, president of the Standing Committee and rector of St. David’s in Peters.

“It’s not going to make a whole lot of difference. We have not looked forward to this day, but we are prepared for it” he said.

The Rev. James Simons of St. Michael of the Valley, Ligonier, the only member of the Standing Committee opposed to secession, agreed.

“I’m saddened by it,” he said of the bishops’ vote. “I think it’s unfortunate that this has happened. The bishops should have waited until after the vote takes place at the diocesan convention. I suspect this will encourage people to vote for realignment. The Standing Committee is not going to change course.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Statement from the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh

We are profoundly disappointed by this action, and view it as yet another tragic rejection of the historic faith of our diocese and the majority consensus of the Anglican Communion. We continue to believe that the House of Bishops has clearly misapplied and misinterpreted the canons as we stated to the Presiding Bishop in our letter of May 28.

In light of this unfair and improper action to “depose” our bishop, we now assume our responsibility under the canons to be the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. Bishop Duncan will continue to support the work of our diocese under the terms of his administrative employment agreement and within the bounds of his deposition, providing many of the services that he previously performed for the diocese. Our diocesan convention of October 4 will go forward as planned, at which the canonically required re-alignment vote will be taken.

We understand that Bishop Duncan has been received as a member in good standing of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone. We rejoice at this news.

The Standing Committee asks that the clergy and people of Pittsburgh pray for the Duncans, the diocesan staff and the elected leadership of the diocese in the days ahead. We stand firmly on the promise of Holy Scripture found in Romans 8:28. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

The Rev David D. Wilson, President
St. David’s Church, Peter’s Twp PA

The Rev. Karen B. Stevenson
Trinity Church, Washington PA

The Rev. Geoffery W. Chapman
St. Stephen’s Church, Sewickley PA

Mr. Wicks Stephens, Secretary
Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh PA

Dr. Theresa T. Newell
St. Stephen’s Church, Sewickley PA

Mrs. Gladys Hunt-Mason
St. Stephen’s Church, McKeesport PA

Mr. Kenneth Herbst
St. Peter’s Church, Butler PA

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

House of Bishops Daily Account Thursday, September 18

Bishop Gary Lillibridge of West Texas
“As difficult as this decision is for me and many others in our Church, it is important to realize that the decision in the House today was not based on the theological convictions of Bishop Duncan, but rather on the evidence presented regarding statements and actions concerning moves to take the Diocese of Pittsburgh out of the Episcopal Church.”.

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego
“Today’s decision was difficult and emotional but a necessary action to care for the order of the Church, the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the collegiality of the House of Bishops.”

Bishop Porter Taylor of Western North Carolina
“Our decisions today were very difficult and came out of our deep love for our Church, a commitment to honor our ordination vows, and a desire to strengthen the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Episcopal Church Pension benefits, church insurance are secure, CPG says

(ENS) CPG’s home page features a short statement pertaining to the Clergy Pension Plan, saying that “despite recent market volatility, the Fund’s financial condition remains very strong, with assets well in excess of liabilities.”

That statement links to a second, slightly longer statement on the Clergy Pension Plan. That statement reads in full:

“In light of the recent market volatility, the Board and staff of the Church Pension Fund want to reassure participants in the Clergy Pension Plan that the Fund’s financial condition remains very strong, with assets well in excess of liabilities.

“The Clergy Pension Plan maintains substantial reserves, and the recent market volatility does not begin to call into question the soundness of the Fund. The pension benefits of the Clergy Pension Plan are fully secure.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Personal Finance, Stock Market