The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Writes the TEC Bishops About Recent and Upcoming Events

For the House of Bishops

My brothers and sisters:

As discussed in our spring meeting, we will hold a special meeting of the House of Bishops 17”“ 19 September. We are exploring the possibilities of holding this meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will get back to you in the near future once the location is certain. The 16th is recommended as a travel day and the meeting will conclude at midday on the 19th. The main purpose of this meeting will be to reflect and deliberate together following the Lambeth Conference. I encourage you to be present for the entirety of the meeting as your voice and presence are needed and appreciated. Those bishops who will have been consecrated since our last spring meeting are encouraged to join us.

Concerning the issue of Bishop Duncan, all relevant materials have been posted on the College of Bishops website, including the Review Committee’s certification and the two submissions the Committee reviewed. It does not include the exhibits to either submission, which are voluminous. If any of you wish to see them, you can contact David Beers or Mary Kostel. Regarding financial assistance for Lambeth, those who can assist are invited to send checks to my Discretionary Fund via Sharon Jones, and marked for Lambeth. Those in need are invited to contact our office for assistance. Companion diocese bishops are our second priority, and only after that will we send any excess to Lambeth itself.

We had mentioned the possibility of a one-day May meeting. I am not sure there was adequate desire for it on the part of the House at this point, and so this will be determined after a poll in April.

Again, more detailed information about the agenda, registration fee, and location of the September meeting will arrive in a future mailing to help you prepare for our time together.
Until then, I wish you every blessing in this Easter season.


–(The Rt. Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori is Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

35 comments on “The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Writes the TEC Bishops About Recent and Upcoming Events

  1. Harry Edmon says:

    Shalom – WHAT PEACE?

  2. FatherS says:

    The PB, apparently, believes she can force the deposition of a bishop (i.e. Duncan) in spite of her inability to garner the canonically-mandated support for the requisite inhibition. She also believes, apparently, that she has the (totally uncanonical, by whatever reading) right to “unrecognize” the duly elected Standing Committee as the Ecclesiastical Authority in an ECUSA diocese, the episcopate of which she unilaterally declares to be “vacant.” The deposition vote by the House of Bishops, after all, came nowhere close to being the canonically-mandated majority of bishops entitled to vote.
    Ms. Shori is certainly inviting lawsuits against herself (perhaps from Bp. Duncan, among a growing number of others). In addition, individual diocesan bishops might now probably be successfully sued by members of the clergy whom they have deposed for canonical violations. Since the National Church and most diocesan bishops are claiming that [b]they[/b] aren’t subject to ECUSA’s canons, it might be hard for them to demonstrate in a civil court that priests and deacons somehow are.

  3. f/k/a_revdons says:

     [i] “Concerning the issue of Bishop Duncan, all relevant materials have been posted on the College of Bishops website” [/i]

    Anyone have a link to these materials?

  4. DonGander says:

    2. FatherS:

    You know that in The Episcopal Club (or most any other club) a simple majority vote is sufficient for most any question. Would you expect a garden club to consider Holy Writ in its deliberations? What good are rules if the majority of a club membership wishes to ignore them?

    Your logic stands with me, however.


  5. Brian from T19 says:


    Not sure if there are any additional documents, but here are the findings of the Title IV Review Committee (40 pages)

  6. Don Armstrong says:

    And the Windsor Bishops defending their fellow bishop from this outrage are where?

    There has has never been something for which I have raised so much money to create and that in the end has been such a total failure as the so-called Windsor Bishop–color me fleeced…

  7. The_Elves says:

    [i] Please, let’s not get off topic with Windsor Bishops. There is no mention of them in the original post. [/i]

    -Elf Lady

  8. wildfire says:

    Everyone should read the correspondence linked in #5. One doesn’t need to go to the “College of Bishops website”; it has been posted on the Pittsburgh website linked above for some time. I wouldn’t exactly characterize it as forty pages of findings, however. It is a single-page, three-paragraph letter from the Review Committee plus correspondence from complaining parties.

    Canon IV.9 states that it “shall be the duty” of the Review Committee “to send a statement of the acts or declarations which show such abandonment” to the Presiding Bishop. The Review Committee certified on December 17, 2007 that Duncan had abandoned the communion of this church by an “open renunciation” of its doctrine, discipline and worship. “Open renunciation” is the operative language of IV.9; it is what must be certified and identified. Notwithstanding its canonical duty, however, the Review Committee did not identify the “acts or declarations” that constituted the “open renunciation.” It simply referred to the evidence submitted by the complainants, which the PB describes in today’s letter as “voluminous.” Indeed, this evidence consists of a variety of materials from the “Choose This Day” video to correspondence with the PB to press reports to diocesan constitution and canon provisions. Bottom line from the Review Committee: the “open renunciation” is in there somewhere; you find it.

    What is interesting, however, is to review the actual language of the complaining letters. They do not in fact allege an “open renunciation.” Beers’ letter on behalf of the PB says this:

    The Presiding Bishop finds the attached materials particularly problematic because they reveal concrete steps taken by Bishop Duncan that demonstrate (1) his persistent position that the Diocese may choose whether or not to remain a constituent part of the Episcopal Church. a choice that it does have the authority to make under the Church’s Constitution (2) his intention to lead the Diocese out of the Church and into affiliation with some other entity within the Anglican Communion, while retaining diocesan and parish property; (3) his commitment to establishing an “ecclesiastical structure in North America” that is “separate” from the Episcopal Church; and (4) his determination to confine any discussions with the Presiding Bishop to a mediated separation rather than reconciliation or healing within the Church. (Emphasis added.)

    And his “open renunciation”?

    The Pittsburgh complainants’ don’t quite get to the point either:

    We respectfully submit that the below described actions by Bishop Robert
    Duncan to set up the Diocese of Pittsburgh as an authority unto itself and apart from the
    Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (“TEC”) and the steps that
    are being taken by him to establish a “separate ecclesiastical structure” in North America
    are highly improper. This disregard of the Discipline of TEC constitutes abandonment of the Communion of TEC and is in our view, inconsistent with Bishop Duncan’s remaining as a Bishop in the organization he is attempting to dismantle. (Emphasis added.)

    So something the complainants regard as “problematic,” “improper,” or a “disregard of discipline” is transformed by the Review Committee into the “open renunciation” required by the canon. Only they don’t tell us what it is. The video? “Here I stand”? Perhaps someone should charge the Review Committee with abandonment of communion by an open renunciation of Canon IV.9.

  9. Bob G+ says:

    Mark McCall – I seriously doubt that the committee’s couple of page review is what she is talking about. If she is continuing to pursue disposition of Duncan, there will be “voluminous” materials that will be presented. Rightly or wrongly, Duncan has made is own bed, so to speak, and now comes the time when someone is challenging him and making him sleep in it. All the while Duncan and others criticized Griswald for his inaction, indecision, and ambiguity, there is no doubt Jefforts Shori is not that kind of PB. It makes one wonder whether Duncan wishes for the “good ol’ days” when he could say anything and not be challenged by the PB. In addition, the college of bishops’ website is probably restricted, reasonably so.

  10. Br. Michael says:

    Well, we may not like it but TEC belongs to the Bob Gs. They own it and they call the shots. They decide when how and where to apply the canons or whether to ignore them to achieve their goals. If we don’t like it we now have only one option.
    Bishop Duncan is their target and they will do what they need to do to remove him. It’s that simple.

  11. Larry Morse says:

    Surely Br. Michael is right and we all know it, with plenty of evidence to work from. If we extrapolate from what we know and draw a line forward, where does it go? How can an organization survive whose rules are so narcissistic? Larry

  12. tired says:

    I suppose TEC would explain this disregard for the canons as “doing a new thing,” which is to say, they are doing a rather [url=;&version=31;]old thing,[/url] namely, whatever it is that they want to do – regardless.

    The damage caused by these actions, and the apparent motivation may be sad, but this is truly a time for rejoicing.

    [blockquote] 11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”[/blockquote]

    Matt. 5


  13. Albany* says:

    The deal is that the help and consequences from outside TEC have not been forthcoming and it has created an untenable circumstance in which to function. In addition to that failure, too many of the lawsuits have yet to be resolved and so there is as yet no internal chastening of TEC.

    The only help is external and the roll of the dice on these lawsuits. It’s the Communion that has failed — not to speak — but to act. Here’s one simple act the ABC could do now, act on Duncan and no one from TEC comes to Lambeth. Not that hard.

  14. Daniel says:

    Upon reflection, doesn’t this piece tie in rather well with Kendall’s earlier post about bullying? How do folks think we should treat these ecclesiastical bullies to break them of their bad habits (and bad fashion choices in mitres, :)?

  15. dwstroudmd+ says:

    “Do, do, plan to show up so we shan’t be embrassed again by our complete and utter failure to appear to canonically do something by the blessed C&C;of the ECUSA/TEC/GCC/lawcoventicle!”

    Yours in waging reconciliation by any and every means without regard to human or divine or rational law,
    THE PB

    PS Shallow shalom or salaami, as you please.

  16. Bob G+ says:

    Br. Michael (#10) – It is funny that you assert that the Church belongs to people like me, since I pretty much disagree with a whole lot of what the leadership is doing, and certainly with the theological direction the Church has been heading for the last however-many-years. But, unlike many others I can still serve Jesus and be about the Father’s business (as much as I am able) even with leadership that I think is wrong. Now, you can believe me or not, but to continue to assert that I am “one of those” (whatever that means in your mind) in the manner you describe in your comment is unfounded.

    I will say that this PB acts decisively, unlike many others in leadership right now. So many have been calling for decisive leadership, and now they have it. Of course, those who have been calling the loudest for decisive leadership are outraged because the decisions of the decisive leader are not according to what they want – liberal or conservative. Whether in the end her actions or the decisions she makes end up being justifiable is for hindsight to decide.

  17. Don Armstrong says:

    Okay, I put it differently–is there anyone who is going to stand behind Bishop Duncan and push back at KSJ for this…like all those who have elected him to his positions of leadership on our behalf?

    Not off topic by the way…

  18. Choir Stall says:

    “I encourage you to be present for the ENTIRETY of the meeting as your voice and presence are needed and appreciated. Those bishops who will have been consecrated since our last spring meeting are encouraged to join us”. (Emphasis mine).
    Why? Apparently a group of stragglers in a closet are enough to hang a fellow bishop. It will be called a MAJORITY and legal. Whoever is there is there and can decide the fate of anyone

  19. Cennydd says:

    Don Armstrong: For what it’s worth, I stand in back of Bishop Duncan, and if I may presume to say so, so do the people in my diocese…….the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. And you know about Bishop Schofield’s position, I’m sure. And we’re not alone.

    I see a lot of presumptiveness in Schori’s letter. She probably will carry through on her threats, but in the end, will that really matter?

    I don’t think so.

  20. Mike Watson says:

    Mark McCall (#8) is right. Regarding the Title IV Review Committee’s “certification,” I wrote on another thread back on January 18 that the Title IV Review Committee
    [blockquote]simply took the complaining parties allegations, slapped a one page cover letter on it and called that their certificate of abandonment. How did they identify the acts and declarations constituting the alleged abandonment? Merely by saying that the acts and declarations constituting abandonment are “fully set forth” in the materials submitted by the complaining parties (i.e., they’re there but it’s up to you to find them?), and elsewhere saying, without analysis, that “taken together or separately” the information submitted demonstrates abandonment by an open renunciation of Doctrine, Discipline or Worship.[/blockquote]
    The Title IV Review Committee’s product ought to be judged deficient both by the letter of the canon and by applying any reasonable standard of due process.

    Mark McCall also nails it in saying not even the complaining letters get to the point of alleging an open renunciation. Strikingly, Mr. Beers and the other submitters do not even use the canonical language, “open renunciation.” Why? By using words like “repudiated” (letter from Beers) the lawyers can (perhaps by stretching a little) argue that this or that amounts to a repudiation. But for an “open renunciation” there’s no concept of “amounting to”; there either is or isn’t one. That’s the difference between the kind of charges which the canons contemplate can be brought under Canon IV.9 and those that properly should be made if at all under Canon IV.1 et seq.

  21. Stuart Smith says:

    Deposing Bishop Duncan for what he might do!? Is that what this is all about? Defaming brave men…and men who hold their ordination vows to defend the Faith higher than their corporate loyalty to a denomination…i.e. “TEC”…is that what our PB’s high calling is all about?
    The silence from so called “Windsor bishops” is very relevant to this posting, Kendall. Why have we not heard anything from the former or the new bishop of South Carolina? Are they ok with this trend by the PB to use deposition as a club to beat orthodox bishops?
    The sound of crickets from bishops in TEC regarding this PB’s behavior is both sad and revealing. I really don’t even want to think long about what is says about our otherwise faithful TEC bishops who apparently believe that there is no good purpose served in bucking the PB. What about a courageous witness? Or, do they think that deposing Bishop Duncan is necessary and good?

  22. PeterFrank says:

    The interesting thing here in Pittsburgh is that while it appears every other bishop in The Episcopal Church received this letter via normal channels yesterday, neither Bishop Duncan, nor Bishop Scriven have yet received a copy.

  23. wildfire says:

    Mike Watson #20,

    Sorry I missed your analysis in January. You got it right the first time, but if you give me two months I can catch up!

    It is instructive to compare the provisions in canons IV.1 and IV.3 for “holding and teaching doctrine” contrary to that of the church. In that one instance, special protections are afforded the bishop so charged:

    For alleged violations of Canon IV.1.1(c) for holding and
    teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any doctrine contrary to
    that held by this Church, the procedures set out in this section must
    be followed.

    In particular, the bishop must be given “a statement of the doctrine alleged to be contrary to that held by this Church” that is signed by ten bishops with jurisdiction. In Duncan’s case, he is charged with the related but more serious offense of “open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline and worship” of the church, but no such renunciation has been identified, no ten bishops have appeared, and no due process is given. All we have is the oxymoronic “unidentifiable open renunciation.”

    I hate to give away trade secrets, but a big part of being a lawyer is just reading stuff and doing what it says. It’s not rocket science. But TEC has replaced the rule of law with the rule of the mob, and the mob wants Duncan gone. And so he will be. And the necessary committees will certify that which needs to be certified and apply their rubber stamps to that which needs to be stamped. It’s the new world.

  24. robroy says:

    I agree with Father Don. [b]All the bishops[/b] were mentioned in the thread posting when KJS has announced her poorly veiled intentions to go after Bp Duncan. So far we have one bishop (who is a Windsor bishop) willing to stand up against the establishment and vocally oppose the miscarriage of justice. We need visible manifestations of where people stand.

    Collegiality trumps fairness and integrity.

  25. anglicanhopeful says:

    To add to what Stuart and Don have said about minority-support for bishop Duncan, I think this is very relevant to the blog topic. Maybe I’m not politically savvy enough to understand what’s going on in the background but I would think that Stanton, Love, Iker, Lawrence, Howe, MacPherson, etc and maybe even some of the fence-sitters like Wolf, Adams, Little, would be deeply troubled by these decisions and would voice together their disagreement and disapproval. I wouldn’t doubt that the reliable and retired bishops Benitez, Wantland, Allison and Dickson have become tired of doing all the heavy lifting for them! But I really don’t understand how any bishop can tolerate this kind of abuse of canons or remain mute about it, unless the value of club membership outweighs conviction.

  26. anglicanhopeful says:

    Robroy who is the one bishop (Windsor bishop) you are referring to?

  27. Chris Hathaway says:

    Robroy is talking about +Howe, I blieve. He has made his opposition and disgust open. What more will happen we must wait to see. But the time for diplomacy is over. The war is on and is being waged in public without any attempt to hide it. We need no “statesmen” now. They would only distract us from the true battle.

    Please, no more men of peace. We need men of war. We need leaders, bishops who understand that the staff they carry is also properly a weapon.

    Schori and her comrades have fumbled the ball with their brazen disregard for the canons. But such an error will mean nothing if our side doesn’t pick up the ball and run with it.

  28. robroy says:

    Thanks, Chris, the link is [url= ]here[/url]. Chris is absolutely correct. The bishop crook needs to drive away the wolves threatening the sheep. This is an opportunity to make political hay.

  29. phil swain says:

    As TEC loyalty oaths become increasingly de rigueur, I keep waiting(though not holding my breath) for a significant Bishop to have a Joe Welch moment and tell Schori and Beers, “Until this moment,… I think I never gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency.”

  30. Connecticutian says:

    Do not let the Windsor bishops off the hook, but you should also hold EVERY bishop and GC delegate accountable here. ANY churchman of any theo-political strip ought to be alarmed by the escalating abuse of power and process by Schori & Beers (& B. Anderson for that matter.)

  31. Already left says:

    What other organization votes people out with a voice-only vote? No one is held accountable, no one knows who voted which way or even who was there.
    Completely unacceptable!!!

  32. Cennydd says:

    My friends: What we have here with regard to the un-canonical “deposition without inhibition” of a good and faithful bishop is a Kangaroo Court, where the so-called “guilty party” is tried, found guilty by a jury of his peers……his fellow bishops……and punished before a formal trial. What Schori & Company have done is unforgivable, to say the least.

  33. Chris says:

    I concur with Don Armstrong+ as well. But what’s even more surprising than the silence of the Windsor Bishops has been (unless I’m not following closely enough) the Anglican leadership both in the US and abroad. I really feel like someone like ++Akinloa or ++Orombi needs to hold +++Rowan’s feet to the fire and make him either denounce ++Schori tactics or repudiate them. His silence, while not surprising given his modus operandi for the last 5 years, is not helpful (shades of ++Griswold in a way). And the Global South/ACN silence on this is quite surprising, I had expected them to be justifiably critical of her.

  34. Chris says:

    oops – either denounce Shori’s tactics or give them his seal of approval. I need to go to bed….

  35. tired says:

    #33-34: Perhaps his inaction and refusal to comment [i]are[/i] his seal of approval.