Thursday, 8 November 2007

Chelmsford General Synod members sign letter of support for Bp Bob Duncan

EVANGELICAL and Anglo-Catholic members of General Synod have pledged their support to the Bishop of Pittsburgh in his dispute with the US Presiding Bishop over the proposed secession of his diocese from The Episcopal Church.

In a letter published in today’s edition of The Church of England Newspaper, over 40 members of General Synod, along with a number of leaders of Forward and Faith and the Church Society, stated they were ‘outraged’ by the threats of litigation against Pittsburgh by the ‘current leadership’ of the Episcopal Church, who ‘appear to be unitarian and universalist in theology, and coercively utopian in social practice.’

Last week, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori warned Bishop Duncan that she would file a presentment against him, seeking to summon him for trial before the House of Bishops, if he permitted his diocese to change its bylaws.

“I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes,” she wrote.

Citing Martin Luther Bishop Duncan responded: “Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.” Pittsburgh’s synod ignored Bishop Schori’s threat. By a two-thirds vote on Nov 2 it changed its constitution to read that it ‘shall have membership in such Province of the Anglican Communion as is by diocesan Canon specified.’

For the change to take effect giving Pittsburgh the power to quit the US Church the resolution must survive a second reading and pass the next diocesan synod. On Nov 3, Central Florida Bishop John W Howe urged Bishop Schori to ‘stand down’ upon her threat of litigation. Bishop Howe noted that although he had worked with Bishop Duncan to ‘reverse the course of The Episcopal Church with regard to recent decisions regarding human sexuality, I part company with him in his decision to abandon the commitment’ to reform the American church from within. However, he told the presiding bishop he could not ‘support your thinly veiled threat to resort to litigation.’

“Dioceses voluntarily join (accede to) The Episcopal Church. And they can voluntarily determine to separate from (withdraw their accession from) The Episcopal Church,” he said, citing the precedent of the American Civil War.

Bishop Duncan’s Synod supporters applauded his stand, saying they too stood upon the Scriptures as the ‘rule and ultimate standard of faith.’ At least two other dioceses, Forth Worth and San Joaquin, are expected to adopt secession clauses in the coming weeks. Should San Joaquin adopt the secession clause at its December synod, it will be the second reading of the bill for that diocese, and would mark the first American diocesan secession since 1862.

The Editor


Dear Sir,

We write to inform you that we are sending the following letter of support to Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh and his fellow Bishops in the Common Cause Council of Bishops following the letter last week to the Bishop of Pittsburgh,

Dear Bishop Duncan and Bishops in Common Cause

Warm greetings from the UK.

We have read the letter from Presiding Bishop Schori to the Bishop of Pittsburgh. We want to assure you, your dioceses and parishes of our prayers and fellowship as you take your stand on our shared Anglican heritage, accepting the Holy Scriptures as the rule and ultimate standard of faith, contrary to those innovators both in the British Isles and in the Americas who wish to give primacy to the demands of contemporary culture.

We are outraged by the threat and implementation of court actions against faithful Anglicans in the United States by the current leadership of The Episcopal Church who appear to be unitarian and universalist in theology, and coercively utopian in social practice.

We are most disturbed that the current plans for the Lambeth Conference are that the leadership of TEC be invited to the Lambeth Conference but not faithful Anglican bishops.

Yours in Christ

46 Members of General Synod from 26 dioceses

Colonel Edward Armitstead (Bath and Wells)
Mrs Lorna Ashworth (Chichester)
Mrs Anneliese Barrell (Exeter)
Fr Paul Benfield (Blackburn)
Mr Tom Benyon (Oxford)
Mr Paul Boyd Lee (Salisbury)
Canon Peter Bruinvels (Guildford)
Mr Gerald Burrows (Blackburn)
Mr Graham Campbell (Chester)
Mr Nigel Chetwood (Gloucester)
Mr John Clark (Lichfield)
Rev John Cook (London)
Mr Tim Cox (Blackburn)
Brigadier Ian Dobbie (Rochester)
Rev John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
Mr Paul Eddy (Winchester)
Mrs Sarah Finch (London)
Dr Philip Giddings (Oxford)
Rev Ian Gooding (Derby)
Rev John Hartley (Bradford)
Rev Richard Hibbert (St Albans)
Fr Simon Killwick (Manchester)
Mr Peter LeRoy (Bath and Wells)
Rev Angus Macleay (Rochester)
Dr Peter May (Winchester)
Mr Steve Mitchell (Derby)
Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield)
Mrs Gill Morrison (Peterborough)
Mr Gerry O’Brien (Rochester)
Rev Paul Perkin (Southwark)
Preb Sam Philpott (Exeter)
Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough)
Rev Colin Randall (Carlisle)
Mr Jonathan Redden (Sheffield)
Mrs Alison Ruoff (London)
Mr Clive Scowen (London)
Mr Ian Smith (York)
Rev Mark Sowerby (Ripon and Leeds)
Mr Michael Streeter (Chichester)
Canon Dr Chris Sugden (Oxford)
Dr Chik Kaw Tan (Lichfield)
Rev Rod Thomas (Exeter)
Mr Jacob Vince (Chichester)
Rev David Waller (Chelmsford)
Mrs Ruth Whitworth (Ripon and Leeds)
Sister Anne Williams (Durham)

Rev David Phillips (St Albans) Director, Church Society
Rev Geoffrey Kirk (Southwark) Secretary, Forward in Faith UK
Stephen Parkinson, Director, Forward in Faith
Rev Beaumont Brandie (Chichester) Chair of College of Forward in Faith Deans
Gill James (Birmingham)
Rev Alan Rabjohns, Chair, Credo Cymru.
Canon Nicholas Turner (Bradford) Editor, New Directions
Rev Trevor Walker (Lincoln) Forward in Faith Council
Fr Ross Northing (Oxford) Regional Dean
Fr Len Black (FiF dean for Scotland)

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