Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Bishop Bob Duncan

This one is from Bishop John Rodgers, former Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry:

As rumors and threats of your being deposed circulate, I write this letter

For many others and for myself, to express our thanksgiving for your sustained, wise and patient leadership in a time of great difficulty in the Church.

First, we want to thank you for your leadership on the Board of Trustees of the Trinity School for Ministry. Your presence at the Board Meetings has been constant and your wisdom has often helped guide us down good and godly paths. I know something of the schedule you keep, and I want you to know how greatly we, particularly your fellow Board members, appreciate your willingness, faithfulness and thoughtful leadership.

Second, we want to thank you for the pastoral concern for all of us in the diocese of Pittsburgh that you have maintained over the years. Having served in the Diocese for the largest part of my years in ordained ministry and presently being closely related to and associated with many in the Diocese, I have had the opportunity to see your guiding hand at work, your patience with us, your prayerfulness and your hard work to keep all of us in communication with one another and with the Lord. You have never been vindictive when resisted, and always encouraged us when it was needed. It has been a great privilege to serve under you and along side of you.

Third, we want to thank you for the apostolic passion with which you have served not only in Pittsburgh but served faithfully in the wider Anglican Communion. Of all that you have done, I want to single out particularly your leadership as chairman of the Common Cause Partnership. You have probably traveled more miles for the sake of the apostolic Gospel than any other Bishop in the Anglican Communion. That alone should merit a standing ovation from all of us. With your urging and the oversight of the orthodox Primates of the Anglican Communion, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Jerusalem Declaration came to be, and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is now a reality. For many of us Anglicans, over 70% of the members of the Anglican Communion, the light of the Risen Son now shines upon us with a new and brighter luster. We find ourselves safely under a Council of Primates whose full authority is surrendered to the Lord. And, as we actively seek to reach out to the lost and disciple the faithful, we are united as one, in His care and truth.

Lastly those of us who have already left the Episcopal Church, but not the Anglican Communion, want to encourage you and the Diocese of Pittsburgh with regard to the upcoming vote concerning disassociation from the Episcopal Church, a body that has increasingly disassociated itself by word and deed from the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Faith of the historic Church. The vote will soon be here. I believe that the Diocese will choose apostolic faithfulness and liberty. At the completion of the separation you and the Diocese of Pittsburgh, for you will remain the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will find a great sense of relief and encouragement. The future is bright for all, even for those of biblical faith who choose to remain in the Episcopal Church, since the hand of the Lord is not shortened. But the days ahead are specially bright for the Diocese. Those of us who have left the Episcopal Church have found a great sense of liberation and freedom. We are free to be concerned with apostolic matters and freed from being constantly embarrassed by the national leadership. A burden has been lifted from our shoulders. The entire conversation of the Church’s inner life has changed for us and mission and celebration have taken primary place. Many new congregations have been planted. God’s blessing has encouraged and led us.

We are neither angry with, nor indifferent to those who do not stand with us; we continue to love and pray for them, but we are no longer burdened with the guilt of being wrapped up with the unbiblical and wrong decisions and actions of the great majority of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

Yes, alas, original sin has come along with us. We continue to have good reason to use the General Confession weekly, and we have not found that everything is easy, but we no longer have to fight about the clear teaching of Scripture, nor the apostolic Faith and we seek to follow God’s Word and will together. A new zest for godly living, and a new joy in the Lord rests upon us. We look forward to sharing that zest and joy with you.

I do want to add a personal note. After the realignment, I want to be of any help to you and the Diocese as you and the Standing Committee deem wise, within the limits of my present and continuing obligations. I am certain that other fellow Bishops in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will stand ready to do likewise, as needed.

Much remains unknown, but the Lord knows all. He has much for us to do. And in the Lord, we can all be assured that all will be well. Our deepest Gratitude is yours. You remain in our prayers.

Read the whole thing here.

1 comment:

David Wilson+ said...

What a blessing to have both Bob Duncan and John Rodgers participate in my ordination some 12 years ago and now have both of them as my bishops.

Please pray for the clergy of Pittsburgh as we gather today in Ligonier for our annual clergy conference. Please pray for anointing for Rev. David Harper as he ministers to us during this time.