Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Olsson's at Dupont Circle closes suddenly

WED. AM UPDATE: Testimonial page is here. Press release is here. Drinks are on the house.

BB NOTE: Just walked over to Saxby's to get a coffee and saw that Olsson's was locked up suddenly, with a padlock on the door and roses in the door. The signs say they are done. The roses broke my heart.

Here's all that I've been able to find online:

LATER: We have updates in the comments, but it does look like it's the end after 36 years.

The Dupont Circle location of local bookstore chain Olsson's abruptly closed today, with signs having been taped in the window thanking customers for 16 years in the Washington area. A single flower had been placed in the doorway, appearing to be the beginnings of a shrine.

The signs on the door direct customers looking for more information to the Olsson's web site, however no information had yet to be posted there about the closing as of this afternoon. The phone was not answered at any of the remaining Olsson's locations, which includes Crystal City, Old Town, Courthouse, and National Airport. An email to Olsson's asking for confirmation of the closure of one or all of the chain's retail stores has yet to be returned.

Olsson's filed for bankruptcy in June, shortly after it closed its other D.C. location in Penn Quarter.

Since we have so far been unable to reach anyone at any Olsson's store, if you have any information about the status of the other locations, please let us know in the comments.

God vs. Caesar Across the Pond

Shortselling and the Archbishop of Canterbury by Susan Easton. From here.

“Practice What You Preach.” It was a headline writer’s dream. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York (the two top prelates of the Anglican Communion) were the keynote speakers in London, last week, at the annual dinner of The Worshipful Company of International Bankers (no kidding). They had been asked to address the topic of the world’s financial crisis.

The AB of York, John Sentamu, decried an “Alice In Wonderland” market in which the share price of banks were not valued on performance, but on how willing the government might be to buy them out. Sentamu labeled those who profited from selling short
“bank robbers” and “asset strippers.”

The AB of Canterbury told the bankers that the financial world had become detached from reality and urged governments to be bold in their market interventions.

One single news cycle later, the Church of England stood accused of having used controversial short selling practices in order to maximize profits on its own £5 billion portfolio of investments. A Church spokesperson immediately denied any dubious financial activity, but the books indicate that there was fire where holy smoke had been detected.

The short-selling claim against the COE came from Ekklesia, a British-based religious issues think tank. Jonathan Bartley, co-Director of Ekklesia, called on the COE to “put your money where your mouth is.” (Another great headline some wag used). Fellow co-Director, Simon Barrow, observed; “Condemning others while playing the system to your own advantage will strike many as lacking the kind of integrity and creative endeavor the churches could be demonstrating.” Barrows is the author of a book entitled, “Is God Bankrupt?” (You can’t make this up).

Ekklesia made its claim based on a reading of the 2007 Annual Statement of the Church Commissioners, the group that manages the COE’s assets. The document records the COE’s holdings in oil and mining companies, banks and properties. The total portfolio
averaged a 9.5% return over the past decade -- and it would appear that COE did benefit from speculation in oil, commodities such as gold and copper, and sterling (the British Pound).

Mr. Bartley said the 2007 Report makes no attempt to dissemble the facts. The COE “hedged against a fall in the value of sterling and set up a currency hedging program in 2006, effectively short selling sterling in the currency markets.”

Now Jesus did say, Give unto God that which is God’s and unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but this author can find no New Testament verses regarding the morality of taking a profit by betting that your nation’s currency is going to tank.

Mr. Bartley’s suggestion that the COE should invest in "co-operatives, friendly societies and housing associations which added to the good of the country,” was astonishingly ironic in light of the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury had recently delivered himself of another of his classic epistles. After causing an uproar by advocating for the incorporation of Sharia law into Britain’s system of jurisprudence only a few months ago, Rowan Williams took a leap by penning an article on economics and ethics for the conservative magazine The Spectator. His premise was that modern societies had turned wealth into an object of idolatry -- like the proverbial Golden Calf from the time of Moses. Wealth had become the worship of that which you made yourself -- an idol (American or otherwise).

The ABC went on to recognize that entrepreneurs “must be allowed to create wealth to help nations rise out of poverty,” but said belief in free market capitalism had now become “a sort of fundamentalism.”

"Fundamentalism is a religious word, not inappropriate to the nature of the problem, Williams explained, then added: “Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves. He was right about that, if about little else,” Williams concluded.

For the record, the Church of England’s investments are informed by its own Ethical Investment Advisory Group, over which there appears to be no outside regulator.

Meanwhile, France’s President Sarkozy -- now serving as the rotating President of the European Union -- also had something to say about the current financial crisis. Mr. Sarkozy asserted that it was time for capitalism to be reinvented, this time with a strong dose of morality and a sturdy set of regulatory controls. “Laissez faire capitalism is finished,” Sarko proclaimed. By this he said he meant that the “all-powerful, under-regulated, marketplace was over and about to be replaced.” It was left to the German finance minister, Peer Steinbruck, to coin the term for what comes next: “the multi-polar world.”

Steinbruck is a vociferous critic of the US, predicting that its failure to act in preventing this meltdown would result in its loss of its status as a superpower. He told the German Parliament last Thursday: "The world will never be as it was before the crisis.” He blamed Washington for blocking stricter regulations, even when it was clear that this crisis was going to roll out last summer.

What Steinbruck seems confused about is which group stood in the way of the reforms which could have stemmed the tide of financial collapses. Steinbruck accused the free market purveyors of laissez faire who maintained an above-all attitude as behind this crisis. The record indicates that there is lots of blame to go around, but it was clearly the Democrats who pressed for affordable housing and blocked all attempts to establish rational regulatory policies to prevent wild-eyed and irresponsible home loans from being handed out to people who – under real free market principles – would not qualify for loans. For clarification have a look at: YouTube - Burning Down The House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?

Late in the week, UK Prime Minster Gordon Brown flew to Washington to sit next to President Bush for a photo op in the Oval Office. Brown vowed that Britain would back the bailout, adding: “America deserves the support of the rest of the world in securing stability in the markets.” Brown had just been up in New York addressing the United Nations where he told the assembly it was time to end “the age of irresponsibility.” Say, who has been running the UK government for over a decade?

I’m thinking just the opposite. Perhaps it is time for us to be more responsible by tossing a few greedy CEO’s and self-interested bureaucrats into Boston Harbor as if they were tea.

If Bill Clinton had good intentions when he sent Janet Reno out to force banks to begin granting sub prime mortgages (or else), then he has proven that old axiom about what paves (or in this case ‘redlines’) the road to hell. And when the Archbishop of Canterbury short sells sterling and finds a silver lining in Marxism, there would seem to be fellow travelers going down the road with us.

BB NOTE: One wonders if TEC has been doing the same? How would we know?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It seemed like a typical Sunday morning ...



Song: I'm so glad, Jesus lifted me

The Archbishop of York: “We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland."

BB NOTE: Archbishop John Sentamu spoke to a gathering of international bankers on the financial crisis. His remarks are here. Ruth Gledhill has more here.

Here are some excerpts:

“It seems to me that the current solutions being proposed by the administration in the United States are remarkable, not least for a proposed level of intervention that now seems to do away with the concept of “systemic risk” and replaces it with a new market notion of “systemic underwriting”. This is something previously unknown in the so called land of the free and the land of the free market. Adam Smith believed that when we act in our own self-interest, an ‘invisible hand’ would control our excesses and direct us - even against our will – towards the common good. Today we are more cautious, more cynical and more realistic. It seems if we morality in our markets we have to legislate for it. Indeed as we meet here tonight, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are meeting with members of the US treasury to propose exactly how such regulation might work. The problem they, along with other Governments, will face at this time is how to regulate that which its libertarian advocates argue works best when it regulates itself.”

*

“One of the lessons of the current turmoil is the recognition of our interdependence upon each other. It is a lesson that is often at odds with the mindset behind those practices such as short selling, but it is a lesson that bears repeating in times of crisis. Am I my brothers keeper ? Yes I am. The impact of what happens with a subprime mortgage in America has an impact upon my brother employed in Newcastle Upon Tyne working for Northern Rock. Am I brother’s keeper ? Yes I am when short selling leads to mergers with redundancies for thousands of my brothers and sisters. Am I my brothers keeper ? Yes I am, because “systemic risk” only makes sense when it is translated into the thousands of individual stories of hardship that flow from the collapse of a bank. This interconnectedness is more than the playing out of Globalisation upon financial systems. It is fundamentally a recognition of the law of consequence. Our actions have consequences far beyond that of their immediate parameters.”

*

“To a bystander like me, those who made £190million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB Bank, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers.

“We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland, where the share value of a bank is no longer dependent on the strength of its performance but rather on the willingness of the Government to bail it out, or rather on whether the Government has announced its intentions so to do.

“Our country has built its financial strength historically on the manufacturing of goods, where money was the medium of exchange. In the last week we have has seen its systems come close to ruin because now money is no longer being the medium of exchange for goods, but rather is the very item which is being traded.”
Tip of the Tinfoil to Ruth Gledhill.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What holds us all together


Dr. Packer and Bishop Minns on what holds us all together in these turbulent times.

Three words from J.I. Packer to the Diocese of Pittsburgh

Dr. J.I. Packer was asked today what is his recommendation to the Diocese of Pittsburgh as they consider the resolution to separate from The Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

He answered with three short words:

Renowned theologian J.I. Packer speaks to the Anglican District of Virginia Synod

It is remarkable how much the Anglican District of Virginia has grown over the past year. This morning the Church of the Epiphany was filled to hear Dr. J.I. Packer speak on "Making Learners." It was an extraordinary visit - you could truly hear a pin drop as Dr. Packer spoke from memory (he left his address at home) and as he took questions afterwards. Anglican TV was there and we were there in the rough and ready with our handy-dandy Flip Video Camera.

It is truly fantastic to touch base with so many friends, some I haven't seen in a while and catch up on the latest happenings. Of course, the room was buzzing with the news that the Diocese and TEC had thrown in the towel over the congregational votes. They have all ready settled with the two churches that did not file 57-9 petitions (and should never have been sued in the first place). There is more developing and so please just keep us all in your prayers.

We do have the trial set for October 14 for particular pieces of property from three churches. This is a huge difference from the massive effort that has been underway (with stacks and stacks of depositions) to prepare for a multi-church litigation for the entire month of October before the Diocese and TEC agreed that our votes were taking fairly and justly according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. But we know that it isn't over yet - though the threats of appeal seem far more aimed at intimidating the judge - just how can they threat to appeal when he hasn't even finished his ruling?

On the mission front, though, there is much that is thriving amidst the challenges - and there are challenges out there. Not only have more churches joined the ADV from other parts of Virginia (there are actually three Episcopal dioceses in the Commonwealth of Virginia), but missions (called Fellowships) are springing up around the state and there are special Methodist-style circuit-riding clergy who are ministering to all of them. They have also all received visits from one of the ADV bishops. We heard their stories which were especially touching, these lighthouses in the wilderness.

I need to get back for the Closing Eucharist ...

LATER:
The short video of Dr. Packer and Bishop Minns will be up shortly at an entry above. It's called "What brings us all together." Stay tuned.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Court Order: ADV Congregations Have Satisfied Voting Requirements of Division Statute; ADV Announces Legal Settlement Involving Two Churches

Asks Diocese and National Church to End Needless Litigation Completely

FAIRFAX, Va. (September 26, 2008) – Today, the Fairfax County Circuit Court signed an Order stipulating that the nine Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) congregations that filed petitions under the Virginia Division Statute (§57-9) have satisfied the voting requirements of §57-9. In that Order, The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Diocese of Virginia also stipulated that they will not contest such findings by the Court. This Order substantially narrows the scope of the church property trial that will take place in October.

ADV also announced that the remaining two of the 11 ADV congregations sued by TEC and the Diocese have settled. Potomac Falls Church, Sterling, Va., and Christ the Redeemer Church, Centreville, Va., have each agreed to a modest monetary settlement with TEC and the Diocese which will end the litigation between them. Neither congregation filed Virginia Division Statute (§ 57-9) petitions because they did not have real property at stake, only personal property.

“Any decision that releases any of our member congregations from the cloud of litigation is a positive step. We are pleased that the settlement has been reached. We look forward to the day when we can all get this behind us and move forward with the work we have to do,” said Jim Oakes, vice chairman of ADV.

“Yet the Diocese should have settled a year and a half ago since these two congregations both meet in elementary schools and have no real property. Not only that, but since Christ the Redeemer Church is not a former Episcopal congregation, today’s settlement is a nuisance value payment.

“We are grateful that the Diocese and TEC took heed of our repeated call to settle this litigation amicably for a modest payment from the two congregations – payments which are restricted to be given to a limited number of ministries jointly approved by the congregations and the Diocese.

“We had hoped that the Diocese and TEC would have used this model as a way to work with us to drop the remaining lawsuits which we never wanted, did not initiate and consistently said that we would like to resolve amicably. Despite the promise of appeal from the Diocese, we are ready to put this litigation behind us for all of the parishes so that we can focus our time, money and effort solely on the work of the Gospel,” Oakes concluded.

The remaining items for the October trial are whether four parcels of property and one set of personal property owned by the Anglican congregations are covered by the congregations’ Division petitions. The trial will start October 14 in the Fairfax County Circuit Court.

The Episcopal Church and the Diocese abruptly broke off settlement negotiations in January 2007 and filed lawsuits against the Virginia churches, their ministers and their vestries. The decision of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese to redefine and reinterpret Scripture caused the 11 Anglican churches to sever their ties.

Anglican District of Virginia Synod Opens

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) Synod opened tonight at Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Virginia. Delegates and clergy from the members of the ADV are gathering for the two day council and tonight's opening included a time of worship, reports from the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, Bishop Martyn Minns, Bishop John Guernsey, and leaders from the newest churches to join the ADV as well as representatives from the church plants. Daryl Fenton was also there from the Network. The evening concluded with Compline.

Tomorrow the festivities kick off with Dr. J.I. Packer giving a keynote address. All are welcome. If you are within driving distance, come on over - his address begins at 9:00 a.m. sharp. Anglican TV will also be there, so stay tuned.

The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia relinquishes their challenge to the congregations' votes; releases two non-property-holding congregations



Just back from court where the the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia agreed to recognize the votes conducted by the Virginia congregations that voted to separate from the Diocese of Virginia were conducted in a lawful manner and under the stipulations of the Virginia Statute 57-9.

The first two congregations - one technically a mission in the Diocese of Virginia and the other was a recipient of a dissolved mission's assets - were released from the litigation today.

They did not have any property that applied to the Division Statute.

With the procedures of the votes no longer contested by either the diocese or TEC, TEC and the Diocese of Virginia will now target particular congregational properties - including the land that once was owned by Christ the Redeemer Episcopal (now dissolved) and held in trust by Truro Church, and Church of the Word, Gainesville, as well as The Falls Church Chapel.

This is clearly a change in strategy by the Diocese/TEC - that by conceding that the votes were taken lawfully, they can now pool their energy toward targeting hand-picked church properties instead and attempt to fragment 57-9.

In court we could see the start of this strategy - it was clear that both TEC and the Diocese were seeking to undermine the Division Statute by attempting to divert the attention of the court away from the consolidation of the case and instead signal out particular properties in order to weaken the Division Statute. Their threat of appeal (and the judge hasn't even ruled yet!) is aimed at the judge himself, there was no question about that.

The people in those congregations may have voted fairly and legally, but it seemed to be the intention of TEC and the Diocese that those votes didn't matter because they still claim to own their properties - even though the judge has all ready ruled that if the properties are held in trust for the congregation, they are subject to 57-9. It seems as though the Diocese and TEC are applying the same principles to law as they apply to scripture. The judges ruling applies to properties that are not held in trust and it seems as though TEC and the diocese want to convince the judge that "held in trust for the congregation" doesn't mean what it says it means, as they attempt to to chip away, piece by piece, at the Division Statute.

The judge made it clear on the outset that he wasn't going to rule today on either the property once held by Christ the Redeemer (Episcopal) and transferred to its mother church, Truro, when they dissolved - nor on the Church of the Word property (which was also once a mission but had become a parish - in order to become a full parish in the Diocese of Virginia you must own your own property and be self-sufficient! Hello???).

With the voting issues now out of the way - the trial will focus on these targeted properties by the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church. But it became clear in court today that the real target is the Division Statute itself - that is what they are attempting to dissemble as they prepare for court, starting October 14.

What led the Diocese to forget about litigating the votes?

A major factor may have been that over the past few weeks they have been conducting depositions of the regular folks, the church members who oversaw the voting of their congregations. These are truly regular people and most of them had never been through anything like this, most of them had never been deposed. But over and over and over again, the Diocese could see how painstakingly detailed and serious each congregation was over the votes, how hard each congregation diligently worked to follow the letter of the law in conducting their parishes votes.

In the end, they saw they had no case and the idea of putting these regular church-going folks on the stand would have been a public relations nightmare. The last thing in the world they want is to have the news that thousands of people voted in Virginia to leave the Episcopal Church and it was done legally and justly and by these sweet people. The momentum for congregations would be huge.

So instead, like little nats flying around your head - they will force their concentration onto particular properties and talk over and over about the threats of their appeals - and in doing so, attempt to convince the judge to doubt his own rulings.

It's all over now, Baby Blue - well, perhaps not just yet ...

UPDATE: Okay, I will tell you that the person who informed me that this was satire was my own bishop. I cannot tell you how relieved I am - and so perhaps it's not (quite) over yet. And it means that there's a distinct possibility that this site will be soon changing to a different color, which would be relief to all the cafe patrons who have had to invest in the super-dooper-de-lux-x-ray-glasses that filters out the black and makes the white type actually readable. Imagine. So that will be the good news - stay tuned.

We also are taking a vow not to read blogs just before we walk into court.

EARLIER, BEFORE WE TOSSED A PIE INTO OUR OWN FACE - Read this and all we could do is remember why we named this blog what we did and why the background continues to be black. TEC thy name is intolerance - well perhaps not quite. And so we haven't lost all hope, not yet anyway.

Obviously, Miss Blue needs a humor adjustment. We were the ones that wrote this and this so we should be able to tell the difference.

Meanwhile, enjoy the performance. It's one of the best, from the 1965 Britain tour before all hell broke loose.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Six Senior Church of England Diocesan Bishops shocked over deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan; issue official statement of support

Uh oh.

As bishops in the Church of England, we are deeply saddened and shocked by the proposed deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan in the Episcopal Church, USA. We declare that we continue to believe that Bishop Bob is a bishop in the Church of God and a bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion. We continue to pray for him and for his diocese of Pittsburgh.

+Nicholas Blackburn
[The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Stewart, Diocese of Blackburn]

+Peter Cestr
[The Rt. Rev. Peter Forster, Diocese of Chester]

+John Cicester
[The Rt. Rev. John Hind, Diocese of Chichester]

+Michael Exon
[The Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish, Diocese of Exeter]

+Michael Roffen
[The Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael James Nazir-Ali, Diocese of Rochester]

+Michael Winton
[The Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Diocese of Winchester]

Tuesday Afternoon at the Cafe: Subcutaneous Sinsick Blues

We knew something was up when an entire table here at the cafe spent several days huddled in the corner with paper and a guitar and lots of fire whiskey (we've exhausted our supply and have sent orders north to Hogsmeade for a shipment). At some point, the table of folks got up and followed Anglican Beach Party out the door and we haven't seen them in days and now we know why. It seems that they were inspired by recent events as well as a good dose of this.

Enjoy - the pies and pancakes are on the House. The question we have is - who's that playing Ginsburg?

Rowan Williams on the greatest of poets, John Milton

"The poet cannot finally avoid the summons from confident speech to the brokenness and harsh linguistic economy of witness; the disciple cannot avoid the summons from heroism to silent fidelity, knowing only that this has been God's way of transforming the world. 'If we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him'. Milton, poet and disciple, faces this as reluctantly as any great or heroic figure ever did. Yet face it he does – patchily and reluctantly, but truthfully; and so must we."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, at the September 18, 2008, celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of the poet John Milton. And he's going from Milton to Dostoevsky in a week, with a pilgrimage to Lourdes in between. Will he violate his own vow to resist air travel for 2008 and fly over for a political rumpus in Manhattan on Thursday? If he's reading Milton and Dostoevsky, we think not.

A must-read is his sermon on Milton. He cites C.S. Lewis and goes on from there. The homage he pays to Milton could not be found on this side of the Episcopal Atlantic. Just when one is ready to toss in the towel, he comes up with this terrific sermon on one of the greatest poets of all time. And the quote above is sublime and apropos for these darkened days. Read it all here.

Our most favorite poem, the famous one, by Milton and the one we know by best heart:

WHEN I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present 5
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best 10
Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.

Monday, September 22, 2008

That is now, this was then


"We have hoped that the CANA congregations
would propose a reasonable alternative to litigation."
Henry Burt, Secretary to the Diocese of Virginia.


Diocese of Virginia issues a Statement

PANTS ON FIRE ALERT: It's now official - Henry Burt is the Episcopal version of Baghdad Bob. From now on, he's Baghdad Burt.
The Diocese again noted the regrettable necessity of these proceedings. "While we have hoped that the CANA congregations would propose a reasonable alternative to litigation," said Henry D.W. Burt, Secretary of the Diocese, "the Church must vigorously protect the legacy of those faithful generations who have gone before for those who will follow."
Do we have to go through this again? It was Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Diocese of Virginia that sued the congregations, it was Bishop Lee who cut off negotiations and sued everyone. We all had the Standstill Agreement - our petitions were not deemed hostile by the Diocese. The litigation was initiated by TEC and the Diocese. "While we have hoped that the CANA Congregations would propose a reasonable alternative to litigation ..."

That has got to be the Pants on Fire Statement of the Year.

NOTE VERY CAREFULLY THE SPINMEISTING - Can you read between the lines?
Diocese Forgoes Voting Issue, Prepares for Appeal

September 22, 2008


The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today that the trial scheduled to begin October 6 will focus solely on the issue of which properties occupied by the CANA congregations are actually subject to their 57-9 petitions.

Though loyal Episcopalians have expressed grave concerns about the validity and fairness of the voting procedures used by the CANA congregations, the Diocese will forego judicial review of that process to focus on those issues that will most effectively and quickly return Episcopalians to their church homes and result in the overturning of the 57-9 "Division Statute."

The Diocese is preparing to mount a vigorous appeal that addresses the serious legal and religious questions and implications that have arisen from this unfortunate situation. The Diocese will explore fully every option available to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia.

In a trial beginning on October 6, the Court will examine precisely which property is subject to the Division Statute petitions filed by CANA congregations. The Court will determine several issues either before or during trial, including whether the congregation attempting to take the property actually owns the property they seek under its 57-9 petition, whether deed restrictions require the property to remain with the Episcopal Church, and, in one instance, whether a last-minute transfer of property was valid. Once these issues are decided, the Diocese will appeal the Court's rulings on the applicability and validity of the Division Statute.

"In the Episcopal Church, congregations exist because they are in communion with the bishop of a diocese, through recognition by diocesan governing bodies," said the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia. "They cannot unilaterally disestablish themselves or remove themselves from a diocese, and take Episcopal property with them, using the secular court system to validate their actions."

The Diocese is steadfast in its goal of returning faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and restoring the full and time-honored protections of the First Amendment and the Virginia Constitution for religious freedom.

"The court proceedings of the past several months have shown that the Division Statute, which exists only in Virginia, is uniquely hostile to religious freedom and our faith. We are resolute in our commitment to pursue every avenue in seeking the return of Episcopalians who have been exiled from their church homes," said Bishop Lee.

The Diocese again noted the regrettable necessity of these proceedings. "While we have hoped that the CANA congregations would propose a reasonable alternative to litigation," said Henry D.W. Burt, Secretary of the Diocese, "the Church must vigorously protect the legacy of those faithful generations who have gone before for those who will follow."
LATER: It's Monday Night and there's still no posting of the Diocese's statement on 815's website. What's up with that? After all, they are litigating together, in court they sit next to each other at the same table and share pens. 815 is quick to put up their tar & feather story on Bob Duncan, but the Diocese's "statement" is still missing. Perhaps the 815 staff are out saying good-bye to Yankee Stadium. Or perhaps not.

Roman Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh calls Bishop Bob Duncan a "courageous leader"

"My heart aches for the Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh.
Any time there is division in the church it hurts
not only the Episcopal Church, in this case,but all Christians.
I have profound respect for Bishop Duncan.
He is a good friend and a courageous leader."

Bishop David Zubik
Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Archbishop Chew and the Anglican Province of Southeast Asia announce that they remain in full communion with TEC-deposed Bishop Bob Duncan

From here.

22nd Sept 2008

We received with great distress the news of the deposition of the Rt Revd Bob Duncan, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, by the House of Bishops (HOB) of The Episcopal Church (TEC).

The Communion has repeatedly asked TEC to make pastoral provisions and avoid steps that will alienate further those within TEC who wish to live by the Anglican faith which they believe to be true and remain in fellowship within the Anglican Communion. Even as recent as at the recent Lambeth, the great majority of Bishops present, including those from TEC, have expressed sincere desire for healing and reconciliation and to observe restraints on contentious issues for the Windsor-Covenant process to proceed.

The HOB has instead proceeded to depose a faithful bishop of the Gospel and the diocese under his care. This raises serious questions yet again, and more strikingly so soon after Lambeth, as to how sincere TEC and some of its bishops are in wanting to bring reconciliation, healing and resolution to the Communion crisis at hand.

The Province of Southeast Asia will continue to support, remain in full communion and prayerfully explore steps to strengthen our shared life with Anglican leaders like Bishop Bob Duncan and the Diocese of Pittsburgh as well as other TEC bishops who respect the mind of the Communion and remain faithful to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the tradition and life of the Church. We urge those who have not chosen to ‘walk apart’ to work actively and sincerely with the Windsor-Covenant Process and other measures agreed at the Communion level. This is probably the only remaining opportunity to bind the Communion together out of this crisis which will strengthen our future common life, witness in the world and our place as an Anglican ecclesial family within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Most Rev’d Dr John Chew
Province of Southeast Asia

Bishop Chane files lawsuit against Central Union Mission, home of CANA mission

Don't blink. The Episcopal Church is fast replacing its former motto "The Episcopal Church Welcomes to You," with "The Episcopal Church Sues You."

Bishop John Chane's lawsuit is
here.

Central Union Mission is a highly-respected mission outreach to the homeless of Washington, D.C. Where other city outreaches to the homeless fail, Central Mission remains a crucial component to the church's commitment for justice and compassion for all. You can read more about the amazing work of Central Mission here.

I first became engaged in Central Union Mission when I assisted on an Alpha Course that was sponsored jointly by Central Union Mission and Christ the Redeemer Church in Virginia.

To better serve the city and it's people in crisis, Central Union Mission plans to relocate to the former Gales School which it is all ready renovating for the move. You can read more about that here.

That the Bishop of Washington - with the backing of his allies - would seek to destroy this model for mission in the city is one thing.

But it's far, far more personal than that. La vengeance est un plat qui se mange?

UPDATE: SF has some interesting comments here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Night at the Cafe: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Episcopal Church divided over deposing the Bishop of Pittsburgh

UPDATE: Only 56 (out of 112) Diocesan Bishops voted to depose fellow Diocesan Bishop, Bob Duncan. Out of 290 bishops eligible to vote, only 127 even showed up for the House of Bishops meeting last week to consider deposing the Bishop of Pittsburgh. That means half the House of Bishops stayed home. That's far worse than the numbers that boycotted Lambeth. All we can say is no wonder they didn't want the press there. Read it all here.

It appears that the current Presiding Bishop has a problem.

Tip of the Tinfoil to the extraordinary chief elf at
TitusOneNine.

LATER: Of course, the retired bishop of Utah did show up and voted Bishop Duncan out the church.

Ric Edelman explains it all - in plain English

BB NOTE: Ric Edelman hosts a radio show on financial planning here in the DC area that I listen to regularly. He's the author of The Lies About Money and The Truth About Money.

Yesterday he published a column explaining the financial crisis on Wall Street - and he explains it in regular English. From here.

Lehman Brothers, 158 years old and the nation’s fourth largest brokerage firm, has filed for bankruptcy, with the bulk of its assets purchased by Barclays, a British company. The nation’s largest brokerage, 94-year-old Merrill Lynch, is now gone, too, having been acquired by Bank of America (although BofA says it will continue to use the Merrill name). AIG, until recently the largest insurance company on the planet, has been taken over by the federal government. All this follows the demise of Bear Stearns, the nation’s 5th largest investment bank, having been ac-quired by JP Morgan Chase in a government-supported takeover. And Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been nationalized; taxpayers now own 80% of those firms.

Two words come to mind regarding all these firms: comeuppance and good riddance.

Read the whole thing here. Please.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How the Bishops voted to depose Bishop Duncan

via e-mail

The following is a tally of how the House of Bishops voted to depose the Rt. Rev'd Bob Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh:

NO on Deposing Bishop Duncan
Alabama Suffragan
Albany Diocesan
Central Florida Diocesan
Dallas Suffragan
Dallas Diocesan
East Tennessee Diocesan
Easton Diocesan
Honduras Diocesan
Iowa Diocesan
Louisiana Diocesan
Maryland Suffragan
Milwaukee Diocesan
Mississippi Diocesan
Montana Diocesan
New Jersey Diocesan
North Dakota Diocesan
Northern Indiana Diocesan
Northwest Texas Diocesan
Oklahoma Diocesan
Rhode Island Diocesan
Rio Grande Assisting
South Carolina Diocesan
Southwest Florida Diocesan
Springfield Diocesan
Tennessee Diocesan
Upper South Carolina Diocesan
Virgin Islands Diocesan
Virginia Coadjutor
Virginia Diocesan
West Texas Diocesan
West Texas Suffragan
West Virginia Diocesan
Western Kansas Diocesan
Western Louisiana Diocesan
Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies


YES
on deposing Bishop Duncan
Arizona Diocesan
Arkansas Diocesan
Atlanta Diocesan
Atlanta Assistant
Bethlehem Diocesan
California Diocesan
California Assistant
Central Gulf Coast Diocesan
Central New York Diocesan
Central Pennsylvania Diocesan
Chicago Retired
Chicago Diocesan
Chicago Assistant
Colombia Diocesan
Colorado Diocesan
Connecticut Suffragan
Connecticut Suffragan
Connecticut Diocesan
East Carolina Diocesan
Eastern Michigan Diocesan
El Camino Real Diocesan
Florida Diocesan
Florida Assisting
Georgia Diocesan
Hawaii Retired
Hawaii Diocesan
Idaho Diocesan
Indianapolis Diocesan
Kansas Diocesan
Kentucky Diocesan
Lexington Diocesan
Long Island Assistant
Los Angeles Assistant
Los Angeles Diocesan
Los Angeles Assistant
Los Angeles Suffragan
Maine Retired
Maine Diocesan
Maryland Retired
Maryland Diocesan
Massachusetts Suffragan
Michigan Diocesan
Minnesota Diocesan
Missouri Diocesan
Nebraska Diocesan
Nevada Diocesan
New Hampshire Diocesan
New Jersey Assisting
New York Suffragan
New York Diocesan
New York Assistant
Newark Diocesan
North Carolina Diocesan
North Carolina Assistant
North Carolina Assisting
Northern California Diocesan
Northwestern Pennsylvania Diocesan
Ohio Diocesan
Olympia Diocesan
Olympia Suffragan
Puerto Rico Diocesan
Rochester Diocesan
San Diego Diocesan
San Joaquin Provisional
Southeast Florida Diocesan
Southern Ohio Diocesan
Southern Ohio Suffragan
Southern Virginia Assistant
Southwestern Virginia Diocesan
Spokane Diocesan
Utah Diocesan
Vermont Diocesan
Virginia Suffragan
Washington Retired
Washington Diocesan
West Missouri Diocesan
Western Massachusetts Diocesan
Western New York Diocesan
Western North Carolina Diocesan
Wyoming Diocesan
Bartlett Retired
Charles Retired
Epting Bishop for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations
Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop

Absent:
Alabama
Alaska
Eastern Oregon
Eau Clair
Fort Worth
Haiti
Long Island
Massachusetts
Oregon
Pittsburgh
Quincy
South Dakota
Texas
West Tennessee
Western Michigan

Abstained
American Churches in Europe
Dominican Republic
Fond du Lac
Navajoland

Inhibited
Pennsylvania

NOTE: Statements of support for Bishop Duncan from all around the world are here.

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

(Schori) said one member of the (Pittsburgh) diocesan standing committee, (the Rev. Jim Simons—although she did not name him) will remain in the Episcopal Church. She said she anticipates that Simons will “reconstitute the Standing Committee” and that it would become the new ecclesiastical authority in the diocese.

Jim Naughton, Episcopal Cafe
The Diocese of Washington

Steve Wood reports on his dinner meeting with Presiding Bishop Schori

BB NOTE: Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew's Mt. Pleasant in the Diocese of South Carolina was invited up to New York for dinner and a chat.

He was joined by other rectors of large parishes still in the Episcopal Church. In an e-mail, all he was told was that it would be “an afternoon of discussion with some of my colleagues from the some of the largest congregations in The Episcopal Church, followed by a reception and dinner at her (the PB’s) residence.”

Steve writes a frank report about about what happened - please read carefully. From
here.

There were 7 rectors, inclusive, gathered from across both the geographical and theological landscape. The membership threshold of parishes represented seemed to be roughly 2500+ people. I knew one person personally, the others by reputation.

From my perspective, two of the rectors were of a conservative/re-asserting nature and five from a more to very liberal/progressive/reappraising position. And, of course, add to this mix the PB and her Canon, The Rev’d Dr. Chuck Robertson.

The conversation which ensued consisted primarily of the rectors speaking to one another with the PB and her Canon attentively listening, asking a few questions and very occasionally adding an opinion/perspective. Dinner was more free-flowing and social and less focused on church or theology.

What did I like?

I liked being in NYC. I only wish the Yankees had been in town.

I liked that each of us had a particular theological perspective and could clearly, if not persuasively, articulate our point of view. Knowing this allowed, I believe, conversation rather than posturing and debate.

I liked the opportunity to talk with people that have a different perspective than I have in a non-legislative venue.

What I did not like:

That the air-traffic delays due to storms in the NY metro area delayed the arrival of many of us.

That there was no agenda. Process for the sake of process is a purgatorial experience at best and hellish at worst.

That I did not know in advance the name of one person attending; while others around the table did have this knowledge.

That the comment from the invitation (”there may be issues that have emerged from the Lambeth Conference that could be of relevance in our discussions”) was not addressed or touched upon.

That the PB was not more direct or forthcoming with her thoughts, her beliefs, her perspectives.

That I cannot say what this meeting accomplished.

What I said:

I suggested that while there are many theories of the atonement, the death of Jesus was at least a substitutionary event, and any understanding of Jesus’ death that does not acknowledge the substitutionary nature of His death is inadequate.

I noted the irony that those, like myself, in TEC who stand in solidarity with the overwhelming majority of the Anglican Communion and as the theological descendents of biblical, classical and creedal Christianity have “lost” the battle in and for our church. All that remains is the question, “how punitive will the victors be with regard to the opposition (based on the depositions and lawsuits, it seems they have a mind for the total route of “dissenting” voices)?”

I suggested that questions of property could be addressed fairly and resolved equitably.

I noted that the visit of the PB to the Diocese of South Carolina must have been akin to playing a “road game” and commended her for her willingess to enter our arena. I stated that the conversation which ensued revealed the unbridgeable chasm that exists within TEC. I noted her own surprise and assessment at the conclusion of our clergy day that we were/are unable “to communicate with one another” (Diocese to PB and vice-versa - we communicate just fine with one another within the Diocese of SC).

I wondered why, in the face of 40 years of massive membership decline, that representatives from the national church, and parishes across the country, are not flocking to the ONE diocese (South Carolina) in the country that is growing faster than its population increase.

I suggested that two entirely different religions, with very different languages of faith, now exist under the same name. And that The Episcopal Church as revealed at the most recent General Conventions no longer remotely resembles The Episcopal Church we once knew - which is the source of great grief and sorrow for many of us.

What I think:

I think that the financial challenges facing the reorganization of the National Church offices could be addressed with a return to creedal Christianity and a cessation of the lawsuits.

I think that the conservative/re-asserting remnant will get their legislative clocks cleaned at General Convention 2009.

I think that B033 is going to be repealed at General Convention 2009.

I think that the marriage (in States where the legislature or courts have ruled this legal) or blessing of same-sex persons will be authorized at General Convention 2009.

I think that the 2009 General Convention will modify the “Dennis Canon”, giving the National Church property ownership (it’s hard to remember that until 1979 PARISHES “owned” their property - not the Diocese or National Church).

I think that many in leadership at the 2009 General Convention will be content to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

I think that based on the experience with women’s ordination the 2009 General Convention will debate, and defeat, a “conscious clause” with regard to same-sex ordinations and blessings/marriages.

I think that the above actions will render it impossible for anyone left from “my side” to remain within TEC (though, of course, some will).

What I hope:

That a new North American Anglican Province is formed in the very near future.

Bishop Howe calls Bob Duncan "a fearless and courageous contender of the Faith"

Bishop John W. Howe of the Diocese of Central Florida writes of the Episcopal House of Bishops took yesterday to oust the Bishop of Pittsburgh. Via e-mail.

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.

Anglican Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East issues public letter of support to Bishop Duncan; compares him to St. Athanasius

BB NOTE: Athanasius is one of my heroes. So is Bishop Duncan. From here.

My Dear Bishop Duncan,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

It is with great sadness that I have learnt of your deposition by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in the U.S.

It is with great joy that I welcome you alongside the ranks of St. Athanasius who, as Bishop of Alexandria, was deposed and exiled from his see. St. Athanasius did not waver and stood firm. History proved that his stance for orthodoxy was not in vain. I trust it will do the same for you! So please count it as honor my brother.

I don’t know what to call it, a tragedy or comedy, for the faithful to be disciplined by those who tear the fabric of our Anglican Communion.

Please be assured of my support and that the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa will continue recognize you as a faithful bishop. You are faithful to Jesus Christ, to the Church catholic, to the Anglican Communion, to the Windsor Process, and to your diocese. I find no fault in this. I trust that you will continue the ministry to which God has called you.

The true test of orthodoxy is not in the leader you may follow (1 Cor. 1:12), it is in the faith once delivered (Jude 1:3), the faith founded in Jesus Christ, the faith you were baptized into, catechized through and the faith you live out. Thank you for your faithful witness to Jesus Christ in spite of the opposition.

Please be assured of my prayers and my love to you and Nara, and to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,

+Mouneer Egypt

The Most Rev'd Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney has also issued a public letter of support as well which is online now here.

Washington Times (AP) reports on the Episcopal Church's expulsion of conservative leader

From here.

NEW YORK (AP) | Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, whose diocese is moving toward splitting from the national church, was ousted from ministry Thursday by the bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

The House of Bishops voted 88-35, with four abstentions, to remove Bishop Duncan on a charge of "abandonment of the communion of this church."

Bishop Duncan, who led the Pittsburgh diocese for 11 years, is a leader in a national network of theological conservatives who are breaking away from the liberal denomination in a dispute over biblical authority and sexuality. The long-simmering debate erupted in 2003, when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The Pittsburgh diocese said in a statement that it will move ahead with the Oct. 4 secession vote despite Bishop Duncan's removal. If the diocese decides to split off, it will align with the like-minded Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America, which has already taken in Bishop Duncan as a bishop.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, a 77-million-member fellowship of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England.

The Rev. David Wilson, president of the committee that oversees the Pittsburgh diocese, called Bishop Duncan's ouster "a very painful moment."

"The leadership of the Episcopal Church has inserted itself in a most violent manner into the affairs and governance of our diocese," Mr. Wilson said. "We will stand firm against any further attempts by those outside our boundaries to intimidate us."

But Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, which represents parishioners fighting to stay with the national denomination, said Bishop Duncan "has rejected numerous opportunities and warnings to reconsider and change course."

National Episcopal leaders are facing lengthy and expensive legal battles with conservatives who want to leave and take their property with them.

The first Episcopal diocese to split off was San Joaquin, based in Fresno, Calif., in a 2006 vote that also aligned the diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Soon after, a hand-picked bishop loyal to the U.S. church was elected to head the diocese, while the national church entered a legal fight for control of the diocese and its millions of dollars in assets.

Eleven conservative Northern Virginia churches have won the preliminary steps in their fight with the Diocese of Virginia, which is backed by the national church, over their parish property.

A third conservative diocese - in Fort Worth, Texas - is set to vote in November on whether it should secede.

England: "Great saddnes" at the decision of The Episcopal Church in the US to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh

From here.

Leaders of conservative Anglican group Anglican Mainstream have expressed their “great sadness” at the decision of The Episcopal Church in the US to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh.

The TEC’s House of Bishops voted 88 – 35 in a closed meeting in Salt Lake City on Thursday to remove Bishop Robert Duncan from ordained ministry on the grounds of “abandonment of the communion of this church.” There were four abstentions.

Bishop Duncan is the moderator of the Common Cause Partnership, a federation of Anglicans in North America disenchanted with the TEC's pro-homosexual agenda.

His deposition comes ahead of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s vote on October 4 on whether to secede from the TEC and align instead with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

In a joint statement, Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream, and Canon Dr Chris Sugden, the group’s Executive Secretary, said, “To take such action is hardly in the spirit of the reflections at this year’s Lambeth Conference or the Archbishop of Canterbury’s final presidential address.

“We see this vote as further evidence that The Episcopal Church in the USA in its formal decisions and structures ‘have denied orthodox faith’.”

Bishops at the Lambeth Conference held in Canterbury in July and early August agreed an immediate halt to homosexual consecrations, blessings for same-sex unions, and cross-border interventions. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, spoke in his final address, meanwhile, of the desire among bishops to remain in communion and continue working towards a unifying covenant.

Dr Giddings and Dr Sugden were among the hundreds of conservative Anglicans who met in Jerusalem in June for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) to assess the future of orthodox Anglicanism and the Anglican Communion.

The two leaders pointed in their statement to the Jerusalem Declaration issued by GAFCON leaders at the end of their conference, which stated, “We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.”

Dr Giddings and Dr Sugden added, “Anglicans who adhere to the orthodox faith will continue to welcome and receive the ministry of Bishop Bob Duncan as a faithful Bishop and wish him and the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh the Lord’s blessing in their faithful witness to the gospel."

The orthodox Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) also said it would continue to recognise Bishop Duncan as a bishop of the Anglican Communion, as Bishop of Pittsburgh, and as the moderator of the Common Cause Partnership.

CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns denounced TEC’s “hostile and uncanonical action”, saying it would not be accepted by the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“We hope and pray for the leaders of The Episcopal Church that they would protect the interests of its members by working with – rather than fiercely against – its bishops to proclaim the life-transforming news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That should be the goal of all Christians. Sadly, trying to fire a bishop in good standing with the rest of the Anglican Communion does nothing to save one soul,” Bishop Minns concluded.

Bishop Bob Duncan welcomed into the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone by Archbishop Gregory Venables

StandFirm reports that the Archbishop Venables has welcomed Bishop Duncan into the Province of the Southern Cone. Archbishop Venables attended the Lambeth Conference and Anglican TV has a terrific interview with him here.

Here's Anglican TV's interview with Bishop Bob Duncan. The interview was done on Tuesday.



Anglican Curmudgeon has the scoop on these questionable and rather bizarre proceedings in the Episcopal House of Bishops today:
1. Have they in fact legally deposed him? No. The motion in fact failed, for lack of the required number of those in favor. Counting active and retired bishops, there are approximately 300 bishops entitled to a seat and vote in the House (there were 294 as of the last meeting, in March). Given what the plain language of the Canon has always required, there needed to be at least 151 or so bishops present at the meeting and all voting "Yes" for the consent to deposition to take effect.

2. Did they even try to follow the Canon? No. The announcement of the meeting on August 20 contained no hint of any vote to consent to deposition being on the agenda. It was only on September 12---five days before the meeting began---that the plan for the vote to be held was announced. So there was no attempt, not even a pretense of going through the motions, to do what was necessary to have the required number of bishops in attendance.

3. Were the parliamentary rulings announced in advance of the meeting valid? No. The announcement that they would require only a simple majority of those present and voting was an admission of their cowardice in failing to call together the number of bishops that the Canon requires. And both that ruling, as well as the ruling that the deposition could go forward despite there having been no previous inhibition of Bishop Duncan, were based on the Chancellor's and the Parliamentarian's resolution of what were claimed to be ambiguities in the language of the Canon.

Early Report: Those who voted no

Here is a very early list from reports of bishops who voted no to depose Bishop Bob Duncan. The names include all the bishops of Virginia. Bishop Peter James Lee voted no to inhibit Bob Duncan and, from this early, it appears he voted no to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh. It's also good to see that the Bishop of Rhode Island appears also to have voted no. Here's the early list, with gratitude to George Conger.

Albany
Dallas
Dallas Suffragan
Western Kansas

Central Florida

South Carolina

Upper South Carolina

Alabama Suffragan

Tennessee

Southwest Florida

Easton

Montana

New Jersey
Milwaukee
Northern Indiana

Oklahoma

Virginia

Virginia Coadjutor

Virginia Suffragan

Rhode Island

NW Texas

Eastern Tennessee

Mississippi

Western Louisiana

West Texas

Rio Grande (Bill Frey acting bishop)
Springfield
Louisiana
Maryland

Common Cause and Anglican Communion Network issue statement of support for Bishop Bob Duncan

From here.

Leaders of the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership offered support for Bishop Robert Duncan on September 18. Though the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church has claimed to remove him from episcopal ministry, he is bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion in the Province of the Southern Cone.

“Bishop Duncan is an effective and beloved leader of the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership. Far from removing him from ministry in The Anglican Communion, The House of Bishops has only succeeded in setting him free to continue leading us in the construction of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism here in North America,” said Bishop John Guernsey, Church of Uganda bishop for congregations in America and dean of the Anglican Communion Network’s Mid-Atlantic Convocation.

“In the United States, although someone may be charged with an offence, they have a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Any ambiguity goes in favor of the accused. The accused has a right to see the written charges against him or her and a right to offer defense. The Episcopal Church House of Bishops has abrogated basic civil rights by deposing Bishop Duncan based on what he might do in the future, without offering him a trial and time of defense and with less than a Constitutional vote.

“Throughout history, faithful Christians have been persecuted for living what they believe. The same is true today. It is truly shameful that The Episcopal Church is persecuting one of its own bishops for upholding the faith once delivered. But thanks be to God that, though persecuted, Bishop Duncan, along with all Christians, are more than conquerors,” said Bishop David Anderson, of the American Anglican Council and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. Both bodies are members of the Common Cause Partnership.

“In spite of the sham deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan by the House of Bishops, he remains the formidable leader of traditional Episcopalians and loyal Anglicans in North America. Bishop Duncan continues to have the respect of a majority of the primates and bishops of the entire Anglican Communion, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. In an effort to silence him, the House of Bishops has only given him greater creditability as the leader of the realignment movement,” said Bishop Jack Leo Iker of the Anglican Communion Network diocese of Fort Worth.

Bishop Duncan joins more than 100 clergy, the large majority of them members of the Network and Common Cause, which leaders in The Episcopal Church have attempted to remove from ministry in recent years using charges of “Abandonment of Communion.” As is the case with Bishop Duncan, these clergy continue to be recognized as ordained Anglican ministers by the leaders of the large majority of The Anglican Communion.

Both the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership continue their work to bring into being a new Anglican Province in North America, where clergy will not removed from the church for believing what Christians have always believed.