Two dioceses to consider proposals to leave national church

In separate statements issued yesterday two Network dioceses addressed the examination of proposals to cut ties with the Episcopal Church.

The press release from Quincy states the diocese

will consider proposals at its October Synod that would cut its ties with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church if leaders of that Church continue to pull away from mainstream Anglicanism.

The Archbishops of the Anglican Communion have set September 30th as the deadline for the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops to give “unequivocal” assurance that they will stop advocating teaching and practices that are incompatible with Holy Scripture.

Fr. John Spencer, President of the Quincy Standing Committee, made it clear that the Diocese is not trying to preempt the upcoming meeting of the House of Bishops.

Emphasis added. Read the press release here.

The other statement was a letter from Bishop Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

A last minute reversal by the House of Bishops (prior to a September 30th deadline established by the Communion) seems most unlikely. In light of these events, with heavy hearts, and for the sake of our mission it appears the time has come to begin the process of realignment within the Anglican Communion.

Constitutional changes proposed for consideration at the 142nd Annual Convention would begin the process to exercise our right to end the accession of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

Because the accession clause is a feature of our local diocesan constitution, adoption of the changes requires the action of two successive annual conventions. The proposed changes would therefore not take effect immediately, but would open a season of planning, discussion and decision-making in preparation for the second vote in 2008.

Duncan’s letter is available here. Lionel Deimel attended a diocesan event and received comments from a diocesan spokesperson on the recent Boston Globe article where Duncan said he planned to take the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. Mark Harris and Father Jake very effectively dissect the proposed constitutional changes.

In recent days two mainstream Windsor bishops have issued statements looking towards the meeting of the House of Bishops. Bishop Jenkins (Louisiana) wrote,

People from radically differing perspectives around sexuality have come together in a mission of mercy, and have found their lives changed and the seeming hot button issues put in the proper perspective. Why can we as Anglicans not demonstrate the same mercy toward one another?

A failure to find a way forward together shall not simply hurt each and every one of us, but as sin is always communal in its effects, our failures will hurt the poor and needy whom we serve and to whom mercy is a symbol of hope.

For more of Jenkins’ statement see the previous item in The Lead.

Bishop Howe (Central Florida) wrote,

I believe that in virtually every one of our congregations, even those in which the desire to separate is widespread, there are many who do not wish to leave The Episcopal Church or the Diocese of Central Florida. If those who desire to remain can become a viable congregation, that congregation becomes the continuing body of that parish, with a claim upon the property.

So: I foresee an extremely difficult period ahead of us, in which congregations may be pulled apart, and arguments over property become horribly distracting and costly.

I am committed to being as gracious and generous as possible to those who, for conscience sake, believe they must separate. But I am pledged to stand alongside those who, for conscience sake, choose to remain, and I am committed to the rebuilding of congregations and this Diocese in the wake of any such departures.

Howe’s letter is here.

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