SALT LAKE CITY: House of Bishops Votes to Depose Bishop Duncan 87 to 36 with Four Abstentions
By David W. Virtue
The Episcopal Church House of Bishops today passed a resolution formally requesting that the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan be deposed from the Episcopal Church for abandoning the communion of the church.
By a vote of 87 to 36 with four abstentions the HOB overwhelming moved to have the evangelical catholic bishop removed as a bishop from TEC. It is now up to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to officially depose him. She is expected to do that before The Diocesan Convention in 2 weeks.
The Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, president of the Title IV Review Committee changed his vote yes to no after the vote was taken, a source has told VOL.
Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith described the debate for deposition as "shallow".
"They were blaming Bishop Duncan saying he needed to be deposed because he said terrible things about the House of Bishops."
"I have never seen so many retired bishops at a HOB meeting. The majority voted for deposition. The hypocrisy was incredible. They talked about standards and being accountable and holding each other accountable, but they never saw that anything they did was wrong or that they were culpable for their actions."
Beckwith rose to say that he supported a statement put out by the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Albany that, among other things, called for an end to litigation and depositions.
"I support that document fully and without reservation. To proceed with the action will be a gross misuse of power and miscarriage of justice and will be seen by a great many as an ecclesiastical lynching. I am embarrassed to be a part of it.
The Rev. Peter Frank, Pittsburgh Communications Director said Bishop Duncan will not contest the vote. "The Standing Committee will now be the ecclesiastical authority through the diocesan convention."
The following is a list of those who voted against the motion to depose Bishop Duncan: They are Albany, Dallas, Western Kansas, Central Florida, SC, Suffragan Bishop of Alabama, Tennessee, Southwest Florida, Easton, MD, Montana, NJ, Milwaukee, Nthn. Indiana, ND, OK, VA, RI, NW Texas, Eastern TN, Mississippi. Louisiana and Western LA.
PITTSBURGH: Statement from the Standing Committee
The Standing Committee announces its intention to function as the Ecclesiastical Authority for the Diocese.
Statement by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Regarding the Deposition of our Bishop, Robert Wm Duncan, Jr., by the House of Bishops - September 18, 2008.
We are profoundly disappointed by this action, and view it as yet another tragic rejection of the historic faith of our diocese and the majority consensus of the Anglican Communion.
We continue to believe that the House of Bishops has clearly misapplied and misinterpreted the canons as we stated to the Presiding Bishop in our letter of May 28.
In light of this unfair and improper action to "depose" our bishop, we now assume our responsibility under the canons to be the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Bishop Duncan will continue to support the work of our diocese under the terms of his administrative employment agreement and within the bounds of his deposition, providing many of the services that he previously performed for the diocese. Our diocesan convention of October 4 will go forward as planned, at which the canonically required re-alignment vote will be taken.
We understand that Bishop Duncan has been received as a member in good standing of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone. We rejoice at this news.
The Standing Committee asks that the clergy and people of Pittsburgh pray for the Duncans, the diocesan staff and the elected leadership of the diocese in the days ahead. We stand firmly on the promise of Holy Scripture found in Romans 8:28.
"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
The Rev David D. Wilson,
President St. David's Church, Peter's Twp PA
The Rev. Karen B. Stevenson
Trinity Church, Washington PA
The Rev. Geoffery W. Chapman St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley PA
Mr. Wicks Stephens, Secretary Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh PA
Dr. Theresa T. Newell St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley PA
Mrs. Gladys Hunt-Mason St. Stephen's Church, McKeesport PA
Mr. Kenneth Herbst St. Peter's Church, Butler PA
STATEMENT OF JOHN H. LEWIS, JR. ATTORNEY FOR BISHOP DUNCAN
The so-called "deposition of Bishop Duncan is illegal, unfair, and unchristian.
It is illegal because it violates numerous Canons of The Episcopal Church:
1) There has been no "abandonment." Past precedents of the Episcopal Church show that the "abandonment" Canon cannot be used to punish a Bishop's intentions;
b) The Canons require that any facts be considered by a Review Committee. Here, the Presiding Bishop has used facts from the committee she created to seize the property of orthodox dioceses and parishes;
c) The Canons require that a Bishop be inhibited before the matter can be submitted to the House of Bishops. Bishop Duncan was not inhibited; and
(d) The Canons require that any vote to depose must have the vote of the majority of Bishops entitled to vote. Here, the vote was only by a majority of those present.
It is unfair because Bishop Duncan was denied his fundamental right - the right to a church trial. He has been denied that right because the Presiding Bishop believes that his "deposition" will assist her in her desire to seize the property of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
It is unchristian because Bishop Duncan is being punished for his faithful submission to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
BISHOP DUNCAN'S STATEMENT ON HIS "DEPOSITION"
It is a very sad day for The Episcopal Church. It is a sad day for me, a faithful son of that church.
Nevertheless it is also a hopeful day, hopeful because of the unstoppable Reformation that is overtaking the Christian Church in the West. It is also a hopeful day for me personally as I am unanimously welcomed into the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, an act applauded by Anglican archbishops, bishops, clergy and people all around the world.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh will move forward under its new Ecclesiastical Authority, its Standing Committee. That body will carry the diocese through to our realignment vote on October 4. With the success of that vote, it will be possible that we be joined together again as bishop and people.
I offer my deepest thanks to the company of saints all around the globe who have sustained me, my work and all who are dear to me in these days.
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