Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A warning to Traditional Clergy

My old bishop, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, spoke to the clergy of the Diocese of Ft Worth (TX) and addressed some issues of the upcoming General Convention and the relationship of the Episcopal Church to our world-wide Anglican Communion. Ft. Worth is one of the most traditional dioceses of the Episcopal Church (lots of clergy with 'SSC' after their name, like Fr. Bedford and I are privileged to bear), and Bishop Duncan is one of the most traditional Evangelical bishops of the Episcopal Church.

It was an honor to serve under him!

This article is from The Living Church Foundation www.livingchurch.org
'Prepare for Crucifixion,' Bishop Duncan Tells Fort Worth Clergy 06/06/2006

Citing the example of Peter, the disciple who returned to Rome to face certain death, the moderator of the Anglican Communion Network told a May 31 gathering of clergy of the Diocese of Fort Worth to prepare for a “crucifixion,” but assured them that in the long run “God will reform his Church.”

The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, conducted the clergy day discussion on the Episcopal Church, the Network, and the Anglican Communion at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth. The gathering, attended by about 70 priests and deacons, was held at the diocesan camp in Granbury, about 30 miles south of the see city.

The day began with a Eucharist celebrating the Feast of the Visitation. In his sermon, Bishop Duncan noted that an important difference between the Colonists and the British during the Revolutionary War was in the way they treated their enemies. The British, he said, “gave no quarter,” but the Americans treated their enemies according to the principles they espoused. He reminded the congregation that the epistle for the day, from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, admonishes God’s elect to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” to “bear with one another” and to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

During his first talk, which focused on the Network and the Episcopal Church, Bishop Duncan told the clergy that, if they were looking for a single event or moment of schism, “it has happened.” The moment, he said, was the confirmation three years ago of the election of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire during the 74th General Convention. A comment from the floor concerning earlier events that some in the diocese consider equally fateful, such as the change in the teaching on divorce or the ordination of women, prompted a discussion of the history of the church over the last 100 years. Church leadership now, Bishop Duncan noted, is largely in the hands of a generation, including himself, that came of age learning to “destroy institutions” and does so. Describing the present state of affairs in a church that blesses same-sex unions but whose laity do not know scripture, Bishop Duncan said, “We have thrown out the baby, and we are savoring the bath water.”

Later the discussion moved to the Anglican Communion. The lack of a truly common Book of Common Prayer, due to revisions in several provinces over the last quarter century, and the tradition of allowing a secular government to select the Archbishops of Canterbury, have destabilized the Communion, according to Bishop Duncan. It is remarkable, he noted, that the latter has worked as well as it has for so long, but the mechanism is inherently flawed. He predicted that future leadership of the Communion will shift to the Global South.

In his own experience, Bishop Duncan said, he now feels he has more in common with the Roman Catholic bishop and Orthodox Metropolitan of Pittsburgh than he does with fellow members of the House of Bishops.