Doctor Duncan, recently made so by Nashotah House, gave an address on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree. It is now posted on the Anglican Communion Network pages. Doctor Duncan is of course also Bishop of Pittsburgh, and Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network.
It is an amazing document, one worthy of note for it spells out the Moderator’s thinking on the state of affairs concerning the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. I am sure there will be much written about the address, but a quick read yielded these gems:
“There are two churches claiming to be the Episcopal Church. In the words of Bp. Ed Salmon, Chairman of the Board of this House, there is a “chasm fixed between them.” Eight dioceses have gone so far as to appeal to the Communion for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO), whereby a bishop or archbishop external to the States would exercise all the functions of Presiding Bishop within the States. Three dioceses have withdrawn their consent for inclusion in their domestic provinces and one has proposed complete re-alignment with an overseas jurisdiction. The Archbishop of Canterbury has intervened by asking the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Can. Kenneth Kearon, to seek an “American solution” to the conflict represented by the APO requests. Significantly, the four principals identified by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Kearon initiative, were the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Bishop-elect, the Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Bishop of Fort Worth, all seated as equals, naming equal teams. Unable to achieve any resolution on the Alternative Primatial Oversight issue at a September meeting in New York, and aware that the issue is actually the “chiasm” between us rather than APO, significantly many of the participants present at New York believe that the Kearon initiative has no future, thus insuring that in fact it has none.”
The discerning eye will note that The Moderator, now The Good Doctor, continues the claim that there are “There are two churches claiming to be the Episcopal Church.” This is not the case and he knows it. There is one Church that IS the Episcopal Church. It has made decisions that he and others do not agree with – fair enough. But it is indeed The Episcopal Church. The other entity is not the Episcopal Church, but rather a group of people within the Episcopal Church attempting guerrilla warfare against it.
The second thing to note about this is the amazing proposition in the middle of the paragraph, concerning the New York meeting suggested by Canon Kearon. The Moderator said, “Significantly, the four principals identified by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Kearon initiative, were the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Bishop-elect, the Bishop of Pittsburgh and the Bishop of Fort Worth, all seated as equals, naming equal teams.” So the Moderator makes the claim that bishops of dioceses were seated with the Primate and Primate-elect as ‘equals.’ Well, fair enough, in the American church’s system Bishop Griswold is still Bishop, not Archbishop. But the Presiding Bishop and the Presiding Bishop Elect are the elected “chief bishops” of the Episcopal Church, something neither Pittsburgh or Fort Worth are.
Here is another interesting bit from the address:
“Speaking together from Kigali, just one week after the New York meeting, twenty Primates of the Global South (or their representatives) communicated their intention to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the appealing U.S. dioceses. Representatives of the Global South Committee will be meeting with representatives of the eight APO dioceses within a very few days.”
It would appear that “Alternative Primatial Oversight” is a vision that is going ahead in spite of the fact that APO has no standing in ANY existing Anglican Communion “instrument.” And, there will be a meeting “within a very few days.” Indeed: where and when? It should be interesting.
The Moderator, once a Campus Minister, opines that there are signs of movement to “the other Church” on campus. A bit trumphalisticly he says:
“Additionally, the Canterbury Trail has not cooled at all on evangelical campuses across the nation – indeed the trail grows more like a highway – despite (or might it be because of?) the troubles. That both Gordon-Conwell and Fuller Seminaries, each located in strongholds of the other Episcopal Church, have established “Anglican tracks” in the last year are significant signs of the times.”
More to the heart of the matter of the ‘crisis’ the Moderator says that the time has come for a mediated disengagement with the “other Episcopal Church” is at hand:
“We have reached the moment where a mediation to achieve disengagement is the only way forward. I believe that the other Episcopal Church – the one not represented in this convocation – has finally also come to that conclusion, as well. I believe that a mediated settlement will be in place by this time next year, or that the principals will be well on their way to such a settlement. How can we set one another free to proclaim the gospel (the Truth) as we, so differently, understand it? How can we bless one another as cousins, rather than oppress one another as brothers? The day for a serious and wide-ranging mediation has arrived. This will have an immense impact on the present and the future of Anglicanism, and it cannot come too soon.”
On the matter of an Anglican Covenant he says,
“Whether the Windsor Report-proposed or Global South-introduced notion of an Anglican Covenant will be meaningful or meaningless will depend on whether Global South clarity or Western post-modernism define what is and what is not Anglicanism. The future of Anglicanism as a coherent Christian enterprise or remnant of a syncretistic Enlightment development will hang in the balance. What must also be observed, in any case, is that the emergence of two Anglicanisms – like the two Episcopal Churches of the present moment – one a declining and ultimately heterodox expression and one a chiefly Southern Hemisphere offspring with totally new Instruments of Unity still to emerge is, sadly, far from a remote possibility.”
Now he wants to posit two Anglican Communions. It looks like he is up for a the suggestion that has come before – a separate Communion based in Alexandria or perhaps in Nigeria.
There is more, but for another time.
For the moment it is sufficient to say that this Address spells out the directions set by the Moderator for the ACN and sets up the straw dog – the notion that there are two Episcopal Churches – and they must gnaw over the bones of the shambles of the time, and that there are two Anglican Communions – one from the decadent West and the other from the noble and glorious Global South.
We don’t have to be sick simply because Dr. Duncan makes a house call.