Heads Up: Doctor Duncan Makes a House Call.

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 Three dioceses have withdrawn their consent for inclusion in their domestic provinces and one has proposed complete re-alignment with an overseas jurisdiction.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.


  1. It gets even better. He blames prayer book revision!

    "To point 2) – the loss of the Book of Common Prayer – I want to be so bold as to suggest the following: that Anglicanism’s practical magisterium – its reliable teaching authority — has been its Book of Common Prayer, and that without a restored Book of Common Prayer, reasserting the theological propositions of medieval Catholicism as reshaped by the English Reformation, best represented in the prayer book of 1662, Anglicanism will continue its theological disintegration apace. For that Western Church whose popular and practical believing was more nearly lex orandi, lex credendi than any other tradition — for that Western Church whose practical magisterium was its prayerbook — a fixed prayer book is essential. For a tradition that has a separate magisterium, Vatican II-style liturgy is a possibility. For us as Anglicans, it is, quite demonstrably, not. Forty years of alternative texts and expansive language have produced an undiscipled people and a theological wasteland. We have become a Church that actually does believe, in the words of one eucharistic canon, that we are “worthy to stand before [Him].” (10) How staggeringly un-Scriptural and un-Anglican!"

  2. Bingo. Just this morning I told the women's Bible study that while the presenting issues of the Episcopal Church's controversy (which they brought up in relation to this coming Sunday's reading from Isaiah) are Bp. Robinson and same sex blessings, the real core of the controversy is the current Prayer Book.
    And lo, Bp. Duncan just backed me up and I didn't even know it!

    But seriously, medieval Catholicism? Dear friends, I have been among incest survivors for many years now. On their behalf, these who have spent their early lives with their faces in the dust, I stand before God every minute of every day and I will continue to do so until God ceases to permit this plague on the least of these, God's children. So, Prayer B, "In [Jesus], you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you" are words of life and salvation for me and those for whom I pray. I thank God for the current BCP, 1979, of The Episcopal Church.
    (The Reverend) Lois Keen

  3. "We don’t have to be sick simply because Dr. Duncan makes a house call." Mark Harris

    It's amazing how much better I feel after reading the "Deadly Doctors" insane ravings that are twisted into spiritually poisoness remedy for another one of his "quack" cures for a disease that doesn't exist.

    Leonardo Ricardo

  4. We have become a Church that actually does believe, in the words of one eucharistic canon, that we are “worthy to stand before [Him].” (10) How staggeringly un-Scriptural and un-Anglican!

    Note how---like a certain President of the USA?---the good Right Reverend Doctor "seated as equal" Duncan just can't stop himself from lying?

    From Eucharistic Prayer B: "In him [Jesus Christ], you [God] have . . . made us worthy to stand before you."

    Not "are", "made"!!!

    From that distinction---the GRACE Our Lord has empowered us with, NOT the (temporal) power-over we claim for ourselves---arises the difference between the *one* Episcopal Church, and its would-be usurper (oh, yes, and also honesty).

    We have reached the moment where a mediation to achieve disengagement is the only way forward.

    Bishop Duncan, that "mediation to achieve disengagement" is right where it's *always* been: at the bottom of your legs, covered in shoe-leather. In all Christian charity, don't let the red cathedral door hit you on the way out...

  5. To point 3) – the ordination of women – I do not wish to speak, which you will regard as this address’s one avoidance. My own support for women in holy orders is well known. Global Anglicanism has said that there are, in fact “two integrities” here, both arguable from Holy Scripture, and – to employ Hooker’s method — less so from Tradition. I am convinced that an honest century of reception will sort this one out. I am also persuaded that our God has challenged us to deal with this issue, either because He does intend to bless this new understanding or because He has it in mind that we Anglicans will best find ourselves again in the institutional and relational charity it will require of us as a dynamic and faithful Anglicanism re-emerges.

    Could someone explain to me why it's ok to agree to disagree about women's ordination, but not homosexuality?

  6. Could someone explain to me why it's ok to agree to disagree about women's ordination, but not homosexuality?

    There's a charitable answer and an uncharitable answer to that question. The uncharitable answer: because Doctor Duncan thinks gay priests are icky but women priests are OK.

    The charitable answer is . . .

    Come to think of it, there is no charitable answer.

  7. What an odd group you are! The AB of Canterbury is "frst among equals," but if Bp. Duncan reports that his meeting with Bishops Griswold and Schori was one in which they met as equals (i.e., not a meeting with his "bosses"), he is pretentious! When he accurately describes the existence of two churches (as Bp. Schori also did), he raves insanely! And when you have finished hurling insults, you appeal to Christian charity?" What a wonderful witness!

  8. BTW, note that the good doctor now states on the Diocese of Pittsburgh website that my diocese (Dallas) has withdrawn its request for " Alternate Primatial Oversight."

    No word yet here from Diocesan House, but there's more discussion over on the always excellent Thinking Anglicans site.

  9. I am actually something of a fan of a settlement, though I think I would prefer negotiation to mediation. So on daily episcopalian, I have welcomed Bishop Duncan's statement in that regard, and let some of the things Mark has pointed out slide by without comment. I can't resist pointing out, though, that people "seated as equals" with Bishop Griswold whenever he does not dine alone.

  10. The cynical position is to hold that +Bob Pittsburgh is dishonest -- the good intentions position is to believe that he is delusional (of course the two are not mutually exclusive).

    There is one Episcopal Church. Not all the members agree about everything. Those who disagree with the positions adopted by General Convention can stay in the Church in spite of that (perhaps hoping to change some minds) or they may decide to leave. Those who choose to leave it are free to do so -- many have (as certain persons are happy to gloat about).

    Leaving The Episcopal Church does not make them another Episcopal Church. It makes them people who have left The Episcopal Church.

    ++Peter Akinola has already chastised the Network about being obessesed with taking the property with them.

  11. Settlement is bad for several reasons:

    1) It suggests that all you have to do is whine loudly enough and make enough threats and you can get your way. This will encourage similar unhealthy behavior in the future.

    2) We have a fiduciary responsibility to maintain those churches that were built as Episcopal Churches.

    3) It violates the ecclesiology of our Church. We are not congregationalists. Individual congregations cannot just leave the demonination. They are the denomination. If laity want to leave, then they are free to do so. If clergy want to give up their orders, then they are free to do so. But churches simply cannot stop being part of a diocese.

    4) If we cut each other off, then we can no longer encounter each other and learn from each other. This whole issue will blow over in 50-100 years. Our grandkids and great-grandkids will not even understand why we were so upset over gay clergy and gay marriage. But if we split over this, the chance of formal reunification is virtually nil. Look at the Baptists. The Southern Baptists split over slavery and they have never reunified.

    5) We should stay together out of humility. Humility that we might not have the whole truth ourselves and that others might have gifts to offer us.

  12. If I thought that Duncan & Co. were sincere believers with whom I disagree, I would feel much more charitable toward them, but the bit J.C. pointed out is exactly why I believe Duncan and his crowd to be fundamentally and willfully dishonest.

    Duncan surely knows that he has lied there, but apparently has no problem with it. After one has told so many falsehoods, and borne so much false witness against one's brothers and sisters, what's one more lie, one more slander?

    Here's a settlement I can accept: I am willing to hold open the door and smile pleasantly while Duncan and his lickspittles troop out.

    Then they can give themselves whatever grandiose titles they wish, and hand out phony doctorates like mardi gras beads, and clap their hands sore and fulminate against the sodomites and bow down before their 1662 prayerbooks and all the rest, from outside our church, where they belong.

    That sounds like an excellent settlement to me.

  13. OMG Anonymous! Ilove your comment, and, as a native of the Mardi Gras south(Mobile), I appreciate your allusion.These Nashotah boys need to form their own sect, give up their very generous pensions, and let the rest of us proclaim the Grace of God incarnate.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.