Sweeping up prior to the House of Bishops Meeting.

A few odds and ends of questions and scraps of information swept from dusty corners of the Preludium print shack:

(i) Bishops Beckwith, Duncan and Iker were absent from the March 2008 House of Bishops meeting. We know Bishop Duncan will not attend this time. Will Beckwith or Iker?

(ii) Bishop Duncan, in his letter to the Presiding Bishop on March 14, 2008 stated, "I have been present to all but two meetings of the House of Bishops (out of twenty-four) during the last 12 years. In those meetings I have clearly and openly opposed the theological and moral drift of the Episcopal Church, often in the face of great hostility and sadly, at times, derision." So, in twelve years he has been present for all but two meetings. Assuming three meetings a year that's pretty good, say 40 out of 42. Then again he was only pinch hitting at some of those, only staying for the parts he had to, not taking communion with the regular group, etc. Still, not a bad record. What is his record for this year? Zero for two.

(iii) It's a difficult time for Bishop Duncan, but he is filled with hope. On September 13th he wrote to his clergy and parishes,

"So fear not. It is confidence in our faithful God that will carry us all through to a better day, to the other side of the vote on September 18th and the other side of votes on October 4th. I expect that God will still grant me many years of service to the people and the place I have come to love so much.
“[Because of the storm] they were frightened. But Jesus said to them: ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’” [John 6:19b-20]"

I was reminded of the prophesy he received at an earlier point, from Mark Stibbe, posted in Trinity Magazine of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

"2008 is the year of the open gate. Prepare to pass through the gate. There are new beginnings ahead for those who have been waiting patiently for their moment to come. Obstacles are being removed. The Father is breaking his children out of a sense of captivity to past restrictions. The anointing for new beginnings is on many in this year. The time of frustration and exile is coming to an end. This is the Lord’s time for his people to rise up and follow him through the gates of opportunity. New starts are looming. Many are on the point of experiencing the new life that convergence brings. And the true church – even though it will know many trials - is on the point of experiencing new life, a new season of vitality and creativity, a brand new Reformation. A highway is being built, stones are being removed, and a banner is being raised for the nations.

So get ready… and do not be afraid. Do not be anxious. 2008 is the year of the gate… And there is a BREAKER ANOINTING on those who are pushing up to the threshold of their opportunity..."

Does this continue to be Bishop Duncan's source of optimism? Frankly, I hope Bishop Duncan is filled with hope, otherwise this miserable mess is not worth it. I know he has felt exiled in the Episcopal Church. My question is where does he think he is going? We are all in exile here and the the exit lanes are clogged with gas guzzlers and truckers carrying stolen goods. Better he should stay on the main roads with all the rest of us pilgrims. Still, if he is going to exit, best paste the prophetic utterance on the steering wheel.

One question: If he wanted to leave and take the diocese with him, what would have prevented the diocese from petitioning the General Convention to mutually dissolve the union between the diocese and the General Convention. I know....he probably would have lost that vote as well, or it would perhaps have been considered out of order (although Puerto Rico did it). Still, it would have put the issue before the whole Convention. Speeding off the highway and into the supposed bright new day, or perhaps the unlit side streets, is a lot of things, but it ain't mutual.

(iv) Then I found a small posting on Preludium concerning an "Undisclosed Memo" quoted by George Conger in a Living Church article. The memo concerned presenting the Presiding Bishop for deposition on various charges having to do with her disregard of the Constitution and Canons. Who wrote the memo and on behalf of what group I have not yet heard. But then, life moved on.

Indeed. But this week George Conger has written again to opine that there is "legal doubt over Presiding Bishop's move to depose Duncan." There is no mention of any legal opinion save the reading by the author and the opinion of Bishop John Howe that he would disassociate from the vote as it would be an improper vote. So, is the legal doubt that of George Conger? Who else?

Is there out there legal opinion - by a competent canon lawyer - that Mr. Conger is relying on? Surely he is not simply reporting his own opinion. I am sure he is not. But where do these opinions come from? And do they come from people with a stake in the matter?

That was the same question I asked last week of the lawyer, Mr. McCall, who wrote a lengthy opinion posted by the Anglican Communion Institute about the Episcopal Church as a hierarchical church. There was indeed a listing of Mr. McCall's legal credentials given later, but no indication as to why he wrote the opinion, who commissioned it if it was commissioned, and what stake he has in the proceedings.

Perhaps it is time to wonder if these legal opinions are being affirmed from the same source - an individual or a small gathering of lawyers. If so, fine. But what then is their stake? And if they are being paid, by whom?

No wonder that was swept into a corner. Complex and not very interesting, unless of course disclosure is still a valued notion.

(v) We don't have the minutes of the Spring meeting of the House of Bishops, at least I can't easily find them. A question: If an item of business is brought up at one meeting and referred to the next business meeting, and so indicated in the minutes, does that have to be separately announced in the publication of the agenda of a special meeting of the House of Bishops, or does it stand as continuing business? If it stands as continuing business, it seems to me more than enough to say that there will be a business meeting. Also, the vote to act on a piece of business already before the house is not about resolutions, but rather acting as required on matters before the house. I am not at all convinced of the argument in the aforementioned Conger article, no matter the source of its legal opinion. It doesn't mean I can't be convinced. It just means I am not convinced. And clearly I am not a canon lawyer nor do I play one on TV. I do occasionally have drinks with one. The conversations are stimulating and often he pays.

Not that this matters much.

(iv) I notice on another scrap of paper that our Son, Daughter, Daughter-in-Law, and best of all Granddaughter are all arriving here at the end of the month. This is why I am sweeping out the print shop. Indeed there are sometimes better fish to fry.


  1. "I was reminded of the prophesy he received at an earlier point, from Mark Stibbi, posted in Trinity Magazine of the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

    I believe the name of the "prophet" in question is actually Stibbe, not Stibbi. He seems to be the vicar of a church somewhere named Chorleywood.

  2. If the revisionists (especially in the HOB) have such high moral ground to dispose of Bishop Duncan, why are shady and illegal tactics being used to be shed of him? The PB has announced to the House of Bishops, five days ahead of their meeting, the rulings she will make on the canonical objections to proceeding with the resolution to dispose of Duncan.
    If you have right on your side why the deceit and creative reading of the canons? Makes one wonder if we are in a dictatorship. Isn't that what some have accused Duncan of? If the tactic was deplorable for him to use, it is certainly deplorable for the HOB to use.

    The beat goes on. The hard-core pensionists in the HOB will do as they are told. No respect for that except among those who need each other.

  3. I have faith in the integrity of the majority of people who serve as bishops in the Episcopal Church. Many of them have many divergent opinions about various matters facing us, and I do not believe they will be led to vote in any manner except according to their conscience and beliefs. Frankly, I believe the majority of them would vote their conscience, insurance or no insurance, pension or no pension if that is the point a commenter on this blog is making.

    "Dictatorship"? I just do not believe it.

    I have met our Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, only briefly, and she will not know me among all those in the Diocese of San Joaquin, and I was impressed with her courage, honesty, compassion, and integrity. I hold her in high regard.

    "Shady and illegal tactics"?

    Gosh, I saw a lot of shady and illegal tactics used by the former bishop in the Diocese of San Joaquin, and was seriously affected by them in my Episcopal Church there. There was disregard for the "people," in order to promote a "cause."

    I am so sorry for those in the Diocese of Pittsburg about to go down the same path. It divides the faithful and creates divisions where it is not even necessary to have divisions.

    WE ARE ALL CHRISTIANS! We have always have had different views in the Episcopal Church, but came together at the altar of our Lord, because we were united in our understanding of the Eucharist primarily, and because of the beautiful prayer book, and hymnal, and because we value and respect the use of reason. (Of course, there is even more.)

    I pray for our church daily.

  4. why are shady and illegal tactics being used to be shed of him?

    Perhaps read the document again Allen. There are no shady or illegal tactics. She is laying out the potential arguments against the deposition that have been floating around since David Schofield was deposed.

    She is stating that she has explored those arguments with her Chancellor and others and does not accept them as having validity, and thus will rule against them if they are presented.

    Then she points out that the House may then choose to over rule her ruling by a vote of the House if they so choose.

  5. The evidence of the last meeting of the HOB tells that shady and illegal tactics WERE used. A majority of the House was not even present in New Orleans when the last disciplinary actions were "approved". One-half the the House was not even present.

  6. The rededication of the Chapel of St. John the Divine, on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign was rescheduled so that Bishop Beckwith could also attend the meeting of the HoB.


  7. Beckwith? Beckwith of Newark? I met him back in June at the Pride March in NY. There has to be a good reason for him not being there. Someone please enlighten me.

  8. Mark, you wrote:

    "Is there out there legal opinion - by a competent canon lawyer - ....But where do these opinions come from? And do they come from people with a stake in the matter?"

    As Bonnie Anderson recently noted, there is a healthy change in the air that laity - the ministers and billpayers of TEC - should be heard along with the couple hundred bishops. That means the laity are stakeholders in anything done in the name of the denomination.

    From a Billpayer / Minister / Stakeholder (Me):

    1. Anybody should be able to question anything, especially what could be defended. Member, non-member, media, antagonist, atheist, bishop. If truth is at stake anybody should be able to question and get an answer without having to produce a pedigree to the power.

    2. On the most BASIC level this HOB meeting is a "called meeting". The PB "called" it. That means that under the HOB's own rules the agenda must be settled and published at least 30 days prior to the meeting. That was done. ...except until last week. Now on the agenda there appears the Bishop Duncan matter, just days before the start of the meeting. Hardly within the rules of the called meeting requirements.

    It's out of order. It's not according to the rules of the House. It's an illegal procedure according to the House's own decision on how to conduct business. Apparently that doesn't matter. THAT's what should concern us all. That the HOB has become so whipped into shape that they'll bend to whim and will as told. It's strained justice at best...which is fake justice in the eyes of anybody with integrity.

    I'm not a competent canon lawyer...I just read English. And I believe people when they devise procedures...until I see this stuff. If you want Duncan, go for it....according to the rules and limitations agreed upon. Else, you might have less than half of the bishops show up for this round of business...again... like the last meeting.

    Stinks to the most common nose...make that billpayer and stakeholder.

  9. Mark,

    Please remember that there are now two Bishops Beckwith in the House of Bishops. I assume that you refer in your post to the Bishop of Springfield, not to the Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Bishop of Newark, who was at the March HOB meeting and will be at the September meeting.

    I had a moments confusion when i read you're opening line, until I realized that you were speaking of +Peter and not +Mark (who is my bishop).

    Vicki McGrath+

  10. If you want to talk "so whipped into shape that they'll bend to whim and will as told", Allen, watch the upcoming votes in the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Fort Worth.

  11. At least as I've read things (OCICBW), the matter of Duncan's deposition had already been on the agenda for the House of Bishops' meeting. The PB's memo simply seems to outline what has happened to date and what will happen at the meeting as well as addressing canonical questions that have arisen.

    As for the whole canard about malfeasance, there are times when canons and other procedures are subject to multiple interpretations. In this case, the PB, her chancellor, AND the parliamentarian are all in agreement that the canons have been observed. As far as I know, they are the proper authorities in deciding such matters of procedure. (Btw, let's all remember that not one bishop objected at the time based on a supposed lack of quorum for deposition.) For those who disagree with this ruling, whom do you suggest would be the proper authority to rule in such situations other than the PB, who serves as president of the House; her canonical legal advisor; and the parliamentarian, who is specifically designated to act as an expert in parliamentary procedure?


  12. (Dan) God to the HOB,
    "What you are about to do, do quickly"

  13. You know, there's a part of me that wants to see a presentment against +Duncan and an ecclesiastical court trial. I think it would be good to get his whole tawdry saga on record for posterity. However, I do believe he would leave TEC before that were possible. The only way to go, it seems to me, is through the Abandonment of Communion Canon in the HOB. The question is, when?

  14. It seems the HOB is damned-if-they-do damned-if-they-don't when it comes to +Duncan. He has set everyone up to lose....

  15. Robert Zacher left a comment which got cut by accident here it is. sorry Robert.

    Robert Zacher has left a new comment on your post "Sweeping up prior to the House of Bishops Meeting....":

    We heard all of this injured complaining on the web about "illegality" when David Schofield was deposed. I'm sure we will hear more of the same with "+Bob Pittsburgh." Bottom line is that all the bishops of this ilk want a free pass to pack up their dioceses and move them all, lock, stock and communion plate, to the convenient "legal" and offshore cubby hole provided by Gregory Venables.

    This set up gives ultra-conservative partisans their chance to further vilify The Episcopal Church. Get ready for another round of fiber-optic meltdown about the wicked "Mrs. Schori" and her cabal of evil doers at 815 Second Ave. For those purposes I see that the law memo submission on procedure for the Duncan case, while a perfectly normal procedural instrument, needs to be presented to us as

    ... shady and illegal ... deceitful ... dictatorial ... (a) creative reading of the canons ...

    Schofield, Duncan, Iker and Ackermann need to be bathed in the light of wisked dictatorship to be presentable episcopal martyr material for people in the pews, and especially for those who don't don't know much at all, if anything, about church polity or canon law.

    From my point of view it needs to be established beyond doubt that these episcopal pirates can be taken to task and deposed for their egregious, wearisome and well documented violations of their ordination vows before the establishment of further claims of illegal constitutional votes in packed diocesan conventions.

    My two cents.

  16. JCF left a comment that got cut by accident. Sorry JCF

    JCF has left a new comment on your post "Sweeping up prior to the House of Bishops Meeting....":

    (Dan) God to the HOB

    I see you've received a promotion, Anonymous (Dan).

    [Qualifications for the promotion? Why is Sarah Palin coming to mind? ;-/]

  17. Mark (not Mark Harris) left a comment tht got cut by accident. Sorry Mark.

    Mark has left a new comment on your post "Sweeping up prior to the House of Bishops Meeting....":

    For people who believe they are going about the Great Commission and witnessing to God, our Reasserters and - of course - contrarians have nothing good to say for God.

    If they truly are witnessing, it's a bad witness to make people enemies.

  18. Mark,

    Contrarians have nothing good to say for God? I'm not speaking for God. Seems that the New Thing crowd have that corner on wisdom and the spine to say that they speak for God when a majority of Anglican and ecumenical voices have said otherwise.

    I'm speaking up for the truths that hurt: follow canons when you want Duncan out, be part of a world Church and not become a micro-Church in isolation, stop chasing members through court, cough up an asnwer on where 815 came up with millions for the lawsuits (the 4 retired bishops never got an answer...and neither did we).

    Truth hurts when it has to come out.

  19. ".... cough up an asnwer [sic] on where 815 came up with millions for the lawsuits".

    Interesting question, Allen. Where is the money coming from? The Communist International? The Elders of Zion? Ben Affleck & Matt Damon? Guess you have some idea, Allen. Inquiring minds want to know.

    As to the "they send us so much money" paymasters of Henry Orombi & Co., we've got a pretty good idea of where that cash is coming from, don't we? Check out Jim Naughton's "Following the Money".

  20. I'm speaking up for the truths that hurt:..be part of a world Church and not become a micro-Church in isolation...

    If you are interested in becoming part of a world Church, you are certainly free to join the Roman Catholic Church. But the Anglican Communion is not, and never has been, a world Church in that way. It is a fairly loose-knit family of national/provincial Churches. What you are pushing does not seem to be the truth, but wishful thinking on your part.

  21. (Dan)

    If you prefer, JCF, the crowd speaks to the High Priest and to the HOB:

    "Crucify him, crucify him!"

  22. Lapin.
    you name Henry Orombi as having a paymaster. If you have any evidence of Bishop Orombi being financed outside of his province, by someone who wants to influence him, please provide the evidence, or leave his name out of your accusation.
    While Jim Naughton's research provides evidence of some funds to conservative Anglican causes, you need to be careful before naming individuals as having "paymasters", or accusing bishops of being in the pay of any group.


  23. billyd noted:
    "If you are interested in becoming part of a world Church, you are certainly free to join the Roman Catholic Church".

    Nope. I believe in the holy catholic Church. If you don't, then just stay silent on Sunday when you come to that affirmation in the Nicene Creed. TEC didn't invent the Church, doesn't make up the sum of its parts, but affirms daily and weekly that we are "in" it. Don't have to adhere to Rome to be part of the larger Church.

    That larger Church is speaking. Care to listen?

  24. Just because the "larger" church says it, doesn't make it right.

    That is the essence of prophetic witness.

    The "larger" community of Israel shouted "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

    The "larger" community of the church sought to stop the English Reformation, and even to take the life of Elizabeth.

    The "larger" is the "world" you so denigrate.

    If you believe you speak in love, then demonstrate the love. You say we are unwilling to be convinced, which is a way to cop out -- you simply are not convincing, and we see no evidence of love.

    I accept that the same may be true of liberal commenters on Reasserter blogs. It is certainly true of you here.

    Consider your witness before you ask us to consider ours.

  25. Anon(Dan):

    If you prefer, JCF, the crowd speaks to the High Priest and to the HOB: "Crucify him, crucify him!"

    So true.

    Ergo, why do you and your "crowd" hate +Gene Robinson so much? Is it that his honesty puts (x)Duncan's disingenous mendacity to shame?

  26. Allen,

    If you have nothing to demonstrate of God, how can you claim to teach those who do?

    I think, pardon me, you are only here to soothe your own sense of frustration and helplessness. This is no good to the Kingdom, to you, or to us.

    I shall not address you again, as to encourage you is to harm you.

  27. Allen,

    The Body has many parts and they all are important. TEC is one part in the "world church," with understandings, teachings, values, that may be different from what is understood in other countries of the world. I don't believe there is one "voice" to speak for the world church, nor should there be.

    We have enough in common to hold us together as Christians, and as Anglicans, if we can respect our differences.

  28. Shall we argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? I hear no discussion about +Duncan. He has abandoned the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church. He deposes himself, the HOB simply confirm what +Duncan has been doing all along. And I am appalled that I read some references to Jesus -- I find that, in all flavors, to be in very poor taste. There is but one Christ -- he died 200 years ago and alluding that +Duncan is Christ is anathema. Sorry Dan(?)

  29. I believe in the holy catholic Church.

    So do I. Unlike you, however, I am not under the delusion that it is an administrative whole, or that one national Church has disciplinary authority over another. If that's what you're after (and it sounds like that's what you and others want), then you know where to go.

  30. You will find Orombi's September 9, 2007 Anglican TV interview at this URL, Obadiahslope:


    "... they support us, they give us money. Oh they give us money. Since we began to relate with our orthodox brethren they have given us much more money, much more money, oh yeah, much more money. They have given us more money."

  31. Let me congratulate you on your research Lapin! Orombi certainly does acknowledge gifts from the west.
    Does this constitute a paymaster relationship?I am sure, listening to his words in that interview, Orombi does not consider it that way. rather he is clear in saying "the church of uganda has come of age..."
    Lets consider some progressive examples of gifts. TEC has been generous to the reconstituted Diocese of San Joaquin. Does this mean that Bp Jeffert Schori is Bp Lamb's paymaster?
    Or consider Trinity Wall street's considerable gifts to third world churches...is this a paymaster relationship?
    Undoubtably some conservative commentators woukd say "yes" in both caeses, but this is to my mind uncharitable.
    In the same way to describe Bp Orombi as having paymasters might be something you might wish to reword. It is food for thought anyway.


  32. You have a point, Obadiahslope, though the figure of $200,000 is hesitantly revealed in the course of the interview. In the absence of more concrete evidence I will avoid use of the term in future. A recent chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, accused of trading favors for votes in the State House, commented, a little ill-advisedly as things turned out, that he had no interest in buying the African-American vote, merely in renting it for the day. This, perhaps, would be a more appropriate analogy? It will not be easy to persuade me that there's no tit-for-tat factor here.

  33. Why is it that Obadiahslope comes slithering out of the woodwork every time he feels that one of the Sanctified of Central Africa/Global South is being denigrated?

    This man, Orombi, is a potty mouth. He speaks despicable and indefensible things about me and my sexual minority kin.

    Please stop coming to defend this unrepentant miscreant disguised in bishop's drag.

    It truly becomes tiring to hear. They have no corner on righteousness, but are whitewashed tombs filled with dead men's bones.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, 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.