Leading conservative: West Newbury rector to become bishop

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. William Murdoch, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, was an early and sharp critic of the 2003 ordination of an openly gay man as bishop of New Hampshire. Next month, Murdoch will become a bishop himself, in a conservative Anglican group that is embracing congregations dissatisfied with the Episcopal church's position on homosexuality and other issues.

Murdoch says the current crisis in the Episcopal church has deep roots that extend beyond the ordination of gay clergy, an issue at the center of a growing global divide in the worldwide Anglican communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part. Murdoch blames what he terms a "lack of clarity" from Episcopal leaders on the direction of the church.

But he's clear in the direction he'd like for himself and his parish. It includes remaining part of the worldwide Anglican communion, made up of nearly 80 million members in 38 regional or national churches, but not necessarily the Episcopal church.

On Aug. 30, Murdoch and an Episcopal priest from Texas will be consecrated suffragan bishops by the Anglican Church of Kenya's Provincial Synod, to provide oversight for congregations in the U.S. that place themselves under Kenyan jurisdiction.

Murdoch will remain rector of All Saints Church even as he takes on this nationwide role.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Communion NetworkEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

17 Comments
Posted July 16, 2007 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Soon we will have the complete college of bishops to guide the formation of the new North American Anglican Church.

July 16, 1:59 pm | [comment link]
2. BinBoston wrote:

Soon we will have the complete college of bishops to guide the formation of the new North American Anglican Church.

...and none of them elected by the people they will supposably represent.

It will be interesting to see Bp Shaw’s approach to All Saint’s West Newbury.  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has already ruled in favour of the Diocese when the leaders of another church decided it didn’t want to be part of the Diocese of Massachusetts anymore.

July 16, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
3. William Witt wrote:

...and none of them elected by the people they will supposably represent.

Those whom they will represent (truly, not supposedly) will vote with their feet.  After all, unlike TEC, the members of the new Province will all belong because they have chosen to belong, not because they are being sued should they choose not to belong.

July 16, 3:18 pm | [comment link]
4. Fred wrote:

Whether they go off and get “consecrated” by Uganda, Nigeria or now Kenya, they will never be recognized as a legitimate part of the Anglican Communion. Hasn’t happened yet (see “Bishop” M. Minns on the not-inivted-to Lambeth-list). Won’t ever happen.

July 16, 3:23 pm | [comment link]
5. Chris Jones wrote:

none of them elected by the people they will supposedly represent

Bishops do not “represent” the people of their dioceses.  The bishop stands in the place of Christ in order to proclaim His Gospel, to minister His sacraments, to absolve the sins of the faithful (or to retain them, if need be) in His Name, and to serve as stewards of the mysteries of God.  You will search the Scriptures in vain for any notion that the Apostolic ministry is to serve as “representatives” of the members of the Church.  The only “representative” in the economy of salvation is our Lord Jesus Christ, Who “represented” us by offering Himself upon the Cross for our salvation.

The Church belongs to Jesus Christ.  It is not our club to organize as we will, in which we elect our own officers to “represent” us.  It is the foretaste in this world of the Kingdom that is to come.  And the Kingdom of God is not a democracy.

July 16, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
6. Scotsreb wrote:

#4, I guess we’ll wait for Oct. 1st and see how it shakes out then?

Until then, though I make no predictions, I DO expect a surge of motion to break the inertia currently keeping all the fractured iceflow in position.  Like the breakup of riverine ice in the spring, it seems to happen all at once.

Let’s see what Oct. 1st and immediately thereafter brings.

July 16, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
7. BinBoston wrote:

Okay, how about “none of them chosen by the people they serve.”

July 16, 4:17 pm | [comment link]
8. Scotsreb wrote:

#7, the answer in #5 seems to answer both your posts.

July 16, 4:19 pm | [comment link]
9. David Keller wrote:

#4 Fred—I wouldn’t bet on that one.  Although thanks to VJR’s ego, KJS’s penchant to sue people and the ABC’s incompetence, there probably won’t be an Annglican Communion by July 2008, so you could be right.
#5 Chris—Right on!  Our bishop keeps saying he can’t take sides on any of the current issues beacuse he has to be the bishop of all the people of the diocese.  I keep saying “You aren’t the bishop of any of the people in the diocese.  You are the Vicar of Christ in this diocese.”

July 16, 4:37 pm | [comment link]
10. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Does anyone know how many provinces, other than TEC, elect bishops? I thought that in most provinces they were appointed in some fashion.

July 16, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
11. justme wrote:

#4 Fred
Don’t say never because you must understand we ARE part of the Anglican Communion.  We left the Episcopal Church NOT the Anglican Communion

July 16, 8:50 pm | [comment link]
12. Brien wrote:

Such silliness about who is in the club and who isn’t.  When your definition of faith comes down to who is invited to Lambeth or not, it is a day of more than sadness.  I used to believe heartily in the Anglican Communion as defined by Canterbury.  But then, I always believed that Canterbury would provide a focus of orthodoxy worth something.  I am no longer sure about that.  Confessional Anglicanism isn’t what I looked to hold up and defend when I was ordained thirty some years ago; but it is better than defending a roster of heterodox bishops having tea at Buckingham Palace.  Today’s fuss about polity is not worth the energy when the gospel is being lost in diocese after diocese of the “officlal church”.  Today’s Episcopalians who defend the “official” view of those in and those out are no different than the Romans of nearly five centuries ago who blustered then, and even now, about the same thing.  Did everyone enjoy Pope Benedict’s pronouncement on our change in status from sister to bastard last week?  You see, it is the same.

July 16, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
13. Doubting Thomas wrote:

Does anyone know who the “priest from Texas” is that’s referenced in the article as the other person to be consecrated?

July 17, 9:43 am | [comment link]
14. Rolling Eyes wrote:

“Whether they go off and get “consecrated” by Uganda, Nigeria or now Kenya, they will never be recognized as a legitimate part of the Anglican Communion.”

Fred, since when do you care about the Communion?

July 17, 12:02 pm | [comment link]
15. Rev Dr Mom wrote:

According to a news release from the diocese, Murdoch will NOT continue as rector of All Saints Parish.  His last day there will be August 19.

July 17, 3:32 pm | [comment link]
16. John B. Chilton wrote:

Release available here: http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/dioceses/massachusetts_announces_depart.html

July 17, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
17. Passionate Parson wrote:

The “priest from Texas” is the Rev. Canon Dr. Bill Atwood, President of the Ekklesia Society.

July 18, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
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