TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh Announces Preliminary Slate for Bishop Election

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

27 Comments
Posted January 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/40676/



1. David Wilson wrote:

A key revelation is the fact that a number of local Pittsburgh clergy whom one would have thought might be candidates did not feel called to allow their names to be considered.  And none of the four candidates appear to have any ties whatsoever to Pittsburgh.  Those two facts seem to me to be quite important.

January 16, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
2. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

And to think they turned my name down in favor of these candidates…

January 16, 4:37 pm | [comment link]
3. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Upon looking at the parish websites, I see that the associate at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver, Colorado, is a committed Lesbian, and that the Rev. Dorsey McConnell claims to have had a previous career of “wrangler and barfly in Argentina.”

A fine crop of candidates.

January 16, 4:48 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

But the usual rule applies, ie there must be at least one bearded candidate.

January 16, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
5. David Keller wrote:

I don’t care who wins the election, but I can say with certainty I will never vote for someone named “Dorsey” for bishop.

January 16, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
6. C. Wingate wrote:

Well based on my scorecard they get the goatee bonus, but they’re missing the black, er, non-white guy, the shaved head, and patrician hairdo. They get extra points for the hyphenated surname and the “R. Stanley”, which also gets half a point for the “last name as first name” bonus.

January 16, 7:03 pm | [comment link]
7. Daniel Muth wrote:

Question: can a Pittsburgh diocesan even be elected?  As far as I know, Bishop Duncan has not resigned and there’s absolutely no plausible case for claiming that his “deposition” was valid.  I’m not sure this election can mean anything canonically.

January 16, 7:17 pm | [comment link]
8. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

No. 7, you are trying to apply logic to the situation. You really must stop that, as it gums up the whole works. smile

January 16, 9:32 pm | [comment link]
9. Hakkatan wrote:

While there are some orthodox Christians among the clergy of New England who are still Episcopalian, the two in this list are not among those I know. Chris Johnson says that there are none in Missouri, and if the candidate from Colorado has a lesbian associate, it seems quite likely that these candidates are “conservative” only from the perspective of someone so liberal that they have no clue what a conservative really is.

Charlie Sutton
http://www.trinitywhitinsville.org

January 16, 10:40 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah wrote:

Heh.

Remember the days all those years ago when traditional clergy who stayed in the TEC faux diocese vociferously claimed that they could have a traditional bishop?

January 16, 11:11 pm | [comment link]
11. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

It could still be done by petition, Sarah, though my recent experience of ecclesiastical disappointment doesn’t leave me overly optimistic. 

Since miracles do happen, however, I would opine that Bruce Robison would make a great difference to the character of the diocese if he could be persuaded to stand and were elected.

http://catholicandreformed.blogspot.com

January 17, 1:01 am | [comment link]
12. Luminous Darkness wrote:

Question: can a Pittsburgh diocesan even be elected?  As far as I know, Bishop Duncan has not resigned and there’s absolutely no plausible case for claiming that his “deposition” was valid.  I’m not sure this election can mean anything canonically.

Would Archbishop Duncan want to the the Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh? My understanding was that he left the Episcopal Church to become a bishop in the Province of the Southern Cone, and from that moment onwards (or from the moment of his deposition, take your pick), the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh was without a bishop. So it seems appropriate that we elect a new one.

January 17, 2:16 am | [comment link]
13. mtucker wrote:

Folks, just a point of *fact* here. While the Assistant Rector at St Thomas in Golden, CO is a lesbian, it is the Rector of that parish that has been nominated to this slate. While The Reverend Ruth Woodliff-Stanley appears quite liberal, she is married to a MAN (who is also clergy, albeit Unitarian) and she has two teenaged children.

January 17, 1:53 pm | [comment link]
14. trimom wrote:

My summary of the candidates, in the order given.
Yikes.
Yikes.
Yikes.
Yikes.

January 17, 3:14 pm | [comment link]
15. David Wilson wrote:

MConnell is the neo-conservative.  Woodliff-Stanley is the uber-liberal.  They will cancel each other out.  Runnells and Ambler are in the middle but Runnells is a waffler on the gay issue.  Ambler is a former lawyer and a self-styled reconciler.  I’ll take the over/under on him.

January 17, 3:22 pm | [comment link]
16. Daniel Muth wrote:

#12: The “deposition” was canonically invalid (it didn’t even rise to the level of a bad joke) so unless he resigned, the See of Pittsburgh is not vacant.  So my question stands.

January 17, 9:06 pm | [comment link]
17. Betsybrowneyes wrote:

In response to #7, a point of historical clarification: Daniel, at the May 2008 diocesan leadership weekend retreat, Bishop Duncan gave us two scenarios of what he expected to happen with our diocesan convention. The first was, that if he were to be deposed, he would accept Archbishop Venables offer to become a bishop in the Province of the Southern Cone and would wait for those leaving the Episcopal Church after the convention to become their bishop there. The second was, that if not deposed, he would wait until the convention, quit the Episcopal Church, then accept Archbishop Venables offer to become a bishop in the Province of the Southern Cone and would wait for those also leaving the Episcopal Church to become their bishop there. Archbishop Duncan was not intending on staying in the Episcopal Church, in either event.

January 17, 9:43 pm | [comment link]
18. Luminous Darkness wrote:

The “deposition” was canonically invalid (it didn’t even rise to the level of a bad joke) so unless he resigned, the See of Pittsburgh is not vacant.  So my question stands.

According to Cannon 16, Part A, Section 1 of the canons of the Episcopal Church a bishop cannot exercise “Episcopal acts in
and for a religious body other than the Church or another church in
communion with the Church.” Since Archbishop Duncan now styles himself as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, which is not a part of The Episcopal Church or in communion with The Episcopal Church (since it is not a recognized member of the Anglican Communion), I’m not sure how he could still be the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

January 17, 9:46 pm | [comment link]
19. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Ho-Hum.  “I am shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on in here.”

January 17, 10:20 pm | [comment link]
20. Daniel Muth wrote:

#17 & #18 - I understand what was intended and it sounds as if Bishop Duncan may indeed have resigned.  However, the fact that the “deposition” was invalid and cannot be counted on still leaves the question open.  I understand that sacerdotal acts in another religious body are grounds for deposition or (as should have been done in this case) ecclesiastical trial.  Neither was done.  Therefore, the operative question is: Did he or did he not resign?  Or is there some other canonically valid means by which he can be counted on to have de facto resigned?  It doesn’t sound as if either of you is equipped to answer.  I’d be curious to hear from someone who is.

January 18, 8:10 am | [comment link]
21. Nevin wrote:

In looking over the many available sermons and newsletter articles by McConnell it seems to me that he is an excellent choice.  I saw nothing that raised any alarms for orthodox Anglicans.  Am I missing something?  The other three would disasterous…

January 18, 10:17 am | [comment link]
22. Luminous Darkness wrote:

However, the fact that the “deposition” was invalid and cannot be counted on still leaves the question open.  I understand that sacerdotal acts in another religious body are grounds for deposition or (as should have been done in this case) ecclesiastical trial.  Neither was done.

I think that the end of the conversation is the disagreement about this. The Episcopal Church of course believes that the deposition was valid and thus, that Pittsburgh is without a bishop. Therefore, that position is being filled. And, regardless of whether he was deposed or not, I would be quite surprised if Archbishop Duncan still believed himself to be a bishop in The Episcopal Church.

January 18, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
23. Daniel Muth wrote:

“Luminous Darkness” - Whether that ends the conversation, I do not know.  For most of the English speaking world, governing an organization in accordance with the concept of the rule of law means something along the lines of actually following your organization’s written guidance and not ignoring it (regardless of whether or not the violation involves the sort of silly sophistries that, in this case, purportedly justified “deposing” a bishop who had not been inhibited).  In some ways, I suppose, the issue is one of degree rather than kind: just how lawless is the current leadership of TEC? 

Some day these folks are going to shuffle off to their comfortable retirements and, assuming that we are by then led by people who actually take the Christian Church seriously (big assumption, I know - and somewhat hard to imagine in the current climate), those of us who are left will have a pretty hefty mess to clean up.  It would be nice to have some idea of just how many stinkbombs have been left behind.  We know that nothing resembling a canonically valid Diocese of San Joaquin exists and so will some day have to be re-established.  An invalid line of bishops in Pittsburgh would likewise constitute a cleanup operation for serious Episcopalians some day.  No doubt there are others.  Somebody should be keeping a log.

January 18, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
24. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Thanks, as always, to Fr. David Wilson and Dr. Jeremy Bonner for chiming in here as Pittsburgh locals.  FWIW, I would heartily concur with Jeremy that Fr. Bruce Robison would be a terrific choice, and the guy who could best promote reconciliation with the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.  Of course, that is precisely why he would never be elected.

I’m still surprised that there are no local candidates from within the rump diocese.  That’s rare in episcopal elections.  It sure makes you wonder why.  Why did Jim Simons+ not get nominated (or not accept nomination)?

OTOH, I admit that I’m glad that Harold Lewis+, the odious rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh isn’t among the candidates.  I was expecting him to be in the running.

David Handy+

January 18, 4:13 pm | [comment link]
25. David Wilson wrote:

The apparent spokesman for the TEC Search Cmte, former Trinity Cathedral Dean, George Werner is working hard in the media to put the happy face on this process. To paraphrase: “They’re all wonderful even if none of them are from Pennsylvania”

As I have been told from a TEC-Pgh person “None of the progressives will accept a priest from Pittsburgh—especially a conservative.  They all are tainted with Duncanism.”

And conservative Pittsburgh priests have not been able to get elected to the Standing Committee the last two elections so they have either given up on themselves getting elected and are hoping for McConnell or want the cover of blaming the new Bishop (and keeping themselves clean) when the ACNA parishes and TEC-Pgh fail to negotiate a fair settlement.

January 18, 4:30 pm | [comment link]
26. Luminous Darkness wrote:

I’m still surprised that there are no local candidates from within the rump diocese.  That’s rare in episcopal elections.  It sure makes you wonder why.  Why did Jim Simons+ not get nominated (or not accept nomination)?

OTOH, I admit that I’m glad that Harold Lewis+, the odious rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh isn’t among the candidates.  I was expecting him to be in the running.

For what it’s worth, we have done a lot of work in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh over the last two years to move away from referring to each other as ‘odious’, regardless of our political position or theological beliefs. It is my understanding that there is no local candidate for two reasons:

1) None of the diocesan priests who were nominated decided to run.

2) The nomination committee as a group believed strongly that an outside voice who was not involved in the partisan politics of the recent unpleasantness would be the best next bishop of Pittsburgh.

January 18, 4:50 pm | [comment link]
27. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

Some day I will be refreshed to hear a “Discernment” Committee say:
“There is no local candidate because God did not want one in the running.”  And really know that to be the case.
And this will always be, and has always been the great struggle for these kinds of committees, the committees’ reassurances notwithstanding that the final list of nominees are the result of “prayerful discernment.”
I can’t think of one committee in any bishop election process in all my years as priest and active layman where a confirmed Prophet was asked to minister prophecy regarding WHO should be in the running.  That doesn’t mean a diocese here or there didn’t actually elect the person the Lord wanted.  Or that a person wasn’t elected who would fulfill the office of bishop within all righteousness.  But it does mean, in my observation, that there have been plenty of dioceses where the elections were more at the mercy of the discernment of the world, the flesh, and the devil, than to direct revelation through the Holy Spirit.
In a strange way, I think many, many election convention delegates know the problems inherent in “discernment committees”, and they are left only with these two things:  asking the nominee(s), “Do you (or Why do you) feel called to be a bishop (or the bishop of this diocese)?”  and asking in prayer, “O God, which one should I vote for (or Which one is the one you want)?”  The tragedy of delegates (and discernment committees) being left with only these two options is the infrequency of bishop elections and thus the LACK of practicing the presence of God.
Lord, have mercy on Pittsburgh.

January 19, 4:40 am | [comment link]


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