Episcopalians vote to oust Pittsburgh bishop

It's a sad day for Episcopals. With this recent action the church has condemed itself. It's like watch a ship sink below the surface.
The Episcopal House of Bishops has voted to remove Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh from all ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

The action came as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh prepares for an Oct. 4 vote to secede from the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church -- the U.S. branch of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion -- and realign with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.


The vote, which took place yesterday afternoon in a closed meeting in Salt Lake City, was 88-35 with four abstentions.

According to diocesan spokesman Deacon Peter Frank, the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh was immediately credentialed as a bishop-at-large by the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
The result means that Bishop Duncan cannot act in the name of the Episcopal Church for the diocese of Pittsburgh but that he still retains all the sacramental authority of a bishop.
It marks the second time this has happened to a U.S. bishop over this issue. In December, the diocese of San Joaquin, Calif., became the first to secede from the Episcopal Church and realign with the Southern Cone. The House of Bishops deposed San Joaquin's Bishop David Schofield in March.

"I'm very sad, sad for the Episcopal Church," Bishop Duncan said after the vote. He did not attend the Salt Lake City meeting to defend himself, but chose to attend an annual gathering of Pittsburgh's Episcopal clergy that was scheduled long before the special meeting of the House of Bishops.

"In 15 days the diocese will determine whether it, too, wants to be part of the Southern Cone and figure out whether it wants me back as bishop. That is up to the diocese, although I have a sneaking suspicion they will want me back," he said.

Bishop Duncan has been a U.S. leader of Episcopalians who claim that the U.S. church has lost its commitment to classic Christian beliefs regarding the divinity and mission of Jesus, biblical authority and sexual ethics. They feel more attuned to Anglicans in the global South.
A statement from the House of Bishops reported hours of discussions over two days regarding Bishop Duncan's fate.

"Throughout the discussions, the gathering was quiet, prayerful and respectful as the bishops listened to one another," it said.

"By the action of a majority of the House of Bishops, it was agreed that Bishop Duncan was actively attempting to remove the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh from the Episcopal Church in violation of the Constitutions and Canons of the Diocese and the Episcopal Church. The majority concluded that Bishop Duncan's actions constituted a renunciation of the Discipline of the Episcopal Church."