PROGRESSIVE EPISCOPALIANS OF PITTSBURGH
4530 William Penn Highway #109
Murrysville, PA 15668


Contacts:
Joan R. Gundersen, President
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh
Telephone: +1 (412) 799-0440
E-mail: jrgunder@hotmail.com
 
Christopher I. Wilkins, Vice President
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh
Telephone: +1 (412) 831-1737

E-mail: ciwilkins@juno.com
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Revised Appeal Reveals Coup Plans against Episcopal Church

 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — February 1, 2007 — The release, on January 29, 2007, of the text of a third version of the request for alternative primatial oversight (APO) advanced by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should dispel any doubts about the goals and strategy of its leaders. The Rt. Rev Robert Duncan is clearly attempting an ecclesiastical coup against both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
 
Bishop Duncan and the Pittsburgh Standing Committee issued their first request for APO on June 28, 2006. On July 20, 2006, seven dioceses (including Pittsburgh) submitted a combined appeal, supposedly superseding their individual requests. The Archbishop of Canterbury had asked for the dioceses to agree on a single appeal. This was a more modest petition than the earlier one, and contained an extended attempt to justify the appellants’ request. This document, like the most recent third appeal, long remained secret.
 
The latest document, dated November 6, 2006, is addressed to “Primates representing the Global South,” and was delivered a few days later to members of the Steering Committee of the Global South Primates and Network representatives, including Bishop Duncan, meeting in Virginia. The diocese released the document two days before it was required to be handed over to attorneys for Calvary Episcopal Church as part of the discovery process mandated by the courts.
 
The November 6 request is more radical and more forthright than the earlier ones. The document identifies a “separate ecclesiastical structure”—that is, a new church—for the “biblically orthodox Anglicans in this country.” It describes APO as an “interim strategy” to provide “cover” for Bishop Duncan and his allies while they fight their “domestic legal and property battles” and until a convention can organize “the [emphasis added] permanent Anglican entity in the U.S.” The document not only assumes that this new entity will take the place of The Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion, but it assumes that the Diocese of Pittsburgh will then not be a part of The Episcopal Church. It also encourages the primates of the Anglican Communion to exceed their powers and to ignore the understandings and agreements that created the Anglican Communion. The primates have no authority beyond the bounds of their own provinces, however; their only role in the Anglican Communion is advisory.
 
According to Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) president Joan R. Gundersen, “What Bishop Duncan and the Pittsburgh Standing Committee are proposing is nothing less than an international coup that would overthrow not only the established government of The Episcopal Church, but destroy the Anglican Communion. The Anglican primates have no authority over The Episcopal Church, no matter what Bishop Duncan or the Standing Committee might wish.”
 
Bishop Duncan is indeed the duly elected bishop of a diocese within The Episcopal Church. Despite his rhetoric, however, he is not the ruler of an independent ecclesiastical entity—that is, the Diocese of Pittsburgh—that he can freely associate with whatever church he chooses. Each Episcopal Church leader is subject to the General Convention, which elects the Presiding Bishop, establishes the church’s constitution, canons, and administrative units, to which certain rights and responsibilities are given in trust to be used to further the Church’s mission and ministries. The constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church do not allow delegation of the duties of the Presiding Bishop to another bishop, especially one without jurisdiction in any of the nations containing Episcopal Church dioceses. The rejection of all duly appointed institutions of governance in The Episcopal Church would appear to be a violation of Bishop Duncan’s ordination vow to submit to the discipline of The Episcopal Church.
 
No amount of spin, rhetoric, desire, or other smokescreen can hide what this latest APO request makes plain: an attempt to sever this diocese from the General Convention, the Presiding Bishop, and the entire Episcopal Church. This cannot be done—at least not by canonically legal means. No diocesan leader in The Episcopal Church has the power or the right to make such a severance. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is an administrative unit of The Episcopal Church created by the General Convention. It does not—and cannot—exist apart from the General Convention. Bishop Duncan and the Standing Committee are free as individuals to separate from The Episcopal Church, but they do so as individuals and cannot take the diocese, or any part of it, with them.
 


 
Contacts:
Joan R. Gundersen, President
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh
Telephone: +1 (412) 799-0440
E-mail: jrgunder@hotmail.com
 
Christopher I. Wilkins, Vice President
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh
Telephone: +1 (412) 831-1737

E-mail: ciwilkins@juno.com
 
 
On the Web:
This document:

http://progressiveepiscopalians.org/html/2007-02-01revised.html
 

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh:
http://progressiveepiscopalians.org
 
First APO Appeal:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/pittsburghaltoversight
 
Second APO Appeal:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/Conventions/appeal2006.pdf
 
Third APO Appeal:
http://www.pgh.anglican.org/news/local/primatesdocument012907

The Episcopal Church:
http://episcopalchurch.org
 
Constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church:
http://www.churchpublishing.org/general_convention/index.cfm?fuseaction=candc


 
 
 
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh is an organization of clergy and laypeople committed to the unity and diversity of The Episcopal Church, and of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. It is a member of the Via Media USA alliance.
 

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