Twelve priests in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh have told Bishop Robert Duncan that they will not support his efforts to re-align the diocese outside the Episcopal Church...You can read the text of the letter sent to Bp. Duncan here.
...The Rev. Dr. James Simons, rector of St Michael's of the Valley in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and one of the signers of the letter, said that the group is "not an organized political strategy group; it's just a group of rectors who came to their own conclusions."
The priests wanted "to let people know that there's going to be an alternative" if Duncan and the rest of the diocese's leadership continue in their plan to realign the diocese.
"This is not a group that is seeking to be in conflict" with anyone, Simons said. "If people feel they need to realign, then they need to do that."
He predicted that a significant number of Episcopal clergy and laity will not follow the leadership out of the Episcopal Church, adding that the group would like to help "create a place that is safe" for as many people as possible to remain in the church...
...Simons said the group would like to be involved in any discussions that might take place within the diocese to establish what he called a "protocol" for how people and congregations would stay in the Episcopal Church. Simons added that the letter was also meant to signal the Presiding Bishop that there are people in the diocese who would like to be involved in and would support any talks she might have with those who want to remain in the church...
It is worth noting that, from what I understand, many of the clergy who signed this letter would be fairly described as "conservative." I would imagine that in light of the evidence presented against Bp. Duncan, which resulted in the Title IV Review Committee certifying that there is just cause to depose him, these clergy have had second thoughts about hitching themselves to this particular wagon. This seems like a prudent move to me.
We have seen similar second thoughts arise from among some of the conservative clergy of San Joaquin as well.
As reality begins to set in, I suspect we can expect to see more of this kind of thing happening in the future. May we be full of grace, and welcome those who choose to remain members of this Church.