[Episcopal News Service]
Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, speaking July 31 to the opening session of the Anglican Communion Network's (ACN) Annual Council meeting in his role as the group's moderator, said that the Archbishop of Canterbury faces a critical test.
Duncan, speaking in the nave of Trinity Cathedral, said he is "hopeful...if not necessarily optimistic" about the appeal of seven dioceses for "alternative primatial oversight" or what he called "an extra-ordinary pastoral relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury."
If the Archbishop of Canterbury finds a way to recognize the claim of the Network dioceses and of Network parishes in non-Network dioceses, "then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be ‘gatherer" and ‘moral voice' of the Communion," Duncan said.
"If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them," he warned.
Read the full text of Duncan's address.
Formed in 2004, the Network—also known as the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (NACDP)— is a group of diocesan leaders and congregations who oppose recent decisions made in the Episcopal Church, including the 2003 election of an openly gay priest as the diocesan bishop in New Hampshire. The ACN's website says that 10 of the Episcopal Church's 111 dioceses—Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, South Carolina and Springfield—have "ratified their affiliation" with the Network.
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.