Well, it’s done. We’re free.
It’s not even breaking news any more. Here it is five days after the fact and I’m finally sitting down to write that the Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to depart the North American province of The Episcopal Church (TEC, a/k/a ECUSA) and realign with the Southern Cone (South American province). It happened… quietly.
There were no surprises at this past Saturday’s Diocesan Convention. The most frequent comment I heard from those in attendance was how peaceful and respectful the proceedings were. The final vote was approximately two-thirds of the laity and three-quarters of the clergy in favor of realignment, and it’s expected next month will see the reinstatement of our recently-deposed Robert Duncan as Bishop.
In the days following people have asked “how are you doing?” or “how are you feeling?” and I found it an awkward question to try to answer. To be sure I appreciated their concern, but I found I had far stronger emotions regarding Bishop Duncan’s deposition two weeks ago. That action was a clear-cut case of a church hierarchy abusing its powers, abusing a member of its clergy, trying to separate God’s people from their caring shepherd. This week’s decision… felt more like the death of a friend who had suffered far too long with a terminal illness. It was expected, it had been coming for a long time, there had been time to plan for the inevitable, and emotions were a combination of sadness and sweet relief that the pain was finally over.
And it was necessary. Not that I argue with those who chose to stay saying “God will defend his own, no church hierarchy can stop the spread of the gospel”. I pray God will bless their continued efforts in the mission field of TEC. But I think faithful Anglicans need a church which will be for them a safe shelter, a place where the laity (and clergy) won’t feel bullied by people they’ve never met in New York, where church members don’t feel the need to be constantly saying to their neighbors “…but our local church isn’t like that.” People need to know they can trust those in leadership to be committed to the faith as received by the Apostles.
So now that we’re free… now what? The future stretches out before us with seemingly limitless possibilities. This is uncharted territory. But then life in Christ always is.
Unsure of what to say when I sat down to write this post, I Googled the words “now that we’re free”. As sad and difficult as this process has been, I think the music in this video captures the prevailing attitude as we look forward towards the future.
“Now That We’re Free” by Desmond “Dazz” Meyer.
In the media:
- Video of the Diocesan Convention
- The Washington Times
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
- Titus One Nine