AFTER the House of Bishops meeting came to an end in New Orleans, attention immediately switched to Pittsburgh, where an assembly of traditionalist organisations from the United States and Canada are meeting under the auspices of Common Cause, chaired by the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Revd Robert Duncan.
The object of the meeting, most of which has been taking place behind closed doors, is to see how closely the organisations can agree to work together.
It is likely that the close of the meeting will also coincide with an announcement by four or five conservative dioceses in the United States whether with will remain in the Episcopal Church or, as has been threatened, link up with an overseas province.
The organisers of the conference, entitled “Together in Mission: Restoring Confidence in an American Episcopate”, say that a total of 51 bishops and bishops-elect are attending, “representing tens of thousands of Anglicans in North America”.
The organisations involved are the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Anglican Essentials Canada, the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, Forward in Faith North America, and the Reformed Episcopal Church.
In a welcoming address, Bishop Duncan said: “We need to speak the truth to one another. We need to do some hard thinking and hard talking. The future of Anglicanism in North America is at stake.”
He asked those present: “Can we agree to interchangeability of those in holy orders? Will we work actively together at the local level? Will we consult with one another as we seek to plant congregations? Can we agree to mutual review of candidates for bishop before consecrations? Will we share ministry initiatives or needlessly duplicate efforts? Can we agree about appropriate ratios of bishops to congregations, attendance and membership? Would each one of us be willing to give up episcopal function for the good of the whole, were that in the best interests of all? Could each one of us become a missionary bishop over a growing Church?”
And he concluded: “Anglicanism appears to be failing in the West. We cannot answer for how others have failed, or are failing, but we must surely answer for what we do — or do not do — here in this place, in this conclave, wherein we hold the key.”