PLANO, Texas (ABP) — Leaders of an independent network of conservative Episcopal churches met Jan. 19 to firm up plans that one leader said will “renew Anglicanism in this part of the world.”
Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, a leading conservative, said the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes spent their time talking about a charter and other formalities, not talking about Gene Robinson — the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, whose installation late last year sparked a revolt in the Episcopal Church U.S.A.
Duncan said the reason for the network goes far beyond Bishop Robinson's consecration and includes the fact the Episcopal Church has “split from its own history.”
In October, Episcopalians who opposed Robinson's consecration announced they would form the network after receiving a signal from church leaders that they could separate from the Episcopal hierarchy and remain within Anglicanism. Bishop Duncan said he and other conservatives felt then that they had enough support to move forward with a realignment of the Episcopal Church, which is the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. The Episcopal Church has about 2.5 million members in the United States.
About 100 bishops, priests and lay members representing 12 U.S. dioceses met at Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, Texas. The attendees' churches represent about 235,000 members, a tenth of the nation's Episcopalians.
Bishop Duncan said they worked on understanding the developments that led to formation of the network. They also developed provisions in a group charter and began work on a theological statement. Bishop Duncan did not outline specifics.
“This has been an important day for us … as we work to renew Anglicanism in this part of the world,” he said.