New network for dissenters

Published February 1, 2004

Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) who dissented from decisions by last summer’s General Convention endorsing the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire have formed a rival network of dioceses and parishes.

The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses, according to a press release from the American Anglican Council (AAC), “will participate in providing adequate episcopal oversight to congregations within the ECUSA who request it.”

AAC President David C. Anderson said that the network “will serve as a lifeboat for orthodox dioceses and parishes who feel abandoned and betrayed by ECUSA, as well as for those faithful Episcopalians enduring harassment and intimidation by their rectors, bishops, or both.”

In a Dec. 15 letter, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, moderator of the new network, said that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams “encouraged the formation of such a network in private dialogue with members of the orthodox caucus.” Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, however, said that Archbishop Williams has made it clear that he will not interfere as the church seeks to work out matters of “extended episcopal ministry” within its own provincial borders, and dissenters should not expect “direct intervention” by anyone outside ECUSA ? including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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