Twelve bishops of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. have formed a network for conservatives who feel alienated by the church's increasingly liberal theology and actions.
The bishops and about 100 other delegates founded the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes on January 19 and 20 in the Dallas suburb of Plano.
Besides their opposition to the church's stance on homosexuality, conservatives also emphasize broader theological issues, including the authority of Scripture and Jesus' unique role as Savior.
The conservative bishops have pledged to operate within the constitution and laws of the Episcopal Church. They also promise to contend with Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, over providing "adequate episcopal oversight" to alienated congregations. Support for adequate episcopal oversight comes from a statement of the 37 primates (national leaders) of the Anglican Communion, including Griswold.
The network's founders say adequate episcopal oversight means allowing an alienated parish to welcome a substitute bishop if the local bishop has harassed it over theological differences. Some conflicts have grown so tense that bishops have demoted congregations to dependent status. Some have even expelled their priests.
Since the primates last met, however, Griswold has emphasized "supplemental episcopal pastoral care," in which a local bishop retains authority over any alienated congregation.
Network founders say they may send retired bishops into conflicted dioceses if Griswold and the House of Bishopscontinue to stress the ultimate authorityof local bishops.
The network chose Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh as its first moderator. Duncan will serve a three-year term.
On January 21, Duncan boarded a flight ...1
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