Word From Bishop MacPherson On The House of Bishops’ Meeting

Friday morning, September 19, 2008
Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

To the Clergy of the Diocese, the Standing Committee, and members of Diocesan Council

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

This is being sent to you from the House of Bishops meeting in Salt Lake City, and is to provide preliminary words from me about what has transpired here. Many have no doubt read the House of Bishops voted yesterday to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev’d Robert W. Duncan, on charges of “abandoning the Communion.” The vote was by roll call, and consisted of 88 in favour, 35 against, and 4 abstentions. I voted in opposition to the resolution to depose.

Much time, in fact a tremendous amount of our time here was spent on this matter, which had been added to our original agenda. Also added was a “hearing” on this matter with the Council of Advice, and in my capacity as chair of this body, I presided over this 1-1/2 hour session.

There was much debate over the rightness of this entire allegation, and considerable opposition to the charge against Bishop Duncan. The resistance to the action being taken was centered more on what was seen as pre-emptive action pertaining to the interpretation of Constitution and Canons of General Convention (2006) and failure to provide due process. Without going into tremendous depth at this stage, I will state the pre-emptive action as applied to the canons, and failure for proper process, rest in the fact that Bishop Duncan was never Inhibited, nor did he have the right of trial made available to him. There is much more to be shared, and will be done later.

In the course of the session during which the charge was addressed, the Presiding Bishop’s ruling to depose was challenged, and I was amongst those to support this challenge, and this being based upon the irregularities stated above. This action failed as a two-thirds vote of the House was required to overturn. This was subsequently followed by a request for a roll call vote was asked for by nine bishops, myself included.

A question now is where this will lead, and this is unknown at the moment. What we do know is the Diocese of Pittsburgh will face many challenges, and sadly, challenges that will be disruptive to the ministry of the Church and proclamation of the Gospel in word and action. Our prayers for Bishop Duncan, his family, and the people of the diocese, are important and urged.

I must stop for now as I the remainder of the meeting is before me, and my flight home to follow shortly thereafter. I will however, close with a concern. The concern that I have is the fact that by this action, a dangerous precedent has been established as applied to the interpretation and execution of the Constitution and Canons of the Church. The danger in this is that it can, and unless terminated, will lead to the living out of a polity and governance in a manner that is not a part of our heritage nor the intent of the Canons as established by General Convention.

May we hold one another in prayer today and always, and not permit distraction to the ministry to which God has called us.

Faithfully in Christ Jesus,

+Bruce MacPherson

The Rt. Rev’d D. Bruce MacPherson
Bishop of Western Louisiana
and President of Province VII

18 Responses to “Word From Bishop MacPherson On The House of Bishops’ Meeting”

  1. 1 Bobby J. Kennedy September 19, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you bishop for your words and opposition to this injustice. However, this is further evidence that Communion Partners will get us no where. It’s the PB’s agenda or nothing. We’ve got to see the handwriting on the wall for what it is. Keep things like this in mind at the convention next month. Sooner or later W. LA. will be ground zero in the Episcopal not-so-civil war.

  2. 2 Canon Gregg L. Riley September 19, 2008 at 4:05 pm


    I am very thankful for our Bishops’ stance and his “no” vote. KJS and the majority of the HOB have set a very dangerous precedent by doing an end-run on the canons. Every orthodox bishop and preist remaining in TEC has now become a real target for removal. Dare I say, if they go so goes the vestry? TEC has in effect excommunicated itself from the Anglican Communion. Prayers go out to Bishop Duncan and those he serves. Pray for the Church.

    Canon G+

  3. 3 anglicanprayer September 19, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Thank God that this Bishop hangs in there to speak for the truth and hold the church accountable. No, “Communion Partners” will not solve TEC’s corruption, but in all the tentative efforts to find a way forward, Bp. MacPherson has been front and center. He has lead an entire diocese to embrace a global Christian, rather than eccentric and factional, view of “church.” He spoke clearly about TEC’s theological and spiritual corruption in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury, this corrupt PB herself, and all the Primates in Tanzania. And he remains on the “Council of Advice” to speak the truth at very close range, and certainly at great personal pain and risk.

  4. 4 Timothy Fountain September 19, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Hmmmm… for some reason, I am logged in as “anglicanprayer” in the post above – must be from posting at L&B even though I show up as me in the field on my screen – anyway, this is Timothy Fountain giving props to a great Bishop.

  5. 5 anglicanprayer September 19, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Brad, what a wonderful clear statement from +MacPherson, backed up by clear & courageous actions on the ground — and not just at this HoB meeting, but overtime.

    Bp. Bruce continues to be a hero of the faith, and it is an answer to prayer to see his stand.

    May God give him and you all much grace as you deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Kate.

    Karen B.

  6. 6 David+ September 19, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Three comments. 1) I admire, respect, and pray for the bishop of Western Louisiana. 2)Every Episcopal bishop must see clearly by now that he can only function in his see at the pleasure of the Presiding Bishopess and that henchmen now run the Episcopal Organization. 3) Bishops who have been “excommunicated” by several provinces are saying that a bishop (Duncan) who is in good standing will all 38 provinces has abandoned the communion of TEC. In so doing they have admitted that the Episcopal Church is no longer a full member of the Anglican Communion. Their isolation from the Communion will only grow wider from here on out.

  7. 7 Jeff Wallace September 20, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Thanks be to God for the integrity exhibited by our Bishop Bruce MacPherson in his willingness to, “speak the truth in love,” (Ephesians 4) while standing for what was right in this matter.

    May we all keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

    I really do not see how we can go forward within TEC. The overpowering votes in favor of deposition afforded a sobering view of the vapid character of many of the “bishops” in TEC.


  8. 8 Radford Bunker September 20, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you Bishop MacPherson for the straight forward and informative narrative of the events of this meeting. Thank you for standing against the tyranny that has become TEC.

    I have one question thought, how is it that you can remain the Chair of the Council of Advice. It seems to me (and maybe I am wrong) that by doing so you are giving some legitimacy to this reign of evil. Would it not be better to resign and prepare Western Louisiana to follow +Duncan’s example?

    RS Bunker

  9. 9 Merion Johnson September 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I have read in the past that Bishop MacPherson has told the orthodox in your diocese that the question of whether to stay in TEC will be considered at the diocesan convention in October. However, the bishop is committed (as leader) to the Communion Partners who pledge to stay in TEC. Will be interested in how this works out.

  10. 10 BabyBlue September 21, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    God bless your wonderful bishop, Brad. Thank you for posting his letter. It’s very encouraging.


  11. 11 Bob Maxwell+ September 22, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Lord Jesus Christ,
    Let us remain faithful.
    Let us choose to in step with in step with you Lord, that is real unity, not waisting time trying to get into step with each other.

    Wherever you walk there is peace which passeth understanding, our hearts and minds are protected and love is our primary ministry however your Holy Spirit utilizes us in your ministry.

    Bead, inside or outside, we walk together rejoicing.


  12. 12 DaveG September 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I appreciate the Bishop’s principled stand but I need to ask: Western Louisians annually contributes more than $100,000 to 815’s coffers. That money is being used to litigate against faithful Anglicans, depose faithful bishops and promote pansexuality in the nation and in the church. Why?

  13. 13 Bobby J. Kennedy September 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    If my understanding is correct DaveG, it is also proposed that the diocese increase its giving to TEC, as a result of the vote at this year’s convention for the Diocese of W. LA. Why would we do that? Further, even for those parishes that are able to currently restrict its money from going to TEC, it’s just a matter of playing shells with the money. If a parish says, “Our money is not for TEC” then all that has to happen is for another parish’s funds to be sent to New York, and the money from the parish which refuses for that to happen will make up the difference at home. All money needs to stop flowing to TEC. Totally.

  14. 14 John Moss September 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    “There is much more to be shared, and will be done later.”

    Still waiting.

  15. 15 DaveG September 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Remember the story about the Nazis. First the Nazis came for the Jews and we did nothing. Then they came for the (fill in the blank – Gypsys, homosexuals, intellectuals, etc.) and still we did nothing. Then they came for us and there was no one left to do anything for us. I pray Western Louisiana is not left in that position because if you remain faithful, come for you they will.

  1. 1 Bishop Bruce MacPherson on the deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan | Fulcrum Anglican Trackback on November 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm
  2. 2 More statements on Bishop Duncan — updated | Trackback on February 28, 2017 at 9:26 pm

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