Leaders of the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership offered support for Bishop Robert Duncan on September 18. Though the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church has claimed to remove him from episcopal ministry, he is bishop in good standing in the Anglican Communion in the Province of the Southern Cone.
“Bishop Duncan is an effective and beloved leader of the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership. Far from removing him from ministry in The Anglican Communion, The House of Bishops has only succeeded in setting him free to continue leading us in the construction of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism here in North America,” said Bishop John Guernsey, Church of Uganda bishop for congregations in America and dean of the Anglican Communion Network’s Mid-Atlantic Convocation.
“In the United States, although someone may be charged with an offence, they have a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Any ambiguity goes in favor of the accused. The accused has a right to see the written charges against him or her and a right to offer defense. The Episcopal Church House of Bishops has abrogated basic civil rights by deposing Bishop Duncan based on what he might do in the future, without offering him a trial and time of defense and with less than a Constitutional vote.
“Throughout history, faithful Christians have been persecuted for living what they believe. The same is true today. It is truly shameful that The Episcopal Church is persecuting one of its own bishops for upholding the faith once delivered. But thanks be to God that, though persecuted, Bishop Duncan, along with all Christians, are more than conquerors,” said Bishop David Anderson, of the American Anglican Council and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. Both bodies are members of the Common Cause Partnership.
“In spite of the sham deposition of Bishop Robert Duncan by the House of Bishops, he remains the formidable leader of traditional Episcopalians and loyal Anglicans in North America. Bishop Duncan continues to have the respect of a majority of the primates and bishops of the entire Anglican Communion, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. In an effort to silence him, the House of Bishops has only given him greater creditability as the leader of the realignment movement,” said Bishop Jack Leo Iker of the Anglican Communion Network diocese of Fort Worth.
Bishop Duncan joins more than 100 clergy, the large majority of them members of the Network and Common Cause, which leaders in The Episcopal Church have attempted to remove from ministry in recent years using charges of “Abandonment of Communion.” As is the case with Bishop Duncan, these clergy continue to be recognized as ordained Anglican ministers by the leaders of the large majority of The Anglican Communion.
Both the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership continue their work to bring into being a new Anglican Province in North America, where clergy will not removed from the church for believing what Christians have always believed.