- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

PLANO, Texas —Today, a founding group of more than 100 conservative Episcopal leaders will adopt a charter “to give hope to the orthodox of the Episcopal Church, with some sense there is a future.”

The closed-door meeting, essentially a constitutional convention to create a “church within a church” for theologically orthodox Episcopalians, will also elect officers, a steering committee and draw up plans for various bishops to offer “adequate Episcopal oversight” to conservative congregations that request it.

The meeting at Christ Church in the northern Dallas suburb of Plano is a two-day conclave to hammer out an ecclesiastical and legal shelter for church conservatives who disagree with last year’s election of V. Gene Robinson, an open homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire. Bishop Robinson was consecrated Nov. 2.

A spokesman for the group said the American church had forced the conservatives into their current role and that the archbishop of Canterbury himself had suggested such a network last October.

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, the moderator and convening authority of the new group, insisted the new “Network of Anglican Communion of Dioceses and Parishes” does not intend to split from the church.

The Episcopal Church, he said, had left them by doggedly refusing to adhere to the church’s constitution.

Had Bishop Robinson not been made a bishop, a reporter posited to Bishop Duncan at a press conference, this uprising probably would not have occurred.

“And he would not have been consecrated had the Episcopal Church not departed from its own constitution,” the Pittsburgh bishop retorted.

“You know, I don’t believe we mentioned him all day long,” he added. “To my recollection, the name of Gene Robinson was not mentioned.”

Despite the leaking of a progress report on the fledgling group’s aims and activities last week by one of the group’s leaders, Bishop Duncan reiterated that the aim of the newly formed activist group was not to split from, but to work within, the Episcopal Church.

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