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By the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll
January 6, 2023

The Most Rev. Robert W. Duncan,Safe for a Week: Autobiographical Essays on the Lord's
(Anglican House Publishers, 2022).

"Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us." (Sirach 44:1)

Credit Anglican House Publishers for getting into print the memoirs of the heroes of the
Anglican realignment, several of whom I count as friends and mentors (N.B. I am an AHP board
member). In 2021 three volumes appeared. First there was Through Deep Waters, reflections by
Hugo Blankingship, my former senior warden at Truro Church and son of the missionary Bishop
of Cuba, who describes his legal work from prosecuting Bishop Walter Righter in 1996 to
forming the Anglican Church in North America in 2009. Then came the Zoom Memoirs of the
Rt. Rev. Dr. John H. Rodgers, Jr., my boss at Trinity School for Ministry and a bellwether bishop
in the Anglican Mission in America. Next there were the collected writings of the founders of the
Anglican Network in Canada. And now in 2022, the Most Rev. Robert W. Duncan --
"Archbishop Bob," -- my bishop in Pittsburgh and colleague in Gafcon and the Global South
Fellowship, has penned a lively collection of autobiographical "essays."

The sixty-five entries cover Bob Duncan's life from childhood (b. 1948) to the Cairo Covenant
(2019). They include snapshots of early life in small-town New Jersey, where a boy in a troubled
family found solace and God in the local Episcopal Church, and they continue through his
ordination, college chaplaincy, and parish ministry, to his close-run election as Bishop of
Pittsburgh. From there he describes in detail the various steps that led him and others reluctantly
to leave (actually to be "abandoned" by) the Episcopal Church and to become the first
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and Primate in the emerging global
communion of Anglican churches.

Bob Duncan concludes each "essay" with homely "Life Learnings." Here are two samples from
early and from late:

In #7, 'The Lass I Would Marry," he comments on meeting his life partner Nara at a diocesan
youth conference:
• Youth groups and the Church's investment in adolescent programming -- and in
adolescents -- really matters.
• Finding a bride at church is a very good place to find a bride.
• The best way to deal with sexual freedom is to try to do it God's way.
• A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become
one flesh. [Genesis 2:24]
In #41, "First Promise, Singapore & Inside/Outside," he concludes from the various reactions
among conservatives to the unravelling of the Episcopal Church:
• All politics is local.
• Honor faithful allies, few of whom will come to the same decisions at the same time.
• The unity of denominations is not the same as the unity of the Church.
• Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. [John 17:17]

My only disappointment is that the book ends when it does merely with the hope that the Gafcon
movement and the Global South Covenant "can give Anglicanism the structural, doctrinal and
missional stability for its flourishing in the 21st century." I share that hope and suspect that
Archbishop Duncan, though technically retired, will have a say in further steps toward unity and
stability of the worldwide church that he clearly loves.


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