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PITTSBURGH: Bishop says church will not split over issue of gay bishop

Bishop says church will not split over issue of gay bishop

By Tom Mitchell

Monday, February 2, 2004

KITTANNING -- There will be no split in the Episcopal Church over the ordination of a homosexual bishop last fall. That's the message the Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh imparted to the congregation of St. Paul's Church yesterday.

St. Paul's Pastor, the Rev. David Wilson said Duncan was in Kittanning on his annual visit to St. Paul's, one of 75 Episcopal Churches in the Diocese.

Duncan said the ordination of the Rev. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire was a "presenting issue," but the underlying issue, he said, was the undermining of scriptural authority.

"I came here today to say that God's word can be trusted and that it can transform our lives," Duncan said. "I feel that the Episcopal Church has made a terrible mistake in blessing things the way they are instead of the way God intended them to be. Scripture says that we human beings are sinners. I'm talking about all sin, not just homosexuality. God's pattern is to have a man-woman marriage. But the Church is saying that same sex marriage is something God wills. It is not."

Duncan said that he and the priests in his diocese are not condemning one particular sin. He said they are taking a stand against all sin. He said that they would oppose the ordination of anyone who might be guilty of any sin, such as adultery, fornication or robbery.

"Sin is sin," he said.

He added that while the ordination of Robinson is a very divisive issue, the Pittsburgh Diocese has no intention of separating from the Episcopal Church.

Wilson said his congregation and allied churches in the Diocese are still faithful to the same doctrines that American Episcopalians have adhered to for more than 200 years.

"We have not and will not split from the Church," Wilson said. "The National Episcopalian Church has split from our doctrine and has split from us."

Wilson said Duncan encouraged congregation members to remain faithful to the church's doctrines and to stand firm against sin.

"This is a time to reflect on what's taken place during the past year," Wilson said, "and realize that we're the same people we have been for centuries. We haven't changed, the national church has. It has left the faith and that has left us a 'church within a church.' That's the best way to put it."

Wilson added that the Pittsburgh Diocese would have no fellowship with Robinson unless he renounces his self-admitted "gay" lifestyle. He said he is in full agreement with the stand taken by Duncan.


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