Search This Blog

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Steady Obedience in a Single Direction

 “A steady obedience in a single direction”, such was the take away phrase I got from Archbishop Duncan’s message this morning at Holy Communion.  One hundred Anglican deacons, priests and bishops (2) from the Pittsburgh area gathered at Trinity Church Washington for a clergy day to hear from our bishop and his leadership team as they engaged the clergy of the ACNA diocese in discussing our future together. 

The theme of much of the day was shaped by the hymnody, poetry and sayings of George Herbert whose feast day we celebrated today – translated from yesterday.  Canon Mary Hays, Archbishop Duncan and others interspersed Herbert’s witticisms throughout much of what they said.  Two were Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.and Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along”.

Bishop Duncan steps down in exactly sixteen months as Archbishop of the ACNA and will return for “a season” (2-3 years?) as exclusively the Bishop of Pittsburgh before retiring.  The bishop also told us that “as long as I am useful I will serve when I cease being useful, I will step down.” There has never been time of when our bishop has not been useful and I doubt there ever will.   

The interesting part is that Bishop Frank Lyons will also step down about the same time Bishop Duncan comes back to Pittsburgh full time and by the time he retires as diocesan bishop all the current generation of senior clergy leaders in the diocese will be retired or near retirement, Bishop John Rodgers, and priests Canon Mary Hays, Geoff Chapman, Don Bushyager, Mark Zimmerman, yours truly, Karen Stevenson, John Fierro, Doug Blakelock, John Heidengren, Scott Homer, John Macdonald, Laurie Thompson are most likely all fine’.  The next bishop will probably come from the next generation of leaders.  Since all ACNA bishops by canon are to be male and since most ACNA bishops are being raised up from within their serving diocese, who of the next generation of clergymen are willing and able to take up the mantle of episcopal leadership in our diocese?  Jonathan Millard, John Bailey, David Rucker, John Cruikshank, and Paul Cooper all come to mind.  Who else?  We shall see in God’s good time.        


  1. Love the theme. Eugene Peterson's book, "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" is one I've come back to again and again over the past 30 years. A deep reflection on stability in vocation.

    Bruce Robison

  2. When I retire as Redeemer's rector in 5 years, I will have served a one year curacy and two ten+ year pastorates and be very happy to have served this way.

    Things certainly have changed in the Church in the last 10 years regardless of realignment. In the ACNA Diocese we have only ten priests receiving full time salaries with all the associated benefits and fortunately I happen to be one of them. In the TEC Diocese it is even less.

  3. When Bruce+ retires at St. Andrew's, Highland Park (day in 7 years), the parish will like have been served by two rectors, and four organists (one of whom only lasted nine months) in seventy years! Now THAT'S a record! -Peter (Organist #4)