August 2, 2011

David Wilson Complains, Warns

The Rev. David Wilson, one of the most aggressively partisan Duncanite priests before the schism in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and now a priest in Duncan’s Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, cannot seem to stop himself from throwing brickbats at his former colleagues.

Wilson’s latest diatribe, “Has Something Changed Along the Way ? – Part 2,” appears on his blog, Anglican Yinzer.

After citing his post of July 12, 2010, complaining about the Rev. Jim Simons, the only current Episcopal priest mentioned by name in his “Part 2” post of July 31, 2011, Wilson has this to say:
Recently I was told that: “There are three openly partnered gay or lesbian priests licensed and functioning in the TEC Diocese, there is a priest licensed and functioning who has been divorced at least twice perhaps three times and married three times perhaps even four times and a heterosexual priest living with a woman to whom he is not married also licensed and functioning.”
His real complaint, apparently, is that the twelve priests who announced in a January 28, 2008, letter that they were staying in The Episcopal Church are not doing a good job of effecting its “renewal and reformation,” as they implied they would be doing.

Frankly, I cannot confirm the facts asserted by Wilson and, in any case, would not be as upset about them as he is. I suspect that at least some of his alleged “immorality“ was going on before the split of the diocese, so I wonder in what directions Wilson should be casting aspersions.

In any case, Wilson further notes
In addition, “the group does not support ordination of openly gay clergy or conducting same-sex blessings, the so-called ‘innovations’ at the forefront of denominational disputes since 2003. However, members said they do not believe it is necessary to leave the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, to make that point.”
He is not quoting the 2008 letter here but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story about the letter. Opposition to openly gay clergy or same-sex blessings is not asserted in the letter, and reporter Steve Levin did not quote anyone directly about these issues. I have no idea if all 12 priests were or are of one mind on these issues. (That said, I am curious.)

Wilson concludes
Why do I write this? I write because I don’t want those of us in the ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh to be naive. If we think our former mates over in TEC will somehow ally themselves with us or support our position and stand up on principle to the powers within the TEC diocese or the national church based on past affections or past convictions, we are sorely mistaken. Reconciliation and/or settlement with TEC has always meant capitulation to their position—nothing more and nothing less.
His advice is not unreasonable, though the comment about capitulation is a little harsh. By the same token, Episcopalian clergy should not expect that their former colleagues are likely to rejoin The Episcopal Church, either, though at least one has already done so.


  1. He seems unhappy with his lot in life

  2. Lionel:

    I would have posted the letter itself but I couldn't find it in the blogisphere.


    Au Contrare: I am quite happy with my lot in life. I pastor a wonderful parish. I've been happily married for 37 years to the same women and I have two very successful, happy and well-adjusted grown children. And I love my dog. My only regret is the Pirates have lost 10 of the last 13 after being in first place for the first time since 1992.

  3. David,

    I thought you might not have had access to the letter. It was on A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice, which has not, unlike Parish Toolbox, been taken down.

  4. Thanks for the info on the letter.

    BTW, four of the five persons mentioned were licensed after the diocesan vote to realign. One was licensed first by Alden Hathaway on the promise to remain celebate and not to preach or teach any view of sexual behavior contrary to Holy Scripture

  5. There developed in the church over some decades a set of two sharply different views of the faith and its foundation documents both scriptural and not. One major difference is the idea that one is entitled to governance and governors who are in sympathy with one's view.

    I think that is very sad but it is also the stuff of schism. It also appears to be in the case of the institutional losers the stuff of unquenchable anger.

    I and many TEC members wish those leaving well. I wish too that they might hear the words of the Lord's prayer and keep it.

  6. I had dinner recently with a friend who left TEC for ACNA. We both, I think, hope that the other's work in ministry will be fruitful. Except for the ongoing, regretable, but necessary settling of property disputes, I think worrying about what's going on in ACNA not worth my time and I find it curious that some in ACNA continue to fret about what's going on in TEC.

  7. David, it was gratifying to see you state that the new clergy agree "not to preach or teach any view of sexual behavior contrary to Holy Scripture."

    So we can be assured, then, considering the relationships in Scripture of David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi, that it is acceptable to talk about human sexuality in all its diversity. Wonderful, I'm delighted that you share the views of TEC. So tell me, why are you in a separate denomination?

  8. Mr Pfaltz.

    To my knowledge, only the homosexual priest who entered the Diocese was required to agree to be celebate and not teach or preach a view of sexuality that was contrary to Holy Scripture in order to be licensed. He was a past President of Integrity and Bishop Hathaway needed to be clear about the diocesan standard at the time. Obviously those standards no longer apply in the TEC diocese.

    There is no biblical evidence at all as to the nature of the relationship between Jonathan and David, Ruth and Naomi and Paul and Timothy beyond deep friendship. Any speculation of homosexuality is just that ---speculation. See Robert Gagnon seminal work on the Bible and homosexuality about this.

  9. I did forget to add that I do belirve I am in the denomination God has called me to as I hope you are.


  10. I tend to agree with Fr. David about the nature of the Ruth/Naomi and the Paul/Timothy relationship (the David/Jonathan relationship is much less clear).

    I would not, however, invoke anything written by the infamous Robert Gagnon into the conversation. I have found that most folks who put faith in his writings are merely searching for reinforcements for their own prejudiced views and not for theological enlightenment.

  11. I didn’t think I needed to say it, but I don’t put much stock in what Robert Gagnon writes.

  12. Of course not Lionel, Professor Gagnon does not support you pro-gay meta-narrative


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