Saturday, January 27, 2007

An Orwellian Moment: It's all about "legacy"

We recognize that some people experience that unity and breadth as insufficient for the exercise of their faith. We respect their consciences but also must respond when people who no longer share our mission, seek to leave and take with them property that belongs to all of us and to our grandchildren in the faith. Our differences with the congregations that have departed the Diocese are not about property but about legacy. The church buildings of the Diocese of Virginia were given by generations past to be Episcopal Churches for generations to come and we are committed to protecting that legacy.

We have the strong support of the Presiding Bishop and the General Church in seeking to recover the properties now occupied by persons who are no longer loyal to the Episcopal Church and to the Diocese of Virginia.

The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee
Pastoral Address
January 26, 2007

Question: What does the word "Legacy" really mean?

Answer: Is this another Orwellian Moment? Remember when Bishop Lee invented the "Unity Committee" which was quickly renamed the "Property Committee?" Now it seems he's about to rename it the "Legacy Committee." But we all know that the real name is "Litigation Committee." So each time you hear the word "Legacy," remember to translate it into "Litigation." That is what the word "Legacy" really means: Litigation.

Question: When Bishop Lee says that he has the "strong support" of the Presiding Bishop and the General (not "National") Church, what does he mean by the words "strong support?"

Answer: I don't think it means they all join hands and sing Kumbaya.


Chris said...

Interesting questions, but his invocation of loyalty to the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia is the most troubling.

If we proclaim, "Jesus is Lord!" we have no higher loyalty. Without that loyalty the legacy becomes hollow.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Michael Kerr, chief financial officer, is grace personified as he announced to convention that he had instructed Blue Cross to carry dissident clergy thru January on the health plan. i would say that he is covering the dioceses butt after being told by Blue Cross to cover them and inform them of the Federal COBRA plan for all covered members leaving the group plan or have the Federal and state authorities come after them with fines and investigations. Having sold insurance I have seen just this scenario happen when an employer neglected to do so.

Kevin said...

I truly hope you are correct Art+.

The SCC are fine folks as long as you are making the phone call, being on the receiving of letter of phone call is less pleasant.

Violating Federal COBRA laws is very stupid, betting up on Blue Cross would be the easiest solution for the state (make them deal with DioVA), break too many labor laws and good bye 501(c)(3).

Why does the State do better at Micah 6:8 than those who claim Christ?

Unknown said...

As I understand it, the coverage of health benefits through Jan. 31 was actually part of the original Standstill Agreement. Mike Kerr seems to have neglected to mention that important point when he made his public remarks. What is astonishing is Bishop Lee's denial of COBRA benefits, which would cost the Diocese nothing.

Mike didn't mention that part.


Anonymous said...

Mike also didn't comment that dropping Truro will increase health benfit costs to the smaller churches of the Diocese. Truro has been paying more for health care through the Diocese than Truro would had it gone alone with a separate health benfits package. Truro provided a broader population base and subsidy to the Diocese by virtue of being in the Diocesan health plan.

Anonymous said...

Kevin "Why does the State do better at Micah 6:8 than those who claim Christ?"

Kevin -- don't be fooled. Jesus said the tares would grow along side the wheat. Not all who claim to be Christ's, are. Jesus said there would be many who claimed to do much in His name, but that He will tell them to get away because He never knew them.

Please, please, please do not look down on His people. So many claim to be His people, but are not His people. Kevin -- Jesus loves His church, His Bride. He sees her as glorious!

True -- His people are not perfect. Yes, I have been deeply wounded by genuine Christians who need healing of some sort -- but I will cast my lot with the body of Christ any day! I love my secular neighbors, but you know what? I would not want to cross them! That is how I find the world to be, those who are absolutely not believers -- it is a spectrum to be sure. There are kind people who are that way by birth or rearing, but ask the Lord to show you the two spectrum.

And remember -- it is highly and sadly likely that many in leadership in TEC, simply do not know Him. As your friend Melany (or Melody?) said on another thread -- we expect more from those who claim to be of the household of faith, so it hurts worse when they act wrongly.

I would add to that, I suspect hypocrisy carries a very real price with it, and something about the consciences of those who do may become seared in someway. So they may actually be worse than secular counterparts because of this.

But honestly -- my training is in social work, and I will tell you that one will find FAR more compassion and help in the true Body of Christ, than one will in the government.

I hope all of that will somehow help set your heart to rest just a bit over this. I am concerned because it seems to be weighing so heavily on you.

God is good, and He truly does live in His people. Only they have to be His people, not merely claim to be.

May He give you peace -
in His love,

Anonymous said...

Truro is the employer, not the Diocese. It is Truro that must offer insurance for their employees, not the Diocese. It is Truro that quit the Diocese, thus dropping health insurance for their workers without making other arrangements (that we know of). All this talk of COBRA, the Diocese being unfair and illegal, etc, is pure nonsense. Imagine if your employer dropped your health insurance and then tried to blame the carrier they purchased it through because you no longer had any.

Anonymous said...

COBRA is not useful because the federal law exempts churchs. However, many religious groups do offer some sort of comparable coverage. But it's not required. (Federal employees are also exempt but we have something else that covers us.) It would be the compassionate thing to offer to continue the insurance because BB is right, you end up paying the entire premium under COBRA. There is really nothing for the state of Virginia or the Federals to come in and fix here. It would be between the employer and the insurer to work something out to offer those who are losing coverage. And I am sure it can be done, I mean what insurance company doesn't want to make money?

As wrong as I think this is, and not to inject politics into this, but maybe we can reflect on the so many Americans who don't have health insurance and how beholden we are to our employers and insurance companies for our very lives.

And Kevin, I think there is love and compassion out there in both the secular and religious worlds. What's going on right now with TEC is a very good example of how people can delude themselves in to thinking that are acting in a Godly way when they really are not.

Anonymous said...

COBRA is not useful because it's for employees who leave there employer. These people are employed by the same employer which dropped their coverage by leaving the group that provided them with said coverage.

As for acting in a Godly way, there seems to be plenty of planks to pull from everyone's eyes around here.

Anonymous said...


So it's a good thing to pull someone's health insurance in the middle of a dispute? COBRA does not apply because TEC is a religious organization, plain and simple.

As for pulling planks, why is that we are all so eager to see the worst in each other? I clearly see and hear the pain of everyone involved in this situation, but I really believe that there is a lot of ways that we should care for each other, and sadly, health insurance is a necessity. I believe that those who hold themselves out as religious leaders should be held to a higher standard. The humane, compassionate act here would be to find a way to continue to provide health insurance. The way it comes off now is that is some sort of punishment. Not only are the clergy being punished but so are their families. As far as I can tell this situation has not been sorted out in a final way. Why not continue the insurance until it is?

Unknown said...

PAt Kashtock, that is a good word you've posted. Not one of us has a market on humility and our need to be transparent as we reach out with love of Christ, as well as actively forgiving when we've been hurt is a mandate of the cross of Christ (or He died for nothing). When we forgive, Jesus said, sins are forgiven. That is a powerful gift God gives us. But it does open one's heart to pain when we forgive.


Anonymous said...

"So it's a good thing to pull someone's health insurance in the middle of a dispute? COBRA does not apply because TEC is a religious organization, plain and simple."

The insurance wasn't pulled, the parish left the Diocese and is no longer entitled to it's group insurance plan. Attribute the action to the cause. This is not the "middle" of a dispute, excpet for the whole property thing. This is the end, the parishes have gone. Even if COBRA did not exempt churches, it would not apply in this case. COBRA is for "former employees". You don't have that here. Your insistance upon bringing up the religious exemption only creates the impression that the VA Diocese is getting away with something on a technicality, which is not the case.

The real blame lies with those who were so hell bent (no pun intended) to get out of the Diocese that they didn't make provisions for their own employee's insurance. The humane thing would be to continue the insurance, which the Diocese has done for a month. I don't think anyone would have a hard time arranging for insurance in that time.

Kevin said...


I'm talking at Truro too! I'm talking about I personal experiences inside the Church in American verses the the world. I think American Churches tend to have a real problem of looking good,the outside of the cup looks great but being filled with dead men's bones.

Sad truth is the fear of law suits I think has cased a better sense of justice in the world (wow, there is something good the plethora of lawyers).

TFC & Truro are full of elites. Many grew up in Christian homes, went to Christian schools, so even have Christian jobs. Not the NT view of who Jesus was around. I've never been so abused as I have inside the Church (some at Truro & TFC) and I've been treated more justly by my secular boss's (note, usually it the owner of the company who is jerk I referred, but even then usually as vengeance of an act where two were at fault).

So careful about wheat and tears, I see blood on everyone's hands, including those this board might favor.

I agree with BB's words of forgiveness, but there is also a question of justice! Meaning, I think the American Church has cheapen the Cross so much that abuse or lack of pastoral care is acceptable.

In my latest example, someone declined to meet with me, citing his taking up a new spiritual discipline, however he also obstructed my call for help to a parish priest saying he'd handle things, then three months later gave a letter that looks like some of these exchanges between +Lee & +Minns.

Forgiveness to happen with more ease needs an element of safety, that safety is the duty of all Believers.

Pat, I agree there is more love and compassion inside the Church than in social services, but I do not see a sense of justice. Truro Church may support the Lamb Center but those "clients" are not inside Truro. Have you ever sat down for worship and had someone get up and move away, I have several times, till I learned to come in early and sit in the same spot. I could air all my laundry, but it's not proper.

Maybe in the fire both sides will be purified and resemble the image of Christ.

Maybe all my complaints are before the Master turns on the heat and refines the dross from the gold, then molds and shapes. Maybe then CANA & DioVA may look deep inside to hard questions that are not today being asked. Connoisseur Christianity, so prevalent in all of the American Church is such a far cry from image we see in Acts. Maybe the best thing actually has come and we do not yet see, for the Church is living stones and these fights over future ash piles (remember New Earth) will merely be a tool.

Thank you Pat for your post, I think in the midst of these VERY temporal issues (CANA should have insurance soon), this stuff is more worthy of considering. Thank you Melanie, you don't have a dog in this hunt, but your concern is touching and a good outside voice of sanity if we start going over the deep end.

Blessing to you all,

Anonymous said...


You are echoing the Old Testament Prophets. I can hear them in your every word. Justice, Justice shall you pursue. Deut. 16:20.


Anonymous said...

BB -- Thank you -- you are very kind! It is funny that you mentioned how forgiving can open us to pain because that is not something one hears much. It does. For a while, it can really hurt. For years I struggled with the betrayal of our dearest friends that was so deep and far reaching we had to leave the church we loved like family. Their betrayal began sixteen hours after I was told my daughter was having strokes and there was nothing the doctors could do about it. I knew that meant she would die too soon, and they knew it too.

It took many years of struggle and many tears, even after forgiving them, and the forgiveness itself, hurt. But now, it is washed clean and healed and even though the relationship has never been repaired try though we might, I am at peace with it and really think of it.

Our prayers continue for Truro,

Anonymous said...

That should read "rarely" think about it, lol! Oh, for so long I really did think of it, but thanks to the Lord's grace, it is truly gone.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Kevin -- I am so sorry that you have been hurt so deeply. I am afraid that I do not understand what it is about... I am saddened that you have had the type of public rejection that you spoke of, as in someone refusing to sit near you. In answer to your question, yes, I have had that happen, and in the church as well as in the world. People can be spiteful, and I have been the target of that. In the world it is easier to brush off. In church it hurts far worse. Melanie is so right that we expect more of those in the household of faith -- because we should. Fellow believers are supposed to, in our case, be followers of Christ.

But dear Kevin -- that does not mean they are mentally balanced. I do not know what they thought they had against you, but in the church case I experienced there was one couple who went after us to try to destroy us all over something that was based in their imaginations. They are very ill people, but it took me a very long time to realize this. One night when I went on a "stomp" I kept thinking about what I would say to the one who was the leader. Each time the Lord said to me, "No, not that one," or "No, not that one, either."

Finally, in sheer frustration, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and threw my hands down to my side (and boy, am I glad it was dark!) and snorted back at the Lord, "Then WHAT IS it You WANT me to do!!!!!!!"

And there before me I saw, bowed down from three-quarters behind, the face of Jesus and a crown of thorns. I heard the words, "Father, forgive them."

He did not speak the rest of the words to me because He knew I would fill them in, "For they know not what they do."

All I could do at that point was weep.

So yes, I know the pain of being hurt by a fellow believer. That is the worst betrayal in the world. Satan knows this: that is why he will use other believers if he can incite them to sin against us. And we sin. God forgive us, we all sin.

I pray for my once upon a time friends and live with the hope that someday He will heal them.

Oh Kevin -- I am not sure what you mean about justice, or the lack of justice in the American church. I have tended to be involved in very small churches, and we would fight for justice for those who came across our paths. It can be so frustrating because my experience in "fighting city hall" might well be called, "fighting a losing battle." Still, we fought for them. If nothing else, they knew someone cared enough to walk along side of them.

So I pray the He will send someone to walk along side of you, Kevin. I pray the He will heal your deep hurt, the one I do not understand, but He understands it all and He holds you in His hand. You are His dearly beloved. Never forget that.

And mdlawlib (Melanie?) -- you are, too! Thank you for your grace-seasoned words.

His peace,

Kevin said...

Dear Pat,

Thank you for your kind words. I do agree with you but also think you are lacking one thing, your logic leaves abusive structures in place.

I do not want to explain to you what I'm talking about, for Rus Palmwer & David Beers can read this board too.

I will say I've called for justice day & night on the Lord, I was looking for distributive justice. Now the Lord may use retributive justice as His tool to bring change.

If the Lord is involved then everyone should count it all joy, the the Living Stones will be shaped into the image of Christ.


Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin -- Okay, I think I get it :)

You are not talking about believers ignoring the need for justice in a general sense such as what I was addressing. Correct me if I still don't understand, but I think you are not talking about individuals, or necessarily individual churches? Are you talking about the lack of true justice in the organizational church -- at the higher levels?

If so -- I would agree they seem to have no concept of justice when to act justly would not suit their personal purposes.

But oh, dear! I would hate to think that His people have forgotten, "And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." From Micah. I think those who truly belong to Him will find themselves called up short by the Holy Spirit if and when they violate this. Unless, they are determined to go their own way and their consciences have become seared. Unless they are not truly His people and are His people in name, only.

And you are right -- don't say anything here that could jeopardize someone


Kevin said...

Hi Pat,

The answer to your question is "yes." Meaning I'm taliking about the American Church in general and specific instances that I've experienced.

Jame 2:9 is a VERY haunting verse, one all too easliy broken in this culture, but 2:9 is followed by 2:10, so guilty of the rest. When a priest at T____ knows of a problem but does little or pushes it to 1/2 hour at this spot or whatever, yet see me every week but does not engage, verse 2:10 says whats the difference between one violation and +VGR sins? Latest was an obstruction T__ for help. Yet I've seen this prevalent.

The liberal are actually pretty good at pastorial care, in that's all they focus on since they threw out the Scripture. It's no accident +Lee includes in his concern last December.

Trinity Manassas is one of the most liberal parishes, but they did treat me well, just don't believe in anything.

Other have a firm believe, but I've found tend to prefer the "nice Christian" people, not much room for people from the outside. No joke, it took me months to find someone to help with a unchurched lady, I was turned down by everyone's little darling (odd, she had to be a part of it when the lady was baptized). Over & over, I think to myself, this just is not how the Church is to opperate.

Here's a fun one for you, who should be on vestry? Do we look to criteria of worldly success or like 1 Tim 3? I dare say most Church leadership I've seen "looks good is a suit" type.

My work with persecuted Christians I've been connected with Pakistani, Iranian, Sudanese Believers and I've used to be involved with Inglesia Pentacostal Bethel in Alex. The contrast of most these worlds is just so striking, yes, I do think most American forget Malachi 6:8!

In the Latino context, I've nearly got myself fired for standing up for justice, but people at TFC or Truro that do know of the situation, no one intervenes, but yes, told to forgive. Thank God MLK didn't accept this type of advice, for he change the world I gre up in. It acutally is the duty of others to "go to bat," step into situations as messy as they are for the sake of justice, then the people hurt can have a measure of safety and forgive w/o feeling the need of protective walls. Peace Faking or brushing under the carpet is common place in tChurch by my experience, however my non-Christian boss is willing to deal with me? Even if he thinks I dead wrong, he still is motivated to ensure I produce good product.

The answer is "yes," specific and general. Last night a "third-culture" kid shared his dad's words when moving back to the US. America is easy on the body but hard on the soul (verses Keyna is hard on body but more James 1:4 on the soul).


Anonymous said...

Hey wait a minute -- Kevin -- do you mean work with persecuted Christians through an organization? Who? If that is the case that is so exciting! But even if you mean one on one, that is exciting, too. How did you find them?

Yes, those who have less seem to be more focused on the Lord and not so taken with "things."

Yes, I agree with MLK -- it is our job to go to bat for those who have less. That is what I said we have tended to do on a one on one basis in the churches I have been a part of. And the churches we have settled in love the poor and the "different ones" just as much as anyone else. He was a hero of my daughter's. There was a comfort in being able to have her funeral on Martin Luther King's Day. I hope the Lord told her how that worked out because that would have been a joy to her.

As far as Trinity at Manassas -- glad you got treated well. Guess the leadership did not know you are orthodox. It got so ugly over there for friends of ours even many years ago, they had to leave. They were rejected because they believed in forgiveness of sin through the shed blood of Christ and that He was raised from the dead. Liberals really are not as pastoral as you may think. From what I see, it is only if you believe what they do.


Anonymous said...

Kevin said...
Grace of our LORD to you Pat!

RE: do you mean work with persecuted Christians through an organization? Who? If that is the case that is so exciting! But even if you mean one on one, that is exciting, too. How did you find them?

Well, I'm pretty stupid, but Jesus has shown me grace and I'm connected to Fran Boyle, she right now trying to track down a Sudanese Priest who has disappeared, PLEASE pray for protection for her against ALL wilds of the evil one and she finds out the truth of her friend. Being born into the USA (dad was a VP), I was born w/ a silver spoon in my mouth, even though I'm LD, so the combination is "WOW, Jesus loves even us stupid folks!" Do you want to know something, in all the days I've been alive, the one reason I've gone hungry is self-derivation or depression, our brother John was given one meal a day via the UN in the Kacuma Refugee Camp, wow! Fran stopped by one night with these two "lost boys" and my life changed, truly I'm the richer, do not thing I'm special, Jesus is special, Im' just blessed by His mercy and these servants!

MLK - I went to HS in the same building that was the VERY first integrated School in Virginia (HB-Woodlwan is in the Stratford Jr. High building (integrated in 1963), wow, my world is so changed because of this "Negro," today an African-American, I need to be sensitive towards my Guatemalan best friend, Belter, and my El Salvadorian neighbors but MLK changes all our lives, even if I'm the "white-boy/Gringo" to tell the tale, for the world MLK grew-up in is in alien to me, THANK GOD!! I get to live a part of his dream!

I'm so sorry to hear that you daughter's funeral was on MLK's birthday, if I'm reading your post correctly (I'm dyslexic & can easily be confused), wow! I'm lost for words, in a vain attempt to say something, first I'm so sorry, children are to outlive their parents, but second, she had good heros, an if your faith is any indication, you only grieve a little while until you see her again!

Trinity, it's a strange place! Yes, value for human life is there, but Stuart haggled a poor seminarian during her sermon ("what if you don't believe the Nicene Creed?), really ironically considering BB's Harry Potter counter, I left there mid-sermon as Stuart ignored the Gospel reading to talk about the latest HP book (I think 2 maybe 3 around Y2K).

My great hope is through the pain, faithful in CANA or DioVA are called unto the Living God. I do not write off the priest who held a party for most but me, though the honoree did invite me to help her move. NONE of us can hold up to TRUE justice.

That the whole point to my posts. We are not where we need to be, may Lord Jesus turn His people, both in CANA & DioVA on their head and lead them to where He needs them to be. If The Lord is in this, than no one has a claim, for only He knows who the elect will be, but we should never fear hardship if the Lord has ordained it, then we should trust it is for our holiness!

MAY LORD JESUS PURIFY I PEOPLE FOR HIMSELF FROM BOTH CAMPS, that none of us can hold claim, but the redeemed know we are saved by grace!

Blessings to you Pat, May the Lord replace any sorrow of your loss with His joy,

FYI - the best part about being a free agent. I don't care what side you're on, your hero has more in common with the worst sinner than Jesus the Christ! Sad fact, but true.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin -- Is your friend, Fran in the Sudan looking for the priest? Yes, we can pray for her. You got to meet a couple of the young men from the Sudan? (The lost boys) I am glad they survived.

You are not "stupid" as you said. Your posts show you think a lot and think deeply. Dyslexia is tough. You are dealing with it amazingly well!

Thank you for thinking of my daughter. Yes, it is sad for children to die before their parents. And yes, I know we will see her someday. We put on her grave stone, "Dancing in the presence of God," and I know she is.


Kevin said...

Thank you for your kind words.