Saturday, February 10, 2007

Breaking News - 815 files more lawsuits against all the "Virginia churches" just days before Primates Meeting in Tanzania

Katharine Jefferts Schori and the folks at 815 (based in their lovely offices in Manhattan), filed more lawsuits yesterday here in Virginia against all the parishes (their clergy, vestries, and trustees) that followed the Diocese of Virginia's Protocol for Departing Churches. So along with Bishop Lee and the Diocese of Virginia, now 815 (TEC) has sued everybody as well. That's a nice thing to do before getting on the plane for Tanzania.

Told my brother, the Methodist, that the diocese and the national church are suing lay volunteers and he wondered, "what kind of church is that?"

By the way - just for the record - we here at BabyBlue have no problem with a woman being a bishop if she is called by the Lord to do that - which would include believing He is the Lord. This conflict has nothing to do with women's ordination - in fact, Bishop Lee inhibited the interim vicar of one of the Virginia churches - an ordained woman. She got a letter just like all the others. Now that's equality.

But as we think about the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church going over to Tanzania to share the love, knowing that she's just sued all these volunteer lay people in Virginia (and of course, all the primates knowing what she's done as well), perhaps the best thing to do now is to take a deep breath and pray.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should be more worried about being personally sued than worrying about the PB in Tanzania. I'm sure she can take care of herself.

Padre Wayne said...

BB said, "Told my brother, the Methodist, that the diocese and the national church are suing lay volunteers" -- specifics, please?

Kevin said...

RE: That's a nice thing to do before getting on the plane for Tanzania.

Not to steal any of your thunder BB, but the PB seems to not have two brain cells to rub together in a media interview, but she does seem to have some strategy. This was probably in the wings till after the mere four hour meeting about Windsor, but maybe a Touché’ for the "Road to Lambeth" communique.

The reaffirmer have had a lot of press this week. The Hendersonville TN parish beginning a 40 days is yet another blow, probably a very calculated act of timing. This act was not rash, but I'll bet repercussion calculated. She seem to have been cultivating alleys with Tutu's statement earlier in the week. This was probably in then works for Feb. 16 but after the news from Nigeria posted on 7th bump up a week.

The woman my be elitist and not know how pretentious she comes off in an interview, but she not stupid. The PB has Tutu neutralizing the race charge, she'll play up the woman card, rally the troops with joining the law suit, probably networked with European and South African bishops to stall the GS. She can play poker, that's for sure.

ccinnova said...

Padre Wayne,

Vestry members and trustees of Episcopal and Anglican churches are lay volunteers.

Anonymous said...

BB,

A friend of mine from rural Kenya studying sustainable agriculture in the United States visited Falls Church this January, reporting to me how wonderful it was to worship there.

It is not necessary to sue lay persons to establish property ownership.

I don't know what to tell my Kenyan friend about the Va. lawsuits. He must think folks are crazy and profligate.

A simple country lawyer, and diocesan chancellor

Anonymous said...

Simple country lawyer, you may want to ask for a refund from your law school if you can't figure out why a trustee might be sued. This is basic Property 101.

"With respect to most private trusts, the trustee holds legal title to the trust property, is the representative of the trust, and has the capacity to sue and be sued on behalf of the trust."

If you're on the vestry of a parish and are a trustee of the parish property, you have to expect to get sued.

Anonymous said...

"based in their lovely highrise offices in Manhattan"

Have ever seen 815?

1achord said...

Can someone please tell me the source for this "news"? Without any source, it sounds like rabble-rousing to me.

Mike said...

BB,

It seems that you are distraught over the lawsuits because you feel that the Diocese and 815 are not treating you, your churches, your clergy, and your fellow parishioners with Christian charity.

Why is it that you feel entitled to charity when your churches specifically exclude members of our society from said charity? Not to mention there are several instances on this blog where you have been downright mean to Bishop Katherine, Bishop Peter and others. Where is the charity in that?

BabyBlue said...

Oops, I was thinking of Katharine Jefforts Shori's official Penthouse residence in Manhattan, so I've edited the posting to say from their lovely offices in Manhattan. Thanks, oh diligent CafeAnons!

I would think the offices must still be lovely, though, since they spent millions on fixing them up rather than move over to General Theological Seminary (which is not looking so lovely). I have been to GTS and that was memorable.

bb

aterry said...

Well, where do we go from here? I suspect 815 will have to dig up Torquemada and open up the new office for the inquisition in the Commonwealth? Afterall...No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

Hee-hee, couldn't let that one go. Seriouslythough , We're in constant intercession for the CANA Churches up north.

Peace,
Andy

John Farrell said...

This story appears nowhere else in the media.

What's the source? The date?

Pat Kashtock said...

John Farrell -- It is highly possibly that Baby Blue knows first hand about the suits, rather than through a news article.

BabyBlue said...

That is correct, Pat, I am very sad to say.

bb

Kevin said...

BB,

I don't mean to sound callus, especially since I'm not in a position to be served warrant in this mess. You knew this was coming and we looked at crayon candles, happening before the Anglican Valentines Love-fest will mean the GS can raise the issue.

It is only when the testing comes that our character is revealed. Be of good cheer, we do not know what the narrow road holds for us, but we know where it ends!

May you rest in His peace and abide in Christ so surely, you could even sleep in a boat during the storm.


Peace be with you,
Kevin


(I'd be more offended by the snide remarks about your opinion on aesthetics of 815, they obviously haven't seen you pill box hat collection to appreciate you deeper understanding of beauty).

jerclay said...

Mike;

You said "Why is it that you feel entitled to charity when your churches specifically exclude members of our society from said charity?"

I assume you mean we exclude homosexuals. Can't speak for all churches, but our now-CANA Virginia church welcome believers of all sexual orientation. However, we believe in the power of Christ to transform those individuals, as confirmed by at least seven members of our church who have come out of that lifestyle.

By the way, we left TEC not because of TEC's stand on homosexuality, but because TEC denies the authority of the Word of God. It's obvious the PB's beliefs, from the many things she's said, are not Christian beliefs -- sound to me to be more New Age than Christian.

Eddo said...

bb, when you joined the vestry you became an officer of the church. You have a fiduciary responsibility, and exercised that responsibility as you saw fit. Having done so you should not be surprised to be named in a law suit for your actions.

Eddo logs in!

mdlawlib said...

I am sure BB expected to be named in any lawsuit. I am also sure that it is extremely stressful. So maybe we should cut her some slack?

Speaking of testing of character, I must recommend the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days to all of you. Sophie Scholl was a member of the White Rose, a Nazi resistance movement in Munich made up of university students. She was also a Christian. Her mother's last words to her as she was being taken away to be executed where to remember Jesus.

BabyBlue said...

I am surprised. I believed Russ Palmore was truly acting on behalf of the BIshop of Virginia as his chancellor. I believed the former Standing Committee President. I believed that the Standing Committee and Executive Board received the report and stood down from amending it or rejecting it at Bishop Lee's insistance. He felt is was the best way forward - and I believed him. So yes, I am surprised, even now, at what is happening. I trusted him.

Following the canons and the Diocese of Virginia protocol as well as Commonwealth law, it was up to the congregations to decide - and all our congregations decided with super majorities. So while my name and many others are on the lawsuits, we represent the thousands of members who voted. This is one of the few times where the congregation makes the decision, over and above the Vestry. We recommend, they decide.

Last time I checked, we lived in a democratic republic. Now TEC has gone to court to evict thousands of Christians in Virginia from their church homes. It makes no sense.

The facts are - KJS files this lawsuit and heads to Tanzania. Why would she do that just days before this historic meeting?

bb

John Farrell said...

Another day goes by and I'm still wondering why this blog is the only source for the story that TEC has initiated lawsuits in Virginia.

It's odd, when you consider that every previous legal jostle--from either side-- has generated press releases from 815, the Diocese and CANA, as well as a profusion and news stories, particularly from the Virginia press.

Eddo said...

Also, bb, how do you square your "no problem with women's ordination" with your "orthodox" view of scripture and tradition?

Also, I hardly think the PB told the legal team to "stick it to those Virginians real good" before she heads off to Tanzania.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

BB

It is sad. I suppose I should feel vindicated since right after those dreams of July, +Lee acted the opposite and things got more cordial, but honestly, I find little joy in it.

These are times to circle wagons, to ensure proper disciple of vestry members, that there's no room for a cunning attorney to sway seeming irrelevant issues into something that could sway a jury. Basically a prep for 815 to wage it's version of reconciliation.

+Minns is to valuable a target not to fight. The RAF told it's pilots that the raid on Peenemunde on Aug. 17, 1943 was one of the most important of the war, they'd accept a 50% loss rate of planes. ++KJS probably feels the same here, it's probably in her best interest to fight with all she has a losing battle than not to fight at all. At least attempting to pin +Minns and CANA down for a little bit. Get the war horses ready and look to the Lord!

We should rejoice and give God thanks for the kindness shown by +Lee and Palmer Esq. so far. CANA would never have be able to do as much across the Potomac. However, they are men under-authority which has set a new course. Pray and strive for justice and love mercy.

I'm going to take a risk & bring up an off-board conversation about those two concepts. The one thing I came up with in prayer about why gifts of mercy are often a hard process rather than instantaneous, as Connoisseur Christianity seems to demand as cheap grace entitlement is we'd never appreciate the dept of the Cross. Sad, yes, betrayal of the good will over the summer, yes, it sucks, yes, but as you struggle (or I in my issues), we learn the just a little of what Gethsemane was like.

(BB, you have every right to be hurt, mad, sad, feeling betrayed or upset, a lot has happen to you. My question to you is what are you going to do about it?)

May the Lord, the one who'll not break a bruised reed, meet you exactly where you are at, take you gentility by the hand and lead you to where you need to be. May He bring all of Himself, in Justice, Mercy and Peace into this situation. May all those who call on the name of Jesus be conformed into a perfect reflection of Him, our Christ.

Maranatha!

mdlawlib said...

Are you all actually suggesting BB made this up? Come on, that's just silly and it's mean spirited. Why would she do that?

John Farrell said...

mdlawlb,

I can't imagine any reason why someone would make up a story like this and post it on their own blog.

To the contrary, I hope BB did not make this up. If it's fiction, I could no longer rely on the truth of things she posts here.

Kevin said...

John Farrell

Stand Firm has the complaint posted.

mdlawlib said...

John Farrell,

You should know that BB did not make this up, not hope that she didn't! And Kevin thanks for find the complaint.

mdlawlib said...

Sorry that should have been finding. My spelling gets worse when I get upset. And I get upset when the integrity of a friend is questioned.

Kevin said...

Mdlawlib:

Certainly no apology needed here! :-)

The dyslexic, who shouldn't be allowed near a keyboard, but posts anyways,

Kevin

mdlawlib said...

And back to my Sophie Scholl comment:

Her last words were "Die Sonne scheint noch," meaning "The Sun still shines." This was a metaphor for God and her commitment to hope for the future.

So BB, remember the sun still shines!

mdlawlib said...

Kevin,

I'm dyslexic as well. Glad to see we have one more thing in common! : ) And again, thanks for finding the complaint, not that we needed any proof as to the truth of what BB was posting!

Mdlawlib

Eddo said...

Well, bb, I see your name there in black and white. While I wish you were on the other side of the argument, I know you're doing what you think is right and true and good, and what you think God wants you to be doing. Like it or not, ECUSA thinks the same thing. I'm sorry for you that it has come to this. I admit having your name, your face, involved in this mess adds a personal dimension to the issue I wish it didn't. It's easier thinking of "those darn Virginians" without knowing anyone. But that doesn't fly anymore. Despite that, I believe ECUSA is acting properly, in the best interest of the Church, and in witness to the love of God which is in Jesus Christ. I'm sorry for you and your legal troubles, but I believe you were free to walk in the church, and you are free to walk out. Just don't take the candlesticks on your way, please.

Mike said...

Jerclay,

You state, "Can't speak for all churches, but our now-CANA Virginia church welcome believers of all sexual orientation. However, we believe in the power of Christ to transform those individuals, as confirmed by at least seven members of our church who have come out of that lifestyle."

So I ask you, what about those of us who believe in the power of Christ to support us for being made in his own image?

How will you react if one of those who, as you put it, "came out of that lifestyle" has a relapse?

I don't believe for one second that the churches who are leaving are "not departing over homosexuality." Gays and Lesbians just happen to be the scapegoat of choice today. Do not veil it in such asinine comments such as "TEC does not believe in the Word of God."

As to that last point, let me direct you to the following letter from the Diocese of Massachusetts.

Just because you do not like majority rule does not mean you can resort to thuggery. These lawsuits are intended to resist thuggery and restore order to the church. Read your cannons. I am sorry, but the parishes do not have a leg to stand on in this matter.

BabyBlue said...

Would anyone like some hot tea? The snow is on its way and I just put a kettle on.

I just want to say that I appreciate all the different views being expressed here - and while the level of conviction is strong on the views here, I appreciate the good manners. I don't mind a few forks and plates being thrown from time to time - but I also appreciate the kind words. You all are always welcome here. We'd welcome Kerouac and Ginsberg here - those waring beats. Even Dylan and Baez do not see eye to eye on politics (aye, it is so). But they'd be both welcome here too (though the idea of Bob surfing the internet sort of strangles the mind, though on a recent episode of his radio show he talked about watching old views at YouTube - kinda blew my mind actually - hearing "YouTube" from Bob Dylan.

I still have hope that this will be resolved at the negotiating table and not at the bench. It would be in the Diocese's best interest to tell the New Yorkers to head back up the NJ Turnpike and lets get back to the bishop's original charter - to find a way to have as close a communion as possible.

But if not, we're ready.

bb

PS By the way, if the comments about learning the biblical orthodox view on why men and women may be ordained are sincere, there are some excellent materials available - including from the Church of England and Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian (who came to Truro years ago and made a major impact on me on making the case for men and women in leadership from a biblical perspective). An organization that I"ve belonged to for a while is called Christians for Biblical Equality and you can read about them here: http://www.cbeinternational.org

Unlike ECUSA/TEC, the COE engaged in a major theological dig into the scriptures to make the case for women's ordained leadership in the Church. Lord Carey, an evangelical holds the same view I do, as does Bishop NT Wright. In the US we have not had that conversation since the issue of women's ordination was done as a political act (as was Gene Robinson's election) rather than engaging in theological discussion first and then action after (which is what the Anglican Communion is asking TEC to do - to stand down until the theological work is done on same gender unions). The work has been done on the issue of women's ordination. You can make a biblical case for it and a biblical case for a traditional priesthood. But that work has not been done on the American innovations - and it looks like TEC has no intention to do that work. Instead, they are following the political action model of engaging in political acts for forment cultural change. After twenty something years in Washington, though, I've seen how those sort of actions are usually very superficial. The real change has to come from the heart - and in the case of women's ordination, that change of heart still has a very long way to go.

bb

Pat Kashtock said...

Baby Blue -- You have my condolences and my prayers. The betrayal of one's trust is a very bitter thing to swallow. King David had much to say about that. It cuts like a knife.

As for those asking about women's ordination and scripture -- a couple of thoughts. 1: It is not a sin to act like a woman, if one is a woman. 2: Other denominations have ordained women for decades. One of these, the Assemblies of God, totally believe in Biblical inerrancy. They are very firm on the authority of scripture and would not play around with it. Here are a couple of links that tell you why they believe it is proper to ordain women, and why it does not conflict with scripture.
http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_0821_ordination.cfm

http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200102/008_exploring.cfm

http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200102/index.cfm

http://womeninministry.ag.org/roleofwim/0306_wim_questions.cfm

Peace,
Pat
Christ Our Lord Church
Woodbridge, VA

Pat Kashtock said...

Mike: Forgiveness is forgiveness. The way one reacts when someone relapses into sin, is to love them, support them and help them in anyway possible. It does not mean saying, "Oh, that's okay. Do whatever you want to. God won't mind." It does mean accepting that they are human and frail.

Many of us live this. It is not uncommon at all among those who truly follow Christ, and from the churches I have been a part of over the years, I would say it is the norm. I get the impression that you believe it would be otherwise. Why?

Kevin said...

Well BB,

We'll defend you, argue with you, give you our pontifications, but I hope even in the occasional utensil toss, you know you are loved! Even by those who 'It's easier thinking of "those darn Virginians"' or like myself who carry on emails but some how turn the point against you.

I do find a strange comfort in all that!!! Thank you BB, Mdlawlib, Eddo, Mike, Pat, Jerclay, Anon, ccinova, Padre Wayne, country lawyer & any I follishly forgot. We may not agree, but all I value and I trust the Creator, since He spent so much time on each of us to make us unique. May I see that even if I get frustrated (downside of a cognitive disability is that's frequently).

Peace,
Kevin


(Mike, I struggle w/ forgiveness too, everyone expects it to be an entitlement!!! I'm kind of a different sort in pews as well, may the Lord lead us both to His BEST! May we both except not less!!!! [FYI - I've been shafted yet again for "pretty" folks, my prayer for BB is extended to you and also me. May the True Christ met us where we are at today and gently lead us to where we need to be, in the mean time may Jesus protect us both from His followers.

(I first say this on a frig magnet of a seminarian, but he also had a "Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club" magnet with it (putting that smackdown to heresy since '81)."

Oh may our creator lead us all to Himself!

Bless you, all!

One seriously messed up fallen creature,
Kevin

Kevin said...

Mike,

I wronged you by "patronizing" you, it was not my intent, but then hoping post an apology on your blog ... it was your birthday ... oh boy ... I felt like a heel!!!! The last person you'd probably want to hear from!!!! Well, happy belated birthday, honestly may the Lord open all doors to future academic endeavors (please see above w/ Mdlawlib & my discussion about dyslexia, it's from the heart)!

Pax,
Kevin

Eddo said...

We're looking to the Assemblies of God for leadership? If that's the case let me point out the United Church of Christ has been ordaining women, and gays and lesbians for decades, so I'm glad to know if it's good for them it must be for us. For that matter, The Church (capital T, capital C) has been ordaining gay men for centuries, and the ECUSA, if not other Anglican vestries have been hiring openly gay men for decades, too. I'm not the bible scholar I wish I were, but I'm sure someone here can point to websites that make a convincing scriptural argument for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians as others have for women (and not the "it's okay to be gay, just don't be gay" variety). Let's rid the church of all forms of discrimination. Wouldn't that be something.

Eddo said...

and bb, so you think the decision by ECUSA to ordain women was a political maneuver, not a pastoral one? and as for Bishop Robinson, the summary of the 2003 General Convention states that his election was adopted by a majority of both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. Do you really believe a majority of those houses consented to his consecration as a political act? Wow, now that's a conspiracy theory if I've ever heard one-and I'm in DC, too, so I've heard some doozies myself. I guess we'll have to include the majority of the Diocese of NH in the conspiracy for electing him in the first place. I count ten consecrations at that convention. Were any others politically motivated, or is throwing a queer in the bunch enough politicizing for one convention?

mdlawlib said...

Eddo,

Isn't New Hampshire the live free or die state? I don't think there was a conspiracy either. People in New Hampshire pride themselves on going their own way. They voted for Gene Robinson. It's not a big state. I'm pretty sure a lot of those who voted for him at the state level knew him and respected him.

It's also such an American idea that we should just go off and do our own thing, consequences be damned. It seems to me that TEC got ahead of the rest of the Anglican Communion, and I say this as an interested outsider. Maybe TEC should have waited on making Robinson a Bishop until the rest of the Communion wrestled with the issue. I really believe that Robinson has the right to be a Bishop. But sometimes having the right to do something doesn't mean you should do it.

If anyone is interested the Conservative Jewish movement just voted on two proposals, it was a tie vote 13-13 (and since there were only 25 members someone voted twice) on whether to ordain Gays and Lesbians. One report says no, the other says yes and it is left up to the individual congregations which to follow. http://www.uscj.org/index1.html
Of course we are not a very hierarchical group anyway as each synagogue makes the desicion whether to affiliate or not so the results would not be the same.

BabyBlue said...

It was political because the theological work had not been done. In England, the acceptance of ordained women to the priesthood (they are still working through the issue of the episcopacy) was done theologically. They set up a commission that theologically investigated the issue and through that theological process voted to accept ordained women, while making provision for traditionalists through "flying bishops" as the English call them. But in The Episcopal Church it was done politically - a bishop, without authorization, ordained the first women (the "Philadelphia 11." Just before General Convention 2003 all the "Anglican Instruments of Unity" (ACC, Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth) made it very clear to the Episcopal Church that we should not move forward with consecrating a bishop in a same-gendered union. The House of Bishops own theological study group - put together to recommend to the House of BIshops whether such consecrations should go forward - told the House of Bishops NOT to do it. But General Convention went ahead anyway - it was a political act. It was not theological and it ignored the pleadings of not only the rest of the Communion, but TEC's own House of Bishops.

It was a very American thing to do - but not Anglican. Because it seemed to have "worked" with the Philadelphia Eleven I know it was thought that it would work this time. Political action would be followed by cultural change - that is progressive politics.

But in this case - there has been no serious biblical scholarship on making the case for Christian Bishops who are in same gendered relationships. Our problem is not with the scriptures that are hard to understand, but with the ones that are simple to understand. The only way that I know to make the case is to say that the Bible is wrong on this teaching - that it is a mistake in the Bible that men should not marry men or women should not marry women. The world has progressed to a new understanding of human sexuality and the Bible is stranded in another century or misinterpreted by those who were its original scribes. So as Frank Griswold said, the spirit is doing a "new thing." It has to be new, it has to be outside the authority of the Bible in order to make the case that it's legitimate. To make the case from the scriptural point of view with the Bible as the authority just can't be done. Either the Bible is right or wrong - and in this case it has to be wrong. So those bits are removed or reinterpreted to mean for the culture of the period in which it was written because the people in that time were not yet ready for this new thing.

Well, you know, as a cult survivor, that is one the ways in which cults make their case. We should always be on our guard - whether we are progressive or orthodox - because taking bits out of the Bible and tossing them aside or else taking bits and blowing them out of proportion is a cultic thing to do. We all should be on our guard - and that's why doing the theological work, the scriptural digging and making the case is so important. A good example of this is Bishop NT Wright. NT Wright is progressive politically - he's Labour. But he's orthodox theologically - he makes his extraordinary biblical cases from scripture.

So this illustrates that the struggle is about the authority of Scripture. We either trust that Book or we don't. We pick out the bits we like and agree with and toss the bits we don't get or don't like. But to skip the theological investigation for the Truth is irrresponsible and that is one of the major blunders of The Episcopal Church. The political solution was more important than the theological investigation.

And that may be what TEC wants in the end. The leadership is convinced that the spirit is doing a new thing. But the case has yet to be made from a the scriptures. The Windsor Report was very clear about that. And the outcome of the ACC meeting when TEC came and "made its case" also showed that the theological case has not been made.

Katharine Jefferts Schori chooses to approach this by saying that language is metaphor and then changes the meanings of the words to fit her ideology. So even though she reads the same scriptures as the rest of us, she has "reimagined" what those words actually mean - including the word "Christ."

I believe this is at the heart of the conflict which is why it has become a global crisis for the Anglican Communion.

Where is our hope in this? In Christ alone - not the Cosmic Christ, but in Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and is to come.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, whenstrivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ
I'll stand


bb