Wednesday, August 08, 2007

DOV releases "Hijack By Forces" letter two days before hearing

BB NOTE: We've highlighted the lovely bits. Wonder why Patrick would write such a letter? It's curious, very curious. And we'll just leave it at that.

To the Clergy and Lay Leaders of The Diocese of Virginia
August 8, 2007

Dear Friends:

Many of you have written, called and sent e-mails of support in recent months. I am grateful for all that you do in support of the mission of the Church to be the hands and feet of Christ at work in the world. Our aim is to help preserve the integrity of the Church so that you can continue to do that as Episcopalians in The Diocese of Virginia and to make sure that future generations will be able to say "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You."

Clearly The Episcopal Church faces challenges as our church is beset by groups and individuals determined to hijack the legacy of our ancestors and make off with the inheritance we are honor bound to protect, preserve and pass on to future generations. We face opposition from groups that are not only leaving The Episcopal Church but are now also steering a new course away from the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is very telling that Dr. Ephraim Radner, one of the founders of the Anglican Communion Network, one of the realignment groups, has resigned and distanced himself from the mission of that group.

Closer to home, this is an important week in The Diocese of Virginia's defense of its heritage and stewardship of its future. On Friday, August 10, The Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church will appear in Fairfax Circuit Court to defend our claim to Episcopal Church property against non-Episcopal groups that are trying to appropriate our churches for their own uses. This Friday, those groups will press technical and procedural claims that the Diocese and the Church have failed to state a case. In other words, they will try to have our case dismissed. Naturally, we oppose their actions. Later, in November, the court will hear arguments on the lawsuits, styled as petitions, filed by the Nigerian congregations that started this dispute. The Diocese and The Episcopal Church are named as defendants in that action.

Someone recently remarked to me how sad it is that we find ourselves in court at this time. The situation we find ourselves in is regrettable and unfortunate. Nevertheless, we must protect and preserve our heritage for future generations. The truth of this came home poignantly to me in a call I received from an older woman whose congregation and property have been hijacked by forces outside The Episcopal Church. She called because she is concerned she may not be able to be buried in an Episcopal service by an Episcopal priest in the cemetery of her Episcopal Church, sacred ground where her family and ancestors are buried. It is in stories such as hers that our requirement to preserve, protect and pass on the legacy of our church ancestors has real meaning. Those of us in this generation with the responsibility of stewardship are working tirelessly to that end.

We cannot know how these matters will play out in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. We know it will take time and, even when the courts decide, the work of repairing relationships and rebuilding congregations will be in front of us for some time to come. But that is the work we are called to at this time, and it is an honor to serve you, our bishops and this diocese in these challenging days.

Faithfully,

Patrick N. Getlein



Tip of the TinFoil Hat to RS. Go Gryffindor!

19 comments:

Kevin said...

This is almost too funny.

"Clearly The Episcopal Church faces challenges as our church is beset by groups and individuals determined to hijack the legacy of our ancestors and we are honor bound to make off with the inheritance we are honor bound to protect, preserve and pass on to future generations."

The Revisionist Dictionary - Part III (by Ireneaus):

HIJACK: What the Orthodox want to do to the Episcopal Church. What the Orthodox assert that Progressives have done to the Episcopal Church.

When parody equals real life, then you should be afraid, very afraid

(Spoiler Alert - I peek at the end of the Book and the good guys win, Jesus rules over a new heaven and a new Earth).

Kevin said...

One nice bit about the letter, no where is it calling for prayer to God for these suits (sad for they may hear something from the Lord but good that it's in human strength).

RSchllnbrg said...

St. Laurence the Deacon was martyred in the early days of the church. After being arrested by the Roman authorities, he was ordered to hand over the "treasures" of the church. The Romans believed he was in charge of money, property, church things ... When he returned, he was surrounded by a crowd of the poor people with whome he ministered. He told the authorities, "These are the treasures of the church." He was roasted alive on a hot grid iron.

When Patirck talks about safeguarding the treasures of the church I don't think he's talking about the people, or the mission, or the catholic faith. We've gone back to seeing the treasures as the stuff. What a shame if Laurence died in vain after all these years.

Anonymous said...

"Later, in November, the court will hear arguments on the lawsuits, styled as petitions, filed by the Nigerian congregations that started this dispute."

Shane on you Patrick.....

And did you tell the elderly woman that such things as burials were open to negotiation before the DoV filed suit? And did you tell her that if the DoV wins, these will be Episcopal Churches only so long as the Diocese can pour money into them; then they will be sold to the highest non-Anglican bidder?

Tell the lie often enough and loudly enough and many will begin to believe it....

RalphM

Scott Gunn said...

RSchllnbrg said...

"When Patirck talks about safeguarding the treasures of the church I don't think he's talking about the people, or the mission, or the catholic faith. We've gone back to seeing the treasures as the stuff. What a shame if Laurence died in vain after all these years."

Good point. We have indeed lost sight of what's really important about our church. But to be fair, if those who are leaving ECUSA had the right perspective, they'd just walk away from the buildings and endowments. While the progressive side has done some unfortunate things with regard to property, it takes two to tango.

Your point, however, is spot on. We do need to focus on the mission of the church and no less. If we did that, the present "crisis" wouldn't be happening.

Peace,
Scott

Anam Cara said...

Yes, it is possible to loose a church by things other than highjacking.

The church my daddy's family belonged to for generations in Charleston, SC (formerly St. Andrew's Lutheran) is now a Presbyterian church, St. Andrew's having sold the property and merged with Holy Comforter across the Ashley.

So - are all those people buried at old St. Andrew's Church now Presbyterian? I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that in heaven no one cares!

RSchllnbrg said...

Scott,

Oh that things were only that simple. They are not. It would be silly to assume otherwise I think. Can we look at the complicated mess we are in with more than simple answers?

I don;t know about where you are, but here we have found our ministry is helped by having a place to meet, and coffee pots, and chairs for people to sit in. Sure we could walk away from everything we own. How wonderfully noble I suppose. But it would hardly help us effectively reach the people who are lost, that great unfound treasure in the fields around us.

Since that's our main mission, we'd like to be able to pursue it without uneccesary legal roadblocks and litigation. Hope, as they say, springs ...

I think it's also far too simple to tell parishoners who have given and worked to build, clean, maintain, etc. all those silly old worldy things to give them all up without a whimper. I live in the real world where this is a more complicated issue. It's not that we're overly attached to any of our posessions, just that we find them so very useful in fulfilling our mission, dontyaknow.

We seem to agree that ministry and mission are most important. Can we also agree that it will take some coffee pots and buildings and chairs to effectively reach people in our culture today? That makes the current situation more nuanced than telling one side to walk away from everything and claim the high ground. It's really hard to ask newcomers to climb all the way up to that lofty moral high ground without offering them a chair to sit in and a cup of joe before they head off again.

Anonymous said...

Well said RSchllnbrg

And where is the famous "Episcopal tolerance?" Why is TEC and DVA emanding buildings they didn't build and trying to force over 1000 conservative christians at Truro alone into streets.

Anonymous said...

You are obviously in touch with this situation - Out of curiosity -why doesn't someone just subpeona the ABC to come down and testify - he has put himself at Georgetown....It would certainly put him on record - though he wouldn't be happy about it. Not sure how he would dodge the uncomfortable questions under oath....One could also do a deposition.....

Paul

Karen said...

Looks like there's a typo in the second paragraph of the letter above.

As posted on the Episcopal Cafe, the second paragraph reads:

Clearly The Episcopal Church faces challenges as our church is beset by groups and individuals determined to hijack the legacy of our ancestors and make off with the inheritance we are honor bound to protect, preserve and pass on to future generations. We face opposition from groups that are not only leaving The Episcopal Church but are now also steering a new course away from the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is very telling that Dr. Ephraim Radner, one of the founders of the Anglican Communion Network, one of the realignment groups, has resigned and distanced himself from the mission of that group.

BabyBlue said...

Fixed! Thanks, Karen! ;-)

bb

BabyBlue said...

I have been reminded of something tonight. Patrick (or who ever wrote this letter) forgets that Truro hosted a funeral of a longtime established Episcopalian this past year and both an Anglican priest and an Episcopal priest officiated together at this funeral at Truro. Oops.

Why Patrick did not take the opportunity to relieve an old woman of her fears is indeed troubling. Is that the mission of the diocese now - to exploit an old woman with her fears rather than tell her the truth? If Patrick has selective memory, perhaps he should have consulted with the member of the Diocese of Virginia Standing Committee who also attended that funeral at Truro. Oops again.

You do sort of get the feeling that the Diocese has a thing about Nigerians. Our family has been in Virginia for thirteen generations and we know exactly what Patrick is getting at in this letter. He seems to be implying that this white Episcopalian old lady is afraid to be put to rest in a burial ground filled with these so-called (whisper now) Nigerians (though last time I checked most of us were all still Americans, but never mind). We know what it means. Would someone please get Lucius Malfoy on the phone?

bb

Anonymous said...

bb, regarding your post above re the funeral:

Looks like the DoV may have another "inconvenient truth" on its hands....

RalphM

phbrown said...

[posted also at Midwest Conservative Journal]

This letter is more than ordinarily incoherent, even for an Episcopalian. He's using "congregation" when he means "parish". The congregation is the people, not the buildings—and, as such, can't be hijacked unless they all get on the same airplane.

On another point, I think I have some understanding of how the older woman feels. I, too, will not be buried near my family or my ancestors (well, maybe my wife and kids, but nobody back up the long line of Episcopalians from which I come), because the denomination that controls the place where they lie has been hijacked by folks who have (knowingly or not) a non-Christian agenda.

On the flip side, though, I do have a consolation that I think the lady does not; God used that hijacking to get through my thick head so that I would move against the schisms that rend the Body of Christ and return to the Catholicism of my pre-Reformation ancestors. Not that I'm likely to be buried with them either, of course :-).

Peace,
--Peter

Robert said...

Yeah, well, the story about the poor old granny sounded a whole lot like a certain politician a few years ago and the poor old lady in New England who was surviving by collecting cans out of the ditches, hearing he was speaking in Indiana and hopping into her six-figure, single-digit gas mileage, Winnebago to drive out to hear him speak. The press finally cornered him on this "fib," and his reply was, "So what?" I gotta agree- either this guy was lying in his teeth to start with, or he'd be some cheap bully not to reassure the poor soul.

BabyBlue said...

Good commentary at this link:
http://stillonpatrol.typepad.com/still_on_patrol/2007/08/getting-down-an.html

bb

Anonymous said...

The estimable PNG closes "Faithfully." I was unable to clear my thoughts of the movie "Animal House" in which it's parallel character of PNG closed his report with "Faithfully submitted, Douglas C. Neidermeyer, Sargent at Arms."

jddxlj said...

Have to ask why this came from Getlein and not from Lee? The distribution and content is such that it would more appropriately be sent from the head of the Diocese rather than a petty bureaucrat. I conclude having Getlein shovel this out the door is to allow Lee to cast this effluent from the Diocese without having it soil His Grace directly. This way Lee can maintain a suitable distance from the remarks should that become desirable.

Anonymous said...

Per the question regarding referring to Nigerians....

Is it not true that Truro Anglican, Falls Church Anglican, etc. are now under the purview of the Province of Nigeria via CANA (and I can't keep up with what that stands for - seems to change on a regular basis depending on political whimsy)?

Hence, Nigerians.