Thursday, January 03, 2008

Virginia Episcopalian: Diocese of Virginia takes out $2 million "line of credit" to pursue lawsuits; pledges fall short of expectations

From here:

Revenue from parishes fall short as parishes cease to pledge or fall behind on their payments. Diocese plans to sell "real properties" to raise cash.

The Virginia Episcopalian, the official publication of the Diocese of Virginia, is reporting in the current edition that the Executive Board has "authorized the treasurer to open a $1 million line of credit to cover anticipated legal expenses for the near-term. That line has since been increased to $2 million and about $1 million has been accessed."

In addition, the Executive Board of the Diocese of Virginia authorized diocesan staff to plan "the sale of non-strategic diocesan real property" to raise needed cash.

The Diocese also revealed that nine churches have not paid any of their pledges which Mike Kerr, Treasurer of the Diocese, estimated a loss to the diocese of $50,000. In addition, other churches have not paid their pledges in full causing the diocese is to run a deficit of expenses over income from those pledges.

The Diocese also announced that delegates representing four of the eleven parishes that followed the Diocese of Virginia's Protocol for Departing Congregations and voted a year ago to separate from the Diocese have been selected by shadow vestries to attend Annual Council.

This is despite the fact that the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church has removed all eleven parishes from the official Episcopal Church data banks tracking the growth of the Episcopal Church here, though this is not mentioned in the Virginia Episcopalian.

According to the Diocese of Virginia list of parishes located at the Episcopal Church website on congregational development, those parishes with shadow Vestries are missing - in fact, all the church that have voted to separate from the Episcopal Church have been removed from the Episcopal Church's official parochial reports data bank. These statistics are based on parochial reports through 2006 when all the eleven churches were still active in the Episcopal Church.

It is not clear if the four shadow vestries have filed their parochial reports for 2007 or whether the Episcopal Church will want to illustrate the drastic decline of membership and financial resources for those four particular parishes.

Currently, the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church appear to have made a conscientious decision to recognize that the eleven churches are no longer inside the structures of the Episcopal Church and that these parishes are no longer Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Virginia, including St. Margaret's, Woodbridge, St. Stephen's, Heathesville, The Falls Church, Falls Church, and Church of the Epiphany, Herndon.

Two other Episcopal directories offering public information in some instances listed the the CANA and Uganda congregations with their websites intact, while in other instances listed new addresses for The Falls Church or broken links for other parishes or nothing at all. Those public service directories seem to be pulling information from sources other than the parochial reports which provide the official statistics for the Episcopal Church membership.

20 comments:

Karen said...

Wow... you've got to know it's R-E-A-L-L-Y BAD for them to come out and admit this kind of stuff in the VA Episcopalian.

Rolin said...

And what will they do when they

Anonymous said...

...use up the next million?

Abu Daoud said...

Ooohhh, shadow vestries! It's like the Episcopal church with a dash of the CIA tossed in, how exciting ;-)

Andy said...

It would seem as though DioVA is anticipating an appeal to a fourthcoming judgement. It would also seem as that the remainder of VA-TEC is saying"Nuts to this..

Alice C. Linsley said...

ECUSA was warned that blatant rejection of the Communion standard would lead to division and eventually death for TEC. TEC must repent to live.

Anonymous said...

Baby Blue, this is a fantastic find. Thanks for plowing your way through the newsletter.

Did you notice the number of resignations/retirements in the list in that newsletter? Is that a normal thing -- that kind of number?

Also, did you notice the amusing note from Bishop Lee which consisted of "we're 'orthodox' 'cause we say the word a lot in sentences" lines? ; > )

If that works . . . then I'm a moderate.

Cause . . . I'm orthodoxly moderate.

Also . . . I'm moderately orthodox.

So . . . I'm moderate.

Moderately yours,

Sarah

The Moderate

Rolin said...

Alice:
TEC has died. Finished Kaput. Dead. Finito. Kicked the bucket. Passed on.

Now, Resurrection?
Still possible.
Pray for a miracle.

Anonymous said...

BB,

Any idea who holds the line of credit?

The Lakeland Two

Anonymous said...

If you blather in a forest and no one hears you, are you still blathering?

BabyBlue said...

God hears. Ask Him.

bb

The Little Myrmidon said...

Anyone know when theCharts get updated? There are a few other parishes I've been keping an eye on.

RSchllnbrg said...

OK folks, just go the Diocesan mailing today from Richmond. It included last year’s Diocesan Council report for the Diocese of Virginia on a handy little CD. We’re received these before. One interesting thing though in this year’s offering ... in the section that lists parish records for each church in the diocese for 2007 (info on number of services, baptisms, membership, pledging, etc) the departing parishes have vaporized. They are not listed. It’s like they were never there at all.

It’s like what happened with the national church’s web site that list parish and diocesan stats ... even though the national chuch lists stats for the last 10 years on each chuch, and places like Falls Church have only been gone for one year ... they have vanished totally. You can see for yourself at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/growth_60791_ENG_HTM.htm.

I suppose if you purge any record of the churches from having existed you don’t have to answer tricky questions about numerical decline in the Diocese of Virginia ... when you have to show they are no longer there. If you take the 11 cxhurches out of the previous year’s stats, then there’s no great dip in the stats when you show they have departed ...

But to erase their history would seem to be exactly what the Diocese says it’s fighting against, since it has said many times it wants to preserve the legacy of those individual congregations ... I could be wrong, but it sure seems like a funny way of doing it, by erasing any memory of them.

Tom B. said...

OK, just curious, but wouldn't the judge in the legal case find it of interest that the Diocese seems to be acknowledging the departure of those parishes? Isn't that the foundation of the suit, that there is a split and they have left? I hope someone is bringing it to the attention of the judge that the Diocese seems to be acknowledging the split....

Tom B.

The Little Myrmidon said...

So, RSchllnbrg, you're saying they've become "unpersons?"
It will be interesting to see how much longer they remain listed at the CHARTS site. (Another little webpage that the church doesn't want people visiting.) How long after Parochial Reports are filed before those stats are updated? Anyone know?

Gator said...

I believe the 2006 reports didn't appear on the national website until about September or October. Churches have until spring to file them and then there's summer vacation. The church statistical guru is a good guy who takes this seriously and isn't afraid to include VGR in the reasons for TEC's continuing decline.

The Little Myrmidon said...

Thanks

Rod said...

I wonder, next week, if someone at the Dio of VA convention will ask about the difference between "accessed" and "spent"?

We wonders, yes we does Precious, if some in the diocese are thinking, "Well, if the New Sheriff in Town feels so [modifier] strongly, 815 can [stronger modifier] pay the bill."

Anonymous said...

You and your readers glee at the perceived distress of a church is repugnant.

BabyBlue said...

Glee?

Alas, the only glee we can think of that bursts out of the doors of this cafe from time to time is when Bob Dylan comes to town or when Jo Rowling writes another book.

Thank God He collects our tears in bottles for there have been many.

bb