Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bishop Lee defends initiating lawsuits, vows to "exhaust every possible option" in march to oust Anglicans from their church homes

BB NOTE: By the way, religious freedom was exactly what was exercised when thousands of the laity voted to separate from The Episcopal Church. What Bishop Lee is looking for is sustaining a privileged class standing to corporate institutions over and beyond the liberty of individuals to vote their conscience. The fact remains - if the Diocese of Virginia is hierarchical, why didn't the bishop put all the properties in his name like the real hierarchical churches did? Why - because there would have been a massive revolt, the diocese admitted it in court. Our ancestors did not place limitations on the power of the bishop and a feudalistic institution for nothing. They fought a whole bloody war over it. That Bishop Lee could seriously invoke the Virginia contributions to religious liberty by the likes of Thomas Jefferson - who had no love for the Church of England when he wrote the original draft of the document on religious liberty - is extraordinary. It was precisely aiding to save Virginians from these kind of seizures by institutional ecclesiastical bodies that we are free today. His name is not on the deeds for a reason. He had thirty years to fix it and he didn't.

July 3, 2008

Dear Friends in Christ,

The most recent opinion of the Fairfax Circuit Court, issued last Friday, June 27, is disappointing to many, perhaps most especially the faithful members of our continuing congregations. We must keep the members of these continuing congregations of Epiphany, Oak Hill; The Falls Church, Falls Church; St. Margaret's, Woodbridge; and St. Stephen's, Heathsville ever present in our thoughts and prayers. They represent the long, faithful tradition of Episcopalians in Virginia. The Diocese continues steadfastly to stand by them throughout this complicated, important and regrettably necessary dispute.

The ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Virginia Division Statute threatens all hierarchical churches in Virginia. We continue to believe that hierarchical churches have the First Amendment right to organize themselves without interference from the State. The Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church will exhaust every possible option to correct what I believe to be a profound injustice and injury to America's First Freedom, born here in Virginia.

As my fellow bishops and I prepare for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, our hearts are heavy at the necessity of this lawsuit, but we remain ever hopeful for the mission and ministry that continue everyday to manifest themselves in the lives of faithful Episcopalians throughout the Diocese. Thank you for your persistent faith, prayers and dedication to living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ both here in Virginia and around the world.

Faithfully yours,

Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia

9 comments:

Kevin said...

Congrats on your victory, both time I was tempted to write how it was a marathon and not a sprint, appeals and etc. but you know that & why bring down your celebration, so I left it at congrats.

I said before that I thought 815 didn't need the outcome so much as to extract as much as they could from the process, as a deterrent to those who could afford such, but I also thought they'd look for the best cases to win to establish precedent instead of winner-take all. So maybe the 'all out war' in an odd way was a hidden gift.

Blessings as you strive on to the next mile post, you're doing pretty good so far!!!

Sibyl said...

BB, Another suit has been filed in Connecticut against Bishop Seabury in Groton. Guess the contribution from the nearly 600 billion bankroll at Trinity can fund a large number of lawsuits.

Still, God has a greater wealth and power than TEC. As Akinola put it, the biggest pile of money in the world cannot insulate a person from the fires of hell.

We must still be faithful and defend his Bride from evil and harm.

Anonymous said...

Such a shame that so much money is being wasted on lawyers. Its time for the Diocese of Virginia to settle this so everyone concerned can move on.

I guess they must be worried more Virginia congregations are going to follow - that can be the only reason for hanging on when they have clearly lost the key battles.

TLF+ said...

John 10:10

Matthew said...

Anonymous,

As a member of the Bar, I can assure you that money given to lawyers is never wasted. Not ever.

On a serious note, I have to wonder when the good Bishop of Virginia will cut his losses. The lawsuit makes little financial or fiduciary sense and appealing it makes less.

ccinnova said...

I guess they must be worried more Virginia congregations are going to follow - that can be the only reason for hanging on when they have clearly lost the key battles.

Anonymous, you made an excellent point. Should the diocese lose its case, I could easily see biblically orthodox congregations such as Christ Church in Charlottesville or St. Matthew's in Richmond reconsidering their affiliation with a dying apostate mainline denomination like TEC.

Stewart said...

Dear BB,

As much as I hate to say this, I believe you nailed it, with you post of last week. Given the +Lee's statement today and the action to file in CT, well it looks like item #4 is right on the money.

In many, many ways this is so sorry to see and be a part of.

Stu

Anonymous said...

"That Bishop Lee could seriously invoke the Virginia contributions to religious liberty by the likes of Thomas Jefferson - who had no love for the Church of England when he wrote the original draft of the document on religious liberty - is extraordinary."

Not at all extraordinary. Duplicitous, shallow, and grasping, but not extraordinary. All very ordinary for Lee.

Brize

Pageantmaster said...

Just wondering how Bishop Lee will answer the Master's enquiry about his stewardship of His church one day?