Friday, January 23, 2009

Live from the Diocese of Virginia Annual Council (Day One)

Barry Morgan, the successor of Rowan Williams as the Archbishop of Wales, is the guest speaker and preacher at the council this year. He is known for his outspoken liberal views on theology, defense policies, and has publicly stated his willingness to consecrate a gay bishop. He is about to speak to the Diocese of Virginia Council here in Reston, VA.

He is opening his sermon with an overview of the definitions of Christian. He's now going on to illustrate what is a Christian by Hans Kung in his book, On Being a Christian. He is saying that being a Christian is about a community. Now he quoting from Why Go to Church by Timothy Radcliffe. And his point here is that all Christians belong to a community - the wider-Episcopal Church and the wider-Anglican Communion. What unites us is more important than what divides us, Archbishop Morgan says is Bishop Lee's point of view.

"Jesus Christ is the window into God," said Barry Morgan. The community is centered on Jesus because "he shows us what God is really like." Then he talks about how it's all about God loving us. He says that Jesus loved and accepted everyone just as there were.
Barry Morgan says that all we do is receive "the divine love" and what matters is how we love others unconditionally, accepting them. That's all that matters. Then he sat down.

Nothing about repentance, nothing about transformation, nothing about the fact that we come to Jesus as we are, but He does not leave us in that place, nothing about the choice we make to follow Him. Thank God for the liturgy, which still takes us to that place.

LUNCH BREAK: The Council has broken for lunch. I might as well be in Denmark for the amount of unfamiliar faces that now fill the hallways. Every so often I see a familiar face, some from Region VII (on both sides of the aisle), others who are friends in the Coalition.

It is an end of an era coming - Bishop Lee has had a long episcopacy in the Diocese of Virginia. When I first started attending Truro, he predecessor was still bishop, but after I graduated from college, Bishop Lee suddenly became bishop at the death of Bishop Hall in 1985. I was received by Bishop Lee into the Episcopal Church that same year. That seems like a lifetime ago.

I'm trying to remember when I first started attending diocesan council. I believe it was in the mid-1990s. My first council was actually down in Richmond - I think. It was between the 1994 General Convention in Indianapolis (my first General Convention) and the 1997 General Convention in Philadelphia (which some times seems like just yesterday, with the AAC meeting place in an old abandoned bank about a quarter of a mile away from the Convention Center). The change between the 94 Convention and 98 Convention was dramatic and I had attended diocesan councils in-between. But even then, I had no idea just what kind of commitment this would turn into.

Of course, the person who stands out in my memories through all of this is Diane Knippers. She was the one who talked me into going to the General Convention in 1994 in the first place and I can recall memories of late nights at Diocesan Council as we waited to hear what had happened at the Resolutions Committee meetings that sometimes went close to the wee hours of the morning so we could strategize for the next day. I learned a lot - not just at the General Conventions (which were in those days so different from Diocesan Councils) but at the Virginia councils as well. It will be interesting to see this annual council handles the resolutions that are up before it, if the diocese will finally give way and stop studying the topic and - even a small step - finally embrace what looks to be inevitable.

Archbishop Morgan's "sermon" was surprisingly tepid, incredibly sophomoric, I thought we should all just break out in a rendition of the Beetles, All You Need Is Love when he was done. I liked his accent though. My father's ancestors were originally Welsh Quakers - not sure what they would have thought about a Welsh Archbishop, but I can imagine.

How can someone who is an archbishop in the church give such a vapid sermon - where he spent the entire time quoting other authors, but not scripture. And what did we learn? Turns out that Jesus is a window.

Hmm ...

AFTERNOON SESSION: We're hearing a report from the Executive Board. One thing we might want to note is a signal we may have received from Bishop Lee during his earlier address that he will not support the passing of the more controversial resolutions now before this council, when he said, "We continue in our diocese to have serious conversations about issues that are controversial. You will receive a report at this council from the Windsor Dialogue Commission, inviting a process of conversation to continue. The only recommendation the Commission makes for council action encourages listening." That could very well be coded language that sends a message that "listening" will continue, and action is postponed. Stay tuned.

Once again we hear from the Executive Board the same thing that Bishop Lee said in his address, that the Diocese will continue to pursue spending substantial funds on litigation with lines of credit and paying off the lines of credit with the sale of diocesan properties (one can only wonder if they mean selling off the parts of our properties that are unconsecrated). Not sure how they are paying off the interest, though, since right now there is a budget deficit that nearly matches the amount set aside for the interest. The Executive Board Vice President said that for the Executive Board, the "litigation" is their "backdrop" this year, since they are in charge of the budget of the diocese. The justification for the expenses (which are not actually being said publicly - at least, not yet) continues to be to save the property as a legacy of the church, even though the real legacy is the people, not the props.

Bishop Johnston, the Bishop Coadjutor, is now speaking at the podium. This is the first time I've seen and heard him and he has a nice refined drawl, denoting his southern roots. He voice sounds so much like my Uncle Charley, who was raised here in Virginia. It's amazing how much his voice and accent sounds just like my Uncle Charley.

He's very enthusiastic and effective communicator. He is emphasizing his commitment to World Mission, by bringing the expenses for that work into the diocesan budget as the current funding outside the budget is about the "expire."

Bishop Johnston is announcing that he will call a Canon to the Ordinary. The diocese has not had a Canon to the Ordinary since Clay Matthews was elected bishop. This person would aid the bishop directly and in the oversight of the ordination process.

ALERT: It was recommended to Bishop Johnson, he said, that he accept a postulant in a same sex relationship to Holy Orders which he agreed in principle, but does not feel free to ordain persons in same sex relationships since there is no rite of blessing for same sex partners in the Diocese of Virginia. Bishop Johnson made it clear that that he does support the goal, but will not move forward until the conclusion of the "listening process" that will be presented to this council.

Bishop Johnston placed a "hold" on this postulant involved (as well as the chair and the ordination committee) while this "listening process" goes forward.

Read his address here.

Now how can someone say he is going to "listen" when he's clearly all ready made up his mind? What holds the bishop back, it appears, is the process - not the biblical teaching on identity and holy living. He does not seem to hold the view of establishing "prophetic witness" events, but takes a more process-oriented approach to go jump through the established hoops, and then end up where he intended to go all along.

And yet he says he's going to continue to entertain applications of more postulants in "committed" same sex relationships, even though he's not going to ordain them? What's up with that? That can't go over very well - except for those who nodding off into their purses.

Churches are now being publicly recognized for their percentage giving to the diocese. Can't recall this - but it does seem like an elaborate setup for shaming. The idea of the Virginia Plan is that the laity hold the purse, not the diocese, not the clergy of the parishes - but the laity. It's one of the ways the leadership is held accountable. Shaming won't make people give more, in fact, it just turns some churches into "bishop's-pets." The perspective is backward. In fact, I recall that we voted down these "percentage" thingys. The Virginia Plan assumes that the parish will give according to how the Lord leads, not because the diocese speaks in whisper like Don Vito Corleone.

UPDATE: Report on the "Windsor Dialogue Commission" with Susan Eaves and Rick Lord now underway. They seem quite jovial. It reminds me of the Reconciliation Commission and before that the R-7 Group. What makes this one different? They are releasing their report today. It includes "three possible 'liturgical' responses."

Holy Cow, what does that mean?

The commission is urging continued compliance on the moratorium and the study of the Anglican Covenant, supports continued communication with what they call "ad-hoc" groups that have separated from The Episcopal Church as well as those groups that support same sex unions and ordination for same-gendered partnered gays and lesbians. Well, that's a pip.

The Windsor Dialogue Commission are recommending liturgical resources - two liturgies were developed for same sex couples as a "pastoral response" in the Diocese of Virginia and will be part of this "listening process."

Here is the Windsor Dialogue Commission report.

FINANCIAL BUDGET: Over $2.5 million has been drawn (where only $100,000 was budgeted) in 2008 from the what is now the $4 million Line of Credit. More will be drawn, but the treasurer feels that $4 million will be enough, though he will consult with the Executive Board.

Mike Kerr, the Treasurer, was given a standing ovation as he concluded his report.

LATER: Okay, I'm back from the Resolutions Open Hearing. There are three controversial resolutions up before this council which you can read here having to do with different forms of endorsing same sex blessings and same gender partnered clergy in the Diocese of Virginia. The hearing room is standing-room-only and one speaker after another after another speaks in favor of the resolutions. One exception was Russ Randall of Christ Church Alexandria who spoke eloquently as the canon of a cathedral the Diocese of Virginia built in the Sudan and what such resolutions would do to break up the relationship the diocese has built over the years with the Sudan. Russ is so calm when he speaks, but straight to the point. But it seemed - at least by those who rose to speak - to fall on deaf ears. It is difficult to tell whether those assembled are in agreement or are being polite in the Virginia-way. Certainly Bishop Lee has signaled that he does not want these resolutions to go forward, choosing instead the "listening process" of his Windsor Commission.

Last year, however, everyone knew he was going to Lambeth. This year everyone knows he's now going to retire. Will the Open Hearing be the avenue for people to express their points of view and then be done with it? Or will the Resolutions Committee go along in this direction, despite the apparent verbal wishes of the Bishop of Virginia?

The "listening process" does seem disingenuous, especially when it looks like so many of the leadership have all ready made up their minds and the "listening process" looks more like a public relations tour to get everyone on board than any serious contemplation that perhaps all these folks could be off the short pier.

Russ Randall's remarks reminds me of this, one of the most extraordinary moments of my life when I met the Bishop from the Sudan while on my way to the cafeteria at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. I will never, ever forget that and he's not kidding. Russ knows, he's been there. There is no greater champion for the Sudan that Russ (well, there are - Faith McDonnell comes to mind as well) but Russ has been there, consistently, year in and year out. He knows what he speaks. But will Virginia listen?

So tonight we have news that Bishop Lee is retiring early to save the diocese money, we have some resolutions that seem to have a swelling of support but diocesan bishops who know that if you turn the ship too fast it will capsize (and we might maintain that in turning it has all ready hit the iceberg), and we have a line of credit of $4 million of which $2.5 million is all ready spent and the rest is expected to be spent without any credible payback in sight but for some hopeful someday when the real estate market is restored. It appears the deficit matches the interest payments on the line of credit, but we'll see if that's so tomorrow.

There are two funds in great need - Shrine Mont and World Mission. I keep wondering if there is a much better way to be dealing right now (especially since one of the goals of the diocese's Windsor Commission was to maintain contact with the groups that have separated from the diocese, which we would think means the new province) then pouring millions into the lawsuits and instead stand-down and start negotiating, especially since the will of the diocese seems to be moving overwhelming in the direction of progressive political theology. Why can't we return to the Special Committee Report (which took years - years - to develop when we add it all up, the diocese basically appears to have started over again, only this time it's to deal with the progressives rather than the orthodox) and start negotiating? Why is the Beers/Sauls Strategy Scorched Earth Strategy the only deal in town? Why can't there be a Virginia Way?

There are many, many wonderful Episcopalians here who are having a good time with one another, who love their bishops, and love their church, and don't go to the resolutions open hearings or the budget committee hearings - but just catch up with one another, swap stories, smile and hug and talk about mission trips and bake sales. They cart around their freebies and ask each other about the children and grandchildren and if asked, are rather perplexed about what happened two years ago.

But there is still a sense that things have changed, that there's been a divorce and family members are missing and it's hard to explain just what happened. It becomes a line item in a budget, not the faces of families once here and now are gone.

I have been welcomed here - and it's one of the reasons I remain Episcopalian, even in exile. There is this little bit of hope that keeps looking around for someone, someone to recognize that there are better ways to conduct ourselves then battling in a court of law. There's no reflection here after their massive losses in court, one loss after another - no reflection in any of these side rooms (at least as far as the public eye can see) to reassess the Beers/Sauls strategy and develop another way, a Virginia Way. But one continues to hope, even now, at this late hour.

And it's a late hour, indeed.

One wonderful moment happened while I was standing in the doorway watching the Open Hearing proceedings and a dear, dear friend whom I met about twelve years ago on Cursillo and later went to VTS, came up to me while I stood by the door and we had a reunion. She was serving at an Episcopal Church across the Potomac in the Diocese of Maryland for a while, but has just returned to Virginia. We come from different points of view, there's no doubt about that, but our friendship is a gift and it endures. It was such a surprise to see her - and it's those little moments when I'm reminded that there must be a better way to do this.

But voices drift out of the hearing room and it seems that the course is set and one either jumps on the ship come what may, or jumps into a life boat for the shore. There seems to be no other way.

Until tomorrow ... Steve, article headed your way.


Anonymous said...

Well, I guess it is very appropriate to have him as guest speaker since most of this year's resolutions are in support of the gay agenda.

TLF+ said...

You know there's trouble when he ignores the powerful Biblical message that Christ is the image ( ikon ) of God and uses other language like "window."

Oh well, seeing in a glass dimly and all that.

pageantmaster said...

Perhaps our Barry is going to give them some pointers on how to become the runaway success that is the Church in Wales?

Bless 'em.

RSchllnbrg said...

Bishop Lee's address spoke about how the diocese continues to "thrive." It was a word he used more than once. Yet, within a few minutes Bishop Lee took to speaking about cut backs in certain areas, in diocesan ministries and organizations. There was of course, no mention of growth in churches in the diocese or in a growing budget but instead we were given a reminder that among all the dioceses in TEC we here in Virginia are at the very bottom in parish giving to the diocese.

My Sr. Warden, seated next to me said quietly, "Kind of an interesting concept of 'thriviness.' "

RSchllnbrg said...


You know, my church increased its giving to the diocese by 50% this year, from $2000 to $3000. According to the Diocesan minimum plan, they want from us some $40,000-$48,000. I've been dressed down for this from diocesan staff in the past, as in: "How can you not give the minimum now that we have made you a full parish of the diocese? I expected more from you." As if the diocese did anything to make us a parish?

So while they are listing the names of churches that most increased their giving (churches giving another 3 or 4% over last year), we've not been included. Oh well. I guess we simply don't measure up to the minimum standard so have not been included in the list of those who increased their giving.

Inclusive is as inclusive does.

Kevin said...

No surprise on +Johnson, in an interview posted after his election he described himself as a "process geek." The warning for folks is that anything can be moral if the right process is followed.

So there is a undefined "listening" that must take place (whatever that actually means), but he has voiced his position on the policy, once this vague prerequisite has been fulfill at some point in the future. Then there can be a process to institute these changes based on majority vote.

Situational relative ethics at it's post-modern finest!

RSchllnbrg said...

"liturgical pastoral responses"

You know if it walks like a duck annd qucks like a duck, why should we cdall it a liturigical pastoral response.

A little honesty folks would be nice.

RSchllnbrg said...

What a croc. The Archbishop has just wandered off into at least three classic heresies in his current meditation.

We are supposed to be opened and enlargened by new truths. As if the truth of God has become old and needs to be updated. Jesus, he is saying, needed to learn and change his mind. The Syrophenician woman was inspired, but Jesus is confused.

Actually I'm voting for someone else as the confused one.

"The charge of the Gospel is obvious to us ... How open are we to learn new truths?"

And I thought the Gospel was something else. Now I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

Back to the legal expenses. It seems to me that that the obvious question is what has the Diocese gotten for $2.4M and a continuing cost of $100k/year until the real estate market turns? The answer appears to be the opportunity to litigate to get control of a $900k endowment fund - and take their case up to the next court that will hear it. Doesn't seem to me the view of stewardship that they are trying to impress on the rest of us.

Not to mention that the $100k they are spending on servicing the debt would buy them their Canon of the Ordinary.

Anonymous said...

I hope the diocese votes to accept the more revisionist of the resolutions.

Best to have clarity.


Anonymous said...

Hans KUNG, that would be Kung, rather than Jung, the psychoanalyst.
If Abp. Morgan made the error it's easy to see why he can't get theology right either....

Sibyl said...

"I have been welcomed here - and it's one of the reasons I remain Episcopalian, even in exile."

BB, What does this mean?

I thought Truro was CANA or Southern Cone and in the ACNA.

BabyBlue said...

Thanks, Anon - the "J" and the "K" are next to each other on the keyboard. We'll let the good bishop off the hook on that one!!


BabyBlue said...

Sibyl, Truro includes Episcopalians as members (some in exile like me and some because they don't want to leave Truro and voted no - but remain with us in community). There was never a requirement that people had to stop being Episcopalian - their confirmation/reception still stands. We're all in the Anglican Communion.

The parish separated from the structures of an organization. I describe it like Aleksander Solzhenitsyn who found exile in America, but never stopped being Russian.

Roman Catholics seem to do it much better than we Protestants. I pass signs often that say "Inactive Catholics Come Home" or along those lines. Even if their members "leave" the Church doesn't see them as ex-Catholics, they are just "inactive."

I have maintained that this would be a far more interesting strategy for the Diocese of Virginia, if they just marked all the churches that voted to separated as "absent" or "inactive" and then waited us out, like General Convention did during the greatest horror to hit America.

But by calling us ex-Episcopalians or former-Episcopalians, when our churches have lots of Episcopalians (and Anglicans) in them is to miss a major opportunity. Frankly, it's just plain dumb.

The deal is that the CANA Churches are inclusive. You can be Episcopalian or Anglican and hold office in the Church. The confirmation/reception is recognized. The clergy needed a place to reside, but the laity did not need to that unless it was something they felt by their conscience they should do - and some have. Others have been confirmed into CANA and never were Episcopalian or Anglican.

The idea that people are "ex-Episcopalian" means that TEC is just a club, not a Church. We think like Protestants, not Catholics. It's rather interesting, don't you think, for a church that tries to offer an alternative to the Roman Catholic Church?

For me personally, I voted to go into exile. I am in a lifeboat - CANA is a lifeboat, not a Love Boat. We are out in the boats and we're putting together a battlegroup and we're heading to land. I still hold hope that we aren't heading for divorce - not because there is an abundance of righteousness and truth (or even evidence of hope) in TEC (or anywhere, for that matter), but because the Lord continues to work through men and women inside TEC, men and women who do His Will, spread His Gospel, and worship Him.

If we were in a different diocese, I'd be with them, like in South Carolina or Pittsburgh or Central Florida or Albany, Springfield, you know the list. I continue to pray that there is some way, even in this late hour, where we can set aside our litigatious weapons of war and negotiate, as we were setting off to do before David Booth Beers got sent down from 815 after Katharine Jefferts Schori took over from Frank Griswald.

One of the things I'm finding rather striking at this Diocesan Council is that there are some notable people missing - former leaders, traditional Episcopalians, who just seem to be GONE. Where are they? Where did they go?


Anonymous said...

It seems like you enjoy going to these things to stir up trouble. I don't recall Bishop Lee showing up for any announcement about a new province being formed, or being on the sidelines sniping when Martyn Minns was consecrated.
Secondly, it seems as if you're just as guilty as those on the other side of the spectrum. You criticize Bishop Johnston for not being open minded to listening when his mind is already made up. Yet, you're exactly the same - the difference being that your mind is made up to support discrimination, intolerance, and homophobia. You're just as open minded as those you oppose. You hide behind tradition and a literal interpretation of the Bible. They hide behind the amazing love of God. You should seek it out, it's really life changing and can bring you some much needed happiness (a quick glance at your blog shows a great deal of hostility and anger).

RSchllnbrg said...

Dear Anon,

Is it intolerant to say "You're wrong?" Even so, I guess I'll have to go there. I've been wrong before and I know what it looks like.

Ever consider switching to decaf?

DavidH said...

bb, your "I'm still an Episcopalian even after voting to 'sever ... denominational ties'" (to quote your ballot) is so incoherent it's funny.

But I'm curious -- do you think it's possible for someone to be in two churches at once (perhaps a Lutheran and an Episcopalian)? What will you do when Truro becomes part of ACNA later this year?

And I love how you spend time sniping at the DioVa for doing exactly what the Windsor Report and others would have them do (observe a moratoria even if they don't believe what they're doing is wrong).

Last, you and I both know that Truro spent years and lots of effort preparing to litigate. You then chose to do so the day after your vote. Maybe some members didn't understand what question two on the ballot meant, but that's what it was. It was your choice -- too late to whine about it or blame it on Beers now.

BabyBlue said...


As we learned in court here in Virginia, we are dealing with branches of the same church. The intent was to remain in - as Bishop Lee told us - as close a communion as possible. The goal, of course, is reunion. How we get there - well, my prayer is Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. If our eyes are fixed on Christ (and that is a discipline, how often I stray!), then we will get there, God willing. But the "how" appears to be quite difficult, an understatement. Some, many, just bail out (even those who are in TEC or will be in ACNA) emotionally if in no other way, it's hard. But I think the key remains our relationships with one another, that, like a family, we try as hard as we can to show up with one another.

I've seen many old friends at the Council meeting and it's good to touch base, to put human faces on this crisis. Rowan Williams is on target there - to follow it up with action, though, well, that seems to be another story indeed.

I would support a listening process, if I hadn't all ready been through so many all ready. What these listening processes turn out to be are marketing road shows, that's what they really are and that's what Bishop Johnston revealed. He's made his mind up. I found that to be quite troubling. All anyone has to do is review the seven years of notes of the R-7 process the diocese all ready went through - seven years, which culminated in the Reconciliation Commission Report which led to the Special Committee and it's Protocol. Read history.

DavidH, as you surely know, we did not choose to litigation - it was the Diocese and TEC who sued us, not the other way around. As you surely know, revealed in the Standstill Agreement (which STILL doesn't showup on the diocese's website) the Diocese did not see the filing of our votes with the court (which is what those petitions were) as hostile or as lawsuits - the Standstll made that quite clear and I believed them. Is that clear? We were going to negotiate, that was the next step in the Bishop's Special Report process. We all ready knew what numbers we were talking about for a settlement, for heaven's sake. We were way down the road - which is probably what caused such alarm in Schori's administration when she took over as Presiding Bishop. Frank Griswald had made it clear that this was a diocesan issue, Schori made it hers.

As you must know, it was David Booth Beers who intervened in the diocesan process and shut the entire process - that took years to develop - down. We never sued anyone, as the Standstill Agreement illustrates clearly. The lawsuits from Bishop Schori and Bishop Lee were a shock. Which was probably the intention, especially towards the nearly 200 lay volunteers. It's so sad.

When the province is established I will make a decision. But for now, I remain an Episcopalian in exile. My parish welcomes Episcopalians.


Anonymous said...

RE: "You should seek it out, it's really life changing and can bring you some much needed happiness (a quick glance at your blog shows a great deal of hostility and anger)."

Yeh, BB -- all of those articles on Harry Potter and Bob Dylan! ; > )

I see it's the same old commenter saying the same old thing. But . . . she sounds so . . . hostile, so . . . angry.


DavidH said...

And bb, as you surely know because we've had this conversation before, the Standstill Agreement is irrelevant, and even if it were relevant, the fact that there's a provision in there saying that the CANA cases would not be considered a violation of the agreement goes to show that they are litigation.

BabyBlue said...

Are you missing a sentence from your posting, DavidH? That makes no sense.

The Standstill was agreed as a place to stand while we entered into negotiations by joining Bishop Lee's own "Property Committee." As it clearly states, the filing of the petitions with the courts after our votes was not considered a hostile act. No, it was not.

That is not what Russ Palmore told the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia yesterday. He failed to tell Council that in fact, the Diocese did not consider the filings hostile and in fact, entered into a Standstill Agreement with all the churches that voted to separate.

We were at the negotiating table, that was the next step, and it was Bishop Lee - apparently pressured by David Booth Beers or perhaps, seeking a way out himself and used Beers as an excuse to back out, will we ever know? - who left the negotiation table and sued and deposed everyone.

That remains a fact, a fact still not told to the leadership of the Diocese of Virginia - so they authorize going into debt for $4 million.

Russ tells council yesterday that the filing of those petitions were lawsuits and the diocese is now defending itself, even though as evident in this original standstill they thought no such thing.

Their pants are still on fire.


DavidH said...

If the Diocese's pants are flaming, yours are too BB.

Regarding my earlier post, you simply fail to understand that there is no need for a provision declaring the CANA cases not to be a violation of the no "civil legal action" provision unless they would have been otherwise. (And for you to suggest that the CANA cases are not in fact litigation is simply absurd, as we have debated before.)

And are you seriously arguing that the Standing Committee and Executive Board have no idea what the Standstill Agreement said? Get a clue -- as you should know from posting it, they both approved it (see the header).

Personally, I don't think it matters in the least who went to court first. But a lot of people seem to, as you do in consisting trying to rewrite history about what Truro and the others did (after years of planning).

Anonymous said...

"consisting" should be "consistently" in the previous post.

BabyBlue said...

Yes, it matters. We thought we were following the Protocol and that we would go to negotiations - that was a plan. As I've said before, we were all ready talking about numbers. The Standstill indicates that the action we took was not hostile. That is NOT what Russ Palmore said yesterday to the delegates at Council.

We filed our votes with the court - those are the petitions. We never "transferred" property (because we believed it was our property so it wasn't necessary). We didn't take that step and so entered the Standstill, created for the negotiations that Bishop Lee was organizing himself. At least, that's what he told us.

It was a very emotional time - we were now going to try and find a way to remain in as close a communion as possible. That was the goal!

Now I wonder if, in fact, that was all a sham - and that he never intended to negotiate at all - even though informally we were all ready talking about numbers. I always assumed David Booth Beers intervened when he met with Bishop Lee, the Standing Committee, and the Executive Board on the Monday before we were to meet with the Bishop's negotiating team. Instead, days after that meeting with DBB Bishop Lee called the whole thing off and initiated his lawsuits, as well as Katharine Jefferts Schori initiating hers.

It was Judge Bellows who decided to take the petitions first instead of the Diocese/TEC lawsuits. He ruled that all the lawsuits (each church was sued twice individually, if you can imagine) would be put together into one big lawsuit from TEC/Diocese and then decided to deal with the 57-9 before dealing with the TEC/Diocese lawsuits. That was his ruling, his decision, not ours.

So we filed our petitions which the Diocese deemed not hostile as we see in our Standstill Agreement, then David Booth Beers met with Bishop Lee and the two committees and they decided to drop negotiations and sue instead. The judge decided to take the petitions FIRST and then, depending how that all went, pick up the lawsuits.

Since he ruled in favor of the 57-9 petitions, that dismisses Diocese/TEC's lawsuits (except for the one endowment at The Falls Church) pending the impending appeal that's promised to us from the Diocese.

But again, just to be clear here, it was Judge Bellows who decided to take the petitions first. Another court may have decided to do the Diocese/TEC lawsuits first instead. But the judge decided to the petitions first - petitions that were not considered hostile by the Diocese until after the Standstill Agreement was abandoned by the Diocese to file their lawsuits against the CANA Churches.

Unless Bishop Lee was all along just stalling for time with the Standstill Agreement and with the time it took to elect representatives to his Property Committee and intended all along to sue the churches and depose the clergy. But I just have not been able to bring myself to believe that about him.


DavidH said...

"The Standstill indicates that the action we took was not hostile." Quite the contrary, bb, as has been explained above. And of course, the Standstill ceases to be relevant as soon as it expires, an obvious truth that you continue to choose to ignore.

The rest of your post is interesting sleight of hand. As you well know, we are not talking about which cases went to trial first. We are talking about who went to court first. That was Truro and company.

And it's abundantly clear how the Special Committee's Report wound up DOA. If you choose to buy the story that CANA has tried to peddle about it, if you choose to think ill of Bp Lee, well that's up to you.