Thursday, February 04, 2010

TEC goes on the defensive in preparation for Church of England Synod

TEC appears so troubled by the impending conversation over recognition of the ACNA by the Church of England as to draw up "talking points" and send the Presiding Bishop straight away to London.

The actions she has taken personally and have occurred on her watch have been recently magnified by the release of this report. She may have some explaining to do.

SF has the scoop.

38 comments:

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

It is worth noting that one of the reasons pu forward for the proposal that the CofE enter into communion with ACNA was to strengthen the case for ACNA to claim TEC property. It won't work and will only make the legal process more confusing and might even lead some into the false belief that they can leave TEC and take the property with them.

Anonymous said...

Fr Daniel,

"It is worth noting that one of the reasons pu forward for the proposal that the CofE enter into communion with ACNA was to strengthen the case for ACNA to claim TEC property."

Interesting. Can you cite your source please?

RalphM

Anonymous said...

There is a megalomania in your vision, Daniel, that surprises-- and yet it doesn't either. As the courts in Virginia have decided four times now, the property is not TEC's, even with the bullying of "Sheriff" Schiori (to quote Peter Lee himself). At the heart of honest faith-- ecclesiastically as well as politically --is the primacy of persuasion. Make a reasoned argument, understand the glory and ruin of the human condition, be winsome and kind, offer true friendship. TEC has been losing that battle for years, and now with "the new sheriff in town" (all metaphor of course), she and TEC hope to intimidate everyone, guns ablazing as they are. Someday someone will call her bluff, and I sure hope it is soon. I sigh over the sad fact that Peter Lee lost heart and courage when he could have done just that, saving many people much time and money.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Virginia courts have decided anything definitive on this yet at all, Anon 2131. The matter is still sub judice, and, whatever the result, it is peculiar to Virginia, given that state's unusual statutory willingness to put the government in the middle of ecclesiastical matters.

Re the ACNA effort with the Synod, I thought that the primary reason for cutting and running from TEC was that men (and women) of sound theological grounding could not stand to be "in communion" with heretics like the Presiding Bishop of the national church and multiple other apostates. If that is the case, would not being "in communion" with the Church of England lead back to the problem that was deemed unbearable?

My own guess is that Father Weir is on to something. The apparent desire to have something indicating that ACNA is "in communion" with the Church of England will surface as a legal argument in property disputes. In Virginia, the lower court ruling was predicated on the conclusion that there had been a division of a denomination into two branches of the same denomination. The judge saw the Anglican Communion as the overarching link that established that the elements of the Virginia "Division Statute" had been met. As noted elsewhere, I think the good judge is (forgivably and understandably) confused about the nature of the Anglican Communion. The CANA churches in Virginia cannot unqualifiedly become part of ACNA, which has not yet been recognized as being in communion with the Church of England, without undermining the theory upon which they prevailed in the lower courts. This at a time when the matter is moving toward decision in the state Supreme Court. I also somewhat suspect that there are a lot of ACNA members and clergy who have little love for the Church of England and its present leaders. However, this initiative is tactically important to them because it will buttress some property arguments.

I would be pleased to be shown that I am wrong in these surmises.

Scout

Anam Cara said...

Exactly, Anon! Someone may say that they are not "in communion with" TEC, but if they are in communion with Canterbury and Canterbury is in communion with TEC, well, there you have it - "in communion with" TEC!

When you really think about it, for the true orthodox (notice I used the little o), there is only one choice - schism. Then you must decide whether you will start your own "denomination" or join an existing church.

Years ago, I opted for the latter - The Orthodox Church (now using the big O) and couldn't be happier.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

The statement about strengthening ACNA's legal case is quoted in a long piece posted on THinking Anglicans (http://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/uploads/ashworthrebuttaltec.html) The quote is from a briefing paper for the mtion at General Synod: "In asking Synod to express a desire to be in communion with ACNA, there is therefore no suggestion that we should not remain in communion with TEC or ACoC, nor am I suggesting that everyone in ACNA is a paragon of perfection. Rather, it is a recognition that there is a considerable and growing body of faithful Anglicans representing a wide range of church traditions, many of whom have been hurt, who are now members of ACNA. They would be grateful to be in communion with the Church of England as the Windsor/Covenant process works through. In some cases it might also help parishes to retain the property they have built and paid for."

As far as I know Virginia is the only state where the courts bave decided in favor of thos leaving ECUSA. In other states the decisions in favor of those leaving have been reversed by appals courts.

I again am amused - and would be offended if it weren't so much the norm here - to have megalomania applied to my vision. It hardly qualifies as a rational argument.

Anonymous said...

It is a difficult thing to leave property behind, but having done it I can say that we still have an interest in being in communion with those orthodox Christians within the Church of England who are willing to recognize us...and I have no interest in being in communion with those that would prefer communion with TEC instead.

Boiler Installations Putney said...

Some explaining to do...You can say that again !

The Lakeland Two said...

Good Lord, how many times does this argument go around? Is this part of the "Listening Process" So that we are listened to death while not one word is heard from us? What this teaches us and others is that property is more important than anything especially people. Litigation over evangelism.

I'd rather belong to a church that supports what Christ taught on all levels that one that cherry picks what it does as TEC does. Not one drop of mercy drips from TEC, only vengence and brand protection.

Chose whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I would like to add to the comments by Scout and Anam Cara.

If the ACNA were to enter into full communion with the CofE and were accepted into full membership in the Communion, and if TEC were to be expelled, that ACNA would still be in communion with churches that openly ordain clergy and bishops who are in same sex relationships and that perform same sex wedding ceremonies. I refer to the Porvoo Communion, through which the CofE, Irish, Scottish and Welsh churches are in full communion with the Church of Sweden.

BabyBlue said...

I have no problem in being in communion with the Episcopal Church. I believe the leadership has walked away from the foundations of the church, but there still remains many who are standing firm for the Gospel. With two provinces in North America (as there are multiple provinces in other parts of the communion) people have choice.

bb

Anonymous said...

Hmm, what parts of the Anglican Communion have provinces that overlap each other geographically? I thought one of the features of Anglicanism was nationally or regionally based provinces in which everyone has to work together. Wasn't that the idea behind the Elizabethan Settlement, that everyone use a common form of worship even if they didn't agree on much else?

Anon from 11:32 am

Anonymous said...

TEC has gone on the counteroffensive after years of just taking it in the neck from BabyBlue's fellow churchmen and their propaganda machine. You can choose your opinion, BB. You can choose your facts.

Good for TEC. May truth be ascendant.

Anonymous said...

Agreed!
Nothing unusual about putting together talking points. In fact, I think it very important that she be there in England to be available to answer questions delegates to the Synod may have. I am sure that the ACNA will have it's people in place.

Anon from 11:32

Anonymous said...

Anthemius -- There is a place in the world where Anglican jurisdictions overlap -- Europe. The C of E, TEC, The Lusitanian Anglican Church in Portugal and the Spanish Episcopal Church all share common space. There are even places in Europe where more than one jurisdiction has a church in the same town.

Anonymous said...

"There is a place in the world where Anglican jurisdictions overlap -- Europe" Hmmm, that hardly counts as the norm for Anglicanism. That arrangement was mainly to serve the needs of American and English ex-pats living in Europe, and not to give people a "choice" so they could cherry pick their theology.

The Lakeland Two said...

If TEC is the church where you don't have to leave your brain at the door, why would anyone have to have talking points as to what is believed, much less bishops? When the talking points conflict with the facts on the ground, it is even more double minded.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

I would appreciate knowing in what way do the taliking points conflict with the facts on the ground.

The Lakeland Two said...

Part of me wants to ask, "Are you serious?"

Where should I start? The August 2008 Episcopal Life that included comments that a priest in San Francisco who says we need to drop the creeds?

The raisin cake liturgy on the National Website? The book of Love Spells sold by the National Websites's Bookstore? The Episcopal priest who thinks she can be Islam at the same time and the bishop where she resides thinks it's great? Kevin Thew Forrester-who thinks he can be a Buddhist as well and be a bishop? Spong who doesn't believe much of anything the creeds stand for? The other bishops who have confessed to crossing their fingers behind their back when they say the creeds? Schori who can't say Jesus is the Way, etc.?

For lots more, here's a thread from StandFirm that documents multiple heresies:

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/13902

I could go on, but that should be more than plenty.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Daniel,
Thanks for your citation for the statement "It is worth noting that one of the reasons pu forward for the proposal that the CofE enter into communion with ACNA was to strengthen the case for ACNA to claim TEC property."

The whole paper is an interesting read with the author's devoting exactly one sentence to the issue you raise. The entire paper may be viewed at:
http://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/uploads/gs1764a.html

RalphM

Anonymous said...

My opinion doesn't qualify as a citation, Ralph, but the property issue has to be at least a significant element of why ACNA is seeking "in communion" status with CofE. While not dispositive of property issues, such status would provide some tangential support for the trial court's view that TEC and ACNA are branches of the same denomination, a denomination that the court viewed as the Anglican Communion. With CofE as the historic common ancestor, ACNA looks more like a "branch" than a separate denomination if officially recognized by the Church of England to be in some respects co-equal to the Episcopal Church. I personally feel that the property issues are a primary driver in this effort to obtain recognition from the Synod. My reason for this surmise is that I hear tremendous criticism of CofE and many of its leaders from ACNA sources, criticism very similar to that which we generally see directed at The Episcopal Church. I also recall quite vividly that one of the primary reasons advanced for why we had to bust up the Episcopal church and take our parish right on out of that den of iniquity is that we could not possibly be "in communion" with God-less heretics such as those who are perceived to control and widely populate the Episcopal Church. If that is the reasoning (or much of the reasoning) behind the schism, why would those who departed want to be officially back in communion with TEC through CofE? Hardly worth it unless there are several millions to be gained.

That's my guess as to what's going on here.

Scout

Anonymous said...

Scout,

Not sure why my earlier response did not post here and I'm too tired from cleaning the driveway to redo the whole thing.

Given that the VA dispute is in the appeal process, new issues of "division" or "branches" will not get into the review as it will be based on testimony and evidence presented at trial rather than anything that has happened since.

Division/branches issues will not help churches in other states as VA law is unique (as far as I know) in the US. I have no idea whether it affects Canadian legal proceedings.

As far as what was said in your particular church advocating leaving TEC, I will leave that to your observations. The basis for our church leaving was the desire to correct the drift from biblical authority and to protect our children and grandchildren from the darkness of TEC's leadership.

Allen said...

All I want to know is this. When Madame Schori jetted to England and crossed their provincial border to insert herself at their General Synod, which archbishop invited her; Canterbury or York?

One would think that ENS would prudently mention that, but oddly not one word of an invitation...just that she went.

And...let's remember this the next time that she yelps that a bishop from England came to America without her permission. Oh, wait. They haven't, have they?

She just keeps on breaking more and more impressive ground all the time.

Anonymous said...

Lakeland Two - If a church where you don't "leave your brain at the door" shouldn't use talking points, then it follows that the relentless use of talking points by CANA churches must require such leaving of the brain. Certainly that was my experience with them.

Anam Cara said...

BabyBlue said...

"I have no problem in being in communion with the Episcopal Church. I believe the leadership has walked away from the foundations of the church, but there still remains many who are standing firm for the Gospel. With two provinces in North America (as there are multiple provinces in other parts of the communion) people have choice."

I think now I see the problem. You have long said that you are an Episcopalian - and yet you have joined an Anglican church that voted to leave the Episcopal Church. I could never quite figure that out. But now I see. It is that you don't really understand the concept of being in communion with someone.

Yes, I am sure there are people who stand firm for the gospel who have not left the Episcopal church. But do you really realize what it means to be in communion with TEC? You are saying that you have common beliefs - that you ascribe to the same teachings. Not SOME beliefs, not SOME teachings, you are interchangeable. And yet, you do not think that TEC and Truro are interchangeable or you would not be where you are now. Or maybe you would be since one is just as good as the other if they are both in the exact same communion.

Communion with is the same as saying a=b.

Sorry, BB, but you can't have it both ways. You are in communion with the beliefs of TEC or you are not. Which is it?

And sadly, if a=b and b=c, then a=c. And there in lies the problem of the Anglican Communion. At one time, they all did have the same beliefs and doctrines. They did equal one another. But then one thing after another happened to break that communion as one belief after another changed in some of the churches. First came the ordination of women, then ordination of homosexuals, then woman bishops, then homosexual bishops. The entire Anglican Communion does not accept this - the Anglican Communion is not in communion with the churches in itself. As for actually being in communion, it doesn't exist! And various bishops are beginning to see this. In less than a generation there will be no Anglican Communion left. It is already disintegrating.

When the end comes for the Anglican Communion, you will have to pick one to be a part of. No more, I am an Episcopalian but also Anglican or vice versa. Just which beliefs do you espouse and who are you actually in communion with?

Anonymous said...

Ralph: It is not unlikely that one result from the appellate proceedings is a remand to the trial court. If the synod recognizes ACNA as being in communion with the Church of England, I will be pleased if we never hear about the action of the Synod in any of the property disputes. I would be delighted if you are correct about this.

In my church, we had not been compelled in any way to drift away from the Gospel and no one had threatened our children or grandchildren (I have only the former, none of the latter). So that issue really didn't have any bearing on our situation. A large number of people left nonetheless.


Scout

Anonymous said...

Allen: I thought the big issue with observing provincial boundaries was provinces overseas establishing congregations and parishes in dioceses of the Episcopal Church. As you may be aware, certain African provinces not only established mission churches in the United States, but in some cases actively cooperated with clerical and vestry elements in existing parishes to foment secessionist sentiment and to take over property that had been previously controlled by the Episcopal Church. I think it's obvious why it is an undesirable thing for provinces to act in such a manner. Is this what you are afraid the Presiding Bishop is up to in England?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:49,

By your sentence structure it's a little hard to tell if you're infering that "certain African provinces...(have) take(n) over property..."

If you are infering that, it is not true. No African provence has laid claim to any former TEC property.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

Scout,

I think the case being remanded is unlikely. The opinion of judge Bellows is well written and very likely to withstand the appeal.

Negotiation is better than litigation. Too bad DioVA decided to forsake that route.

"no one had threatened our children or grandchildren" I should have made it clear that their souls are threatened, not their physical being.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

Allen - You're right. It is poorly worded. My meaning was that African provinces have come into the United States and have lent their active support and encouragement to elements within the Episcopal Church who were bent on secession. While the departing elements who claim property rights are not doing so to give ownership to African Province(s), they have done so in close cooperation with, for example, the Nigerian or Ugandan clerical authorities. My point is that the border discipline that you feel the US Church is violating by the Presiding Bishop travelling to England for the Synod meeting is much more threatened, qualitatively and quantitatively, by the kind of pealing off of parishes (or at least large numbers of parishioners) in the US by the Nigerian church (again to use an example).

Scout

The Lakeland Two said...

Anonymous at 1:34 PM

TEC is free to use talking points, they are just the ones who make such a point of not having the check your brain at the door. To us it is a conflict in their stance, not to mention the actual talking points. We're in Diocese of Central FL - TEC, not ACNA.

TEC is trying to protect its brand by trying to prevent ACNA, yet it points out that ACNA is made up of people who found it necessary to leave TEC. Yet doesn't point out where it co-exists in Europe with existing dioceses. Anyone know how many denominations there are in England?

Bishop Duncan has been recognized by the +ABC and has met with him, but that wouldn't be good for TEC to out.

Here's the most hilarious point to us
- The Episcopal Church laity and clergy believe the Christian faith as stated in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. Really? Again, how many are crossing their fingers behind their back? Spong, etc. We call the Holy Scriptures the Word of God because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible. And just how many call this a book of fables and myths? That the Virgin Birth is really a young girl, nor really virgin? And don't look at that don't sue other Christians thing...or do unto others as you have them do unto you...We look to the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the understanding of the Scriptures. Only if it goes along with TEC's goals - no one else's understanding counts Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. TEC believes they can to anything with no consequences.

- The Episcopal Church welcomes all who wish to serve God through Jesus Christ. Unless you don't believe the direction TEC is going - then it's get out and leave everything behind.

Other parts ... big parts...of the Anglican Communion don't choose to follow TEC's lead with women... so trying to hit ACNA with this one eyond reality.

ACNA isn't a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion YET, and if TEC has its way, it won't. How inclusive - Do it TEC's way and only their way, only TEC knows God's will in bringing the "Reign of God" on earth.

It is important to note some of us are staying in TEC are still opposed to TEC's current direction - and will continue to - and still feel ACNA should be recognized by the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The only reason ACNA isn't is because TEC is making such a big deal over it.

It actually IS accurate that those who have broken away from TEC are persecuted faithful. In reality they have been sued by TEC against the very Biblical Standards presented as being faithfully followed by TEC in these talking points. Many more faithful have been forced to leave facilities and are also deeply hurt just as those who have remained.

We hurt for those even in our diocese who had to pay for buildings twice and those who left without a paperclip after being told for years they wouldn't have to worry about losing their facilities.

These talking points are spin to keep brand protection. Just as we feel Scout's presumption that ACNA is just about the buildings.

There is more going on than that. It is about the faithfulness to the Gospel, all of it, with no fingers crossed behind your back. We all may stumble and fall, but it is that seeking to get back on God's path and not our own or man's that the division is really over.

Anonymous said...

TL2 - I think the only suits have been where departing parishioners have tried to take property with them (sometimes quite valuable and substantial property, and sometimes in a manner that excludes continuing use by Epsicopalians). In a number of those situations those who decided to leave actually went to secular courts to perfect title claims. I agree that it is unfortunate, but because the ownership issues exist in the secular world, I can't imagine that there would not be recourse to secular courts when that much property is being claimed. Surely no one thinks that Episcopal dioceses or the national church have a choice about accepting that situation.

I don't think ACNA is just about buildings. I think the loss of membership in the Episcopal Church bespeaks very serious leadership and theological faults. I hope these will be worked through over time. If you are still a member of the Church, and I am still a member of the Church, we know that your blanket claims of apostasy are overwrought. Bishop Spong has his views, you have yours and I have mine.

While the exodus of members is not just about buildings, ACNA's efforts to take over property has the unpleasant effect of making much of their activity, planning and resources devoted to property possession. They could have avoided this entirely by their own actions and could have already had a number of beautiful, inviting, and welcoming new churches in place by now for what they have spent on lawyers. My own view is that one of the reasons they prize the old properties so much is that these church structures will drag with them a considerable number of parishioners. These are people who may not be particularly fired up about same sex blessings, or who could worship fruitfully in the Episcopal Church even with the discord that human sexuality issues have raised, but who want to go to worship every Sunday in surroundings to which they have become comfortable. So the prize is not just the property, it is also a considerable number of people who continue to attend as before the split. The victims are not those who leave by their own volition ("persecution" is a very cheapening use of the word). The victims are those who choose not to leave but now have been dispossessed for their desire to stay.

Scout

The Lakeland Two said...

Scout,

You and I agree that there could be other more charitable solutions which could leave everyone with a place to worship. While some may be hoping an existing facade will bring people in, we L2 believe it will be the purity of vision of the Gospel that will win out - not who gets the facade of the building. If the building is what is being worshipped, it will fail.

While you and I can have differing opinions, Spong, Pike, Schori and any elected/selected leaders do not have the right as leaders in a Christian church to have opinions that deviate from Scripture. If you don't believe in what's in the Scriptures, resign your post, orders, whatever and go find another job or start your own church. Apostacy is not acceptable as per charge by various apostles. You can dismiss it as "blanket", but it has gotten to the point that citing every example is too exhaustive because there are just too many that do go unchallenged. That these were given a pass at inception says more about the leaders of the organization not defending the Faith once received. No wonder so many have left over the years and continue to do so ... and the numbers are such that the Grand New Thing has NOT brought in the people as predicted.

Scout, it is every Christian's responsibility to challenge apostacy and heresy. To wave off Spong's, etc., beliefs without challenge is sad, because by not challenging erroneous teachings in multiple areas has caused this breach. If you can not see this, it is because of affects of the failure of not doing so.

We have come to accept that there are people in our church who are chosing to lead people astray. Jesus said they would, Paul said they would. But they didn't say to pretend they weren't there.

Building or Bible? We'll take the Bible - it has a more secure foundation. The picture of Solomon dividing the baby keeps coming to mind. By fighting over it, it is going to get ripped apart. The fear is what will the fake parent do with the child. The real parent would rather the child live, the fake one would rather the baby die.

TEC would rather ACNA and anyone else die. They aren't content with letting others live, they want only their vision to the exclusion of all else. They feel threatened by ACNA, the Global South, etc. What's there to fear? If the Grand New Thing is so grand, can't it stand by itself? If ACNA and us pesky conservatives are such a small minority, what's TEC afraid of?

130 years of people leaving.

Allen said...

Anonymous 4:49:

My point about boundary crossing is this: TEC and our Presiding Bishop have made a big deal about people overseas coming to America uninvited by her and interfering with the internal politics and decision-making of TEC. Now, she's off to England to do what she condemned others from Africa for, except she is crossing into England's Province. Because of this she has no credibility at all for any assertion about "ancient traditions" or autonomy of a Province, or respect across the Communion. I will change my mind once I can find out which English archbishop invited her. I'll bet that no one invited her, but that she believes that her New Thing of revisionism deserves to be respected and heard across the world.
No one in America is "bent on sececession", but the break and the crisis has been perpetuated by a small vocal minority of revisionists who have held this Church captive by guilt for years. The BREAK is not the fault of those who have held on to the faith, but for those, who this time around the zoo, want to redefine marriage; now that they've destroyed so many other Christian foundations.
So, all you revisionists, stop laying the blame atthe feet of those who have been taught the Catechism and the faith. YOUR impetuous willfulness just makes anything and everything up for whim and now people are bucking the trend that YOU hoped would become the norm.
You. Are. To. Blame.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Allen,
The legitimate complaint about border-crossing was that some Bishops and Primates came to the US and confirmed or ordained without seeking permission from the local Bishop. Interference in the internal affairs of any Church in the Communion is, while perhaps undesirable, not something that can be prohibited, especially since that can be done from a distance. As far as I know, the PB is not officating anywhere in the UK and, if she were, I expect that she would have obtained permission. When I lived in Oxford, I obtained permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Oxford to "exercise the Office of Deacon."

Some years ago the Primate of the Church in Kenya visited the Diocese of Ohio and officiated at confirmation. He did not request permission from the Bishop of Ohio and refused to meet with the Bishop and the Assistant Bishop. This was particularly painful for me - and I think the Assistant Bishop - because when he was our Bishop we had a companion relationship with the Diocese where the Primate was than Bishop.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the old joke where inmates in a penitentiary have heard all the jokes so many times that they just assign and call out numbers rather than telling the whole joke.

These arguments have the same flavor, and I'm guilty as much as the rest who post here. I'm going to go shovel some more snow. At least there is a visible outcome to that mindless task...

RalphM

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ralph. That's the funniest thing I've read.

I can't remember how many times I joined in this "debate". I love BB's site but when it comes to this the arguments have become pointless. The same words are said and nobody seems to be listening.

And regarding the property dispute. SEVEN - 'nuff said.

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