If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
a sad day.
No one won today. It is sad because the Virginia churches satisfied the Virginia statute 57-9 but for the definition of a branch as defined by the Virginia Supreme Court. What this means is that we could now be back to 2006 again when the Virginia parishes followed the protocol. It is an interesting moment. The days continue to unfold. It is a time of thoughtful consideration, a time of prayer and fasting, a time of listening to the Lord and to one another.
For what saddens me even more, even now, is that the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed that there has indeed been a major division in The Episcopal Church. It is severe enough for that part of the statute to be satisfied. This means that the Supreme Court could see and affirm that the Episcopal Church is indeed in very serious division.
I find that part of the ruling today the saddest of all.
I will tell you however, that the first person to contact me - to want to know how I was feeling and if I was okay was a loyal and perhaps somewhat progressive Episcopalian. She's very much an advocate of what some might call innovations, she would see as acts of justice. But what seemed to matter more to her today were not positions on issues or property or lawsuits - but the welfare of a friend. Her outreach of hospitality meant so much and it's those kind of actions - still possible after everything that happened - that gives me waves hope, even now.
I don't know what the future holds. Today actually may bring us back to where we started, back when we had the Standstill Agreement and were talking. I even take Henry Burt's words of asking the ADV churches to hold Episcopal services a good one. That had been in place when the lawsuits first were filed, but the Episcopal clergy designated to conduct the services were later warned by the then-diocesan bishop that if they did so they would be deposed. I see this invitation from Henry as a very positive sign.
A lot has happened in the past three years. The fact remains that the Diocese of Virginia did not affirm Glasspool's ascension to bishop - neither the bishop or the Standing Committee. One can see in that action a desire to remain in communion. I pray that we may, even in this late hour, find ways to reopen conversations.
Just recently, Truro hosted a wedding conducted in the main church by a current Episcopal rector in the Diocese of Virginia. It was an amazing opportunity to work together again.
Tonight we are standing on the courthouse steps. Our table, as even the Supreme Court of Virginia could see, is divided. Shall we continue more division or shall we take seriously the question and admonition from the Archbishop of Canterbury himself?
"What are the vehicles for sharing perspectives, communicating protest, yes, even, negotiating distance or separation, that might spare us a worsening of the situation and the further reduction of Christian relationship to vicious polemic and stony-faced litigation?"
-Rowan WilliamsChurch of England SynodFebruary 2010
One thing I can say, after a very very busy day - is that I am grateful for all of you here at the Cafe, even in those moments that we disagree - and we do often disagree. You take me to task sometimes and I want you to know I am listening. I appreciate the honesty and the passion of all the regulars and visitors here at the Cafe. For the most part, you all are good to each other. And I want to thank you - let's keep talking, let's keep listening, let's gather around our tables and sing praises to the Lord. For in all that we do, and all that we don't do - He remains good.