Monday, September 20, 2010

The $64 million dollar question?

Anglican Curmudgeon is counting up the costs of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's Litigation Campaign and it's not a pretty picture.  Read it all here.

45 comments:

Lapinbizarre said...

"Thou shalt not sue" is not, as I recall, up there in the Top 10. "Thou shalt not steal", however ......

Pageantmaster said...

That's rich, coming from a Rabbit, as Mr McGregor will tell you about his garden.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BabyBlue said...

Sorry, Anon - but the sarcasm as well as the errors in your post are just more then Hagrid could take. Rousing himself from his table and away from his Old Ogden's Firewhiskey, he has sadly tossed you through the door. Let's leave the sarcasm outside, okay? A happy giant is a happy cafe.

bb

Anonymous said...

And yet, is it truly HER campaign? Or is it more a matter on which she doesn't really have a choice if she is to fulfill her obligations, moral and temporal, to protect the church from those who would steal her patrimony? Do you honestly think that she would be doing all of this if she thought she had any other choice?

The courts across the nation, it would seem, agree, almost without descent, that she is in the right.

At this point, isn't it the folks who want to leave and take church property with them who are the ones who are responsible for the continuing costs of the litigation?

I could understand that they might want to battle on if the cases were in any way mixed. But, after all, if nearly every single case has been decided against them (even, it would seem, in idiosyncratic VA now), isn't it time to give up?

The fact that these folks persist suggests that there is some truth to the charge that they are doing so solely as a means of cripling the church's evangelization of the word of god: a means of distracting all of us from our true vocations?

My perspective: I'm just back from a long time in Haiti. Lots of faithful Episcopalians there working to help; we have been there a LONG time.

Mine is, of course, anecdotal testimony; but I couldn't help but notice, while there, that I didn't meet even so much as one single worker from the folks who are trying to leave TEC.

NOT ONE.

There are LOTS of RC, Methodists, Lutherans, Moravians, US Greek Orthodox, US Armenians and a host of denominations even smaller than the tiny (TINY) ACNA.

Yet I did not see any, NOT EVEN ONE of the so called ACNA folks.

NOT A SINGLE ONE.

Where is ACNA on the evangelism front??? All I ever see is gross distortions of TEC and wild charges that are, as far as I can see, completely without base. They aren't evangelizing the un-churched, but trying to draw more members from TEC. That's not evangelism: that's civil war.

As far as I can see, the ACNA folk lost a political discussion (conducted for DECADES in a free, fair and open forum); they are so bitter about that loss that they engage in hate, deliberate and systematic destruction of the church rather than move on and preach god's word.

If you have not won a single case, isn't it maybe time to give up and start to return to evangelizing the faith to the un-churched?

If you have not won a single case, isn't it maybe the ACNA that is being more litigious than faithful here? Isn't it possible that the lack of responsibility is on the part of those causing the disruption through the courts rather than those who perceive themselves to be meeting an existing obligation to defend the church's patrimony?

As for the PB, she certainly has her weaknesses, but one goes back to the votes when she was elected at convention. One notes that many of those now in the ACNA voted for her. Yet her position on these issues has always been clear.

It's difficult to imagine why those folks would have voted for her except that they expected her to be a weak leader, to easily give up on her responsibilities to the church. I gather part of the hateful response to her has been the result of these expectations having been disappointed.

Frankly, the continuation of the court cases in the absence of even so much as one win, combined with the consistently hateful response to the PB (clearly ridiculous charges of apostasy, for example) only serve to further discredit the ACNA as far as I can see. Mimms, in particular, seems to engage in this sort of discreditable foolishness.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's one of the better indictments of ACNA's conduct ever posted.

Anonymous said...

ACNA has been truly, instead of conveniently, principled. In Virginia, they have cried victim while going to court to get their properties. BB has a well practiced defense of that conduct, but a first year civil procedure student would be able to identify who went to court first and who really was the aggressor. (A standstill agreement with an exception for filing petitions does not make the CANA congregations less litigious.)

BB, you always get so impassioned on this issue. Why? What is it about this piece of your side's narrative that is so important to be "right" about?

And when will we hear from the Virginia Court?

Anonymous said...

Bookguy-

ACNA's mission efforts seem tofocus on provinces with archbishops who might help further ACNA's goal of disrupting the relational nature of the Communion and then imposing a governance structure instead.

Haiti has no archbishop.

BabyBlue said...

I believe we should return to the negotiating table.

bb

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the time for negotiations is past; it was past when the folks in ACNA left TEC and the Anglican communion. In the US, the courts have already pretty much decided the case and there is not much left to negotiate. The PB and TEC were forced into the courts by the ACNA and there wasn't much chance to turn back after that event. The time for negotiations was during the several decades of open and democratic discussion at GC.

I believe ACNA should take a clear and dispassionate look at where they find themselves now. They must make peace with that place. They wanted to leave the communion and TEC to start their own church, and they have done just that.

It is time they moved past being upset with TEC; time to give up trying to hold onto property that doesn't belong to them; time to move on as Christians. It's time to give up the appeals in the courts (especially in CA and other states where ACNA has even lost every single appeal in the supreme courts) and get on with the business of being Christians.

Indeed, it's past time that we ALL should have gotten on with our christian duties to evangelize the un-churched, relieve the suffering of the poor, hungry, sick, and destitute.

OK, so you don't like the politics in TEC. As Christians you are COMMANDED to shake the sand from your shoes and move on.

It's time for ACNA to get out there and start building hospitals, traveling on relief missions to Haiti and other places, bringing peace to the afflicted wherever possible. And, along the way, building their own church buildings and schools.

The time for regrets, negotiating, and even contrition are past. In Christ we have absolution; we Christians have an obligation to move on - to serve him from wherever we are and with our own resources.

I can understand that you don't want to join the TEC mission in Haiti (just as an example); you aren't part of TEC anymore, after all. So what's stopping you from starting your own mission there? Or how about going to Africa to relieve the suffering, poverty, and ignorance to be found there amongst your sponsors? Millions and millions of Nigerians are suffering terribly every day.

"You shall know them by how they love...." Isn't it time to be know for something other than litigation, misappropriation of property, and hate of TEC? Isn't it time to move beyond tossing words like "apostasy" around about a church (and PB) that you are no longer a part of and start using words that relate to your mission to the poor, planting and building new churches, and evangelizing the un-churched? There seems to be PLENTY to do....

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

Both parties spending the money on new ministries, and CANA churches spending their money on new places of worship makes a lot of sense.

BabyBlue said...

It would be interesting to know how the Diocese of Virginia will afford snow removal this winter for all the ADV churches - never mind one month's electric bill at the combined Truro and The Falls Church. I think we need to sit down and reason together what is best for the people and ministry for the glory of God. We're talking about displacing around 7,000 people. Litigation is one way to go, sitting prayerfully down at the table and reasoning together is another.

bb

Anonymous said...

Dear bookguybaltmd:

I am Deacon-in-Charge of St. Philip's Coalinga in Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. I am also a member of the Honduras Mission Team from the Sequoia Deanery of Diocese of San Joaquin. We made our 11th Mission trip this past summer to Matazanales, Honduras. We have gone and continue to go to a tiny village on top of a mountain at the end of a dirt trail, accessible only by 4-wheel drive vehicles. We take doctors, nurses, medicines, etc. and we run a week-long clinic for the people who do not have access to healthcare. We do it, not because we are ACNA, which we are, nor because we were formerly TEC, which we were, but rather because we are Christians who follow the command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who said to visit the sick...and we do.

For His Sake,

Deacon Francie

Anonymous said...

BB, to riff on President Bush (43), "Elections, and votes, have consquences."

You displaced yourselves.

That being said, that's why negotiations should start. It's probably now about "when" not "if."

Anonymous said...

Wow, all these comments completely off topic. I think the topic here is how much the PB has spend and is planning to spend on litigation.

When you have no facts on your side, attack the messenger...
Come on, if you have facts to refute the Curmudgeon's numbers, let's hear from you.

RalphM

Let's also hear why the Canons of TEC have become irrelevant under Schori, which is another point of the Curmudgeon's post....

Anonymous said...

@ Ralph. I took the main thrust of the curmudgeon's point to be that too much money was being spent by TEC on these legal cases.

My point in return is that the PB is being forced to spend the money. She doesn't have a choice. The amount is irrelevant.

In her position, she has an absolute obligation to defend the church's patrimony and polity. It doesn't matter what it costs to meet that obligation.

The way not to force her to spend the money is to give up on the lost cause of trying to make off with the church's property - a cause that has lost in every state court so far.

She and TEC can not negotiate with an independent ANCA because to do so would accept the assault on the church's patrimony and, perhaps more importantly, the church's polity. To accept any kind of compromise after the cases were originally filed by ACNA and CANA would have been to accept that separation without the consent of the national church in GC is at all possible.

So you see, the money that has to be spent on defending these important issues is not something for which the PB can be reasonably blamed. It is something that is entirely at the instigation of those who want to leave and take the church's property away.

At least, that is how I understand their point of view.

Those who separated must acknowledge in court and in polity that a parish is not able to separate from the church; only individuals can leave if they choose. Once that is done and uncontested TEC/diocese ownership of all of those properties is accepted by those separating, then it might be possible to negotiate a sale of a property.

I, myself, however, consider such a sale to be highly unlikely. The displaced loyal parishes are already growing rapidly and will return to their historic buildings; in such an historic location they will rebuild both their numbers and position in our community. It seems very unlikely that TEC/DoV will not have a very real need for Truro and Falls Church. But, if they sell the properties, it must be their choice entirely. Not a matter for negotiation.

The time for sitting down prayerfully was over when the departing congregations initiated the court battle. Bishop Lee bent over backwards to try to do that; so much so that he almost compromised the church's legal and structural position. He was too lenient and came too close to allowing his episcopal authority to be usurped.

In particular, he has failed to hold those in those who held positions of authority in those parish's to account for their actions.

Wardens and members of church councils, for example, have an absolute responsibility to the church in the administration of church resources. They should always be held to account for any maladministration or misappropriation of those resources.

TEC now has no choice but to see the issue through to the end. There won't be any negotiations because TEC CAN'T negotiate without compromising their position in the courts, their polity, and their faith in the nature of an episcopal church.

I daresay, any church officer who agrees to give up church property or compromise on church polity is very likely to find themselves held to account for maladministration of church resources.

@Deacon Francie - I'm glad to hear of your involvement in Honduras. If you stop trying to misappropriate TEC's property, you could do a lot more still.

I was simply noting from my anecdotal observation that you are not in Haiti. I also noted that pretty much every other US church is there.... Including several that are smaller than ACNA (tiny though it may be).

I note, further, that TEC is in a lot of other places besides Haiti including south and central America as well as Africa. Where are you? Why not in more places, if not all of them?

bookguybaltmd

Steven in Falls Church said...

Gee, Anon, how's that log in your eye? I dunno, but I look around The Falls Church and don't see a bunch of people I used to see because they are all in Africa on mission. You know, those African countries where TEC folks don't go anymore because the churches there no longer take TEC bribe money. My church also sends out people to actually try to bring others to Christ (it's that Great Mission thing), something that TEC not only no longer does but its bishops have actually apologized for past evangelism efforts. We can go on, but you get my point.

At this stage, what is important to me is not saving my church for ACNA usage, but saving it for Christian usage. TEC is cratering demographically, financially, spiritually, you name it. Anglican Curmudgeon has exposed TEC as a serial abuser of canons and finances in its litigation blitzkrieg, and to what end? There is no way that TEC could populate these churches to sustain them, which makes it highly likely they will be deconsecrated and sold to Muslims or turned into a dog training school or converted into a saloon -- all things that have actually happened or have been threatened by Schori. And the TEC lawyers get paid. The Schori legacy.

Anonymous said...

@ Steven - thanks for your rant. The facts don't back you up.

TEC has missions in Africa. Lots of them. TEC even still finances missions in Nigeria and Uganda. In many cases, avoiding the current rhetorical situation, TEC has pulled back for fear of offending Anglicans in those areas. But this has only been a re-detailing of mission resources to other African locations where our efforts are welcome and do not cause offense.

It is true that TEC's emphasis is on evangelizing the unchurched; this is directly in contrast to trying to convert the already converted as ACNA does with it's constant attacks on those in other denominations.

Your suggestion that TEC is not Christian in your second paragraph is simply and clearly not acceptable. I am surprised that BB allows it. Do you think we have our fingers crossed as we faithfully recite the creeds every day?

Your use of words like 'Blitzkrieg' for the TEC self defense is also indefensible. These are emotionally laden words that have nothing to do with TEC or the legal cases under discussion.

The faithful and legitimate parishes of Truro and Falls Church are still small, it is true; but, with faith, they are growing very rapidly. They seem likely to be able to fill their buildings once they have been restored to them.

But even if the legitimate parishes do not fill their buildings when they are restored to them, your rhetoric seems unlikely to encourage a sale of TEC property to your new denomination.

As for the curmudgeon - neither he nor you are an Episcopalian anymore, as I understand it. As such, you and he don't get an opinion on the applicability of another denomination's cannons. When you left, you left. You're gone. As such, your opinions are moot.

If he were an Episcopalian, he could bring a case, a presentment, against the PB. But no such presentment has been made. There has been no court of any sort, religious or civil, which has not supported the PB's use of the church's resources in defense of her patrimony. There has not even been so much as a single reasonable case made with standing against her.

On the other hand, there have been repeated criminal and cannon convictions of those who have tried to remove the patrimony from TEC: Armstrong in CO is only the most recent example.

I can understand your emotion. We all get attached to these lovely historic buildings. But justice, though it grinds slowly, appears to be about to restore the displaced parishes to their rightful patrimony at last.

The kind of emotional assault such as your post contains isn't likely to encourage compromise, even were it possible. In fact, your rhetoric serves as a very good demonstration of my contention that compromise is impossible and a sale negotiation very unlikely. Under such circumstances as you create in that way, a sale to a different denomination entirely, one completely outside the current parties at contention, seems much more likely than a sale to the ACNA or CANA.

You may remember that your intemperate, untruthful and irresponsible rhetoric (not to mention deliberate bad faith) is exactly how we got into this fix in the first place.

Your Fr Mimms, in particular, seems to be guilty of this kind of scorched earth rhetoric and untruth. You seem to be following him very closely. His repeated charges of apostasy (as posted here on BB) seem particularly to be both untrue and counter-productive to any form of negotiation or sale, for example.

Given that the kind of rhetoric you used above has been repeatedly proven to be both untruthful and counter-productive, that it has resulted in legal and economic catastrophe both for your denomination and for specific individuals in authority in that denomination, may I recommend you find a more creditable mentor in the future?

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

BTW - two other (short) points.

1, We are able to discuss how much TEC is spending because the amount is open to the public and disclosed. The same can not be said of the (perhaps equal) amounts being spent by the ACNA and CANA.

2. Much of the funding for TEC's legal expenses comes from a special fund set up for that purpose. The funds contributed to that amount are given specifically and not taken from other budgets. I, myself, have given a substantial sum which did not come from my other charitable contributions.

The source of funding for ACNA and CANA, by contrast, is deliberately NOT disclosed and is carefully shrouded in mystery.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

bookguybaltmd:

So the PB's position is "Look what you made me do..." I've heard that from a lot of five year olds.

The mature solution would have been to pursue what adults do to resolve conflict - negotiate a resolution. On the contrary, the PB acted unilaterally to stop negotiations that were underway.

You are correct that TEC is winning most of the court cases. How many of those wins have resulted in a viable Episcopal congregation being re-established in those buildings?

RalphM

Anonymous said...

@ Ralph M - Actually, the PBs position is that she has a responsibility to protect the patrimony of the church.

Unfortunately, the option to negotiate was removed when the thefting congregations unilaterally moved to court. There was no other option after that point and there never has been.

Sorry that you chose to disenfranchised yourself and caused all this cost and disruption. But once you pulled that wire you didn't leave the PB or TEC any other choice.

It is the leaving congregations who are displaying a lack of maturity here. Just because you don't win every political discussion, you decided to up and leave. A lot of 5 year olds have the same I'll take my toys and leave if I don't get my own way on everything. Aside from the immaturity, there is also the problem that they are NOT your toys. Those buildings belong now and forever to TEC/DoV.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

@ Steven - Thanks for your rant Steven, but the facts simply do not bear you out.

As it happens, TEC continues to support missions all over the world. Those missions include a number in Africa and even several elements in Uganda and Nigeria. It's true that TEC has pulled back in some areas, but we are not entirely gone even from Nigeria and Uganda, for example.

And, of course, those missions have not been cut off entirely, but have been shifted to other, more welcoming, areas such as South Africa, and Dioceses in other parts of Africa. Even in Africa, the areas that are supporting your tantrum are very limited.

As for your second paragraph, I find the suggestion that TEC isn't Christian to be offensive. Do you think we have our fingers crossed when we recite the creeds every day? I am surprised that BB allows it.

As for the capabilities of the rightful congregations, it is true that they have been grievously injured by the departing group's irresponsibility. But they are growing rapidly and, given the historic nature of the buildings and their location any reasonable person must have every confidence that they will recover fully in time.

In the meanwhile, what's it to you what happens to the buildings? You have separated yourself from their rightful owner, TEC. They belong to a different denomination. When you left you lost your voice in their deposition.

As it happens, far from "cratering," of the mainline protestant denominations, TEC is more than holding it's own. Once this disruption is past, it is clear that there is a very bright future in store for a faith that concentrates on bringing the loving and inclusive word of god to the un-churched.

What does bother me considerably, is your emotionally laden choice of attack. Words like "blitzkrieg" and "serial abuser" don't seem appropriate to the facts of the cases. The import of your post also seems to be largely incorrect on the facts.

I would strongly advise you to investigate the facts for yourself in the future. It seems that your sources of information on this subject are highly biased and factually inaccurate. I strongly suggest that you seek a more balanced mentor.

As for the charges against the PB, there has never been a reasonable presentment brought against her by anyone with any standing. On the other hand, those who seem to be your advisers have been charged and convicted of criminal acts and have lost every single case in the courts.

I will say, however, that it is exactly such statements and misinformation as your post that reinforce my belief that compromise became impossible after the leaving groups filed the original motions in court. Your post also increases my pessimism on the possibility of a sale of these assets to ACNA or CANA rather than some other denomination or even some other purpose entirely.

This isn't just emotion speaking. The kind of emotionally burdened and counter-factual, hate-filled assault such as you posted makes me concerned that any sale or even any negotiation might be misinterpreted as compromising the church's patrimony.

Any TEC church authority would be well advised to make every effort to steer well clear of opening any such discussion with those who share your position. Avoiding those with your views would simply be the appropriate due diligence of a cautious and responsible administrator.

Bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

1@ Steven - Thanks for your rant. At the risk of being a bit off-topic, I'd like to respond to factual errors in a couple of your points, to address some concerns I have with some of the language that you chose to use, and discuss some of your information sources, their lack of reliability, and appropriate and productive mentors.

1. Missions and Africa: You mentioned that you don't believe TEC maintains missions in Africa. As it happens TEC does continue to maintain missions in Africa. It's true that those missions have been curtailed in some areas: Nigeria and Uganda, for example. This has been largely at the request of the local church authorities whose local authority TEC continues to respect (in direct contrast to the lack of similar respect shown by some of these entities in the US).

That does not mean that all mission activities in these areas have ceased (far from it!) or even that mission activity by TEC in Africa has been reduced. Indeed, total mission activities in Africa have actually increased, particularly in South Africa and the Sudan, for example. It is true that this activity has been focused much more in areas in which the local authorities are more welcoming than in some other areas. It should be noted that the areas of Africa that are less welcoming represent a very small proportion of the African continent.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

2@ Steven

2. Viability: there are two points here. The first is that although the legitimate congregations have clearly been grievously damaged by the current controversy, they are growing rapidly and seem likely to recover fully in time. This is particularly true once they are restored to their historic buildings. I would also point out that TEC is not only holding it's own amidst the current controversy, it is actually growing relative to other mainline Protestant denominations. In fact, the fastest growing congregations in TEC are those that are the most actively engaged in social concerns of our society. I have every confidence that once the current controversy is finally settled, the church's social witness combined with her evangelization of the un-churched will begin to bear significant fruit.

The second point on the viability issue is to ask what the disposition of these buildings is to you. After all, assuming that the buildings rightfully belong to TEC, you have no voice in what becomes of them. You disenfranchised yourself on this question when you left TEC. By your own choice, neither you, nor the curmudgeon have standing on this issue.

The PB's compliance with the cannons of the church: I would point out that, had the PB been in violation of the church's cannons a presentment could have been brought against her by anyone with standing in the church. The fact that no such presentment has been brought suggests that such charges as yours by those outside the church are groundless. In a highly fraught and litigious atmosphere, were there grounds for presentment, one would almost certainly find such an action of some sort. That fact that no such action has occurred or even been hinted at by any person or institution with standing suggests that there are no such grounds.

In direct contrast, I would point out that ACNA and CANA have not won a single case in the courts and that several of those in leadership positions have been charged and convicted of criminal activity.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

3/4@ Steven

3. Standing. As for the curmudgeon's charges, one can only note that he is criticizing a denomination to which he does not appear to belong; he is able to do so because TEC's budget and funding are publically disclosed. As a US citizen he is entitled to his opinion. But as a non-church member, his opinion is moot. One can only note that the open nature of TEC's finances is in direct contrast to ACNA's and CANA's funding, on which information is tightly controlled and not similarly disclosed nor is it in any way publically available. One does, however, hear disturbing and substantiated information that a substantial portion of that funding is coming from Roman catholic, as well as other non-anglican sources.

4. Language: I am concerned by some of your choice of language. Using emotionally laden and misleading language seems counter-productive to the current issue under discussion: appropriate spending in legal cases and what form of negotiated settlement might or might not be possible. Such language choices as referring to TEC's mission activities as "TEC bribe money," denying the basic Christian evangelism and even the Christian nature of TEC, referring to TEC's legal actions as a "blitzkrieg," accusations of selling churches to Muslims, dog training schools, or saloons... These are all highly emotion laden choices you have made here. I submit that they are all more than misleading; in fact, they are all completely false characterizations. Do you honestly think that we have our fingers crossed as we faithfully say and mean the creeds every day? Such language can, in fact, be characterized, as a form of hate speech. I am surprised that BB would permit it.

Your language also substantiates my earlier post regarding the impossibility of compromise and the unlikeliness of a possible sale to the exiting congregations. TEC and the PB are not able to negotiate with the exiting congregations while the cases are still going through the legal process because to do so would compromise the integrity of the church's polity, negatively impacting the church's legal case, and seriously damage her ability to protect her patrimony and her polity into future generations. It is absolutely essential that those principles not be compromised in any way. That is one of the reasons we have already discussed for why the cases must be continued until they are finally and justly closed. There is much more at stake here than the disposition of a few bits of real estate, however beautiful and historic.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

5@ Steven

5. Beyond that, language such as you posted makes it even less likely that a sale would ever be made to the exiting congregations even after the cases are completely settled. Even when the courts and/or the exiting congregations absolutely establish the church's patrimony and polity, any responsible legal TEC authority would look at your post, and/or the public statements of your Fr Mimms or Fr Duncan; inevitably, they would find it highly incumbent on themselves to steer far clear of any involvement with such organizations. The high incidence of false or misleading statements by your leadership, particularly Fr. Mimms charges of 'apostasy' (including some public reports that were posted without contradiction or correction here on BB) would make any kind of negotiation at least very difficult if not completely impossible.

Any such responsible authority would be very reluctant to compromise the church's legal position and polity through any contact such as a sale would involve. In that case, yes, it is very unlikely that any sale would be to a dissenting congregations; it is FAR more likely that any such sale would be to a re-purposing organization or denomination. Such a sale would not compromise the church's legal position for future generations as would a sale to the exiting congregations. Frankly, the scorched earth and hate filled nature of the rhetoric and legal maneuverings of your leadership would make your organizations pariahs for any responsible church leader using any measure of due diligence in such a sale. Remember, as we have just discussed, the leadership of TEC is subject to presentment not only on violations of the cannons but also for any misappropriation of funds and/or church resources. I seriously doubt that, in the current highly charged atmosphere, a sale to the exiting congregations would be accepted without serious protest by the membership or leadership of TEC or the DoV.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

6@ Steven

6. Mentors: Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to reconsider your sources and mentors. Your side has lost ever single case that has been brought forward regarding the possibility of a parish or diocese separating from TEC. If the legal record were mixed, I would accept that there might have been some case. But, with such an overwhelming case history in favor of TEC, may I suggest that the legal advise you have been receiving may have been seriously flawed. It's easy to be mislead in the passion of the moment, but perhaps these events should make you reconsider the reliability of the source of that advise.

Frankly, I am also concerned that the emotional nature of your language sounds very similar to that used by some of your spiritual leadership, Mimms and Duncan for example. Wild and patently untrue charges such as "blitzkrieg," or "bribes" and especially of "apostasy" are not only highly unproductive, they are clearly in bad faith. Anyone who follows and knows TEC directly, checking sources and quotes out for themselves, understands that these charges are simply not true. There are PLENTY of grounds for disagreement on political, social activist, or religious grounds without resorting to such falsehoods; I might even readily agree that those differences completely justify separation. However, if you find that you are being mislead with emotional rhetoric of this sort, I would, again, strongly urge you to reconsider the reliability and faithfulness of your sources.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

bookguybaltmd:

Since you can't even get the spelling of Bishop Minns name right, I'd suggest that you examine the credibility of your sources as well.

In the case of the VA churches, it's obvious that you get your information 2nd or 3rd hand. I do not; I was and am there.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

@ RalphM

Danged typos.

It is, however, an informal medium, no? I noted, for example, a number of typos in both your posts and that from Steven; I chose not to stoop so low as to comment on them. Typos, after all, don't invalidate my argument any more than your typos invalidate yours.

I would grant you (happily) that I'm a little long-winded sometimes.... I worried about that, but it seemed necessary to rebut falsehoods one at a time.

As for sources, my source for Minn's statements has been links provided right here on BB: specifically the Washington Post article that quotes his charge of 'apostasy' against TEC comes readily to mind. I grant you, that IS 3rd hand (Post to BB to me). But it was posted without contradiction as to the accuracy of his statements here or elsewhere and I trust BB as a first hand source to have corrected the error in the report had there been one.

If true, Minn's statement was intemperate to say the least, clearly untrue and invalid; these statements seem to me to clearly discredit this man as a source of information or moral leadership. In that sense, my point stands.

As for getting information 2nd or 3rd hand - the court documents are largely available on-line and I read them closely. Many have been found through links here at BB. I read and make up my own mind for myself. I hope that you and everyone else would do the same. I grant you that this does not seem to be universally the case on either side of the discussion.

My point on the legal situation remains: TEC has consistently won or is winning almost every single case, including even the idiosyncratic one in VA; this fact suggests that the legal advice received by the departing congregations may have been tactically sophisticated, but has not been very good strategically or morally. This seems obvious.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

bookguybaltmd:

Just an FYI: The Anglican Curmudgeon belongs to a church in the Diocese of Northern California, a TEC Church. His criticisms of the PB's spending on the lawsuits is an "inside" criticism, rather than an "outsider" or ACNA criticism.

Deacon Francie

Anonymous said...

SO? Really? All this time he's had standing and he's been tossing this stuff up against the wall of the web and no presentment at all? Nothing?

Doesn't that kinda say something about the reliability of the source?

Do you think it's possible that this might be because it's not exactly flowers he tossing up against the wall?

I don't mean to be rude or out of line. I'm just askin'....

;)

bookguybaltmd

BabyBlue said...

Mr. Book, you may want to check out the Curmudgeon's blog - he's quite amazing. I would not say that tossing flowers would describe what this man does - attorneys are not generally known for flower tossing and I am not sure I would equate such activities with this man's work.

But check him out for yourself. You can read Curmudgeon here:

http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thousands of Episcopalians signed a petition asking for transparency and accountability in what is being spent on litigation. This has been ignored. As an Episcopalian, I have a right to know where the money is going. If not, then you don't get my money.

A new anon to this thread

Anonymous said...

Well bookguybaltmd,

A typo is when a misplaced finger causes a strange looking word. However, when you spell the name incorrectly twice, with the resultant mis-pronounciation, it suggests that you do not really know his name.

Intentionally calling Martyn Minns and Bob Duncan by "father" instead of "bishop" suggests a bit of stooping low or pettiness on your part as well. They are both bishops and have been duly consecrated as such in the Anglican Communion.

However, there has been a lack of respect shown by all sides toward the clergy of the opposition, so I'll simply say that we will continue to disagree and I'll not comment further.

RalphM

Anonymous said...

@ Ralph - since the legitimacy of their status as Bishops is in dispute, the lower (and more widely accepted) denomination seemed appropriate. I don't think they would be offended.

It was a typo. My apologies on the name. But I note that it does provide you with a way of not dealing with the basic facts.

Good misdirection there, Ralph. When in the wrong, obfuscate with the trivial and irrelevant: a very lawyer-ly tactic.

@ Annon. I note that TEC has consistently disclosed what they know about the financing; one suspects them of not always knowing where the financing is coming from next and, therefore, not always being able to answer every question.

I do know that there is a special fund set up for the defense of TEC to which one may send ones contributions and that a good many individuals have so contributed and in no small measure.

One also notes that the other side has not disclosed even so much as one little hint of where their financing is coming from.

Don't you think that, in fairness, CANA and ACNA et al should reveal at least as much as TEC has already revealed before TEC is asked to go further? Wouldn't that be simple fairness?

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are bookguy, but give'em heck!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the IRS might look at TEC's 503(c) status if they know that TEC is not being transparent in its spending... hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

The Curmudgeon often has some good points and no one can accuse him of sloppy thinking. However, the costs of protecting these properties is, as others have said, not really avoidable unless the Presiding Bishop thinks she can convince all elements of the Church just to hand the things over to people who have departed. I don't see how she could, in good faith, do anything other than what she's doing. Both sides have probably incurred roughly equal costs. The side that could have most readily avoided this waste was the people who departed. If you leave a church for reasons of principle, just leave. Don't try to pinch things on the way out. It compromises your statement of principle about your departure and, what's more, it's just tacky.

Scout

BabyBlue said...

Sadly, however, the point continues to be missed. Litigation is taking its toll not only on those who are distressed over the politicizing of a church institution, but for those who remain in the church and see it's numbers and influence substantially diminish over the past twenty-five years. At some point, maybe after the current activists have gone off to their great reward, someone is going to have to deal with the mess left behind. Curmudgeon is pointing out that the proverbial writing on the wall is all ready there (and is receiving the same kind of reaction as the originator of that term did when he pointed out similar issues in his day) - but perhaps - as typical for the renowned "Me Generation" - we just don't care.

bb

Anonymous said...

@ 'Annon of the IRS' - what's interesting about your comment is that, although far from perfect, TEC has been MUCH more forthcoming about the source of it's funding than has the other side. ACNA and CANA don't even bother to answer questions AT ALL regarding the source of their funding.

Isn't full disclosure a two-way street?

Isn't an IRS investigation a two-way street?

Wasn't that threat used under the Bush administration against a liberal parish in CA? And wasn't the administration's position not only dismissed but outright rebuked by the courts as an unfairly political use of the IRS? And given that the power of using the IRS for such a purpose (if it were even possible to use it that way) is currently in the hands of those who would agree with TEC is that a Pandora's box you really want to open?

Just asking questions here.... Just asking for fairness here, too.

Bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

@ BB - Be fair here, which side is politicizing?

Is it SOME (usually but not allways liberal and urban) elements of the national church who want to at least BEGIN to just discuss appropriate ministry to the un-churched?

Or is it the side (nearly always very conservative and suburban) that so loaths a certain segment of our society that they would rather destroy the church (or at least it's historic polity) than even so much as BEGIN to discuss any contact with that segment at all?

In fairness, the accusation of politics is also a two-way street.

So too is the worry about possible decline of the church (from those concerned that it is not addressing legitimate pastoral needs as well as from those who would not want to even consider those needs at all).

Another two way street is the concern over what a mess all this litigation has the potential to create for future generations of the church.

After all, as I and others have repeatedly pointed out, the reason the PB and TEC see themselves as having NO CHOICE but to pursue litigation to the bitter end, cost what it may, is because of the potential damage to the church's patrimony and polity presented by these cases instigated by those leaving.

This, it seems to me, is especially true in the case of the situation in VA. Its very idiosyncrasy is what makes it particularly important; it's the only case where a state law that directly contradicts the historic polity of the church is being used to attack that polity and patrimony. I even think we can all pretty much agree on the importance of that principle and the very real damage a decision in favor of the departing churches would cause the church (not just TEC but other hierarchical churches as well).

Can we not simply agree that the litigation is damaging the church on both sides and should end as soon as possible?

Most objective people would go further and agree that the only side that CAN give up without compromising the church's polity forever (and which has also lost very nearly every single case in litigation) is the side that should give up.

bookguybaltmd

Anonymous said...

So much for the motion for re-hearing in the VA case.... Back to the lower court....

http://www.thediocese.net/Customer-Content/WWW/CMS/files/property_rehearing_decision92410.pdf

bookguybaltmd

The Lakeland Two said...

Actually, Bookguy - TEC isn't being forthcoming on the figures. If they are, how about sharing it with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

It seems to be pretty public. They've had hearings at GC, they post the budget on-line, and they discuss it pretty openly. It IS true that those numbers change as costs are accounted for, but that doesn't obviate the fact that the discussion IS public (as it their general lack of knowledge in advance of exactly what the cost is going to be).

On the other hand, the departing folks have not disclosed ANYTHING at all about their finances. Isn't it two way street? Shouldn't ACNA and CANA disclose the sources of their funding AT LEAST as much as TEC has already before we start making these wild, unfounded, and 'trial-by-internet' allegations against TEC?

Isn't fairness something you consider here?

I will admit to being a little tired of these wild accusations that are not backed up by either facts OR by equal disclosure.

Frankly, the two-facedness on this subject (TEC needs to disclose ALL, but we won't disclose anything) completely and totally discredit's your position.

TEC has disclosed to members of the church (AND to their auditing committees) all that they think is appropriate and a good bit more than is either required or has been disclosed by the other side.

If you've got something and you've got standing, pony up. Otherwise, it's none of your business.

Anonymous said...

Oops. That last (8:55am) was from
bookguybaltmd