Please pray for Resolution R-9, for those who are petitioning "in the spirit of reconciliation and sound financial stewardship" to the Bishop, the Standing Committee, and the Executive Board to seek a "bilaterally beneficial outcome." Watch those words very carefully: Bilateral beneficial outcome - a win-win scenario for all. Right now the Diocese and the CANA Congregations are engaged a lose-lose scenario, whatever happens everyone loses. This resolution pleads for an end to the "mutually destructive process of civil litigation." For this to be achieved we will need to have kindness, consideration, and yes, resolution on all sides. Come Lord Jesus, come!
R-9: Stewardship and Property Litigation
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia urges the Diocese to initiate negotiations toward an amicable resolution of differences over property ownership with the congregations that have departed from the Diocese; and be it further
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council, in the spirit of reconciliation and sound financial stewardship, petitions the Bishop, the Standing Committee and the Executive Board to engage in the negotiating process so that a bilaterally beneficial outcome might be achieved and an increasingly prolonged and mutually destructive process of civil litigation be avoided.
Submitted by the Rev. Charles D. Alley, Rector, St. Matthew’s, Richmond; the Rev. James H. Cirillo, Rector, Grace Church, Casanova; the Rev. Geoff Gwynne, Vicar, Christ the King, Harrisonburg; Mr. Douglas LeBlanc, Lay Delegate, St. Matthew’s, Richmond; The Rev. Cuthbert H. Mandell, Rector, Aquia Church, Stafford; The Rev. C. Robert Merola, Rector, St. Matthew’s, Sterling; The Rev. John Thomas Sheehan, Rector, The Church of Our Redeemer, Aldie; The Rev. Mario Gonzalez del Solar, Assistant Rector, St. Matthew’s, Richmond
Background: During the past year, the Virginia Supreme Court has sent the case back to the Circuit Court for retrial, virtually sending the multimillion dollar legal proceedings back to the starting line. While litigating this matter has not been a positive witness to the Kingdom of God, nor has it enhanced the evangelism and witness of the Church, the matter of financial stewardship must also be addressed. In view of the present financial environment in the Diocese and the possible need to sell properties in order to maintain the law suits, as well as the unlikely ability of our continuing Episcopal congregations in these locations to immediately assume the financial burden of such properties, it would seem prudent for all parties to pursue an amicable settlement rather than litigate outstanding property claims.
BB NOTE: A counter-resolution, which focuses the attention not on the mounting legal and personal and spiritual costs of continuing the litigation but rather focuses attention on "supporting the bishop" (as if he pays any of it!) is being proposed as well. Most of the supporters of this resolution are made up of members of the shadow congregations formed by the Diocese as part of their litigation strategy following the sudden withdrawal of the Standstill Agreement in January 2007. This resolution takes a passive aggressive stance, purporting to support the bishop, but only if he continues the litigation. What is actually rather interesting about this resolution are the names absent from the list of submitters, which again is something to hold up in prayer. It's clear that these folks who did submit this resolution feel the need not to present the case for spending millions of dollars on litigation, but rather to put pressure on the bishop.
Let's consider this. If Bishop Johnston were to consider a peaceful resolution, would that mean all these people would no longer support him? Isn't that what this resolution infers? From some of Bishop Johnston's recent statements that doesn't seem to be an issue. So who is this resolution for but those on the outside, those actually funding all the litigation. This resolution places their sacrificial giving in the context not of furthering the ministry of the church or the gospel, but as the way to "support the bishop." It's just sad.
R-8: "Continued Support for our Bishop"
Resolved, that the 216th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirms our continued support for the Bishop in his leadership to preserve Episcopal properties for the mission of the Episcopal Church by all available means, as requested by the Executive Board in 2006.
Submitted by The Rev. Lucia Lloyd, *St. Stephen’s, Heathsville; The Rev. Michael Pipkin, *The Falls Church, Falls Church; The Rev. Cathy Tibbetts, *The Falls Church, Falls Church; The Rev. Kate Chipps, *St. Margaret’s, Woodbridge; The Rev. Donna Foughty, *Epiphany, Herndon; Mr. Don Metheny, President, Standing Committee; Mrs. Cindi Bartol, Standing Committee; Mrs. Myfanwy Hall, Standing Committee; Mr. Roger Inger, Standing Committee; The Rev. Michael Cadaret; The Rev. Geoffrey Coupland; Mr. Dick Eager; The Rev. Lindon Eaves; The Rev. Bob Hall; Mrs. Sandy Kirkpatrick; The Rev. Daniel Robayo; The Very Rev. Hilary Smith; The Rev. Lauren Stanley; The Rev. Margaret Ann Faeth, Immanuel Church on the Hill, Alexandria; The Rev. Joie Clee Weiher, St. Luke's, Remington; The Rev. Leslie Hague, St. Michael's, Arlington; The Rev. Daniel Robayo, Emmanuel, Harrisonburg; The Rev. Jennifer McKenzie, Church of the Good Shepherd, Burke; Mr. Paul Brockman, Standing Committee; The Rev. R. Ellen White, St. Anne's, Scottville; The Rev. David May, Grace Church, Kilmarnock; The Rev. Scott Dillard, Wicomico Church
We are deeply grieved that those who have severed their ties to the Episcopal Church have continued to claim that our property now ought to belong to them, and that they have made this litigation necessary. Bishop Lee and Bishop Johnston have provided steady leadership, and we believe it is important that they have full latitude to determine which options are wisest in providing for the worship and ministry of Episcopalians in these locations for generations to come.
BB NOTE: Here is a Prayer for Resolution:
O Father, in this time of deep separation in our beloved church, we offer this prayer for the just and amicable resolution of the litigation we are facing, for the healing of broken relationships, for the softening of hearts hardened by hostility, and for common ground in our Common Prayer. Please help us all to be empowered by your Holy Spirit to dedicate our mutual resources for your work and glory, not our own, that we may find some good to come from this conflict that has engaged us for so long. Hear us, Lord, we pray, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.To learn more on how you can help find resolution in Virginia, please go to Finding Common Ground in Common Prayer here.