Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Breaking News: Truro Anglican Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia settle


Joint Statement from Truro Anglican Church, Fairfax and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

10520 Main Street, Fairfax, VA
Truro Anglican Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today a settlement that concludes five years of litigation that arose after Truro Anglican and other parishes left the Episcopal Church in 2006 to become part of what is now the Anglican Church in North America.
The settlement follows a January ruling in which the Circuit Court of Fairfax County held that all real and personal property held by the parishes at the time they left the denomination belongs to the Diocese.
Under terms of the settlement, the Diocese has given Truro Anglican a rent-free lease of the church buildings at 10520 Main Street in Fairfax, as well as two rectories, until June 30, 2013. Truro Anglican will deed the properties to the Diocese by April 30, 2012, and will pay the operating costs of the properties during the term of the lease.  In addition, the Diocese has the option to use a small portion of the church building during the lease, as determined between the Rev. Tory Baucum, rector of Truro Anglican, and the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of the Diocese of Virginia.
Additionally, Truro Anglican has agreed to pay $50,000 to resolve Diocesan claims for liquid assets due under the court’s order. The parties had already agreed on division of the tangible personal property held by Truro Anglican.
In several previous settlements, Anglican parishes that leased Episcopal property agreed to sever ties with all Anglican bodies during the term of the lease. Under today’s settlement, however, the parties have agreed that Truro Anglican will maintain its affiliation with the Anglican Church of North America and its Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.  Because the Diocese and Truro Anglican are part of different ecclesiastical bodies who share the Anglican tradition, they have agreed to follow a process during the term of the lease by which bishops may visit Truro Anglican with the permission of Bishop Johnston. 
Tory Baucum, Truro Anglican
An important feature of this settlement is that both sides have agreed to enter into a covenant of mutual charity and respect. This document will frame the way the Diocese and Truro Anglican will deal with one another and speak of one another. The covenant is being drafted by the Rev. Baucum and Bishop Johnston.
“This is an important step for the Diocese of Virginia and Truro Anglican,” said Bishop Johnston. “What the Diocese has sought since the court’s ruling has been a ‘witness’ and not merely an ‘outcome.’ The parties have carried on a public dispute for five years and it is important that we publicly begin to make peace.”
Bishop Johnston and the Rev. Baucum have been meeting together for prayer and conversation for over a year. “Bishop Johnston and I have become friends,” said the Rev. Baucum. “In spite of our significant theological differences, we care for and are committed to each other as brothers in Christ.
“We are grateful for the Diocese’s generosity in allowing us to continue to use the property for another 15 months at no cost,” said the Rev. Baucum. “This allows us time to make a good transition to interim facilities and then to our new church home.”
“Tory and I believe that this is an opening for a transformative witness to many across the worldwide Anglican Communion,” added Bishop Johnston.   

31 comments:

wyclif said...

That clause about 'covenant' and being friends with Johnston is seriously awful. He's a heretic, plain and simple.

Steven in Falls Church said...

The lease is until next year, but I would suspect it will get extended as TEC still won't have any clue for how to use these properties, and in fact will have continued to shrink. Eventually the Witch of 815 will be gone, and maybe saner minds will prevail.

BabyBlue Anglican said...

I know folks have strong feelings, but again I'd like to remind us all to imagine that the folks we speak of are either sitting with us at our table or a table nearby.

In Tory Baucum and Bishop Johnston's case they definitely sat down at the same table and have had very frank and honest and truthful conversations. The result is a friendship and that is a good thing.

bb

Peter said...

This is great news. For my part, I deeply appreciate the work that Tory Baucum has invested in building a relationship with Shannon Johnston. We disagree about things that matter, (and I have no fear about Tory compromising on those things) but that doesn't mean we all have to spend the rest of our lives throwing rocks.

Anonymous said...

It bears remembering, too, that the Episcopal Church signed off on this agreement (as they must, being a party to the litigation).

There is "generosity" all around.

Anonymous said...

Now would be a great time to throw away the sub christian disaffiliation restrictions on the other Virginia Congregations. In the same spirit of charity and justice.

ettu said...

Well congratulations - I am glad both parties are moving on to better fields - it is long past time for this to have occurred and a shame it took so long with all the bitterness it engendered

Anonymous said...

Hopefully The Falls Church can reach some kind of agreement before Friday. It would also be good to cancell the disaffiliation on Our Savior And the Word Church.

RWK said...

I am pleasantly surprised by the agreement. I would support a similar one for TFC-Anglican because it is such a large church, finding new facilities is logistically daunting - even with a plan having a year to depart would make things much simpler.

I am surprised at the vitriol against Bishop Johnston, especially on a different website. My landlord doesn't have to be a Christian for me to worship in his building and witness works both ways.

RWK said...

I am pleasantly surprised by the agreement. I would support a similar one for TFC-Anglican because it is such a large church, finding new facilities is logistically daunting - even with a plan having a year to depart would make things much simpler.

I am surprised at the vitriol against Bishop Johnston, especially on a different website. My landlord doesn't have to be a Christian for me to worship in his building and witness works both ways.

Anonymous said...

So has TEC given up on the disaffiliation tactic? About time!

Anonymous said...

The disaffiliation issue is less important now that the legal issues are largely resolved. The disaffiliation requirement was necessary to deter the proliferation of other parishioners plotting to transfer buildings and accounts to new parishes. It's pretty clear now, barring the unlikely outcome that the state Supreme Court will overturn the trial judge's dispositions, that people can't get away with these takeovers. I think it would be most unlikely that a priest or vestry in any Episcopal parish in Virginia would, at this point, think that by drumming up a vote to leave and join a Baptist, Mormon, Muslim, or (insert name here), he could retain possession of the buildings and accounts of the church he/ they are leaving.

At this point, the Bishop is in a good position to take a Lincolnesque approach to the final phases of this unhappy chapter. I suspect it is consistent with his inner nature in any event. What is more fitting in Virginia in April?

Both sides have significant wounds to heal. Both need to get back to basics. The property grabs were folly fueled by human pride and weakness. It's done. Let's get on with worship, now.

Scout

Anonymous said...

I have a hunch, and a hope, that what the Falls Church will do is similer in the agreement but markedly different in the reference and close relationship with the Diocese of Virginia. And that speaks volumes about the leadership of Truro (both clergy and vestry). I am flabbergasted.

Anonymous said...

I find Tory Baucum's comments about meeting with Bishop Johnston and referring to him as a "Christian brother" appalling and disappointing. If Tory's statements are really true, then why take all the trouble to disaffiliate and then fight a costly legal battle? Why not just stay in TEC? I understand Truro wanting to get out from under the costly and damaging litigation. But why would Truro's Rector say such untrue things about Bishop Johnston? C'mon folks, let's get real.

Andy Powell+

Anonymous said...

I am so confused. I thought these parishes were appealing to the Supreme Court. Why are they selling out now after coming so far?

Another thing I don't get is why negotiate now? Back at the beginning of this whole thing, all of these churches were negotiating. Then 815 decreed that negotiations had to stop. I guess the whole idea was to break their backs first and then negotiate?

I am sorry. But until the most court ruling, I would not have seen so many willing to accept this travesty especially when the Supreme Court has yet to review the cases that have been sent to it on appeal. Why the hurry? Won't these churches be crying if the Supremes actually uphold neutral principles and rule that a trust cannot be imposed unilaterally?

I for one am not happy to see this happening. Its a dang shame.

Anonymous said...

Is Bishop Johnston not a Christian brother, Andy?

What is untrue about Tory's statement?

Scout

Anonymous said...

Scout - Why would one remain separate from a Christian brother?

Anonymous said...

Beats me. Perhaps we can reverse this course of schism, separation, and vilification and spend more time with our Christian brethren. Christian unity is always more desirable than Christian factionalism and separation, the latter quality seeming to be a state for which humans have great affinity.

Scout

Anonymous said...

Scout--By his own words and actions, Bishop Johnston has clearly established that he is not our "Christian brother."

Andy Powell+

Interested Observer said...

I wonder what Bishop Minns has to say about the unfortunate circumstances in which his former church now finds itself? Rev. Baucum is simply trying to effectively manage the aftermath of the former rector's strategic vision. Perhaps that vision was not particulalry well thought out.

Anonymous said...

Andy: The Bishop is a welcome Christian brother of many. That he is not yours is to be lamented. I hope you will have an opportunity to know him better.

Scout

Anonymous said...

RE: Scout @ 8:21PM

"I hope you will have an opportunity to know him better".

It's highly unlikely that Andy Powell+ will have an opportunity to get to know the Bishop better, b/c (based on his un-circumspect comments above) I strongly suspect he lives somewhere far away from Northern Virginia. His willingness to attack the actions of Rev. Baucum (a fellow conservative Anglican minister) on a blog (I am assuming that Andy Powell+ has accurately identified himself) from miles and miles away does not reflect well on him.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous--You are correct in assuming that I do not live in Northern Virginia at present. I am a priest in the Diocese of Ft. Worth, TX. Nevertheless, I lived in Northern Virginia for 15 years, worshipped at one of the now departing Anglican congregations, and have many close friends there, some of whom attend Truro (including Baby Blue). As a concerned and informed Anglican, and as priest, I have the right and the duty to speak out on these issues and I will continue to do so. My comments may or may not have been "un-circumspect", but at least I'm willing to put my name to them and not hide behind a pseudonym like "anonymous."

Andy Powell+_

Anonymous said...

Andy Powell+ -

I have no obligation (moral or otherwise) or interest in attaching my name to the occasional message I might post on a blog. In fact, doing so would be foolish in the extreme for any number of practical reasons. Your inference that it is some sort of moral failing on my part to not provide identifying personal information on a public message board further reveals your lack of considered thought and circumspection.

Anonymous said...

names are not as important as the content of the comment. If I were as enterprising as BB and maintained my own site, I would require commenters to withhold their real names. It is a distraction. Would Anon's (@1107 and 1708) comments be more or less compelling if he/she attached his name? Would Andy Powell's comment be less revealing if he offered it anonymously?

Scout

Anonymous said...

Andy Powell+ -

BTW - How did your conversation with Rev. Baucum resolve itself? Or did your judgmental attack of his (and the vestry's) actions only occur in cyberspace?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous--Are you offering me unsolicited advice about contacting Tory Baucum directly? It would be "un-circumspect" for me to take advice from anonymous commentators on a blog.

Andy+

Daniel Weir said...

When I, a priest in TEC, began teaching at a Roman Catholic high school, I spent some time considering what was of value in traditions which weren't mine and with which I had some serious disagreements. I found it to be a valuable exercise and I think that it helped me to become more irenic in discussions with those with whom I disagree. Years earlier my spiritual director suggested that I would only enter heaven arm in arm with my enemy. I cannot know if my enemies will be in heaven, but I will have to ready to rejoice with them there or find that my self-righteous pride keeps me from the banquet.

Anonymous said...

Andy Powell+ -

I am as puzzled by your post at 7:13 as I am by the habitually petty and intermperate demeanor you present as an example of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Scout - when you say "Perhaps we can reverse this course of schism, separation..." are you saying you (or TEC) intends to return to Roman Catholicism??

Anonymous said...

It would take someone with a great, undisciplined imagination to extract that from my comment. The Reformation was unfortunate, but necessary. However, most Christians hope for more, as opposed to less, unity in the Church of Christ. As flawed, weak and stupid humans, we have an innate tendency to immerse ourselves in imagined differences that result in separation. This is not just a religious statement, but a statement that has some validity across a broad range of human activity. The plethora of Christian sects, denominations, etc. is indicative of humans' built-in capacity to atomize, rather than to coalesce. Screwtape rejoices.

But, to answer your question, yes, I hope to return to one universal Christian church. To do so, I think I will have to accept that there may a Christian or two that has a somewhat different view than I on this or that point. I'm ready to do that.

Scout