Friday, November 30, 2007

Time will Tell: Commentary on the Secret Eucharist

Okay, here's the deal. This is what concerns me about the so-called "secret" Eucharist the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is reported by the London Times to have preached and presided at recently here.

1. That it was exclusive. When I was in my confirmation classes taught by John W. Howe back in the mid-1980s I was taught that worship services are open - even weddings. They are "worship" services and the point is to worship who? Not one another. They aren't meant to be forums for the community (I guess that's afterward over coffee). They are meant to be for worship and if someone wants to come to a worship service (yes, this even includes baptisms), they are welcome. The door is open.

Apparently, this was not the case with this exclusive Eucharist, according to the London Times (we have yet to see a statement from Canterbury - or even Jim Rosenthall - more on him in a moment). This was by invitation-only Eucharist that was meant, apparently, to be part of the "listening process" for Rowan Williams. So just exactly who was he listening to? It does not appear that the service was about worshiping Jesus (remember Him?) but on engaging in some sort of exclusive gathering of grievances. Well, we're not sure that can be called a Eucharist. And it was not open to all. It's like holding a Dyslexia Eucharist. One can sort of imagine what that might be like - but why would you want to put on non-inclusive so-called worship services, unless it's for another reason entirely?

2. That it was a Political Event. One of the things we've learned is that Eucharists can be turned into political events. Attending one of these Political Eucharists again turns the attention away from the subject of the worship to those who are worshiping. The event itself - and participating in it - becomes a political statement. Again, as said before, there is an exclusive-aspect to these Political Eucharists, again focusing on those who attend rather than focusing on the risen Lord (remember Him?). The statement in attending a Political Eucharist is that the courageous ones are there while the ignorant or unenlightened are outside the gates, or in this case, outside the door. Or at home doing laundry.

The Political Eucharists often modify the liturgy to suit the political cause and turns it into a service of initiation. Also, the "sermon" becomes a focus to assert the political cause over the preaching of the Word. The meaning of the Eucharist also changes to signal more of an initiation into the political cause and not as sinners saved by grace. It's a club.

3. That it was an Open Secret. Despite what the London Times wrote, it was not a secret. It reminded me of when I lived on West Granby Road, Connecticut as a child - there was something called "the Secret Path." It ran behind all the houses and of course, everyone knew about it. That is, everyone who lived there knew about it. People driving by on the highway didn't know about it and didn't know they didn't know about it because they never thought to ask. Still, all those that lived along West Granby Road may have known about it and we all called it "the Secret Path."

That's what this appears to be. It's meant to have the illusion of secrecy, but it isn't really a secret. A person just needs to care to know - and that goes back to the idea that it is an initiation into an exclusive club. And what are the Entry Fees to be invited? Well, it's not by having dyslexia.

4. Jim Rosenthall. StandFirm learned that once their original secret hiding place was revealed they moved over to this place - and guess who offers the new space? Why, the new space is where Canon Rosenthall now performs his newly-minted deacon services. Funny how that happens. Jim Rosenthall has a way of popping up in the most interesting places and he continues to say - or people mistakenly believe - that he speaks for Canterbury. Actually, he oversees the Anglican Communion news service (wild that some thing that Katharine Jefferts Schori calls a dream and David Booth Beers calls a theory has a news service, but there we are). The lines become quite blurred when the American (yep, he's still American) Rosenthall is around. Is it the AAC? Well, there's Jim Rosenthall. Is it the Anglican Communion? Well, there's Jim Rosenthall. Is it the Lambeth Conference? Well, there's Jim Rosenthall. Is it the Archbishop of Canterbury? Well, there's Jim Rosenthall. In fact, I saw him lurking about the National Cathedral at Katharine Jeffert Schori's investiture, so perhaps he knows a thing or two about 815 as well. The official websites of the ACC/ACO and 815 look strikingly similar. One could make the case that all roads lead to Rosenthall.

But just for the record, Jim Rosenthall does not speak for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not officially - off the record perhaps. Neither does this guy. The official job goes to Jonathon Jennings. Where ever he is.

That we've learned that Rosenthall is involved with the organizational logistics of the "Secret Eucharist" and that the London Times has all the info, well, shouldn't we recognize that this is a strategic decision to engage in Rowan Williams in this political event? If so, why?

The obvious reason is that Rowan supports this stuff and now we know.

But could it be also that he's gone to prepare this group for the coming Advent Letter?

Time will tell. One way or the other.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More from the Court Room: Testimony on the Diocese of Virginia's unanimous report that it was at a "Level Five Conflict"

BB NOTE: More from Day Two of the trial in Fairfax Circuit Court. This is testimony from one of the members of the Diocese of Virginia's Reconciliation Commission, a commission who's members were appointed by Bishop Lee of the Diocese of Virginia following General Convention 2003. In 2005 the Commission released a unanimous report that admitted that the Diocese was suffering from a "Level Five Conflict" - or the highest decree of conflict. Here Dr. Paul Julienne testifies on that conflict. Mr. Peterson is an attorney for the CANA Churches and Ms. Zinsner is an attorney for the TEC/Diocese.

19 Q Could you take a look through that and tell

20 me what that is?

21 A This is the final statement that the

22 Reconciliation issued, and dated January 14th, 2005.


1 And the statement was given to each of the delegates'

2 participants in the 2005 Annual Diocesan Council.

3 MR. PETERSON: Your Honor, I'd move for

4 admission of Exhibit 15 at this time.

5 MS. ZINSNER: We object on the thicket

6 grounds. This document is rife with religious

7 controversy. There's discussion of all of the things

8 we briefed in our thicket brief.

9 THE COURT: Okay. Well, why don't you

10 explain then, Mr. Peterson, why you're seeking the

11 admission of this document.

12 MR. PETERSON: If you would like me to,

13 I would be happy to. The reason we're seeking the

14 admission of this document is that the Reconciliation

15 Commission was set up by members of the Diocese of

16 Virginia appointed by Bishop Lee. Their goal was to

17 find ways to try and unify and bring together the

18 congregations and heal the issues that came out of the

19 2003 General Convention.

20 What happened was something very

21 different. And if I can walk you through the report,

22 I'm going to ask him about specific statements or


1 specific findings by the Reconciliation Commission

2 which did, in our view, anything but find a way to

3 unify the Diocese of Virginia.

4 THE COURT: Explain to me how that's

5 relevant to the issue of division in this litigation.

6 MR. PETERSON: I think it's relevant

7 because it shows the division occurring, and the

8 reason and the rationale and what happened with

9 respect to really this Diocese breaking apart.

10 And I think we can show it in

11 non-secular terms without going into the religious

12 thicket.

13 If you allow me to go into the specific

14 findings of that Commission, they're basically, in our

15 view, saying we think we're going to be walking apart

16 and breaking apart.

17 And we don't have to go into the

18 specific issues of why that is, but the fact that they

19 recognized it I think is sufficient to show that

20 there's been a division within the Diocese.

21 THE COURT: All right. Well, I'm going

22 to take under advisement the admission of the


1 document, but you can go ahead and go through the

2 document with him. And at the conclusion, you can

3 offer the document again, and I'll make a decision at

4 that point.



7 Q Can you tell me whether the Reconciliation

8 Commission's report was issued unanimously or not?

9 A The Reconciliation Commission operating on a

10 principle of consensus. While we respected one

11 another's opinion, the final report was one which I

12 would consider to be unanimous in that everyone on the

13 Commission had an opportunity to see it, and object to

14 particular terminology if they didn't like it, and

15 revise it.

16 In fact, that happened a number of cases. So we

17 revised the document and it was a unanimous, agreed to

18 consensus document.

19 Q The final product was.

20 A The final product was, yes. The final

21 product was an agreed document.

22 Q Do you believe that the Reconciliation


1 Commission's unanimous report found ways to promote

2 unity or maintain unity in the Diocese?

3 MS. ZINSNER: Object to the

4 characterization, your Honor.

5 THE COURT: Overruled.

6 A So I can answer that?

7 Q You can.

8 A Yes, okay. I think we made some

9 recommendations that would help to lower the rather

10 intense level of conflict in the Diocese.

11 Q All right. Well, let me ask you about the

12 specific findings of this unanimous report. Take a

13 look at Page 1, Column 1 and the second paragraph.

14 THE COURT: Excuse me. Do you have a

15 copy of the report? By the time I find it in these

16 seven volumes, we'll be at lunch.

17 MR. PETERSON: Yes. And if you can

18 give me a second, I'll find that for you. If I may

19 approach?

20 THE COURT: All right.

21 Q If you take a look at what would be Page 1,

22 Column 1, the second paragraph. It quotes it as the


1 use of the term "bitter divisions".

2 Can you tell me what the Reconciliation

3 Commission's unanimous report meant by "bitter

4 divisions"?

5 A Probably the best way to answer that would

6 simply be to read the rest of the sentence in the

7 report which says, "a bitter division in parts of our

8 Diocese that have arisen in response to these

9 decisions of the 74th General Convention of the

10 Episcopal Church and the continuing controversies they

11 have engendered."

12 Q What specifically, though, did it mean? Was

13 it referring to the events of the 2003 General

14 Convention?

15 A It was referring to the events of the 2003

16 General Convention, the Episcopal Church through the

17 consecration of Bishop Robinson in November of 2003.

18 Q And if I asked this, I apologize. But

19 Bishop Peter Lee is the Bishop of the Diocese of

20 Virginia?

21 A Yes, he is.

22 Q Do you know whether he voted to consent to


1 the election of Gene Robinson at the 2003 General

2 Convention?

3 A Yes, he did support it.

4 Q I want to direct your attention to

5 additional language in the unanimous Reconciliation

6 Commission report.

7 Page 1, Column 2, second paragraph. I don't have

8 a complete copy in front of me. I've given you and

9 Judge Bellows my last set. But it says -- asks, "Can

10 we continue to live together?"

11 What was the Reconciliation Commission -- what

12 was it referring to when it said "we"?

13 A "We" was referring to, at least the way I

14 would understand it, was referring both to us on the

15 Commission and our parishes in the Diocese that we

16 represent.

17 Q Dropping down to the next paragraph it

18 states, "We understand from some of those among us

19 that the answer may ultimately be no and that, in this

20 case, there must be provision for an amicable

21 divorce."

22 What did the Reconciliation Commission mean by,


1 "making provisions for an amicable divorce?"

2 A Well, we could certainly see the handwriting

3 on the wall in other parts around the country and what

4 was going on in the Anglican Communion that there

5 might conceivably be a need to separate from the

6 Diocese at some point. And if that were ever to

7 happen, that this should be done in an amicable way.

8 Of course, in 2004 we didn't know what the future

9 would hold, and the Reconciliation Commission didn't

10 pursue that line at this point but --

11 Q Did the Reconciliation Commission attempt to

12 characterize the level of differences in the Diocese?

13 A Yes, we did. One of our members actually

14 came up with a secular conflict model of that which we

15 all found very helpful.

16 Q Right. Following up on that, if you can

17 take a look at bottom of Page 2, second column, and

18 carrying over to Page 3 of the first full column.

19 Would you mind reading that? I apologize. I don't it

20 don't have a full copy in front of me.

21 A All right. This is starting at the third

22 line from the bottom on Page 2 of 12; is that correct?


1 Q Third line from the bottom on Page 2, yes.

2 A All right. "The reality that we face is

3 that within our Diocese, our Church and our Communion,

4 as within the Reconciliation Commission itself, our

5 people and communities who are still in conflict over

6 the events that occurred in August, 2003 at the 74th

7 General Convention. We note that there has been

8 little significant reconciliation and that many in the

9 church are struck in a "Level 5 conflict"," and then a

10 parenthetic clarification of that on the part of the

11 Commission. "A Level 5 conflict is one where

12 "individuals have firmly committed themselves to a

13 particular commission, the outcome can only be defined

14 in terms of win, lose or compromise. Each disputant

15 attempts not only to increase the effectiveness of his

16 argument and his power in this situation, but also to

17 undermine the influence of those who oppose him." Per

18 "Management of Differences," that's a title, "by

19 Warren Schmidt and Robin Tanenbaum originally

20 published in the Harvard Business Review,

21 November/December, 1960."

22 Q And did the Reconciliation Commission


1 unanimously agree that there was a Level 5 conflict in

2 the Diocese?

3 A Yes, I think that's one of the things that

4 we would all agree to without hesitation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Story of the Protocol for Departing Congregations

NOTE: The following is an excerpt from the testimony of the Rev. Dr. John Yates, Rector of The Falls Church, in the Fairfax Circuit Court on Wednesday, Nov. ,2007. It is well worth the read. More of the court documents will be up shortly at the Anglican District of Virginia website here. Stay tuned. I have not had the time to take out the line numbers, so just set those aside as you read. This is the story of the Protocol for Departing Churches in the Diocese of Virginia until the new sheriff arrived.



12 4110 Chain Bridge Road

13 Courtroom 5E

14 Fairfax, Virginia 22030

15 Wednesday, November 14, 2007


7 Q Reverend Yates, in the time period we're

8 talking about, 2004 after the issuance of the Windsor

9 Report, what was happening at the Diocesan level in

10 Virginia regarding these events?

11 A It was about that time that, in the Diocese

12 of Virginia, the Bishop appointed a Reconciliation

13 Commission to give attention to the rising level of

14 concern about these issue that we're talking about.

15 And this Reconciliation Commission, as I

16 understand it, was made up of folks from different

17 perspectives coming together to attempt to find a way

18 through this time for the Diocese.

19 Q To your knowledge, was the establishment of

20 the Reconciliation Commission an attempt to address

21 the divisions in the Diocese of Virginia?

22 A Well, this was around 2004, I believe?


1 Q That's correct.

2 A There were churches leaving around the

3 country. There was concern about this in the Diocese

4 of Virginia. And so there was a recognition that such

5 strong feelings were held on this that opinions were

6 not likely to change, and there was concern that this

7 would lead to churches leaving the Episcopal Church

8 and leaving the Diocese.

9 Q And after the Reconciliation Commission

10 issued its report, what occurred at that point?

11 A You know, we've had so much going on, it's

12 hard to keep straight exactly what happened when.

13 But I believe the report was issued in January of

14 2005, I think. And not long after that, various ones

15 of us, clergy, had private meetings, group meetings

16 with the Bishop expressing concern about this.

17 And in September of 2005, I Chaired a group of

18 about 25 clergy that met for an afternoon with Bishop

19 Lee. We wanted to -- we wanted to be sure that he

20 understood the extremely high level of intensity that

21 we were experiencing in our churches over these

22 issues.


1 Members were leaving our churches, a number had

2 left, others were saying that they were going to

3 leave. Many people were talking about churches

4 leaving the Episcopal Church at that point, and our

5 concern was that we wanted to be sure that Bishop Lee

6 really understood the seriousness of the level of

7 concern that we were all dealing with pastorally in

8 our parishes.

9 Q Can you recall any of the other clergy

10 members who met with you and Bishop Lee in September

11 of 2005?

12 A Yes. I don't have a list with me, but I

13 could remember several who were there.

14 Q And who do you recall being there?

15 A Martyn Minns from Truro; John Guernsey;

16 David Harper; I believe Robin Ralph from Epiphany

17 Church was there; Nicholas Lubbefeld; I believe David

18 Jones from Haymarket. If you really pushed me, I

19 could probably come up with some more.

20 Q I think that's sufficient.

21 A There were about 25 there, almost all

22 Rectors.


1 Q Did those clergy share your concerns that

2 were being expressed to Bishop Lee?

3 A Yes, they did. And they were given an

4 opportunity to express their concerns, and the height

5 of emotion was quite moving at that meeting.

6 Q And what was the result of the meeting in

7 September of 2005 with these clergy and Bishop Lee?

8 A Well, on behalf of the group, I made a

9 request of Bishop Lee asking if he would appoint a

10 special diocesan committee to give attention to this

11 rising threat of division in the Diocese. I knew that

12 Rectors were talking about -- some Rectors were

13 talking about the possibility of leaving the Episcopal

14 Church.

15 There had been a number of most unfortunate

16 developments within the denomination around the

17 country where groups of churches and individual

18 churches had begun to take steps to leave the

19 Episcopal Church, and the result had been unfortunate

20 publicity, ungentlemen-like behavior, unChrist-like

21 developments.

22 We've always had a great concern in Virginia that


1 when we had to deal with difficult differences, we

2 dealt with them in a way that would be pleasing to

3 Christ. We felt that attention needed to be given to

4 the possibility that some churches would leave. We

5 did not want this to be an occasion for criticism for

6 the cause of Christ in Virginia. We did not want it

7 to lead to lawsuits. We did not want it to lead to

8 difficult public confrontations.

9 Q And did that committee have a name? Did

10 that take on a name?

11 A It came to be known as the Special

12 Committee.

13 Q And that was, I believe you testified, was

14 established by Bishop Lee, correct?

15 A Yes, that's right.

16 Q And who was on the Special Committee?

17 A Bishop Lee appointed Russell Palmore, who is

18 the Chancellor of the Diocese of Virginia; Carolyn

19 Parkinson, a Rector from the Plains; and Andrew

20 Merrow, a Rector from Arlington.

21 And he asked me to choose three people to serve

22 on the Committee, as well. And I asked Hugo


1 Blankenship, Former Chancellor of the Diocese of

2 Virginia, from Fairfax; I asked Tom Yates, a former

3 Vestry member of Truro Church; and I asked a number of

4 other clergy if they would serve, and they all told me

5 that they thought I should serve. And so I

6 volunteered myself as the third member of our group.

7 So there were a total of six of us; three that I

8 chose, three that the Bishop chose.

9 Q Reverend Yates, will you please describe for

10 the Court the work of the Special Committee?

11 A We began to meet, I believe, before the end

12 of that year. And we met, the six of us, every three

13 to five weeks from December of 2005 through September

14 of 2006.

15 Q And was the Special Committee tasked with a

16 particular assignment or assignments?

17 A Yes. Yes, we were.

18 Q And what were those?

19 A There were really two tasks before us. We

20 were seeking to discern in what ways we could maintain

21 a sense of common mission in our time of division, and

22 we were also seeking to discern if there was a way


1 that, should a church seek -- should a church decide

2 that they wanted to leave the Episcopal Church, we

3 were trying to discern a way in which that decision

4 could be reached and that step could be taken that

5 would be done in a fair way that was reasonable and

6 would be acceptable to all those involved.

7 Q And who provided these tasks to the Special

8 Committee?

9 A Bishop Lee.

10 Q Reverend Yates, at some point the Special

11 Committee completed its work; is that right?

12 A Yes. We completed our work in, if I

13 remember right, it was in August of that year. And we

14 asked for a meeting with Bishop Lee. That meeting

15 took place in mid-September.

16 Q And that would be which year, Reverend

17 Yates?

18 A 2006.

19 Q So just to get the timeframe correct. The

20 meeting and the request to establish this Special

21 Committee was in September of 2005, correct?

22 A That's right.


1 Q And then shortly thereafter the Committee

2 was established.

3 A And began to meet.

4 Q And about a year later --

5 A Yes.

6 Q -- finished its work. Thank you. I'd like

7 you to turn in your book, Reverend Yates, to

8 Exhibit 67, please.

9 MR. FARQUHARSON: Your Honor, may I

10 approach to help him find it?

11 THE COURT: Yes.

12 MR. FARQUHARSON: Thank you. Maybe we

13 can use what's on the screen.

14 Q Reverend Yates, it's a little bit tight

15 there on the screen, but can you make that out?

16 A Yes.

17 Q Okay. Can you tell the Court what

18 Exhibit 67 is, please?

19 A This is the Special Committee Members'

20 report dated September 23rd, 2006. If I remember

21 correctly, this -- if I remember correctly, this was a

22 draft, and I believe that we met with the Bishop a few


1 days later, and I think perhaps the report we gave him

2 was dated three days after this. It might have been

3 slightly different, but I don't remember.

4 Q Reverend Yates, do you recall how Exhibit 67

5 came to be drafted?

6 A Yes. During the summer of that year, we

7 were seeking to come up with a recommendation, and

8 various members would put pen to paper and offer

9 possible approaches.

10 And towards the end of the summer our Chairman,

11 Russell Palmore, brought these thoughts together and

12 he wrote -- he put together this final report.

13 Q Was there a chief or lead author of

14 Exhibit 67?

15 A Yes. Mr. Palmore was the lead author.

16 Q Was the Committee given an opportunity to

17 make changes or revisions to the Special Committee

18 report that was circulated on September 23, 2006 prior

19 to its submission to Bishop Lee on September 28th,

20 2006?

21 A Yes.

22 Q Reverend Yates, can I direct your attention


1 to the first paragraph of Exhibit 67?

2 A Yes.

3 Q And the one that begins with, "We are the

4 six members." Do you see that?

5 A Yes.

6 Q Can you read that please for the Court?

7 A "We are the six members of the Diocese of

8 Virginia serving on a Special Committee to help

9 reconcile the divisions within our Diocese. The

10 members of the team appointed by the Bishop of

11 Virginia, Peter James Lee, are comprised of three

12 laity and three presbyters. We have been charged with

13 helping congregations continuing in conflict over the

14 decisions of the 2003 General Convention get on with

15 their mission in as close a union as possible with the

16 Diocese."

17 Q Do you have an understanding as to what the

18 meaning or purpose of that paragraph was in the report

19 identified as Exhibit 67?

20 A Yes. I think it was an effort to say that

21 we are now in a time of serious division, and we want

22 to do everything we can to continue working together,


1 and we want to discuss this and see where it leads.

2 Q I direct your attention now to the third

3 paragraph beginning, "During these nine months."

4 A Yes.

5 Q Can you read that paragraph for the Court,

6 please?

7 A "During these nine months, the "bonds of

8 affection" amongst the six of us have deepened

9 significantly. Even as we candidly and regretfully

10 acknowledge that we may be entering a period in the

11 history of the Anglican Communion when we, the Church,

12 the Body of Christ, will be walking the way of the

13 cross together but apart."

14 Q Reverend Yates, was that the sentiment of

15 the entire Committee?

16 A We all agreed to that, yes.

17 Q Let me ask you to turn to the second page of

18 Exhibit 67. Do you see the top of this page? What is

19 the name of this page?

20 A "Protocol for Departing Congregation."

21 Q And what was the purpose for including a

22 protocol for departing congregation in the Special


1 Committee report?

2 A Well, it was clear that there was a

3 possibility that some churches might choose to part

4 from the Episcopal Church. And the desire was to

5 develop a way in which this might take place that

6 would be peaceful, orderly and acceptable to those

7 leaving and those in the Diocese of Virginia.

8 MR. FARQUHARSON: Your Honor, we would

9 offer Exhibit 67 into evidence at this point.

10 MR. SOMERVILLE: I have to object to

11 that, your Honor. This document is replete with

12 religious doctrine. You can't stay out of the thicket

13 and admit this in evidence.

14 MR. FARQUHARSON: Your Honor, I believe

15 the exhibit is admissible for the purpose of showing

16 the status of the division, the understanding by all

17 involved that separation either had taken place or was

18 imminent, and it goes to show that they even had a

19 plan for how congregations could leave.

20 So I think the Court is able to set

21 aside any of the religious statements in the document,

22 which you would fully expect to find in such a


1 document, and consider only those portions that relate

2 to the secular aspects of the congregations and the

3 problems in the Diocese that were resulting in the

4 need for a protocol to separate.

5 THE COURT: Mr. Somerville, let me ask

6 you a question. Can you turn back to the first page

7 on -- I'm not asking you, Mr. Farquharson, but can you

8 turn back to the first page and blow it up a bit?

9 Mr. Somerville, there's a line in here,

10 for example, which says -- it's not a specific line,

11 but it does describe a separation within the Diocese.

12 Wouldn't you agree with that?

13 MR. SOMERVILLE: No, your Honor. And I

14 do expect to examine the witness on that question.

15 THE COURT: Let me ask you this. Would

16 you agree that one of the issues before me is whether

17 there is a division within the Episcopal Church?

18 MR. SOMERVILLE: Yes, sir.

19 THE COURT: And if there is evidence

20 being offered of a Special Committee that is

21 appointed, as I understand it, half by Reverend Yates

22 and half by Bishop Lee, and it expresses a separation


1 within the church, wouldn't that be relevant in the

2 determination as to whether there is a division within

3 the Episcopal Church?

4 MR. SOMERVILLE: Well, this document

5 refers to a division, not to separation. It refers to

6 division. But that does not necessarily mean a

7 division within the meaning of Section 57-9.

8 We heard testimony yesterday of the

9 various meanings of the word division, and this

10 witness has not yet been asked what was meant by the

11 word division in this document.

12 THE COURT: Well, the term protocol for

13 departing congregation, doesn't that suggest that what

14 is contemplated is a separation? It may not use the

15 word separation, it may use the word separation, I

16 haven't read it word for word yet, but it's referring

17 to the possibility of churches departing from the

18 Diocese.

19 MR. SOMERVILLE: Yes. On a looking

20 forward basis. It anticipates the possibility of

21 separation, I agree with that.

22 THE COURT: And why would that not be


1 relevant to this Court's determination as to whether

2 there was a division?

3 This is a document, as I understand it,

4 that was created by a committee appointed jointly by

5 both the Diocese and a church representative who is a

6 party to these proceedings.

7 MR. SOMERVILLE: The objection, your

8 Honor, is not that it's irrelevant, it's that it is so

9 replete with religious dogma doctrine theology that

10 it's improper to take it into account in the

11 resolution of civil property disputes.

12 THE COURT: Well, objection is

13 overruled. Document will be admitted.

14 (CANA Congregations Exhibit 67 received into

15 evidence.)


17 Q Reverend Yates, at the time that the Special

18 Committee issued Exhibit 67, the September 23 draft,

19 had congregations in the Diocese left?

20 A That would have been late September, 2006.

21 Yeah, I'm not sure about that. I believe a

22 congregation left soon after that. I don't remember


1 exactly when that was.

2 Q Do you recall any congregations leaving in

3 2005?

4 A Well, are you asking about throughout the

5 Episcopal Church or just in the Diocese of Virginia?

6 Q Both.

7 A I believe there were a number of churches in

8 the Episcopal Church that had left the Episcopal

9 Church by September of 2006. There was a group in

10 California, there was a group in Connecticut, many

11 individual churches had left, as well. Of course a

12 number had left in the year 2000 with the Anglican

13 Mission of America.

14 Q Thank you. Can you look at Exhibit 126,

15 please? And Reverend Yates, we're going to have to

16 ask you to look at that electronically, please.

17 Reverend Yates, I believe you testified that

18 Exhibit 67 was a draft that members of the Committee

19 had an opportunity to comment on prior to the final

20 draft, which you thought issued a few days later.

21 I'm asking you to look at Exhibit 126 and tell

22 the Court if Exhibit 126 is the final document that


1 you were referencing in your prior testimony.

2 A Yes, it looks like it.

3 Q Okay. And to whom is the report addressed?

4 A To the Right Reverend Peter J. Lee.

5 Q And what is the date on the report?

6 A September 28, 2006.

7 Q I'd like you to look at the first paragraph

8 of Exhibit 126, please.

9 A Yes.

10 Q I'd like you to read the first -- let's just

11 start and see if we can do just the first sentence of

12 that paragraph to see --

13 A "We are the six members of the Diocese of

14 Virginia serving on a Special Committee to help

15 reconcile the divisions within our Diocese."

16 Q And is it your -- let me ask it this way.

17 Were there any changes to that sentence from the draft

18 to the final report?

19 A I'm not aware of any.

20 Q And let me ask you to turn to Page 2 of

21 Exhibit 126. And it is also titled, "Protocol for

22 Departing Congregation," correct?


1 A Yes.

2 Q And were there any changes to that part of

3 the document prior to the final issuance of it?

4 A I'm not aware, Paul, if there are.

5 Q Let me ask you to read the first paragraph

6 of the second page under, "Protocol for Departing

7 Congregation."

8 A "After nine meetings spanning nine months

9 the Committee believes for some members of the Diocese

10 separation from the Diocese and the Episcopal Church

11 is increasingly likely. Accordingly, with a view

12 toward prudence and stewardship the Committee offers

13 the following protocol to departing members including

14 concomitant issues concerning real and personal

15 property."

16 Q Thank you. And to your knowledge, no

17 changes were made during this revision period to that

18 portion of the, "Protocol for Departing Congregation,"

19 correct?

20 A All I remember is that we were given the

21 opportunity to make changes. I don't recall if any

22 changes were made.


1 Q Thank you.

2 MR. FARQUHARSON: Your Honor, we would

3 offer Exhibit 126 as the final report from the

4 Committee.

5 MR. SOMERVILLE: Same objection.

6 THE COURT: All right. It will be

7 admitted.

8 (CANA Congregations Exhibit 126 received into

9 evidence.)


11 Q Reverend Yates, after the final report of

12 the Special Committee was provided to Bishop Lee, what

13 happened next with respect to the Special Committee?

14 A That was the end of the work of the Special

15 Committee. We gave the report to Bishop Lee, he

16 accepted it and said he would distribute it to the

17 Diocese, and a number of churches entered into a

18 period of discernment about this matter.

19 Q Did Bishop Lee acknowledge or say anything

20 regarding the final report?

21 A Yes, he did. When we met that day in

22 Fredericksburg and gave him the report, he received it


1 I would say with resignation, but he received it and

2 he said, "Yes, this is a way forward, and I will

3 present this to the Diocese."

4 Q Reverend Yates, I think you got just a

5 little bit ahead of me. You did say that some

6 congregations engaged in a period of discernment after

7 the issuance of the Special Committee report, correct?

8 A Yes.

9 Q Was the Falls Church one of those?

10 A Yes.

11 Q Were there other congregations?

12 A There were a number of congregations that

13 engaged in the sort of discernment process that was

14 described in the protocol.

15 Q To your knowledge, was the Falls Church and

16 the other congregations, were they following the steps

17 outlined in the protocol?

18 A Yes.

19 Q And the other congregations that you

20 referred to, are they the CANA Congregations?

21 A Yes.

22 Q Were there others entering this discernment


1 process pursuant to the protocol that were not members

2 of the CANA Congregation, to your knowledge?

3 A There may have been. I don't remember.

4 Q Reverend Yates, with respect to the Falls

5 Church, did the Vestry take any steps in November with

6 respect to the protocol?

7 A Yes. After the Vestry and congregation had

8 participated in an extended period of discernment,

9 meetings, study, prayer, the Vestry of the Falls

10 Church recommended to the congregation that we

11 separate from the Episcopal Church and join the

12 Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

13 Q And did the Falls Church at that point

14 arrange for a vote to be taken?

15 A Yes. The Vestry set aside a period about

16 three weeks later than that in which the congregation

17 was invited to express their opinion about this

18 matter.

19 Q Now, as part of the protocol, did the

20 Diocese have any role in the -- either the discernment

21 process, or the election, or the runup to the

22 election?


1 A Yes. A part of the understanding was that

2 each congregation would hear from Peter Lee or his

3 representatives or documents that he felt would be

4 helpful to us.

5 And we received at Falls Church two

6 representatives of Bishop Lee who addressed the

7 congregation at some length on a Sunday morning prior

8 to our vote.

9 Q Did Bishop Lee send either the Falls Church

10 or members of the Falls Church any correspondence in

11 December?

12 A There was a letter, I believe, sent by

13 Bishop Lee to members of all churches that were in a

14 period of discernment in which he asked us to consider

15 very carefully the decisions that we were about to

16 make.

17 Q Can we bring up CANA Exhibit No. 68, please?

18 And again, Reverend Yates, I'm going to beg your

19 patience with us so you can see it on the screen

20 rather than dig through the binders there.

21 This is a letter on Diocese of Virginia

22 letterhead dated December 6, 2006 that's been marked


1 as Exhibit 68. And it appears to be signed by Bishop

2 Lee. Is this the letter to which you were referring?

3 A Yes, this is the letter.

4 Q And did you receive this letter?

5 A I did.

6 Q I'd like to draw your attention, Reverend

7 Yates, to the second to last paragraph. I think we're

8 going to get some help blowing that up.

9 A Yes.

10 Q Can you read that for the Court, please?

11 A Yes. "American Christianity has been

12 punctuated over the years by frequent divisions with

13 one group choosing to separate because they believe

14 the separated group might be more pure than their

15 former identity. This has not been characteristic of

16 the way we Anglicans have dealt with differences."

17 Q Reverend Yates, did you have an

18 understanding based on all of the time you had spent

19 and the work that you had done on the standing -- on

20 the Special Committee, excuse me, as to what that

21 paragraph meant?

22 A Yes.


1 Q And what is your understanding of what that

2 paragraph meant?

3 A Well, I saw it as in response to the work of

4 the Special Committee and the fact that there had been

5 churches separating from the Episcopal Church around

6 the country, and he was acknowledging that this is

7 happening, and it had happened in our Diocese, and he

8 was hopeful that there would be no more division.

9 Q And by division, what do you mean?

10 A A congregation leaving the Episcopal Church

11 and joining some other body.

12 MR. FARQUHARSON: Your Honor, we would

13 offer Exhibit 68 at this point.

14 THE COURT: Any objection?

15 MR. SOMERVILLE: No, sir.

16 THE COURT: All right. 68 is in.

17 (CANA Congregations Exhibit 68 received into

18 evidence.)


20 Q Reverend Yates, after you received the

21 letter from Bishop Lee in early December, Exhibit 68,

22 did you have any further communications with Bishop


1 Lee in December?

2 A Yes. Shortly after that letter was sent, I

3 had a meeting with Bishop Lee. If I remember right,

4 the Standing Committee of the Diocese asked to meet

5 with the Rectors and Wardens of churches that were in

6 a period of discernment that had announced they were

7 going to have a vote about staying or departing.

8 And we had a meeting in Fredericksburg with the

9 Standing Committee of the Diocese. I believe it was

10 December 7th. And at the end of the afternoon, Bishop

11 Lee joined us and met with us as a group, and then I

12 and some of the other clergy present met with Bishop

13 Lee privately.

14 Q What was the topic of the conversation with

15 Bishop Lee?

16 A Well, he wanted to express his hope that we

17 would not take this step, that he disagreed with what

18 we were about, and that he communicated to us that

19 there was some changes in the environment by that

20 time. He told us that since the work of the Special

21 Committee had been completed, that a new Presiding

22 Bishop of the Episcopal Church had been installed, and


1 that the new administration brought in a rather

2 different view about division.

3 The former Presiding Bishop had said that in

4 matters of division of churches leaving Diocese, that

5 was going to be left up to the Bishop. But now it was

6 going to be -- it was going to become a matter of

7 concern to the national church. The Bishop said

8 there's a new sheriff in town, the situation is

9 different.

10 MR. ANDERSON: Objection, your Honor.

11 That's hearsay.

12 THE COURT: Well, these are statements

13 by Bishop Lee; is that not correct?

14 MR. FARQUHARSON: That is.

15 MR. ANDERSON: Statements partly by

16 Bishop Lee about what the various Presiding Bishops of

17 the Episcopal Church had said.

18 THE COURT: Well, first of all, a

19 statement by Bishop Lee would come in as party

20 admissions, wouldn't they? Miss Anderson?

21 MR. ANDERSON: I think that's fair.

22 THE COURT: So they come in as party


1 admissions. And what I heard in the testimony was not

2 that Bishop Lee was quoting somebody else, but what

3 his expectation was based on the presence of a new

4 Bishop. So the objection is overruled.


6 Q Were you concerned, Reverend Yates, after

7 that meeting with Bishop Lee that litigation would

8 ensue?

9 A I was very concerned. Bishop Lee said we

10 could expect litigation. This was a total departure

11 from the tenor of our meetings over the last year. It

12 was totally unexpected.

13 Q Now, your testimony, Reverend Yates, was

14 that the meeting occurred on or about December 7th of

15 2006. When was the Falls Church vote scheduled to

16 take place?

17 A I believe it was about the 10th of December.

18 I believe we began the voting on December 10th.

19 Q So it was after the meeting with the Bishop?

20 A Yes.

21 Q And did the vote proceed?

22 A It proceeded as planned.


1 Q How did the congregation vote?

2 A About 90 percent of the congregation voted

3 to leave the Episcopal Church and affiliate with the

4 Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

5 MR. FARQUHARSON: I have no further

6 questions, your Honor. Thank you, Reverend Yates.

The Primates return vote of no confidence in The Episcopal Church

George Conger reporting:

The Primates have returned a vote of no confidence in the Episcopal Church. Lambeth Palace reports that a majority of primates have rejected the conclusions of the ACC/Primates Joint Standing Committee (JSC), and have told the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams the Episcopal Church has failed, in whole or in part, to honor the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué.

The majority rejection of the JSC report comes as a blow to Dr. Williams’ hopes to avert a showdown between the liberal and conservative wings of the Communion. It also marks an unprecedented repudiation of the competence and judgment of the central apparatus of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Following the publication of the positive assessment by the JSC of the actions of the New Orleans meeting of the US House of Bishops, Dr. Williams wrote to the primates asking “How far is your Province able to accept the JSC Report assessment that the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops have responded positively to the requests of the Windsor Report and those made by the Primates in their Communiqué at the end of their meeting in Dar es Salaam?”

Of the 38 primates, including the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, Lambeth Palace reported it had received 26 responses, and no reply from 12. Of the 26, 12 stated they could accept the JSC’s findings, 12 stated they rejected the JSC’s findings, while three offered a mixed verdict, and one said it was continuing to review the matter.

Of those who had not responded, three were from Africa, three from the Indian subcontinent, two from Central and South America, and four from other areas. However, based on past statements from the African and South Asian provinces, the majority reporting a mixed or negative response will be increased to roughly a two third’s margin once their views are communicated to London.

Details of who voted how were not released, nor did the summary stand close comparison to the body of the report. While the summary graph reported 10 provinces as not having responded, the paper identified 12 no responses. Twelve provinces were stated to have rejected the report in the summary, while the body of the paper stated this number was 10. Three provinces were listed as having given mixed responses in the summary, while the body of the paper said two provinces had so spoken.

In characterizing the differences between Provinces that accepted and rejected the JSC’s conclusions, the report said “that the former have looked for the spirit of the HoB’s communiqué (and the JSC’s analysis), whilst the latter have looked more closely at their language.”

Dr. Williams’ queries to the individual members of the ACC were inconclusive. Of the 75 members, 13 reported they agreed with the JSC’s conclusions, 8 disagreed, two offered a mixed response, with the remaining members not responding.

Lambeth Palace stated Dr. Williams would offer his views in his Advent letter to the primates.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


PM UPDATE: More here. It's hard to explain the relationship between the Washington Redskins and Washington. The Redskins have been my team since I graduated from high school (before that, it was the Los Angeles Rams but then they moved to Disneyland, I mean Anaheim and I lost interest). But it's been the Skins through the good and the great and the bad and the terrible seasons. I still think there's the Curse of Jack Kent Cook on the "FedEx" Stadium for renaming it after a delivery service rather than the guy who actually built it, but never mind. This morning's news was terribly sad, terribly sad and tragic. And everywhere, on the sidewalks, going down escalators, standing in line at Starbucks, holding on to the bar in the subway train, or riding up and down elevators - over and over you could hear the word "Why?" The grief on Joe Gibb's face is etched in my mind this evening. He had poured so much of himself into this one player and there had been a change - he'd gone from being a selfish kid to a real emerging leader. And then - what? The perplexity on Coach Gibbs faced was matched by thousands of others. I heard there was a big meeting in Annapolis today but from Washington's point of view, at least today, Annapolis might as well have been on the other side of the world. Today it was.

Here's the press conference today with Coach Gibbs and Redskin team owner, Dan Snyder.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And the eighth reason we should all love America ...

Ruth Gledhill hits it out of the park at #8.

Great video choice, too. Thanks, Ruth. And a tip of the tinfoil to DVN.

And following in the same vein, here's yet another one:

I cross the Green Mountain
I sit by the stream
Heaven blazing in my head
I dreamt a monsterous dream
Something came up
Out of the sea
Swept through the land of
The rich and the free

I look into the eyes
of my merciful friend
And then I ask myself
Is this the end?
Memories linger
Sad yet sweet
And I think of the souls in heaven who will be

Alters are burning
The flames far and wide
the fool has crossed over
from the other side
They tip their caps
from the top of the hill
You can feel them come
All brave blood do spill

Along the dim
Atlantic line
The rapper's land
lasts for miles behind
the lights coming foreward
and the streets are broad
all must yield
To the avenging God

The world is old
The world is great
Lessons of life
Can't be learned in a day
I watch and I wait
And I listen while I stand
To the music that comes
from a far better land

Close the eyes
of our Captain
Peace may he know
His long night is done
The great leader is laid low
He was ready to fall
He was quick to defend
Killed outright he was
by his own men

It's the last day's last hour
of the last happy year
I feel that the unknown
The world is so dear
Pride will vanish
And glory will rot
But virtue lives
and cannot be forgot

The bells
of evening have rung
there's blasphemy
on the end of the tongue
Let them say that I walked
in fair nature's light
And that I was loyal
to truth and to right

Serve God and meet your full
Look upward beyond
Beyond the darkness that masks
the surprises of dawn
In the deep green grasses
and the blood stained woods
They never dreamed of surrendering
They fell where they stood

Stars fell over Alabama
And I saw each star
You're walking in dreams
Whoever you are
Chilled as the skies
Keen as the frost
And the ground's froze hard
And the morning is lost

B. Dylan

Saturday, November 24, 2007

There he goes again ...

So the Archbishop of Canterbury is calling America names again. We'd like to say we're shocked, but we're not. It's been the epitome of cool for British intelligentsia to trash American foreign policy since George III made his little speech to the Houses of Parliament in 1775.

It's hardly news that the current Archbishop of Canterbury thinks America is imperialistic if what the London Times says today is true, saying in addition that Rowan Williams also poured scorn on the “chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God’s purpose for humanity.” Right, and who
sings “And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains green?”

We wonder, however, if what is bursting through is not just his frustration at America's efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and the fields of Pennsylvania, but of another imperialistic crisis being thrust upon him from our fair shores.
Imagine if the article in the London Times had been written this way:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that The Episcopal Church wields its power in a way that is worse than the Church of England during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that TEC’s attempt to intervene in dioceses and parishes by “clearing the decks” with a “quick burst of violent action” of litigation had led to “the worst of all worlds”.

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Anglican magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of The Episcopal Church to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation.

He said the crisis was caused not just by TEC’s actions but also by its misguided sense of its own mission. He poured scorn on the “chosen church myth of TEC, meaning that what happens in TEC is very much at the heart of God’s purpose for humanity”.

Williams went beyond his previous critique of the conduct of the decisions of General Convention saying The Episcopal Church had lost the moral high ground since August 2003. He urged it to launch a “generous and intelligent programme of aid directed to the dioceses that have been ravaged; a check on the spiritual exploitation of defeated parishes; a de-litigation of their presence”.

He went on to suggest that the West was fundamentally adrift: “Our modern western definition of humanity is clearly not working very well. There is something about western modernity which really does eat away at the soul.”

Williams suggested TEC’s leadership had broken down: “We have only one global hegemonic power. It is not accumulating territory: it is trying to accumulate influence and control. That’s not working.”

He contrasted it unfavourably with how the Church of England related to Africa. “It is one thing to evangelize a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what the Church of England did — in Africa, for example.

“It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of litigation will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together — Virginia, for example.”

In the interview in Free to Be You & Me, an Anglican lifestyle magazine, Williams makes only mild criticisms of the Anglican Communion. He said the Anglican Communion must acknowledge that its “political solutions were not the most impressive”.

He commends the Anglican practice of praying the hours, which he says allows the remembrance of God to be “built in deeply in their daily rhythm”.

So he can cynically call America names when we do stuff abroad so there will be no more explosions on the Tube Stops at Shepherd's Bush and King's Cross, but he'll never be caught dead out on a battlefield, no sir. But let's see him take leadership on his own battlefield. Can he be so clear to all the American imperialists or just the ones who are willing to put their lives, the fortunes, and their sacred honor on the battlefield so he can continue to sit peacefully in his palace and grant interviews to the press? Let's see him get out of his Anglican foxhole and fix his own problems before he starts pointing the finger at everyone else.

And by the way, who knows where this is located?

SUNDAY UPDATE: Here is the link to the original interview. And there's more in it - especially having to do with Israel - that is very very troubling. More in the comments.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Commentary on "I'm Not There" - He's not there

Director Todd Hayne's film "I'm Not There" which is an unusual look at the life of Bob Dylan has opened. You can read past cafe blog entries (including preview clips) of the film here.

In the Hayne's film, I'm Not There, Bob Dylan is portrayed by six different actors playing seven different Dylans. The clips are dispersed and are not linear. There are elements of this film that are just extraordinary, especially the visual narrative, the photography, the composition of the scenes and set design, costume, and lighting - truly remarkable, but in my opinion, tonight, it misses the mark almost completely - but the fact that it misses the mark is precisely why Dylan remains a substantial figure in American music - and American culture - today.

There is a scene in the film where we are looking down on the Dylan portrayed by actress Cate Blanchett called "Jude." Jude is sitting on the floor in front of a typewriter surround by cutouts from magazines of pictures and stories and they are spread all around the floor as Dylan - I mean Jude - is typing. It's a terrific shot and one that really explains what makes this film great - and what makes this film fly off the rails.

Haynes has filmed interpretations of the elements that marks Dylan's life and he's filmed them brilliantly, but where he misses the mark is that he completely misses the point of Dylan's life. no small deal! It's not his political contribution or his struggle with his political identity or anything really having to do with politics. He made that quite clear when he gave a speech to the the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee in 1964. His journey isn't political - it's spiritual.

The spiritual aspect - though touched on briefly but without any context, as though they might have actually been reporting that Dylan left briefly to go live on Mars - is just completely missing. The "cutouts" are there, but the context is missing. Because the film is so brilliantly filmed, what I want to do is take all the elements that Haynes has put together, spread them all out on the floor as Blanchett's Dylan does and start over. And that may be why the film is good - it's an accurate portrait of one way (told from seven points of view) but still only one way to look at Dylan. All that work and it's still on dimensional.

It misses the mark because it's not seven points of view of seven different realities - hence, six different actors playing seven different Dylans. There is only one reality to Bob Dylan - life and death, or as he put it better "he who is not busy being born is busy dying." Over and over again throughout Dylan's music - from the very beginning - is this spiritual journey of biblical proportions. He is a pilgrim on the trail, he is a modern Pilgrim's Progress. As in Pilgrim's Progress he goes to many lands - including perhaps more than one Slough of Despond - but he is one pilgrim on a journey.

One way we know this to be true and that Haynes has completely - though ironically almost brilliantly - missed the point is that no where in this film (as I can recall, and please correct me if I'm wrong) do we see Johnny Cash.

There is no excuse that anyone can tell the story of Bob Dylan - even in an arthouse film - and leave that man out. It's just impossible. And it reveals that, though perhaps he tried hard, Haynes still missed the point. Cash comes in early (we see him in Don't Look Back in 1966, but he had come into Dylan's life years earlier, at least at one of the Newport Folk Festivals where stories are told that after one of Dylan's early performances at Newport Johnny Cash gave him his own guitar. To tell a story - even a edgy one like Haynes story - and leave out Cash may say more about the filmmaker than it does about the subject.

The elements do appear in the film - however briefly, including the scene from the never-released in the US Dylan film, Renaldo and Clara, where Dylan and Ginsberg go to visit Jack Kerouac's grave and wander about looking at the other gravestones, including one that is a crucifix of Christ. The scene of Ginsberg and Dylan standing at the foot of the crucifix is in the film, but it lacks context. In fact, it's the character of Ginsberg that actually moves the scene more than Dylan (who flippantly asks, "How does it feel?"), Ginsberg's response to the looking at the cross appears far more poignant and then the flippant Dylan. That's not how it appears in the original film and the almost switching of subjects in Haynes film is perhaps inadvertently quite telling.

"I'm Not There" is the sort of film that Dylan fans can watch and then go out afterward and take apart over drinks. It's a remarkable film, very well done, filled with imagery and an extraordinary accurate feel of time and place, especially in the Jude scenes and the earlier "Woody/Dylan" scenes. In fact, the actor playing Woody basically steals the entire film, which is quite a feat for someone so young.

My favorite scene though is the one that was shown in the early released clips, where the Jude/Dylan is riding in a car as Dylan did a lot of in "Don't Look Back" and meets Allen Ginsberg for the first time. It was one of the funnier aspects of the film - but seemed to be lost on most the audience:

The line about "Zimdom" was actually spoken by John Lennon in the famous "taxi ride" film that appeared at the end of another never-officially-released Dylan film, Eat the Document. Haynes comes close to what could have been the real theme of the film (not this film though): Dylan's quest for salvation.

I do not agree with the Haynes view of Dylan, which basically ends almost on the road (or riding the rail) of despair. It misses his humor and replaces it was biting sarcasm (Dylan could be sarcastic, but usually for a reason - as in exposing hypocrisy, even his own). And the spiritual element, the spiritual depth of Dylan's music is just completely ignored in the narrative (though the music is present in the soundtrack which at times is almost a separate narrative all itself and the selections are terrific). This could be the view of the almost-fan, who knows a lot about the particulars of Dylan but doesn't quite get it yet - has not yet gone deeper into the soul but is still fascinated by the look, even the feeling - but not the transformation. Dylan is all about transformation. Haynes assembles all the ingredients - and it does it extremely well - but he seem doesn't seem to know how to mix them together to make the pie. And he leaves some key ingredients out. It might good but it doesn't taste so hot.

There are moments - moments that nearly tease us that he may "go there" but then doesn't. When the Woody/Dylan is in the boxcar with the two old guys riding the rails they share a loaf of bread which they pass around amongst themselves, tearing each piece off as though it was the Eucharist. But the image doesn't go anywhere. Which again, is one of the reasons I wish I could get all the pieces of the film and re-edit the parts. But again, that's why Bob Dylan continues to be such a force in American music and culture. We all continue to try to splice it together and figure out the whole. He won't tell us a darn thing - he says it's in the songs. He finds his religion in the songs. Perhaps he finds his salvation in the songs - in my circles that's called worship.

Dylan is about being a Truth teller. Not different truths - which is sort of what this post-modern view of Dylan attempts to do. Dylan will write that there are different points of view, but there is only Truth - not your truth or my truth or his truth, but just Truth. His fidelity to seeking the Truth, no matter where it might take him, even if he takes a path that leads through thicket of thorns, he will - and does - keep on going. But that journey, the Truth Seeker's journey is missing from this film. It's aimless, which perhaps many of those who seek after Dylan to explain the meaning of life are at times, but Dylan is not - at least, not in his music. It's precisely because he's not been aimless that has gotten him booed at over the years.

Another crucial aspect of Dylan's music and persona has been his humor, which again does not come through in the film. We see earnestness in the beginning in the Woody character, but we never see his deadpan wit. We see sarcasm, plenty of sarcasm - but not his humor which continues even to this day ("I'm no pig without a wig, hope you'll treat me kind"). While the film fortunately does not take itself - or even Dylan - too seriously (in fact, there are times when I wondered if the film itself was drifting into satire or even parody - an example of this was during the Scorsesesque-interviews" with Julianne Moore portraying the Joan Baez character. I thought they were very funny precisely because they seemed satirical of Baez (nearly unheard of in the liberal community where she continues to be revered) and it was all I could do to not laugh out loud because the audience where I saw the film was in silence and I would have laughed alone, perhaps not wise when one does not know the politics of everyone around her). Haynes is GenX - he films as knows the stories not by living them, but by reading about them.

So here's the real deal - this Dylan is seen a lot in Todd Haynes' film and we might as well see the real deal here. Since he's still with us, I'll stick with seeing the real deal. Even when he's in a bad mood.

From 1965 in London:

LATER: Here's a very positive review of the film and well-worth the read.

A Journey into the Land of Oz

Read more here. and here.

subterfuge: sub·ter·fuge
Pronunciation: \ˈsəb-tər-ˌfyüj\
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere to escape, evade, from subter- secretly (from subter underneath; akin to Latin sub under) + fugere to flee
Date: 1573
Definition: 1 : deception by artifice or stratagem in order to conceal, escape, or evade 2 : a deceptive device or stratagem

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pin the Tail on the Turkey

Interesting update from the official Anglican Communion News Service today. Now before we go on, we might want to pause here a moment and be reminded that in the trial we learned that the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church asserted in court that the Anglican Communion is only just a dream - but this particular dream apparently has a news service. It's what gives Jim Rosenthal something to do.

Today - on Thanksgiving while most of America is preoccupied with turkey - the Anglican Communion News Service released what it purports to be - in a matter of speaking - Rowan Williams Handy Dandy Check List. It's a list of who he's heard from, who he hasn't, and then groups the responses into different categories with commentary in narrative form (a subjective way to write, by the way - where are the footnotes?) regarding the Kearon Maneuver (KM), er, the report by the illustriously called "Joint Standing Committee" as though the report was endorsed by all the members of this so-called "Joint Standing Committee" when, of course, some did not.

Some, as we know, made very public statements that they did not support the report - while others recognized the maneuver for what it was and refused to participate, including one primate who overseas the pastoral care of over ten million Anglicans, ah, but nevermind.

Let's just remember that this "Joint Standing Committee" report was organized by the TEC-funded Anglican Communion Office (which of course, if the Anglican Communion is just a dream - how does it have an office, unless there is a certain province that pays the light bill and a whole lot more - oops). Funny too that neither the Anglican Communion News Service nor Rowan's Check List mention that there is this report as well. Did it get lost in the mail?

We do wonder at the timing of the release of Rowan's Check List and wonder if perhaps it was put out today became American Episcopalians and Anglicans are quite busy with the turkey not so inclined to read reports from the office of a Dream Within a Dream. If you are reading this right now, please check your oven.

The report invites parody which - being Thanksgiving - we'll spare everyone. Why would the dreamy Anglican Communion News Service and Jim Rosenthall (who is an American, by the way) be releasing Rowan Williams funny little notes? Why are they so busy subjectively categorizing written responses rather than just call a meeting and pray together, reason together, and come out with it?

Perhaps this is how we should run the US Congress and the Houses of Parliament. Everyone can just stay home with their butter biscuits and cream, just knitting the hours away and when questions of impending crisis come up (oh, say, something like schism), just type up little reports, e-mail little questionnaires, tally everyone's results and then - what? Hang the Tally on the Wall and play Pin the Tail on the Donkey?

Or is that Pin the Tail on the Turkey?

Read it all here. What this may be called is a paper bomb. It's a very American tactic - perhaps we even invited it (someone get Xerox on the phone). You overwhelm your opponent with a subjective paper bomb and by the time they are done wading through the mire the result is resignation. Or not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Opening Statement for the Virginia Churches Trial on the Division Statute

THE COURT: All right. I'll hear opening statement.
MR. COFFEE: Your Honor, Mr. Johnson is
going to make the opening statement.
MR. JOHNSON: Thank you, Your Honor, and may
it please the Court.

From the days of Thomas Jefferson, James
Madison, George Mason, and the Virginia Statute on
Religious Freedom, the Commonwealth of Virginia has
had a long history of deferring to local control of
congregational property, and in 1867 the Virginia
General Assembly adopted a statute providing that the
principle of majority rule should govern the ownership
of such property when a religious denomination or
society experiences a division or a split.
The statute remains on the books today after
several recodifications with only minor changes, and
the question before the court is whether the CANA
Congregations have satisfied the statute's
requirements, whether The Episcopal Church, the
Diocese of Virginia or the Anglican Communion have
experienced a division and whether the CANA
Congregations have joined a branch of one of those
bodies in the wake of that division.

Now, to understand the answer to that
question it's useful to put the statute in historical
context, and that's what we intend to do.
Mark Valeri and Charles Irons,
two leading historians of American religious history
will testify that the 19th century was a time of
numerous fractures or divisions in American religious denominations.
Just as earlier centuries witnessed the
splits that created the three main branches of
Christianity, the Roman Catholic, orthodox, and
protestant traditions, the 19th century saw many
further divisions into somewhat smaller branches,
particularly among the nation's protestant denominations.
Some of these divisions were over the issue
of slavery, of course, but others were over issues
like how the church should approach evangelism or how
the church should be organized over its polity. But
the important point for our purposes and what the
evidence will show is that the phenomenon of church
divisions was well known to 19th century Americans,
particularly in Virginia.

For example, Professor Valeri will testify
that the Presbyterians split up more than ten times in
the 19th century. To name just a few of the more
significant ones, there was the Cumberland branch of
Presbyterians, the New School branch, the Old School

There was the separation of the United
Senate from the New School Presbyterians which took
place right in Richmond in the late 1850s, less than a
decade before the statute was adopted.

There was the 1860s split of the Old School
branch into northern and southern churches and there
was the split of the New School branch into northern
and southern churches during roughly the same time

We'll also hear from Professor Irons, a
leading expert on the 19th century American church,
and he will testify that the Methodists experienced
several splits in that era as well.

There was the group that split off from the
Methodist Episcopal Church to form the Reformed
Episcopal Church in 1813. There were the six churches
that formed the AME Zion Church in the early 1820s due
to restrictions on blacks' participation in worship.
There was the Methodist Protestant Church
formed around 1830 and there were the groups that
withdrew to form the Wesleyan Methodist Church in the
1840s over slavery and women's rights, the
Congregationalists Methodists in the 1850s over issues
of polity, the Free Methodists in 1860s who also split
over issues of polity and evangelism, bodies that
incidentally still exist today. And there was the
split that broke the Methodist Episcopal Church, then
the nation's largest religious denomination, into the
Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal
Church South in the 1840s and following decades.
Professor Irons will explain that the
Methodist division was particularly well-known to
Virginians because much of Virginia was located in
what was known as the Baltimore Conference, a region
of the church that also included much of Maryland and
a region that took what was then a middle ground
position on slavery.

But in 1860 when the northern church changed
its position on slavery, many of the Virginia
congregations in the Baltimore Conference felt
betrayed and wanted out, so they left in defiance of
church authorities in what was effectively a second
major division in the Methodist Episcopal Church in a
roughly 20-year time period.

So how did people in the 19th century talk
about these splits? How would an ordinary American
citizen, in particular one who lived in Virginia, have
understood the terms "division" and "branch" in the
context of religious denominations?

Professors Valeri and Irons have studied
this extensively by reviewing primary sources from
that era. They've looked carefully at secular
periodicals ranging from The New York Times to local
Virginia papers like the Staunton Spectator.
They've looked at religious periodicals such
as The Presbyterian or other denominational
newspapers. They've looked at minutes of
denominational meetings, sermons, pamphlets as well as
many standard reference works concerning the era, and
as they will explain, a division was most commonly
understood to have occurred when a group of church
members and clergy broke away from a denomination,
typically without the denomination's approval, in
sufficient numbers to set up a new organization, a new

Relatedly, a branch was most commonly
understood to be that new organization, a group of
churches with its own newly-established polity but
with a historical connection to the prior
denomination, and typically containing a similar
organizational structure. A branch was either an
offshoot of the predecessor church or the body left
behind. And so, for example, people would refer to
the New School branch of the Presbyterian Church or
the southern branch of the Methodist Church or the
northern branch of the Old School Presbyterians or
even the southern branch of The Episcopal Church. The
evidence will show that during the Civil War The
Episcopal Church in the Confederate States set up a
new organization, a new constitution, a new Bishop,
and a new General Convention called the General

Now, in the case of Episcopalians, the
church reunited in 1866, a year before the division
statute was adopted. But as Professor Irons will
explain, leading Bishops in the southern branch and
indeed in Virginia referred to themselves as a branch
of The Episcopal Church despite the fact that the
Northern Episcopal Church never acknowledged them to
have left, and despite the fact that the consecration
of a southern Episcopal Bishop was a violation of a
polity of the northern branch.
It was against this backdrop of church
splits, not only in the Methodist and Presbyterian and
Episcopal streams of the church, but in many other
denominations as well that the division statute was
adopted, and the evidence will show that at least 30
congregations successfully invoked it during the first
year or two after its adoption, including
congregations that voted to join various branches of
the churches at issue.

This was especially so in Augusta County,
Virginia, the home of Colonel John Baldwin, who is
perhaps best known for his opposition to suspending
the writ of habeas corpus, but also was the lead
sponsor of the division statute.
Now, The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of
Virginia would have this court believe that these
denominational splits were consensual, agreed-to
separations approved by the authority of the churches
involved. According to them, a division exists only
where the highest adjudicatories of a church formally
approve of it. Other sorts of splits are simply
people withdrawing from the church or separating from
it, and if their depositions are any indication, we
expect you'll hear their witnesses sound that refrain
time and again.

But as Professors Valeri and Irons will
explain, that was not the case historically. Most, if
not all, of the denominational splits in the 19th
century were in direct defiance of the governing
authorities, and this is even true for the Methodists
who perhaps came the closest to a formally approved
separation. Professor Irons will explain that the
Methodists' so-called plan of separation called for
ratification by three-fourths of the Methodist
conferences of the church -- a conference was
basically the Methodist equivalent of the Diocese --
but that this never happened because the southern
congregations simply left and set up their own annual
conference the following year. Indeed, the founder of
the new branch was a minister whom the northern church
had formally suspended from ministry.

Moreover, Professor Irons will explain that
the plan did not anticipate, let alone address, the
problems that would arise two decades later in the
1860s, when the Methodist Church in the north changed
its position on slavery. Now, when the denominations
split apart in the 1840s, the Baltimore Conference had
voted to stay in the northern branch of the church,
but when the northern branch of the church changed
course, many of the congregations in Virginia wanted
to disaffiliate.

The problem was the so-called Methodist plan
of separation, which in any event had never been
ratified, did not give them any escape hatch. So they
had to leave in defiance of the denominational
authorities. Enter the division statute.
Now, this of course is only the Methodist
situation. But as Professors Valeri and Irons will
explain there were lots of other divisions and most,
if not all, of the new branches divided from their
denomination without approval.

The term "division" was understood to apply
to all of these situations, even where a group broke
away without denominational approval, and, in fact,
The Episcopal Church's own historical expert, if he
testifies consistently with his deposition, will agree
with much of what Professors Valeri and Irons will
have to say about the Methodist and Presbyterian
divisions, including the fact that the Methodist plan
of separation was never ratified and the southern
branch of the Presbyterians disaffiliated without the
northern branch's permission.

So bearing in mind this historical backdrop,
I'd now like to fast-forward 140 years and discuss how
the CANA Congregations will prove a division in the
meaning of Section 57-9, the current codification of
the statute adopted in 1867.

You'll hear testimony about the division of
The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, about
the recent departure of members, congregations and
clergy from The Episcopal Church, particularly as a
result of certain new policies adopted at the church's
2003 General Convention, about the related division in
the Diocese of Virginia, as evidenced by the
disaffiliation of 15 congregations from the Diocese
since late 2005, all of whom are now members of the
Anglican District of Virginia, an offshoot or branch
of the Diocese.

And you'll hear about the formation of new
branches of the church such as CANA, made up of former
Episcopalians who are now affiliated with other
provinces in The Anglican Church worldwide, provinces
that have broken communion with or disaffiliated from
The Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

You will also hear specific testimony about
the establishment of CANA as an offshoot of The
Episcopal Church as a new branch where Episcopalians
could reaffiliate in the wake of the 2003 General
Convention of The Episcopal Church.

For example, one of the Congregations'
witness's will explain CANA's relationship to The
Anglican Church of Nigeria, and in particular how CANA
was initially envisioned as a place where
congregations in The Episcopal Church with Nigerian
expatriates as members could reaffiliate. But as the
evidence will show, it soon became clear in light of
the number of congregations disaffiliating from The
Episcopal Church and their need for oversight in the
wake of 2003 General Convention, that the mandate of
CANA needed to be broadened.

And so in response to the growing division
in The Episcopal Church, CANA amended its charter in
2006 to rename CANA from the Convocation for Anglican
Nigerians in American to the Convocation of Anglicans
in North America.

In other words, you will hear testimony that
while CANA is affiliated with the Church of Nigeria so
as to maintain Anglican ties and oversight, it is
composed primarily of former Episcopal congregations
who turned to CANA as an Anglican alternative in the
wake of the General Convention in 2003.
And you will hear about how in the short
time since CANA's missionary Bishop Martyn Minns was
consecrated in August 2006, CANA has grown to a
national organization of some 60 congregations from 18
states and eight Episcopal Dioceses. Moreover, you
will hear that more than 10,000 of its members have
come from The Episcopal Church.

Next, you will hear from a series of
witnesses who will testify about how the division in
The Episcopal Church is played out in the Diocese of
Virginia. For example, you will hear testimony from a
member of the Diocese's Reconciliation Commission, an
ideologically diverse group of people appointed by
Diocesan Bishop Peter Lee in hopes of preventing the
sorts of disaffiliations that were taking place in
other parts of The Episcopal Church, and in hopes that
the Virginia tradition of civility on these issues
might lead to some sort of compromise that would
enable congregations who disagreed with the actions of
the church to remain in some level of relationship of
the Diocese.

You will hear testimony that although the
group's members disagreed on a whole host of issues,
they all agreed that there was a division in the
Diocese and that there would likely need to be
provision for some sort of amicable divorce unless
things changed at the 2006 General Convention.
The Commission's unanimous report, which you
can still find on the Diocese's web site, repeatedly
referred to the division describing the situation as a
level 5 conflict, which the report described as the
most serious level of organizational conflict. And in
the wake of the report the Diocese in 2005 adopted a
resolution at its Annual Council acknowledging the
division in the Diocese.

You'll also hear from members of a special
committee appointed by Bishop Lee after the
Reconciliation Commission issued its report, a
committee charged with "helping congregations
continuing in conflict over the decisions of the 2003
General Convention get on with their mission in as
close a union as possible with the Diocese."
These witnesses will explain that the
committee was chaired by Russ Palmore, an officer of
the Diocese and, chief lawyer, and a member of The
Episcopal Church's Executive Council. As they will
testify, the committee explored numerous ways of
resolving the conflict in the Diocese short of
separation, but that ultimately these proposals were
found unworkable by both sides.

In the end, the Special Committee produced a
unanimous final report acknowledging the division
expressly and by then congregations had already begun
disaffiliating from the Diocese. The report also
outlined a protocol for departing congregations to
follow in order to disaffiliate from the Diocese. The
protocol in turn included guidelines that, among other
things, called for vestry and congregational votes on
disaffiliation and amicable negotiation of the
parties' differences over property. Bishop Lee
thanked the committee, received their report, and
called it the right way forward.

And you'll hear testimony that these
measures were unprecedented in the history of the
Dioceses, that past disagreements over issues such as
ordination of women or the revision of the Book of
Common Prayer did not compare to the current division
or generate any need for such protocols.
The evidence will further show that the CANA
Congregations in the Diocese then proceeded to follow
the protocol, including at congregational meetings
where representatives of the Diocese were permitted to
address the congregations, and that the congregations
ultimately voted to disaffiliate. The Episcopal
Church and the Diocese then abandoned the protocol and
brought suit against the CANA Congregations.

But as the evidence will show in total some
15 congregations, representing more than 10 percent of
the membership of the Diocese and nearly 20 percent of
its average Sunday attendance, disaffiliated. And the
evidence will also show that these congregations are
merely a part of a much broader exodus from the church
as a whole which began before the votes of the CANA
Congregations and continues today.

Now, you're going to hear a fair bit about
the Anglican Communion and how the actions of The
Episcopal Church have had international repercussions,
a division among the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces

For example, you will hear testimony from
Abraham Yisa, the registrar or the most senior lawyer
in the Church of Nigeria, a voting member of the
Anglican Consultative Council and the chairman of
CANA's board of directors.

Registrar Yisa will explain that the
Anglican Communion is a church and a religious society
and that Anglican parishes are through their Dioceses
and provinces attached to the Anglican Communion. He
will also testify that the division in the communion
is evidenced by the decision of many Anglican
provinces to declare that they are in the relationship
of broken or impaired communion with The Episcopal
Church, which is an Anglican way of saying we are
cutting off our relationship with you unless and until
you change direction.

As the Global South Primates put it in April
2004, The Episcopal Church by its actions in 2003 "has
willfully torn the fabric of the communion at its
deepest level and as a consequence openly cut
themselves adrift."

Registrar Yisa will testify that the
division in the Communion is evidenced by the decision
of the Church of Nigeria to amend its constitution,
first to provide that the Church of Nigeria is in
communion with, i.e., in formal ecclesiastical
relationship with, only those provinces of the
Communion that adhere to the historic teaching of the
faith, not those who merely relate to the Archbishop
of Canterbury, and second, an amendment to authorize
the Church of Nigeria to establish a foreign
missionary district in a geographic region where
there's already some Anglican presence.
As Registrar Yisa will explain, these are
unprecedented measures in the Anglican Communion.
Anglican provinces generally respect each other's
territory, but these are not ordinary times in the
Anglican Communion. They are times in which the
Communion is not only personally, but structurally

Indeed, The Episcopal Church's Presiding
Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori will testify by DVD
that it is a great affront to The Episcopal Church to
have foreign provinces coming into the United States
and setting up alternative Anglican bodies, and she
and The Episcopal Church's experts will both say that
this is a violation of Anglican polity. In fact, she
testified at her deposition that she'll settle TEC's
claim to congregational property with a parish that
wants to sell it to a saloon or to reaffiliate with
the Baptists, but not with a congregation that wants
to reaffiliate with Nigerian, Ugandan, Rwandan, or
Kenyan or South American Anglicans.

This is just further evidence of the
division in the Anglican Communion, the division
between those provinces or branches that continue to
be in a formal relationship of communion with The
Episcopal Church and those that do not.
Now, you are not likely to hear a
substantial response to our historical evidence. In
fact, if the expert of The Episcopal Church testifies
to the same effect as in his deposition he will
acknowledge that a great majority of church splits in
the 19th century were nonconsensual and that people
nonetheless referred to them, at least informally, as

Instead, it appears from the exhibits that
The Episcopal Church and the Diocese intend to attempt
to suggest that the division statute does not mean
what it says, based on the legislative history of a
proposed amendment to Section 57-9 in 2005, an
amendment that was never voted on by the full
legislature and, in fact, never made it out of

But this so-called legislative history is
not an answer to the lessons of 19th century history,
which conclusively show that the statute's terms would
have been understood to apply to any situation in
which a group of congregations broke away from a
denomination and started a new entity.
The important point is that over the years
the Virginia General Assembly has made various
amendments to the Virginia Code as it relates to
religious organizations, but it has not seen fit to
narrow or repeal the division statute. The General
Assembly continues to believe that when a group of
congregations separates from a denomination, the
neutral principle of majority rule should govern the
ownership of property.

Now, The Episcopal Church and the Diocese
like to say that while there are differences of
opinion or divisions of opinion in the denomination,
they are simply that, that there was internal strife
in the denomination, that they're having some
challenging conversations or some conflict or some
debate, but that these internally are not division
because they were not formally approved as such.
According to them it's only a division if
they say so and only if they say so via a formal vote
of their General Convention. Indeed, as Mr. Davenport
acknowledged on Friday, there would not be a division
under their theory even if 95 percent of The
Episcopal's Church's congregations voted to
disaffiliate. Moreover, they say that the Anglican
Communion is incapable of dividing because it is
simply a vision or an ethos or idea.
The CANA Congregations do not deny that
there has been division in the sense of much internal
strife but the evidence will also show that that is
not how The Episcopal Church and the Diocese talked
about division before this litigation began.

For example, Professor Valeri will testify
about the division that created the Reformed Episcopal
Church in the 1870s. That was a division that, like
other typical church splits in the 19th century,
occurred without denominational approval. The
evidence will show that the new branch was formed by
one Episcopal Bishop and seven other clergy and that
only a dozen congregations attended the new body's
first convention.

Yet in 1988 the General Convention of The
Episcopal Church adopted a resolution that declared as
follows and I quote, "Resolved, the House of Bishops
concurring, that this 69th General Convention direct a
Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations to explore
the possibilities of dialogue with representatives of
the Reformed Episcopal Church looking toward the
healing of this particular division and direct the
standing commission on ecumenical relations to report
to the next General Convention."

In other words, outside the context of this
litigation, The Episcopal Church and indeed its own
General Convention used the term "division" exactly
the way everyone else does. Closer to home, the
evidence will show that the report of the Special
Committee chaired by Russ Palmore, Chancellor of the
Diocese, described the situation as follows: "the
division which may cause some to walk apart."

That division of course is why the protocol
provided a protocol for departing congregations which,
despite his later abandoning of it, Diocesan Bishop
Peter Lee described as a useful way forward.
And the evidence will show that just a few
days before their scheduled votes on disaffiliation
Bishop Lee himself wrote to the CANA Congregations
members and said that, "American Christianity has been
punctuated over the years by frequent divisions with
one group choosing to separate because they believed
the separated group might be more pure than their
former identity. That has not been characteristic of
the way we Anglicans have dealt with differences. I
encourage you when you vote to vote for the unity and
mission of the church. Therefore, remaining one with
your Diocese and reject the tempting calls to division."

"Frequent divisions with one group choosing
to separate."Those are Bishop Peter Lee's words, not
ours, but we would be hard pressed to come up with a
more common understanding of the term "division," and
that's exactly how people understood the term in 1867.

In sum, the General Assembly enacted the
division statute to ensure that a neutral principle,
majority rule, would govern situations when a group of
congregations divided from their former denomination
and formed a new branch of the church.
That happened in the 19th century and it
continues to happen today. What is perhaps unique
about this case is that the division has played out at
the international level of the church as well, but it
is no less a division within the meaning of the
statute. Indeed, the international element of this
dispute merely confirms the magnitude of the division,
and the evidence will demonstrate as much.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Steffen Johnson is counsel to Truro Church and The Falls Church.

NOTE: The original Fairfax Court House (in the photo above and here to the right) was the meeting place for Truro Parish in Fairfax after the American Revolution. The original Truro Parish building in Fairfax (Payne's Church) - and location - was lost to the Baptists after the Revolution (and the Baptists still inhabit that location by the way). A congregation reconvened, thanks to the visionary leadership of a lay woman from The Falls Church, and met at the Fairfax Court House for Morning Prayer.