To read the Diocese of Virginia Protocol, click here. To read the Commonwealth of Virginia statute click here. To read Judge Bellows final ruling in favor of the Virginia parishes, click here.
Statement from the Virginia churches:
FAIRFAX, Va. (March 5, 2010) - On Wednesday, March 3, the Anglican District of Virginia was notified that oral arguments in the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and Diocese of Virginia will be heard by the Virginia Supreme Court sometime during the week of April 12-16, 2010.Statement from the Diocese of Virginia:
“Our parishioners have exercised their religious freedom by staying true to the Gospel, and have tried to do so in a way that avoided the need for government interference in our affairs. We continue to regret the necessity for defending ourselves in secular court, but remain fully prepared to do so and are confident in our legal position,” said Jim Oakes, Chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia.
“In the meantime, our doors continue to be open wide to all who want to worship with us. We are ready to put this litigation behind us so we can focus our time, money and effort on the work of the Gospel,” Oakes said.
All in ADV are encouraged to continue to be in prayer for the members of the Virginia Supreme Court as they review the briefs that have been filed in advance of the oral arguments.
“The Lord has blessed us time and time again throughout the litigation, but we must remain faithful in prayer not only for the members of the state Supreme Court, but for our own legal team while resting in the knowledge that ultimately He is in control and is ruling over the entire situation,” Oakes concluded.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has notified the Diocese it intends to hear arguments during the week of April 12-16, 2010 in the case The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia v. Truro Church, et al. The Diocese is challenging the constitutionality of Virginia's one-of-a-kind division statute (Va. Code § 57-9(A)) and the rulings of the Circuit Court, which allowed former Episcopalians to claim Episcopal Church property as their own.
"We welcome this news and the opportunity to appear before the Court a little more than a month from now," said Henry D.W. Burt, Secretary of the Diocese. "We believe this law is clearly unconstitutional and there is too much at stake - for all churches in Virginia - to let it remain in effect. 15 other churches, dioceses, judicatories and national denominations, both hierarchical and congregational in structure, have submitted briefs as amici curiae, or 'friends of the Court,' in support of the Diocese's position on the need to strike down the Division Statute. We are deeply grateful for their support."
Mr. Burt noted further, "For more than 200 years, the Episcopal Church has had the freedom to govern itself without government interference. We look to the Court to protect the religious freedoms upon which this Commonwealth and our nation were founded."
Has the Diocese issued a statement?
What is the relationship of this "protocol" document to the litigation? Did the Diocese adopt this protocol? Was it mandatory or advisory to the Bishop? Are any of the parties before the Supreme Court of Virginia basing their legal arguments on this document?
As we've been through before, the Standing Committee received it without making any changes - though there were some who did want to change it, with the bishop's plea, they received it as the diocesan chancellor wrote it.
It was through the following the protocol that the Standing Committee sent representatives to talk to the congregations and vestries - it was all very open. It was following the protocol and 40 Days of Discernment that Bishop Lee also made his video and sent it to all the voting parishes.
Following the Protocol is what led Bishop Lee to draw up the Standstill Agreement - he drew that up by the way - and to form his Property Committee, following in the form set before us by the test-case, All Saints Dale City.
The Protocol is among the documents in the court record and sent to the Supreme Court. My point is that the diocese cooperated with the parishes BEFORE the vote. I do think Bishop Lee was sincerely shocked by the vote. But it took the intervention of Bishop Schori to break the protocol and sue everyone. She must not have been sure Bishop Lee would do it, including suing his own cousin, and 815 also filed their own lawsuits. In fact, they continue to file separately. What a waste of money.
Scout, you will not get a straight answer from BB on the Protocol.
What is the relationship of this "protocol" document to the litigation?
Strictly speaking, none. It contains the word "division" (planted there by CANA reps who already had their 57-9 plans well in order with their lawyers). So CANA cites it as evidence of "division." But at the same time, it recognizes a Diocese interest in the property, which the CANA folks' lawyers obviously never would have let them acknowledge at that point.
Did the Diocese adopt this protocol?
No. The uncontradicted evidence at trial was that it was a dead letter upon arrival at the Standing Committee and Executive Board.
Was it mandatory or advisory to the Bishop?
Purely advisory. And even if it had been "binding," it would have been only an unenforceable agreement to negotiate. (It says nothing beyond that there will be negotiations about property.) BB is off in her usual wishful thinking land when she talks about breaking the protocol. (And the CANA folks did not follow all of its voting steps either, so her house is glass.)
Are any of the parties before the Supreme Court of Virginia basing their legal arguments on this document?
The CANA folks mention it because it's good color for them. But no one's position is really based on it. Nothing like that is required for the CANA folks' definition of division.
The parties discussed it during briefing about the votes around about September 2008, so you could go look up the litigation documents from that period on the Diocese's website to read more.
Thank you, David.
My impression was that the secessionist factions spent approximately two years prior to the departure vote trying to conform every aspect of what was happening into the words of the Division Statute. This has been one of my objections to the process - that in at least several of the parishes, certainly in the two largest ones, the parish leadership, clergy and vestry, advised by pricey lawyers whose fees were paid by the congregation as a whole, were constructing a departure plan that included laying claim to accounts, chattels and real property from the inside of the parish, rather than acting on their consciences, leaving, and inviting like-minded parishioners to join them. I formed the view at the time that the object of all this planning was to make departure as palatable and sacrifice-free as possible, and to ensure that pew-sitters who might have no strong view on the matters but who loved worshipping in their accustomed (and beautiful) surroundings, came along on the venture. I think it would have been a less blighted course morally (and certainly would have spared a lot of waste) if the departees had departed when they formed the intention to depart and formed churches with others who felt similarly. I can see no down side to that other than temporary inconvenience.
While I am not a member of Truro, I have family members who are. Before the vote, the home groups (and everyone was encouraged to belong to a home group for the "40 day period of discernment") did a Bible study on 1 Corinthians. The study contained some questions that were to guide the people as they talked about the problems in Corinth and the problems in TEC. I attended the home group with family members. I found interesting the reactions of the people in the group(about 12-14 if I remember correctly). I believe questions voted on were: 1) should Truro leave, 2) if it left should it become part of CANA, and 3) if it left, should it claim the property.
In the home group (before the vote), I think everyone thought Truro should leave (except one couple who left - didn't vote - and became Roman Catholic, already deciding TEC was a lost cause). And I think CANA was the only real option unless they wanted to become "Truro Bible Church" or something like that. But the property question was interesting and discussed all through the 40 days. In the group I was in, there were people who felt strongly about keeping the property. And there were people who said that based on 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Truro should walk away and not get involved in lawsuits. The counter arguement was that Truro would not be suing, they would be defending. When cost of the lawyers was brought up (vs. cost of buying a new property) the group was told that this was 19 churches together, with the cost divided, the smaller churches could not mount the defense that was possible without Truro and the Falls Church as part of the group - we needed to do this for the sake of the small churches.
I was surprised at the final vote. Although I don't remember the actual numbers, I recall that while a significant majority voted to leave, an even larger percentage voted to keep the property - which means that people who didn't want to leave, voted for the departers to keep the property if it went that way. I found that interesting....
Scout, you say:
I think it would have been a less blighted course morally (and certainly would have spared a lot of waste) if the departees had departed when they formed the intention to depart and formed churches with others who felt similarly. I can see no down side to that other than temporary inconvenience.
I think you have the right argument but the wrong subject. I believe you meant to speak about the leadership of the Episcopal Church, who would have a less morally blighted course. Imagine how much better off we would be if instead of changing the canons, theology and practices of the church catholic these leaders had said they wanted to do "the new thing" and just left. Yes, it might have been slightly inconvenient for them, but it would have been honest ... far more honest than hijacking the church and its people, instead of using its high priced lawyers to maintain that it has been victimized by those who wish to stay in the Anglican Communion, in place of using its own chancellor to be the only reference when interpreting canons to discipline those who disagree, and instead of saying with a huff that the only way to get the truth is to listen to its own media releases. (If I need to provide footnotes and references to these I will, but I am sure you can do the math and see these are claims that can be made and supported).
Now I can see how your argument makes sense. You know, for once.
Is it not your impression that the other faction, whatever we should call them, has spent many, many years trying to get the church to go in this new direction? How odd. I think we are being naive here to imagine the only people with agendas, lawyers and all the rest are just those bad "secessionist factions".(Have you never met Dr. Louie Crew? Been to a General Convention in the last 20+ years? OMG, the planning and posturing on the side of other factions has certainly been intense ...)
Scout, I have listened to many many comments you have made here on this blog. Sometimes they just get tiresome. I understand you have been hurt by what has happened. I also wish you could see things from another perspective. Please at least allow that you have not been the only one hurt in these proceedings. Others of us have also been hurt ... in terms of careers, pensions, health, sanity. And it ain't over yet, is it?
I don't think the case is based upon the protocol; rather it is based upon the property law.
The protocol is, however, evidence of the bad faith dealings of Bishop Lee, his chancellor and their appointees. The only question is whether they were being dishonest from the get-go, or just changed their minds later. But when the diocese' defense for its actions is to parrot John Belushi in Animal House and say "you [screwed up] - you trusted us", well, that is about all that you need to know about those folks.
It is also untrue that there is anything in the canons that required the consent of the standing committee to anything in the protocol other than the transfer of property. No one has cited any provision of the canons to say otherwise. It was the bishop's agreement and he reneged.
"My impression was..."
That's quite a conclusion from to make from an "impression".
"My impression was..."
That's quite a conclusion from to make from an "impression".
That is a 'cultivated' but dismissive and antagonistic comment.
The existence of an agreement can be inferred by the actions of the parties. Here, representatives of the Diocese (including its top lawyer) spent the good part of a year negotiating with the parishes on a departure procedure, came to an agreement that was embodied in a written document (the Protocol), this document was received by the diocesan Executive Committee (which has authority to bind the Diocese), the bishop of the Diocese spoke approvingly of the document, the Diocese proceeded to act in accordance with the terms of the document until told to stop by an outside party (TEC), and the Diocese did not object to the other side taking actions in reliance on the terms of the document, again until instructed to do so by TEC. Agreements to negotiate can also be binding when, as here, a party has refused to come to the table. This is not a strong legal argument, I admit, but it does show the bad Christian witness this episode has made TEC out to be.
If the Virginia Supremes side with Judge Bellows is that it; the end? Or will 815 waste a few million more to have this go to the SCOTUS?
BTW: If anyone doesn't believe that this Church has suffered a division, think again. Just start counting who left. THAT's division on a local and diocesan level.
Thank God for those ancient and grand Virginians who had a belly full of oblivious Anglican rule over them so that they enshrined the religious rights of congregations that are eventually detailed in the Code of Virginia in question. They guessed at what would happen when such would occur on their own soil by likewise oblivious and unworthy leaders such as we are presently festered with. 815 doesn't stand a chance against such people of stature who enshrined our religious rights. Or perhaps David Booth Beers IS larger than Thomas Jefferson ?
Won't it be just the epitome of egomania when 815 and its acolytes start to railing against the wisdom of the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Religious Freedom which serve as the background for the Code of Virginia's clauses of the religious liberties being contested!
I recall a Bishop of TEC proudly remarking, at the conclusion of GC 2003, that observers were impressed with how civilly the debates were handled. That was apparently his idea of being a shining example for Christianity.
No one wanted to be disagreeable, but it seemed there was no problem thumbing the denominational nose at the world wide Anglican Communion.
An acquaintance once remarked that issues of sin are the province of the Baptists - Episcopalians, however, cannot abide bad taste.
I guess truth is in bad taste. Mark me guilty of the offense.
Steven, it's not just that you're making a weak legal argument irrelevant to the rights that the CANA folks claim. It's that key claims you make (or imply) don't hold water.
The Special Committee had no authority to negotiate a departure procedure.
The Special Committee produced a report, to which Bishop Lee said essentially "thanks, I'll pass it on." The Standing Committee and Executive Board then specifically declined to endorse the report -- instead giving only a grumbling indication of receipt. The receipt did not indicate acceptance. If anything, the opposite.
The Diocese did object, in detail and in writing, to what the Congregations were doing. The CANA folks ignored that. And the CANA folks chose to use only as much of the procedure as their lawyers thought would be helpful, ignoring at least a couple of key parts of it.
TEC, although presumably a strong factor, isn't the sole reason that things came to a grinding halt.
Allen, you apparently aren't familiar with the religious freedom claims made to the Supreme Court of Virginia. And you illustrate precisely why this statute is unconstitutional -- the state has no business creating congregational rights.
I think what we have seen in the several states is tension between rights. There are property rights and rights to "freedom of religion" and different courts and legislatures have chosen to balance those rights in different ways. The point is one is not absolute over the other.
I am grateful this mess is one step closer to resolution - the comments above indicate - to me - how preferable definite decision is in this sad case. How much longer!?!?! I have seen the rhetoric on blogs ratchet down compared to 3 or 4 years ago and trust we will be in a clmer place as far as these discussions go in another few years- I look forward to regaining lost properties OR at least moving on. ettu
Aren't you just a bit sad that while you may gain the "lost" (to whom?) properties that your side has alienated so many tens of thousands of mainstream Christians? You're losing the heart of the mission movement of the Diocese of Virginia. Whole other dioceses have gone. Churches are emptying out. Why is it that they and most of the Christian and Anglican world have said to you "STOP!" and you just keep plowing ahead with what is clearly a schismatic act on YOUR part; and yet you blame those who can't stomache it anymore?
"the state has no business creating congregational rights".
Really? Your problem is with Mr. Jefferson, friend. He and the early Virginia legislature saw this stuff coming because they lived it up close in their day.
Perhaps you ARE one of those who believes that David Booth Beers is far more wizened?
Allen, my problem is with anyone who thinks that it's better for the government to determine what the rules are in churches, as opposed to the churches themselves.
And let's not think that our friend Mr. Jefferson got everything right -- he wrote some nice "all men are created equal" stuff too but didn't quite succeed in applying that principle, so religious freedom certainly isn't the only place his practices fell short of his ideals.
Finally, I have no idea whether Jefferson or Beers is more withered and shriveled. My guess is that Jefferson had the edge for a while, being dead and all, but that he's probably just bones now, so it's hard to make the comparison any more.
"Finally, I have no idea whether Jefferson or Beers is more withered and shriveled. My guess is that Jefferson had the edge for a while, being dead and all, but that he's probably just bones now, so it's hard to make the comparison any more."
Your final paragraph is beautifully stated. I'm just not sure which I appreciated more the beauty or the humour. Both I guess.
(sorry from being so totally off-track)
As for the 12 Virginian Anglican churches and the Diocese of Virginia, I am looking forward to the issue being finally set to rest. My prayers are that the Anglican Churches prevail and that everyone will be able to move on.
Allen - Christ alienated tens of thousands of mainstream Jews - what is your point?? My only desire is that this insanity end - regardless of which side "wins" - so that the divided can start to heal ettu
Surely your are not comparing the actions of TEC with the actions of Christ? Surely you are not saying that that alienation of other Christians is of no concern?
I am absolutely making an analogy between Christ angering the religious establishment of His time with TEC angering the traditionalists - the zealots or traditionalists of our times - a very reasonable comparison - as they say " if the shoe fits..."
Whoa! Do we honestly believe this is just about TEC "angering the traditionalists," ettu? Last time I checked the instruments of communion were all in agreement that TEC has not "angered the traditionalists" but has acted unilaterally on decisions that have deep repercussions in provinces around the world, including England.
We see here in this last comment the word "traditionalist" rhetorically scorned to "zealot." That's certainly spilling bucket of shame all over the floor.
It is not exactly a shining example of humility to say that TEC is being like "Christ" in angering the rhetorically scorned "zealots" it has ritualistically deposed and sued. It's not so much whether the other shoe fits at this point, but whether the other shoe drops.
Oh come on - imagine yourself as a traditionalist when along comes this radical who says He will bring strife and discord to those who follow Him - how is this different from TECies and nonTeccies? From discord may arise a cleansed and purified Christianity ( you get to decide which "side" is the pure one - personally I see the face of God on both sides and pray each will see God in one another)
If TEC IS the religious establishment (and they think that they are), then you are arguing with us. The Church catholic is telling the fragmenters in charge of TEC that they are and have been wrong about the radical secular/progressive agenda that they have enshrined. The TEC establishment is like the Sadducee establishment of old: totally convinced, very small and isolated, and (as Jesus pointed out), totally wrong.
I think that the advice of the larger Church should be heeded at this point.
Your viewpoint is your own and I respectfully will decline to join in it - chacun a son gout
If it were only a matter of taste and not souls...
If it were only a matter of taste and not souls, I would not bother either.
wait, wait, I missed something here - "TECies" and "non-TECies".... is this about some fan club somewhere? ... only I thought it was spelled "Trekies"
Don't be so literal with the quote......
"Don't be so literal with the quote..."
Reminds me of "Did God really say..." in Genesis 3:1.
Ettu, you want to use a double standard - OK for you, not OK for us. It just doesn't fly.
What standard would I hold another to??? Truth to be told I find it unnecessary to preach to others but rely on their own experience with God's inspiration to teach us. However, if push were to come to shove, what Biblical quote is appropriate? Something like .."judge not that you be not judged"?? "Vengeance is mine says the Lord"?? "Love one another .."?? Food for thought and to take in to your retreat next time...
The interesting thing about your quoting "judge not" and "vengeance is Mine" is you proving the double standard providing your own examples. You are judging and claiming vengeance by seeking something that doesn't belong to you. You cry foul yet get upset if someone else points out your foul.
If you/TEC follow Jesus, you should have said to those who want to leave – “here - take the building, is there anything else you need so we can start you on your way?” Instead, you write about regaining lost buildings. A lot is written here about property. Is that the treasure? Or the faith that built the property. What is the treasure? For that is where our heart is. Something our Lord said, is it not?
My sadness is that those leaving have been put in the position of feeling they have to “leave” to remain faithful to the Gospel as they (and I) have received it. They didn’t leave, TEC left them and what the principles TEC was built upon. I don't blame those “leaving” for it or how they are trying to do so. They are honoring 2 Timothy 1:13-14 and trying to protect the “talent” the Master gave them. But I think that because it grieves your spirit so much it would have been better for them to start again, unfettered by such animosity and ill will by you/TEC. It would have been better to watch how God would bless them as He has other congregations who left with nothing. Yet, TEC shrinks. TEC's path is losing people in spite of vast population growth. PB Schori even acknowledged the losses began before Robinson. Robinson was just a flash point. TEC has been turning away from God's teachings and reaping what they have sown for years. The numbers prove that. Gene Robinson is/was a flash point, the decline existed well before that as many of us have written.
But the saddest thing to me/us is that vengeance is being sought against those who want to leave - even when they do leave with nothing. Such hatred that there's no place under the big tent of the Anglican Communion for them while they made room for you/TEC. There are some in TEC who will not be happy (they think) until the last opposing voice is silenced. More's the pity. Where's Jesus in that? Where’s Jesus in TEC being told to stop and TEC ignores it with no regard to its brothers and sisters in the rest of the Communion? And if TEC is so committed and Holy Spirit-led, why not just go full bore. Because more faithful who write the checks will leave as they have been doing for decades.
I've actually questioned and studied what judging is and what the difference is between judging and the Scriptures where we are to gently correct our brothers and restore them. I understand that someone may be sinning, but the judgment is left to God. A gunman shooting someone in a school or post office is sinning - that's an observation. A jury convicting him is judging in a correct process. If I were to tell him he was going to hell I would be judging. It would still be our job to restore him to Christ - because he acted outside of God's order. Our society has been built on God's order and commandments. Obvious breaches in God's order are easy to observe, more private ones less so but they remain breaches “seen and unseen”. Observing those breaches isn't judgment. Trying to restore isn't judgment. Comprehending that someone chooses to continue to be out of order isn't judgment. 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” It means we also have to place ourselves to be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained.
Galatians 6:1-2 says: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” That’s observation and action. Another part of 2 Timothy that gives me thought and keeps me from engaging online a lot is 2 Timothy 2:14-16 “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Some of the things written online are ungodly and I don’t think please God. Unfortunately, I’ve slipped and written a couple myself. I want to conform myself more and more to God.
If TEC chooses to stay on its current path, go and may God be with you all. I know He will be by your sides because He loves you. It is written in Scripture that He does. Whether He approves of what TEC is doing is up to Him - that is His choice. Whether some of the innovations TEC chooses are something that He will bless is up to Him. Just because we ask God to bless something doesn’t mean He does. Please know that I’m talking about a whole lot more than just the gay issue.
I highly recommend a reading of 2 Timothy (it's not long, but meaty) to everyone in their “retreat”, along with a prayer for God to speak to us personally where He wants to teach rebuke, correct and train us in our individual and corporate lives.
My quotes were to indicate that we are not to judge and that vengeance is not ours to dispense- to me, it seems that you did not understand my posting - I know I do not understand where you are going with your lengthy lecture - perhaps it is over my head or perhaps you need to condense your thought process when you write - with kind thoughts and prayers, I remain yours ettu
Yes, it was a lengthy post - not a lecture. Sorry, but perhaps you might take the time to listen and it wouldn't be over your head. However, how us conservatives feel seems to be beyond your/TEC's ability while we are supposed to bend over backward for yours.
L2 - what's this stuff about "vengeance" being sought against those who leave? Is there and example of that ever happening? Everyone I've ever talked to about this seems sincerely interested in those who leave finding a better place where they are more comfortable. I know of no situation where those who leave have been treated badly.
There are, however, instances in which those who leave have shown little regard for those who stay, and in which those who leave have attempted to deprive those who stay of access to their places of worship. It's very sad and we must forgive. But we do not have to accept that. It would do no favors to those who leave to let them behave so poorly. In a few years, after they have established their own churches and tempers have cooled, they will appreciate that it was better for them just to get on with their worship in a more agreeable setting for them.
Yes, Scout, it's called lawsuits. And I'm not getting into round 612 with you to listen to the tape player again. You've made yourself very clear and seem to play dumb in how the other side feels if it inconveniences you.
OK Scout - here's two examples:
In VA officers of a non-profit cannot be held liable for their actions unless there is evidence of criminal intent or gross negligence. TEC/DioVA sued the clergy, trustees and vestry members of the departing churches anyway. Why? Vengeance!
Why did TEC/DioVA register with the state of VA every possible permutation of the church name the departing congregations were likely to use? Vengeance!
Why did the DioVA refuse to allow time for an orderly transfer to new medical bbenefits for the staff of departing churches? Vengeance!
Since we did not know who voted to depart (unless they openly stated so), how were people "forced" out?
Scout - Thanks for your very helpful comments.
L2 - After reading critically, I am upset that you have conflated TEC with me ( or the reverse as you wish) Much of what you imply or state that I believe is not evident in my posting - are you so angry at TEC that you see it's face or hand in every post that questions your position? For what it is worth (and I am beginning to lose faith in the intellectual honesty of this line of inquiry) I am not and never have been mind-controlled by TEC - I am not and never was in the employ of TEC. Does that make my postings any more valid/intellectually neutral? regards ettu
You seem to take offense whenever someone challenges one of your statements and assign non-existent motives where they don't exist.
Are you a member of a TEC congregation? Whatever definition you want to use. As you said further up the thread, "If the shoe fits..." Your comments bear it out.
By citing the Scriptures with your "retreat" comment you imply a need by me to study them specifically. Well, I have and shared it. Briefly, we aren't to judge but hold everything to the light of God's Word and use the discernment He has given us with the help of the Holy Spirit. I gave you chapters and verses. I do find little if any Christian love flowing this direction from you, however. Hopefully, it is the medium not the message that is lacking.
You chide Ralph M about being literal with your translation. The fact that you treat how he feels with quick dismissal lacks Christian charity and reflects the great divide with clarity than I guess you can comprehend.
I drove over to Orlando and back this morning and I know I didn't take the exit for Disney World. But your last comment made me think I had ended up in Fantasyland. If you haven't heard of anyone being mistreated, you aren't listening. Vestry members sued when the law has been against suing volunteers. Kevin Kallsen. William Witt. +Edward MacBurney. People who left without the property still being sued. People who have resigned/retired and still deposed. TEC fighting and lobbying to keep ACNA from being represented. Heck, seating +Schofield, etc. If you can't see it, it's because you don't want to just as your choice to ignore any position but your own "hand over the keys no matter what" mode.
Here's my challenge to both of you - show me by example how Christian love and charity are being shown to any of the traditionalists/conservatives by TEC. Because how TEC treats us is how TEC would treat Christ.
One can love the transgressor - those who take what is not theirs - while not approving of their action. Chiding them publicly - using laws to correct their transgressions - is a form of tough love - Christ used a whip and overturned the tables of those who transgressed in the Temple - disagree all you want but love often requires correction of faults and parents have to make hard decisions regarding children's actions -especially when they act out their frustrations in destructive ways.
Exactly, Ettu. The irony is you don't see the irony.
You asked for an example - I gave one- of Christ's love towards the moneychangers which allowed/required Him to chastise them. Would you have His example ignored by our generation when transgressions occur? You may feel the transgressions were all by TEC but reasonable minds - both Christian and legal - clearly have the right and the obligation to look at it from both sides. If TEC was so wrong why are they allowed to regain properties? If non-TEC is so right why are some of - most of - the parishes that have gone to trial losing their cases? I am losing faith in the openness of both of our "sides" and , furthermore, the resistance to the Socratic method here displayed is disappointing. Yes, I see no irony in my comment above and doubt you could illustrate it to an objective audience. Are you a writer or do you teach writing - for if you do I do not intend to purchase any book you publish on irony. Indeed, I am so happy to see the blog interest -overall and compared to 4 years ago - winding down so that in a few generations healing may occur. When I look back at the dire predictions made on these same blogs about the "pew potatoes" awakening etc etc and realize how off the beam they were I am greatly relieved. Memories of such overstatements reduce the credibility of the non-TECites - if you want to define irony look into comparing the statements from those old postings with current reality - ettu who is a "pew potato" and who did not appreciate being called that in years gone by (an example of being careful of whom you insult and the repercussions that can occur when you awaken the "sleeping bear" to paraphrase the Japanese after 12/7/41)
I am doing my best not to reply in the same spirit you are. I am sorry that you are so hurt you feel it necessary to strike out at me personally.
My mom wishes she had spoken up years ago when she was a pew potato instead of blindly trusting her priest. I'm sorry if that offends you but it does express a frame of mind for others. I've heard pew peeps which implies to me that we just take everything dropped in our mouths, which we did in the 1960s, 70s, 80s.
The course TEC is on (and I'm in a TEC church so I'm still in TEC but not of TEC) is not one a lot of us want to be on. You and apparently a lot seem somewhat content with it. So why not just go your route and let those who disagree leave? Why is it that a "majority" of people who have politically positioned themselves over the years steered TEC on this course will not honor those in a church or diocese or Communion who choose not to go that same route. That is the fallacy of the arguments for me.
Why are the courts ruling the way they are? Anything else lately in the courts we think is off? ;-) Who's on the courts? The same type of people who are going to GC. Go to Louie Crew's website and look at who were delegates a large amount had Esq. after their names. Jesus told us to settle before or we may be handed over to the judge. While I understand those like BB are trying to be faithful to their "talent", I think just leaving is better because of people like you are so hurt. You've written you want to regain lost properties, yet don't seem to have a desire to come up with a different solution. And it appears you don't care about what they/we see as important enough to speak out to your leadership to say "Stop the litigation". Jesus said not to go to court. When is that followed? The "protocol" was designed to keep from going to court. The moment a lawsuit is filed - the spirit of Jesus' words have been snuffed out.
I'm in a "conservative" diocese. Some are happy as long as it doesn't affect them. That's a quote, by the way. Some won't care until it really comes home - and it will. Because TEC leadership isn't content in where it is. It wants the whole pie and won't be content until it has driven all of us conservatives out.
You know what woke me up, Ettu? It was the person who told my conservative priest that "wooden churches burn". A supposed Christian threatening arson. They couldn't tolerate one priest's dissent.
I may not agree with you, or like somethings you say. But I respect that you are speaking out and give you credit for that. So while we are both "pew potatoes" in a sense, neither of us are. Because a potato just sits there. Neither of us is just sitting.
RalphM at 10:39 wrote: "In VA officers of a non-profit cannot be held liable for their actions unless there is evidence of criminal intent or gross negligence. TEC/DioVA sued the clergy, trustees and vestry members of the departing churches anyway. Why? Vengeance!"
Wrong. First, trustees are required to be parties to church property lawsuits because they hold legal title to the property. Second, the clergy and vestry members were not sued for damages; they were sued to insure that any judgment would be effective. Note that all of the individuals (except the trustees) were voluntarily dismissed once they agreed to abide by rulings of the court.
Ralph M thanks for your reasoned words - a minor quibble - I do feel you read more into my past or my intentions or my feelings than is evident from my posting - be that as it may there is no ral harm done so I wish you all the best - one question that arises is how one can be in TEC but not of TEC - I think I understand the answer and that answer emphasizes one of the strengths of TEC regards ettu
If you are refering to the remarks in Anon at 12:23 pm, that was me not Ralph M. Forgot to "sign" it. Being in TEC but not of TEC is kinda like the Christians in Russia under communism, or under Nero. We exist while disagreeing with leadership even when it's painful and costs us. It's our hope that what has happened in times past will happen in TEC but may not - that God will renew the hearts and minds. Understand you may disagree with what I see as that, but I want only what God wants - whatever it is. Peace be with you.
I know things are often very uncomfortable for traditionalists in TEC, but comparing it to the plight of Christians under Soviet or Roman rule is likely to cause thoughtful people to simply dismiss such comparisons - and those make them - as silly.
Forgot to list the Scripture reference - Jesus asked the Father to protect those who are His in John 17:6-19. They are in the world, but not of this world.
I always found it easy and, in fact, rather bracing to be a traditionalist in the Episcopal Church, LL2. Despite all the loose talk about persecution, I never saw hide not hair of it, and we had an extremely conservative clergy in our church. Certainly no one was used as a human torch or exiled to a frigid Gulag. In fact, absolutely nothing happened to anyone about anything. That's another reason that I find a lot of the frenzy to be considerably over-heated.
Note that I said: "We exist while disagreeing with leadership even when it's painful and costs us." There were other Christians during those times who did not end up in gulags or burned for light. I was trying to give Ettu something so Ettu could understand the concept clearly. I did not compare the extremes. That was Fr. Weir's and Scout's assumption. I apologize for not writing it so there could absooutely be no misunderstanding - but won't I get chided for length or talking down to Ettu?
I didn't make that leap, and find it sad that the extremes is what you all jump to while you are claiming that's what I'm doing.
As I said earlier, I have seen persecution. My church was threatened with arson. I know others who have been threatened. I know of several conservative priests, one personally, who have no intent to leave TEC having been driven from liberal dioceses. That may not be something you are aware of or experienced yourselves, but it has happened and is happening. It's been written about on other blogs as well. How is it you don't know?
I am sorry of I misunderstood you. However, I think we all need to be careful with historical comparisons lest we seem silly or claiming morefor the present situation than is reasonable.
I know that clergy have been so uncomfortable in dioceses that they saw little way to minister effectively except to move. I know that clergy have been unable to find postitions in dioceses. But I know that that has happened to liberal and conservative clergy. I think Bishops are wrong when they prevent a parish to call a rector simply because that priest's views are at odds with that of the Bishop. However,I know at least one case where a priest who was deposed for embezzlement moved to another diocese and managed to get restored by claiming that he had been persecuted for being a traditionalist, something which no one had noticed. I am sure that, fallen nature bing what it is, that there are liberal clergy who acted in similar ways.
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