Friday, September 24, 2010

Virginia Supreme Court turns down request from nine Anglican Churches

Saddened, but not surprised.  Via email:

FAIRFAX, Va. (September 24, 2010) – The nine Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) congregations that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia remained in prayer following the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision not to rehear portions of its earlier ruling.

In July, the nine churches asked the Court to reconsider whether the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) – the local and national bodies of which they are members – are branches that have resulted from the divisions in The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Diocese of Virginia under the governing Division Statute, Virginia Code § 57-9.

“While we are disappointed by today’s decision, we are certainly not discouraged. We knew going in that motions for rehearing are only granted in a low percentage of cases. We did not initiate this lawsuit and are ready to put the litigation behind us so we can completely focus on the work of the Gospel. However, we felt the basis of our motion for rehearing was strong and that the Court overlooked critical evidence showing that our congregations satisfied the requirements of the Division Statute as recently interpreted by the Virginia Supreme Court,” said ADV Chairman Jim Oakes.

“Today’s decision is not the final one in this case. The Virginia Supreme Court had already decided to send the lawsuit back to the Fairfax County Circuit Court for further proceedings. We remain extremely confident in our legal footing, but above all, our hope is in the Lord regardless of the final outcome. Our focus is on sharing the Gospel and serving those in need. The doors of all ADV churches will remain open wide to all who wish to worship with us,” Oakes concluded.   

NOTE: The Anglican District of Virginia, currently in the initial stages of forming a diocese in the Anglican Church in North America, now numbers 32 congregations and seven mission fellowships.


Anonymous said...


Steven in Falls Church said...

Not surprising. The upcoming trial (if there is one--here's hoping TEC returns to its Christian roots and withdraws its lawsuits) will be interesting. If anything it will give a chance to show that TEC has been a serial violator of its own canons, thereby ceding the right to raise those canons as determinative of the property outcome.

Also interesting commentary from A.S. Haley noting that the court's analysis with respect to the two parcels of The Falls Church may give clues as to how he will handle the property issues.

Anonymous said...

Steven: I reckon that if the people who left the Episcopal Church withdrew the petitions they filed to start this litigation, the chances that the counter suits from the diocese would be withdrawn would increase tremendously.

The substantive legal issue is now decided in Virginia. The only question remaining is working out some reasonable process for prompt return of the occupied properties and payments for past use.


Steven in Falls Church said...

I don't believe the substantive legal issue has been decided, just the Division Statute. Christians are called to defend the faith, including defending places where the Gospel is preached. And the real delusion is among those who believe that TEC would have the numbers to support these buildings were they seized.

DavidH said...

Not for the first time, Mr. Haley is badly wrong about the Virginia litigation. Usually it's not this obvious though.

On pp.31-32 of its opinion, the Supreme Court told the trial court exactly what law to apply on remand. If you go back and look at pp.14-21 of the Dec 2008 opinion of the trial court (regarding the 2 acres at The Falls Church), you will find not one citation to the law that the Supreme Court has now directed the trial court to use. The question and analysis in 2008 was entirely different than what it will be now.

And unless Virginia law changes dramatically, John Yates is right to start preparing the CANA folks to be worshipping elsewhere.

DavidH said...

And one other blatant fact error of Mr. Haley's is worth noting. He says that in 2008 the trial court "held a mini-trial on the issue of whether a two-acre parcel that had originally been given to the vestry of Truro Church went to the vestry of The Falls Church as Truro's legal successor, or whether it had reverted to the Diocese, which during the pending proceedings had quit-claimed it to Christ Church Alexandria."

Mr. Haley has the last part exactly backwards. Christ Church Alexandria had quitclaimed whatever interest it had to the Diocese. It didn't wind up mattering of course -- the issue was whether TFC had proven that its trustees were the successors to the legal title, and the trial court concluded TFC had. Now the question will be who the beneficial owner is and whether the Diocese has trust, proprietary, or contractual rights in TFC's property that are not subject to a vote of the TFC CANA folks.

Anonymous said...

It's always been a numbers game with you people. It's not about percentahges, or numbers and amounts. It is really about God saving the individual - you. Or me. Or Sally. Or Bob.

Do you really think the Diocese will give up because of that? Have you read anything Bishop Shannon Johnston has said? He preaches the Gospel of hope. You go your way. And God bless you. We'll go ours. We ask for your blessing as well. Not critiques and name calling and numbers.

You made your choice. You started the litigation. You've had your shot. Move on. There is no shortage of souls to save. Your take on the Gospel and the Church's are perhaps somewhat different. Both offer the way to Christ's salvation. So follow your mission.

Lapinbizarre said...

Haley has a tendency to regard wishful thinking as legal precedent.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Thank you, Anon.


Anonymous said...

Steven - since there are Christians on both sides of this issue, where does the defense of the faith approach get us with regard to disposition of the property?


John said...

In truth, the headline should read- Virginia Supreme Court turns down request from Nine Anglican congregations occupying nine Episcopal churches.

Unknown said...

Okay, friends - I want you to imagine you are sitting at a cafe and the very people you are posting about or to are actually sitting right across from you. I want you to imagine, as you are writing, that the others in this thread are all gathered around the same table. Think about how you would speak to one another if you all sat together in the same cafe, around the same table. How would you speak - most of you are professing Christians and so I ask you, how would you speak to one another?

Hagrid is growing weary and has complained to management. Please again imagine you are sitting in a cafe, having robust conversation - buying each other drinks, and trying to find a way forward. May it be so.


Anonymous said...

Boot those pesky Anglican congregations so tec can begin their transgender wedding blessings, wiccan solstice ceremonies, and their "wonders of abortion" catechism.

Anonymous said...

@ Josh (and Steven's comment above about TEC "returning to Christian Roots"). I'd like to expand on BB's statement a bit.

Where do you get this stuff??? None of the Episcopal churches I've ever visited, or even read about, have anything to do with any of the things of which you are accusing.

As for the violation of the cannons that you claim: where is the presentment? In a litigious age, surely someone with standing somewhere would have brought a case at some point. And yet not a single case has been brought and not a single judgment rendered.

Is this just trial by internet? If you have real evidence of serious wrong-doing, step on up to let the courts decide (religious or civil). There doesn't otherwise seem to be any reluctance to resort to this approach and the absence of stepping up in this environment makes me suspect that your case is specious.

I can understand that you are emotionally involved; we all become very fond of these historic churches over time. But why is your (collective) rhetoric so wild on this subject?

Just as a level-set, every TEC church uses the BCP, we all say the creeds every day and mean them; we are all baptized, we all take communion, we are all orthodox catholics (and protestants). The BCP presents a pretty clear summary of what we believe. If you can find something heretical there, by all means, let's talk. Until such an event, your accusations are ruinous for both sides.

Aside from BB's stated concerns about being polite, I am concerned on a practical level that your intemperance only confirms my expectation that there is no negotiation possible to settle the case short of a final decision from the courts.

I'd go even further: with attitudes like yours rife on your side (Minns' and Duncan's statements as reported in the press are leading examples), TEC CAN'T give up or negotiate in any way because to do so would compromise the polity of our (joint?) faith forever.

The case in VA alone, would, essentially, void hierarchical church structures and force every church to become essentially congregationalist rather than episcopal (note the small 'e').

With attitudes like these, there is no possibility of negotiation even after any complete victory in the courts; to do so would be blatantly irresponsible. One can not negotiate when one does not have a responsible negotiating partner. It's just not possible to negotiate under such circumstances.

It's certainly not responsible stewardship to negotiate with a group that will do and say anything, even the blatantly untrue. Aside from the inevitable emotional reaction at being so blatantly misrepresented, there is the entire issue of the absence of a trust-able negotiating partner.

There are plenty of grounds for disagreement. It seems that most of that disagreement is political rather than religious (though I do think there is more than a hint of donatism on your side). Certainly using words like 'heretical,' or 'apostasy,' or even 'un-christian' or 'un-orthodox' are not appropriate to the current discussion (a legal case and what to do about it). They poison the ground of any future relationship for generations and generations and generations....


Closing Down said...


Unfortunately, you can write all the spin you want, but it doesn't change the facts.

TEC had raisin cake pagan liturgy on the website. They had a book of Love Spells for sale on the bookstore site. Priests double dipping in other religions.

We've personally seen Jesus's divine birth diminished to just a myth at Christmas in an Episcopal Church in that a gay wedding HAS subsequently taken place. And had the displeasure of hearing a priest attempt to make the miracle at Cana about a gay wedding while the rector sat there and did nothing - only explaining and "handling it privately later".

Where ARE the presentments against Spong? Bennison? Yet Christly priests and bishops are deposed after they have left? What's the point?

I could go on endlessly. How about instead of arguing about whether these things happen, we concentrate on solutions instead?

In our country, majority is supposed to be the rule. So if majority is used at General Convention, why is majority ignored on the local level? Why aren't those principles followed all the way? Why isn't this followed instead of turning to the litigation section of the same government? The majority of these people want to leave - let them go. Use the lawsuit money to build something new.

The only thing that prevents it is that those old buildings represent a solid foundation of tradition, respect and acceptance - something that those wanting to cloak themselves in badly and at any cost.

I would be willing to bet if you sat us here all around the table we could come up with a solution especially if you leave the abstracts out.

But what prevents it from being done on the national level is when both sides understand that there is more at risk than just a physical building. While you write about good stewardship, remember that those who wrote the checks that support those buildings want good stewardship, too, and don't want what has been built over the years to go in an opposite direction.

What's the solution? Jesus said that when it gets to lawsuits, we've already lost. What solution can YOU come up with that will give BOTH sides enough to walk away? What compromise would give Scout release? What is each willing to give and give up to move FORWARD?

Wouldn't it be great if the solutions became the (BabyBlue) Round Table Compromise?

Break each thing down and let's come up with a solution. Let's be JESUS to each other.

Lapinbizarre said...

"TEC had raisin cake pagan liturgy on the website". And virtually the entire Christian Church has the Feast of Mithras as one of its two major feasts. And let's not even start digging into pagan associations of the other major feast, Easter - starting with its name. In short, Lakeland Two, so what? As to presentments against Bennison, what other legal action against him do you expect of TEC? One law for the "Revisionists", another for the "Reasserters"?

Anonymous said...

You know Lakeland Two, seems to me this is all about property not theology or what the priests are delving in.

I agree that the majority rules and the majority(people) can leave at any time, but as for the assets(real estate and monitory), they belong to the TEC whether it is the local parish, Diocese or lastly the TEC.. You see people can leave but the tangibles are held in the name of the TEC.

Every court fight is about the property and the latest count of decisions as to who has control of this property has been in favor of TEC.

A.S. Haley has given his interpretation of briefs filed in the cases throughout the country as has been dead wrong in his views.

So Lakeland Two we live in a land of laws and in the case of the church, canons, and so far the rule of law has been in favor of the TEC. The SCOTUS has declined to get involved in this matter and the only way it may get involved is if there errors in the proceedings of the lower courts.


Anonymous said...

re the last few lines of the last comment, I don't see any way to appeal this beyond the Virginia Supreme Court. It's a state law issue. The state's supreme court has the last word. If federal constitutional provisions were violated, there might be an avenue for requesting US Supreme Court review, but the Virginia court took pains to keep their disposition away from constitutional issues (which had been raised by the Diocese and TEC, not by the departing groups).


Lapinbizarre said...

I suspect, Scout, that the Federal Courts may well kick in if the SC situation escalates to serious litigation between TEC and the diocese, and if, in the course of that litigation, the SC Supreme Court expands the scope of its Pawley's Island ruling to cover any and all Episcopal congregations in the state. Given unique factors in the Pawley's Island case, there is no cause to assume automatically that they will do this. Keep in mind that the refusal, to date, of the US Supreme Court to hear appeals of state court decisions has resulted in de facto assertion of rulings in TEC's favor. A broad contrary ruling in South Carolina would create incompatible law at the state level and would be far more likely to trigger review in the Federal Courts.

Closing Down said...

Lap - wan't talking about historic raisin cakes or the history of Easter Eggs. Was specifically speaking of the Women's Eucharist for current use that is so far from the BCP and Christianity that it is noteworthy. If that doesn't bother you, it should - and if it doesn't bother you it shows the divide quite clearly.

The difference between Bennison and those deposed is night and day - and there is a double standard being used against orthodox and not the revisionists. Really, what revisionist has been dealt with lately except for the Islamic prist where most of TEC was screaming not to discipline her? Hey - we're gonna dump all the theology but don't you dare take what that theology built. Doesn't matter we don't want the theology - build is ours, OURS!

JFF - For the reasserter it is all about theology - that's why we want out and away from those who don't care about it. For the revisionists - I agree with you, except they want the legitimacy the old buildings represent.

My point is that the laws and ideals of this country have been used in whatever way TEC wants to use them. Majority rule - only when it works for them. When it doesn't, go to court. What did Jesus say about it? He said don't. Then KJS makes an assinine comment about separation of church and state? Spare me.

Y'all want to shoot down what you don't like to hear - don't like hearing the facts when it's against you.

I wonder, if the departing congregations had just left, with not enough people to support the facilites - who would TEC have sold the buildings to? Since TEC wouldn't sell Matt Kennedy's church to them, but would to Islamics for much less that Good Shepherd was willing to pay. Gee, THAT was good stewardship. Especially with GS feeding the poor and meeting some of those MDGs.

No, JFF, it's about property and perceived legitimacy. The courts may rule against the departing congregations all the way, but it still doesn't erase that by suing them, TEC has ripped page after page out of the Bible. That seems to be fine for quite a few of reasserters.

Hmmmm. Not one suggestion on how to peacefully come up with a solution.

Babyblue - I like that Anon above gave you a hug. It was really sweet.

May God's wisdom and love prevail over man's ignorance and stubborness, and may He protect, fertilize and grow His fruit. May we be faithful to multiply what He blesses us with.

Closing Down said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Closing Down said...

Sorry - double posted by mistake. Didn't want y'all to think I was giving double weight to my words. ;-)

Anonymous said...

LL2 part of the motivation on both sides of this debacle is that the buildings do, as you suggest, represent a kind of legitimacy. In my parish, the advocates for separation (primarily the lay and clerical leadership of the parish) used the probability of keeping the buildings as one of their major points for separation. I think they were foolish to do so, but I have no doubt that it influenced, rightly or wrongly, a number of the votes.

But, more specifically, where does this "majority rule" reference of yours come from? I have no awareness of any provision of the instruments of governance of the Church that say that property transfers to a departing faction if they number 50.1% of the adult parish? Where does that come from. If someone were to propose such a thing, I'd argue strenuously that such a measure would turn any parish into a maelstrom of politicking, drive away parishioners, and deplete financial support. Who would ever make substantial pledges to a parish if he or she believed that a group of people could use one issue or another to gin up a "vote" on something and march off with the whole shooting match. The traditional (and most honest, fair and sensible) way of dealing with disagreements in a parish is to leave. Call me a crusty, conservative traditionalist, but I reject the radical notion that when one leaves, one takes. Moreover, whatever one's theological views, I can't see that a Diocese or national church has any option but to resist when these kinds of grabs get going. While I have advocated some sort of settlement in the Virginia situation, I can't see that the Diocese has any choice but to defend and resist when those who separate go to court to claim title to assets. And, I see no way one can negotiate when the buildings are being occupied and the assets are being controlled by the departing group. It's a completely unproductive environment for negotiations.


Anonymous said...

Lapin: You make a good point about the South Carolina situation, especially as it continues to develop from the state of estrangement that now exists between one of the dioceses there and the national church. That one might have "legs" legally speaking. I suppose some general principle could come out of that that might have effects elsewhere (although I would think we are quote a few years away from that). I've also watched the California, Texas and Pittsburgh situations (all of which involve dioceses purporting to secede - I don't see how they do that, but it is distinct from Virginia) and the Crhist Church Savannah litigation (where an intermediate appellate court decided in favor of the non-departing group). But the Virginia situation seems sealed up pretty tight. Had the Virginia Supreme Court decided the case almost any other way, I could see constitutional daylight for one or both sides to go into the federal system. As it is, it is a simple interpretation of a state statute, a matter about which the highest court in the state should have the last word.

Of course, now the thing goes back to the lower court for examination of the deeds and other neutral factors that bear on legal title. My strong view on this, at least for the deeds I've seen at Truro and the Falls Church, is that the separatists are in a very weak position for all the parcels involved. Error could come out of these proceedings that would put the matter up in the courts again, but if the trial judge does his job right, I don't see federal issues arising.


Anonymous said...

BB -

You said recently that all parties should head to the negotiating table. Has CANA or the Diocese picked up the phone?

Anonymous said...

Here is a question. If some members of your parish decided that they didn't like the preaching and decided to leave, but helped themselves to some of the gold chalices and patens while on the way out, would you call the police, or would you wish them well and not "take it to the law" because the Bible forbids you from doing so?

Anonymous said...

"Okay, friends - I want you to imagine you are sitting at a cafe and the very people you are posting about or to are actually sitting right across from you. I want you to imagine, as you are writing, that the others in this thread are all gathered around the same table. Think about how you would speak to one another if you all sat together in the same cafe, around the same table. How would you speak - most of you are professing Christians and so I ask you, how would you speak to one another?"

I agree BB, but this only works when the hostess of the Cafe doesn't go around talking behind the backs of guests undermining their position at the table while using sweet words of welcome to their faces.

Anonymous said...

@LL - Your wild and completely unsubstantiated charges seem to me to be the perfect example of what I've been speaking of here. It's very difficult, impossible really, to counter them because of their very insubstantiality. At the very least, they sound like extraordinary exceptions, rather than addressing the genuine core beliefs of TEC.

As someone else has already pointed out: the example of co-opting pagan elements has a long history in the orthodox christian faith. Many of the elements of Christmas, for example, have pagan roots; Xmas trees, greening the house, the use of candles, and the yule are all examples of this. So too, is the bodily assumption of the virgin and other such doctrines initiated by Rome in recent years. They are all fine and not heretical IF they are used as aids to the evangelization of the faith. So too the sermon on the Cana feast sounds like a lecto divino that may have gone astray and not effectively communicated very well. It wouldn't be the first time, but it also wouldn't be heretical. I can't tell, given the lack of context and specificiity you provide.

If you want to maintain that such things are laughable, ineffectual, even counter-productive and possibly misleading, I might well be right there in agreement with you. I've always preferred the traditional high church services myself. The church has always tried everyting she can think of to reach the un-churched with the good news of our lord and savior. But it's pretty clear, from what I've been able to discern from your rant, such events are far from heretical, let alone apostasy. If an audience were made up largely of gay people, then comparing the Cana feast to a gay dinner might well be an effective tool of evanglization of that community. I think we can agree that there is NO community so outcast that they are unworthy of evangelization. It sounds as though it failed to find a receptive audience in your case, however. That, too, does not make it heretical.

But I can't really address those situations because I have not witnessed them for myself, and don't know the particulars; so too you have already shown yourself to be not just biased, but downright untruthful. If you want to know the core beliefs of TEC, read the BCP. We all say these creeds, for example, every single day of our lives (in my case, twice each day). As I said before, do you genuinely believe we say them with our fingers crossed behind our backs? If you want to know what TEC espouses, listen to TEC and no one else.

But, if you want to look for extraordinary exceptions, I am sure you can find them in any large church body. But always remember that they are extraordinary exceptions. It also sounds to me as though you are even taking these extraordinary exceptions out of context and distorting them to your own purpose. That would be a deliberate defamation. May I point out that deliberately defaming the church in that way is both the worst of bad faith, and also a form of persecution? Jesus was pretty clear in his opinion of both bad faith of this sort as well as of this sort of religious persecution.


Anonymous said...

@LL pt 2
In the end, from what I can discern, the actual events you are objecting to are not only extraordinarily rare and completely (deliberately) misconstrued, but are primarily political ones, and not religious objections at all. You don't like the politics of SOME members of TEC. Too bad. They are just as entitled to their political opinions as are you. We are not going to cast them out just because you, the tiniest of minorities, don't like them.

You are perfectly entitled to leave because you don't like the politics of a religious community. I've done the same myself; can you believe that I recently visited a high church TEC parish (in an urban area, if you can believe it!) where they prayed for the Pope and afterward, at coffee hour, the rector proceeded to tell me what a great President W had been???? I left immediately, because this was clearly not a community in which I was likely to feel comfortable (ignoring the complete divorce from reality that anyone might think W was an even slightly a 'good' president).

Neither of those things mean that they are heretical: laughable and ineffectual, yes, but not heretical. There were certainly elements of the service that I found distasteful and potentially heretical; their service of benediction, for example, seemed of doubtful theology to me, for example. But there was no need to go there.

In the end, if you want to leave, that is your decision. Making up excuses from wild distortions of extraordinary events seems so unnecessary and so vicious, that you go a long way to discrediting your position with them. Unfortunately, your rants and untruths also do real damage, materiel and spiritual, to the evangelical mission of the church.

Even more pertinent to this discussion, it makes it impossible for those entrusted with positions of authority in TEC to ever consider any kind of negotiation with the separating churches. It would simply be impossible for them to do so responsibly. Even a moderate such as me would much rather sell property to a completely different denomination, even a muslim one, if the alternative were to deal with a group so rabid and filled with bitterness and hate as the seperatists seem to be, as represented by your postings here.

If you want to leave, by all means leave; it's a free country. Had you done that without defamation, and without attempting to make off with the properties as if you had a right to them, then some segotiated sale might well have been possible. But the legal cases combined with your (colllective) deliberate and vicious defamation of the church speaks of an extraordinary hate. I'm afraid that, at this point, no negotiations are ever possible. This isn't (just) emotion speaking. It's based on the pure practical necessity of not compromising either the church's polity or her patrimony.

I am afraid that, once the cases are settled, the property returned, and the patrimony and polity of the church are protected, TEC's ONLY possible responsible action is to follow the directions of our lord and shake you out as if you were sand from our shoes, moving forward with evangelizing the word of our lord. The sooner you shake loose the properties and move on to do likewise, the better for us all.

Depart in peace.


Anonymous said...

Calmer voices need to be heard.
Fact is the CANA churches filed with the secular Circuit Court claiming ownership of the property. That made it necessary for the Diocese of Virginia to counter claim its rights to the property. That set the stage for the ongoing litigation.
Now that the Virginia Supreme Court has stated that 57-9 does not apply in this case, there is now no basis for the parishes to have voted in 2006. The likelihood of the departing parishes to prevail is in serious doubt.
Now is the time for both sides to lower the rhetoric, allowing for an opportunity for a negotiated settlement sparing both sides millions of dollars in litigation expenses.
The departing parishes will save resources allowing them to establish themselves in the community, carry out their mission through their daughter churches, which could happen with the best wishes of the DOV.
Now is the time for Christian understanding, healing and reconciliation for both sides.
Prayers for all.

Unknown said...

Sorry, Anon, that is incorrect. The step to claim the property could have been done but was not done, instead the voting parishes joined Bishop Lee's Property Committee following the Virginia Protocol and the All Saints Dale City model. The Diocese of Virginia filed their lawsuits following David Booth Beers visit into the diocese - which led to Bishop Lee withdrawing his own model (developed after two years of work) fand instead - as Bishop Schori did first - take direction from Booth Beers and file lawsuits against all the voting parishes and suing personally nearly 200 lay volunteers. Your later sentiments are commendable and we do agree (prayer is always a good thing) - but to start off with a grossly incorrect and highly inflammatory statement is not helpful.


DavidH said...

"The step to claim the property could have been done but was not done..."

Baloney. If it was not done, then what has the last 3 1/2 years of litigation been? You filed in court in December (prior to the Diocese's filings in January) seeking ownership of the property. It is you who regularly say grossly incorrect things to conceal that stubborn fact.

Steven in Falls Church said...

DavidH -- C'mon now. Your attempt to spin this is comic. You know that the Diocese consented to the CANA parishes' filings as part of the Standstill Agreement. Remember that? The document that has been disappeared from official TEC archives? Why would the Diocese disappear that document from its otherwise impressive catalog of all litigation-related documents? Perhaps because it exposes the fact that the Diocese sued in the first place? As a general matter, organizations don't cover up a document unless that document reflects badly on the organization. We've been through this numerous times before. You cannot claim to be victimized by something another party does that you consent to.

DavidH said...

Steven, facts are facts. Truro (et al) sued first in December. It is you and BabyBlue's attempts to conceal and escape that fact that are both laughable and deceitful.

Although the Standstill Agreement is both irrelevant and tiresome, since you've brought up again and it's one of BabyBlue's favorites, I'm happy to talk about it again. In it, the Diocese agreed that filing the 57-9 lawsuit was not a violation of the Standstill Agreement. That's it. As anyone with half a brain can figure out, inserting that exception makes it perfectly clear that what the CANA folks did was a lawsuit -- there would be no need for an exception otherwise.

And your "cover up" allegations are ridiculous (but this is the right place to post that kind of crazy).

Anonymous said...

To both DavidH and Steven, and to our hostess BabyBlue, I really wonder - does it matter at this point? I don't see CANA bringing it up anymore. I've never seen the Diocese assume the mantle of victimhood.

So now that the Div Statute case is over, what happens now? What is the answer? Babyblue, it's time to hear from you. How does this end?


Lapinbizarre said...

Surely litigation has reached a point where this "Did!" "Didn't!" "Did, too!" business is pointless and serves only to annoy everyone involved?

Always hobbits said...

It is a lot to read, and reflect upon. No new issues that I can see. We do see the world differently, those who remain in the TEC and those who chose to join the larger global Anglican communion. Reading DavidH, among others, it perplexes me. What do you think happened with the diocesan committee Peter Lee brought into being to offer peaceful protocols for the division he saw coming? And then his agreement with the protocols when they were submitted? BabyBlue is right here. Under pressure from David Beers and Katherine Schiori he lost whatever courage he might have once had, and said "I'm suing you." In many ways this whole mess is on his head, and he will stand someday in accountability for it. As he himself put it in the court hearing, upon being asked why he changed his mind, "A new sheriff is in town," viz. Katherine Schiori. And while it may be the baltimore book man's very parochial experience that he and his few friends still say the creeds with meaning, the TEC as a whole no longer is morally or theologically serious in its adherence to them. Read the decisions over the last generation. Bishops who openly reject their meaning are invited into positions of ecclesiastical authority-- and blessed. I wish the history and reality was different than it is, but it isn't. CANA and ACNA may lose here, but TEC is the loser in history and eternity, as it has given up moral and theological integrity, and feels no shame.

Jeff H said...

Somehow, all I can think of when I read this comment thread is this.

On the question of what happens next, it goes back for trial on the substantive law, without the division statute. The parties (like their respective supporters here and elsewhere on the web) have profound disagreements about what exactly the substantive law relating to church property disputes in Virginia is, and what result it will dictate here.

I wish we could just fast-forward to the trial, and then to the appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia. Alas, that's not how this process works.

Closing Down said...

Scout at 7:49 - majority rule? That's what the liberal/ revisionist/ whatever used to head away from traditional Christianity in General Convention. They have successfully used strategy to force an agenda and means to quiet dissent that subverts the values of Christ. All the while those of us who have been meek and seeking peace are being forced out. How many of us little people can afford more than two weeks vacation to attend GC? Or even one week? But now that the orthodox presence has shrunk, GC is being shortened.

I've personally seen more than I ever wanted to that deviates from the Bible and the BCP in my travels across the US. Following the blogs and researching links myself (and my other half) I have seen the abandonment of the morals that Jesus teaches us. It is this spirit that we L2 fight against.

Whether anyone agrees with me or not, TEC left on its own course and those of us still here are fighting to keep what made the Episcopal church what it was. I expect that even here in Central Florida we will be attacked by TEC in some form. So that the small voice of those as a group who don't choose to follow TEC's trajectory are stamped out. Resistance is futile - except in God's Kingdom - and He's still got some surprises up His sleeve.

There are some spiritual principles that aren't being taught. Scriptures have been carved out in the revised lectionary because they challenge the viewpoint of the current regime. We challenge everyone to go and read those verses that are cut out and ask why. Those spiritual principles include that evil does exist and if you aren't watchful it takes over. And it lets other evil in. That's one reason the leavers want to leave. While some of you think it's yours, it's God's.

As far as the comment about some leaving and taking the chalice, etc. - well, I said majority, now didn't I? But actually, if we are doing things God's way, reasonable Christians would sit down and figure out a way for both to have what they need to go forward. The problem here is TEC wants all of it and won't be reasonable. If we are all trying to further God's Kingdom, would we not want the best for both sides?

Closing Down said...

As to bookguy's rant, everything that I have written is verifiable. So be careful, bookguy, you are being libelous. I have been truthful in everything I have written. That you don't like it doesn't change the facts or truth. The Women's Liturgy - including raisin cakes - as current liturgy was on the TEC website, Christianity Today even wrote on it.

What I've written are not wild claims, etc. Usual non-Christian tactic to smear me/us, however, is not new, but wrong nevertheless.

Where are the figures for what TEC has spent on litigation? Where's the site? You don't give it because it's not out there. I'm an Episcopalian and I'm demanding it. Thousands of us have and are being denied.

You say the creeds? How about the documentable bishops that say they cross their fingers behind their backs when they say it? Why are they still bishops? Why is Spong who has denied the basic tenants of Christianty not only unchallenged by TEC but acclaiming him?

So, Bookguy, your diminishment of me is the usual tactic when trying to silence dissent.

While you may want to say I have purposefully misconstrued I have not. And unfortunately for you, you will have to account for every false word and accusation you have thrown my way before the throne of God.

Closing Down said...

We worship in Central Florida, an orthodox diocese, although we have lived across the US. Central Florida has had congregations leave, most without the buildings.

We all have our breaking point. We've seen others hit it. Us L2 are here until God and only God says to go. We don't know why, but there it is.

I can see sitting across from people like Scout and coming up with a workable solution. But it will take concessions on both sides. It's my prayer that realistic negotiations would happen. As was said earlier, calmer heads are needed. What is each side willing to give up? Or is it all or nothing? Look at how much energy is wasted on this. Is it really worth it?

Anonymous said...

Well, message to self- "Do not hire Haley as a lawyer - track record on legal opinions too far off the mark."

Anonymous said...

The postings above by LL2 and Hobbits merely prove my point. More baseless charges, more calumnies. All TEC congregations say the creeds AND MEAN THEM every day, day in and day out. The PB says the creeds AND MEANS THEM, day in day out. I, too, read and follow TEC closely in locations throughout the nation. I've seen no heresies such as you claim.

We can discuss specifics if you like. I am happy to stand before anyone and my maker with the factual and accurate statements I have made.

That said, what is the point of going into all of that?

The bottom line is, who, reviewing the above postings, can doubt that there is no point in negotiations?

What responsible administrator or officer of TEC would even consider a sale to a group that has spent four years in a determined effort to undermine and defame TEC, to twist every statement out of it's context and into some kind of heresy, who engage in continual defamation of the faith, not just to destroy the polity of our faith, but the very legitimacy of the church's mission to evangelize the un-churched?

Where is the possibility of common ground here? Where is even the possibility of enough trust needed to negotiate the sale of property? When you will say and do anything to defame and subvert the faith of the church, where will you stop?

Think for a moment back to the story of the prodigal son. The son was forgiven, and I am sure that TEC will someday be able to forgive these malfactors. But story of the prodigal son explicitly states that the prodigal's inheritance was not restored to him.

TEC may be able to forgive, but there is no basis in the posts above for trust.


Unknown said...

I agree - trust is the first step, rebuilding the trust is something that is all ready underway. I will be writing about those efforts shortly. It will mean that both sides - and I mean both sides - will need to do a major re-evaluation of the methods in which we engage with one another.

It will mean abandoning the advocacy of using a church institution as a primary instrument for social change - a tool used by progressives and conservatives, by the way. At this moment, there is a tight grasp on using the church institutions to advocate social change - but that view amongst the rising generation of leaders - while producing short-term results - does not bode well for long-term health, not just numerically, but for the people inside those institutions. They are growing toxic.

Advocating single political issues may have its place somewhere, but it will do nothing to restore confidence in either conservative or progressive institutions. It is not a substitute for redemption - for those outside and inside the institution. Jesus saves people - not causes.

As Ronald Reagan once said - trust but verify. We can extend the gift of trust as a gift - not earned, but verified. That's responsible, but it's also hopeful. And hope is what the Gospel brings a broken and fallen world.


Anonymous said...

I will be interested to hear what is proposed.

But I am also interested in how it is possible to bridge the gulf of bitterness and distrust caused by some of the rhetoric used by the separating side.

If you wanted to withdraw from the church, all you had to do was state a political difference, or even just a perceived theological difference.

It was never necessary to so salt the earth of our common heritage (with words like 'apostasy,' 'heresy,' 'un-orthodox,' and even 'paganism') that no ground for trust was possible. Any concession in the face of such charges would grievously harm the church and her mission of evangelism forever and TEC cannot accept it under any circumstances.

What disturbs me most is that these charges were fundamentally unnecessary. It is possible to recognize that we have profound political and social differences, and even differences of theology, without attacking the fundamental orthodoxy of TEC. In the end, we believe the same creeds, the same prayerbook, the same scripture, and follow the same tradition. Our differences are merely honest ones of interpretation.

(I note that, although BB has frequently posted/hosted these comments from the likes of Minns and Duncan and others such as LL2 and Steven above, she seems to have been avoiding them herself - as far as I have seen....)

As far as the legal cases are concerned, even they could have been justified with the statement that you believed you had a strong legal case. It wasn't necessary to make TEC's legal defense of the patrimony out as some diabolical conspiracy, just because they are honestly doing what the leadership of TEC honestly believes themselves to be acting from motives of responsible stewardship.

It is particularly unfortunate that the legal case has, in VA, called the church's very faith and polity into question by undermining the common authority of our episcopal and apostolic heritage. By using an obscure civil war era state law to involve the state in the church's structure, you have opened a pandora's box that can only, faithfully, be settled in TEC's favor without destroying our common apostolic polity forever.

I believe using this obscure legal maneuver will turn out to be a desperate tactic that you will regret if you wish to remain an episcopal faith - note the small 'e' here - as Anglican's; if you haven't regretted it already. This portion of the case in VA, in particular, directly attacks the fundamental nature of a central, episcopal, church polity in the United States. Under this law, we are all, legally, obliged to essentially become congregationalists.

My point remains. We may all forgive - indeed, we are commanded to do so. But TEC CANNOT in good faith and stewardship abandon any of these principles: (1) the church's fundamental orthodoxy, (2) the historic apostolic and episcopal central polity, and (3) the church's patrimony and stewardship of her historic resources.

I do not see how any reasonable person of Anglican faith can disagree with those principles.


Closing Down said...

Bookguy - I seriously don't know whether to laugh or cry. What you accuse me and others of you are doing so much more. As I am a Cafe visitor, I try to keep in mind of where I am and what my host has asked.

Your comments are so far beyond the pale it's compelling to ignore them and you. I don't know if you really believe what you are writing or just having fun having us all on because it's so over the top.

I can back up what I have written with sources and sites. Nothing I have said here is outrageous or baseless. Anyone who has followed the blogs for any time knows these things. You have not asked for even one citation, but have attacked me. Yet when you have been challenged to produce public sources of TEC's litigation costs you said were available, you didn't produce even one. Don't think others haven't noticed.

You can type all the allegations and denials you want all day and night, but it doesn't make them true. Nor do they engender trust. Your viewpoint is quite clear.

I could take you to task point by point but it's simply not worth my time. I will give you two citations - one from your very own words:

On the women's liturgy from Christianity Today:

From you:

If you want to know the core beliefs of TEC, read the BCP. We all say these creeds, for example, every single day of our lives (in my case, twice each day). As I said before, do you genuinely believe we say them with our fingers crossed behind our backs? If you want to know what TEC espouses, listen to TEC and no one else.


But TEC CANNOT in good faith and stewardship abandon any of these principles: (1) the church's fundamental orthodoxy...,

Well, BG, the BCP says marriage is one man and one woman. Bible says sex outside of marraige is a sin. TEC has elevated two non-celebate homosexual priests to the role of bishop and is working to change fundamental orthodoxy. When I find the citation to the bishop(s) who cross their fingers behind their backs, I give you that one. Because, in spite of your accusations, what I have written has been from knowledge - not just reading it on a blog because before I use something, I make sure it's fact. Part of my former investigative background and having been an officer of the court. So, while I don't think you care one iota, challenging my integrity is offensive, especially when you don't bother to ask how I know it's true.

I forgive you, BG. And I ask the Lord to bless you.

Closing Down said...

At the risk of beating another dead horse, here's a link to a long list of what's happening in TEC that contradicts BG's But TEC CANNOT in good faith and stewardship abandon any of these principles: (1) the church's fundamental orthodoxy...:

DavidH said...

Stonewall wrote: "I don't see CANA bringing it up anymore."

Then you don't read much. Try this (and every other) press release that comes from the Jim Oakes spin cycle: "We did not initiate this lawsuit..."

DavidH said...

Always hobbits, there are so many different clear factual errors in what you wrote (plainly you've bought the CANA folks' party line), it's difficult to know where to start.

"What do you think happened with the diocesan committee Peter Lee brought into being to offer peaceful protocols for the division he saw coming?"

Wrong. That is not why the committee was created or the mandate/authority that it had. Read the letters that Bp Lee wrote in creating the committee and after it was done. (Those and other things related to the committee and its report are discussed in briefing in the trial court, which you can download from the Diocese website.)

"And then his agreement with the protocols when they were submitted?"

Wrong again. Bishop Lee thanked the committee for their work and said he'd take it to the Diocese and its governing bodies. There it met a decidedly chilly reception and never was agreed to at all. (Again, the testimony on this was clear, including from ADV leaders who said they knew it hadn't been accepted.)

"Under pressure from David Beers and Katherine Schiori he lost whatever courage he might have once had, and said "I'm suing you." .... As he himself put it in the court hearing, upon being asked why he changed his mind, "A new sheriff is in town," viz. Katherine Schiori."

Wrong again. The rampant speculation about Bishop Lee's supposed change of mind is interesting but the evidence isn't there. You're quoting John Yates testimony, not Bishop Lee. If Yates is accurate -- a very big if -- the change in leadership at TEC may be one factor for why this wound up in court. That the Diocese's governing bodies weren't willing simply to give up on the properties and the remaining Episcopal congregations is another. And that the CANA folks had been scheming for years and attempted to begin negotiations with a (legal) gun to the Diocese's head is another.

And finally, "Reading DavidH, among others, it perplexes me."

When someone exposes facts to the deluded, being perplexed is normal.

DavidH said...

This is my last comment. This is a revealing thread on exactly why these cases haven't -- and probably won't -- settle. When both sides are attacking the beliefs and Christian behavior of the other, it gets personal. It becomes not a matter of money but one of faith and principle. And few people are anxious to compromise those.

Couple that with the usual difficulty of settlement, years of hostility, and the difficulty of finding a way to reach property settlements when neither side is willing to give up the property, and it's a recipe for litigation to the end.

I hope for some settlements. But I don't think either side is there.

Always hobbits said...

And my last comment too.

Since DavidH and I have taken up a small dialogue, I will offer him something from C.S. Lewis, who in describing why the magician and his nephew saw the creation of Narnia so differently, put it this way: "For what a person sees and hears depends a good deal on where one is standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are." Equally well-degeed people can see life and world very differently, "reading" the very same papers, seeing the very same "evidence." For one, the diocesan website is a source of authority, for the other John Yates in the court of law is a source of authority.

I don't know you. What is clear is that you are willing to countenance theological heterodoxy, a generation now of TEC leaders who hae sneered at mere christianity, and think that that is just fine. Pike, Spong, Schiori, to name only a few. That says a lot about you, and what it is that matters most to you. If that is to be the line-in-the-sand between the Episcopal church in the U.S. and the Anglican communion all over the world, then may it be so--and we will live with the history that unfolds. May God be merciful.

Anonymous said...

@ LL2 and Always hobbits.

These are all just unfounded charges again. This is no documentation, it's just more "I hate TEC so I'm going to make anything up that I can to defame them...." Well, that just won't hold water.

If there is something, ANYTHING, that is heterodox about TEC you need to bring your evidence from the well documented TEC voice saying it. Just more "he said, she said" is just more "trial by internet."

Rumor and innuendo and defamation by the obviously grossly biased not only just isn't good enough, it only succeeds in completely discrediting your case for any reasonable person.

After years of this poppycock, Stand Firm is the LAST place any reasonable person would look for anything unbiased. Everything on that list is so obviously twisted from it's context as to be blatantly foolish. SF is nothing less than completely contemptible.

If you want to make a case, I strongly recommend ORIGINAL sources.

Frankly, your accusations seem petty and ridiculous; you are without the evidence even a child would demand.

More importantly, it is posts such as yours that make any thought of negotiation or settlement or sale of surplus properties completely impossible forever.

What's ridiculous is that, as pointed out above, these contentions are completely unnecessary to your case.

You have chosen your course and now you must live with your choice.

May God have mercy on your soul for your foolish spleen has surely wrought nothing less than evil. You certainly give TEC and her supporters nothing but


Always hobbits said...

Regret, regret. I promised that I would not write again, and yet I am. But reading the response of "bookguybaltmd" requires something more.

I read you, and wonder where you have been for the last few decades? Is it not apparent to you that TEC, in its formal decision-making, its public face and policies, has become something closer to an Enlightenment form of Hinduism, sympathetic to transcendence but no longer believing in truth?

Stanley Hauerwas at the Duke Divinity School recently wrote, "God is whoever raised Jesus from the dead, having before raised Israel from Egypt. There is no God but this God." See this link for the essay:

Anyone who has paid attention to the debates and decisions over the last two generations within TEC knows that it no longer, as a formal body, requires that its bishops believe in the God who raised Jesus from the dead. As Hauerwas says so simply, yet profoundly, "There is no other God but this God." So which God is it that is "affirmed" in TEC as the creeds are recited? Sadly, tragically, it is something closer to a Hindu deity than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in Hauerwas' argument, who both raised Israel from Egypt and Jesus from the dead.

If you so like books, Mr. Baltimore guy, read Spong and then read Hauerwas, and ask yourself, "Which God is the God of my faith?" And ask why TEC allows and blesses someone to be a bishop who loudly and publicly disdains historic Christianity? It is only one finger to the wind; there are many more.

One astute theologian put it like this, years ago: The primary issue of faith is not whether you believe in God, but whether you believe the God you believe in. Believing the God you believe in to be true and trustworthy is not the theological ethos at VTS, GTS, or the House of Bishops of TEC-- and clearly not that of Katherine Schiori, the presiding bishop. Sympathetic to transcendence, yes-- but she doesn't believe in truth. There is no other God but this God.

Closing Down said...

Always hobbits,

That's OK. The last day or two the word "troll" has crossed my mind more than a few times. I have felt that part of Bookguy's purpose is just to bring pain and be even more divisive. It cranked up higher twice when there was talk about sitting down and negotiating - did anyone else notice that?

Bookguy is not interested in honest debate. We could show him a bloody body with a knife in the back and he would still deny there's evidence of a murder. It's hard to deal with people who act the way he has. Hard when your integrity is attacked. When it's one of us, one of us will speak up and say knock if off or tone it down - like Babyblue did earlier. Who stepped up on the other side and said, hey, this is too far? No one.

So, BG, call us names, defame us. So what. Your fruits are already known. You do your side no good. You call yourself a Christian and yet your words are not. Take every building, chalice and platen, it will not change your heart - there's too much hate there. Almost every congregation who has left TEC has thrived and yet TEC declines. By Christ's measure of success - fruitful branches - TEC is not being a success. It is known also by it's fruit.

I'm praying for you that God touches your life profoundly and deeply, so that you will see Him so clearly that nothing else matters. It's my prayer for myself and others, too. May God guide all of us, and we hear His voice and follow it in all things - even when it is painful.

Anonymous said...

Hobbits: If you feel that way about the Episcopal Church, you should leave. Some of us do not share your conclusion that the Church has left the Christian camp and we go on worshipping in an orthodox manner as we have for decades. Even in my parish, where large numbers of parishioners were led out by clergy and lay leaders who share your views, I never noticed, before or after their departure, any change in liturgy, creeds, or doctrine. The Episcopal Church remains a valid choice for many of us who regard themselves as traditional Christians. For those who don't feel that way, there is absolutely nothing that inhibits their walking away in peace and love. End of story. All this other turmoil is a reflection of man's weakness, tendency to disputatiousness, and material acquisitiveness.