Please pray for the people and leaders of The Falls Church Anglican as they take the next step and appeal to the United States Supreme Court regarding the loss of their church home in Falls Church, VA. Pray for wisdom and discernment and grace as they take this step. The freedom to appeal to the highest court in the land is indeed a major part of our justice system in the United States. Please pray for those who will make the decision on hearing their appeal. We should hear later this year or early next year whether their case will be heard.
Please also pray for the people and leaders of The Falls Church Episcopal as well. We are reminded to pray without ceasing. In fact, Paul's words to the Thessalonian Church (1 Thes 5) is a very good guide from Paul on how we may pray for one another, in fact it is an appeal all its own:
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:12-18.
The FAQ that justifies this action is as tortured in its reasoning and scriptural interpretation as anything TEC ever released during this fight. It is sad to see the harm this has done to both sides.
The Anglicans risk becoming defined by this dispute - their leadership counsel has lost their way.
Let us take this time to pray without ceasing and leave the fears to Christ. We live in a free country that guarantees all citizens the freedom to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court - men and women have died to protect that freedom and we should respect that. At the same time, let us pray for all of those who are in positions of decision, that what is just and what is good prevails. Let us pray for all - and be not afraid.
The decisions made by the departing parishioners of the Falls Church to make such heavy investments in trying to take away real and personal property from the parishioners who chose to stay would be an excellent subject for a Business School Case Study in flawed decision-making. They now propose to spend (at a minimum) $110,000 to file a petition for certiorari, a venture that arithmetically has an extremely low success rate (less than 1%). The "up side" of this calculus is that, if they are part of the less than 1% of petitions that are granted a writ, they then get to spend at least that much more in preparing merits briefs and arguments. The up-side of that is that, if they prevail, the whole thing gets remanded to the state court system in the Commonwealth, perhaps with a ruling that is helpful to the departing group, but perhaps with a ruling that is not outcome-determinative and leads to another few years of litigation. All this over the basic point that the Episcopal Church really does not provide in its Canons for a procedure by which parishioners who decide to reaffiliate can take stuff with them when they go.
I wish those who stayed on and those who left would just say: Look, we're throwing away God's money on frivolous things. Let's take the $110K that the departing group will spend on the cert. petition and the 50 or 60K that the Diocese will spend opposing it, combine our resources, and open a hospital or orphanage or soup kitchen in Haiti or Honduras or Herndon or you-name-it, and we'll work together in Christian fellowship to sustain the facility in the future.
The literature distributed to members of the new congregation is completely inadequate to describe the costs and risks that they are being asked to undertake.
When does that congregation wake up, ask some very tough questions about how they got into this mess, and quit this? The comment above about being defined by their past is compelling to me. They have a very difficult road ahead to try to claim a new identity, and lengthening the litigation does not help. I I'm surprised that some very difficult questions have not been laid at the feet of John Yates, and the vestry leadership of the last seven years, who led them off this cliff.
So Anons - pretty harsh and judge mental comments there, don't you think? As the VA Supreme Court observed - a schism has occurred in The Episcopal Church. If one believes litigation should end, would your argument be far more compelling if you modeled by your rhetoric what that might look like?
I am thankful I'm out of the loop, if only to separate from the emotional aspect that these Anons have expressed. Truly as if they know best.
My the Lord's will be done.
May the hardness of heart that these unknown people seem to have expressed here, not rule the day and ALL hearts be soften, in Mine, John Yate's+, Anon's, Scouts, BB, whomever.
Anons I don't know if you truly have anything personal in this or merely spouting off, but I was personally injured by parish politics that has NOTHING to do with property at Truro, when to TFC, but individual followed me over (now in the PCA last I heard) and failing at TFC, so chased out of there, into another caldron of another set of personalities and drama and chased out of there. I know what it is like to be bitter, in fact I may have more reason than you to be bitter against Truro, TFC, CANA or AMiA or PEARUSA or whoever ... BabyBlue has been a great friend and WONDERFUL Christian, showing me love but rebuking my bitterness, just like she did you in the comment above. Please accept the rebuke, in that I know from personal experience, bitterness only hurts you, letting go is life. Let the Lord decide, via human means, please stop the personal attack on Yates+, especially if you have no cause.
This is an entirely reasonable and predictable step by TFC Anglican, to exhaust all appeal options before relinquishing properties and money for good. The whining is not surprising, except for the fact that the whiners are firmly ensconced in the properties they have seized. The depths to which some folks have been plunged into a swivet over this (check out the predictably droning talking points on the TFCE rector's blog) suggests what is really at issue is that the TFC Anglicans' money will stay tied up a while longer, perhaps another year, while the cert petition is decided. Sorry guys, you'll have to wait to get your hands on the money. In the end this is probably good for the continuing TEC group as it will force them to find ways the fund the property, a reality they will be faced with anyway once other peoples' money runs out.
Steven in FC
"If one believes litigation should end, would your argument be far more compelling if you modeled by your rhetoric what that might look like?"
Indeed, Babyblue, indeed. Perhaps you review some of your own from this blog back in the '06-'09 time period.
It's not surprising that they've taken this step. Their in-house lawyers have been driving this train since they lost, and lost big, back in 2010. But it's a side show and will soon be over, once and for all.
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