Thinking Anglicans

Virginia: some further reports

Newspapers in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area have just published several items:
The Washington Post has this article: Episcopal Churches’ Breakaway in Va. Evolved Over 30 Years by Alan Cooperman and Jacqueline L. Salmon.

The Falls Church News-Press has two pieces: Homophobia’s Suspect Motives by Nicholas F. Benton and Anything But Straight: Holy Dispatch from Canada by Wayne Besen.

Why the Episcopal Schism Affects All Religions by Jo Bailey Wells first appeared on the website of Duke University.

Update Friday morning
I should also have included two comments by Matt Thompson which he made before Christmas on Political Spaghetti:
I’m flabbergasted
No, but seriously …

Update Sunday afternoon

Episcopal News Service has posted this report: VIRGINIA: Episcopal parish reorganizes, elects new vestry.

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Charles
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Charles

As a resident of British Columbia, I nearly died laughing at Wayne Besens article.

DGus
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DGus

Benton’s editorial accuses the Falls Church of being a “homophobic church” that “touts an angry, judgmental Old Testament deity.” This is flatly untrue. This is not a bad interpretation of the evidence; it is simply a falsehood for which there is NO supporting evidence. The Falls Church teaches that homosexual acts are sinful but that God is eager to forgive. I defy anyone to substantiate any hateful statement ever made towards homosexuals by any teacher at the Falls Church. Any such hateful statement made at the Falls Church would be met with shock and horror; no one would stand for… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“The Falls Church, whose historic sanctuary dates from 1769, draws almost 2,500 worshipers to its services on an average weekend.” “At least two-thirds of the worshipers are Methodists, Presbyterians or Baptists, and there is no pressure on them to be confirmed as Episcopalians, said the Rev. Rick Wright, associate rector.” So, I have some questions. How do the 2/3 who are not Episcopalians leave the Episcopal Church that they have never joined by confirmation? So – how can the 2/3 claim to be better ANGLICANS then the rest of us? Huh? Canonically, they do have the right to vote in… Read more »

Allen
Guest

Geez, after reading the article on the churches in Virginia, I am almost ecstatic they are gone from TEC. They don’t fit in with any sort of intelligent approach to Christianity.
Good luck and good riddance.

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

Interesting bit in the Post stating that 2/3rds of the membership refuse to either be confirmed or received. Are they Anglicans?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Cooperman and Salmons’ article led to an “ah ha”. If all the liberals had spoken in tongues rather than plain english (or whatever native tongue), they would have been seen as blessed in Spirit and affirmed. 1 Corinthians 14 is worth a read. Two particular good passages 14:4 “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” and 14:22 “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.” I also take issue with Wells’ inference that ending slavery is liberal and not biblical. It… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Simon

Thanks for adding Matt’s blog. I particularly liked this point “We want our church and our institutions to be immaculate and beyond reproach.”

Physician heal thyself. And people who live in glass houses should probably avoid throwing stones. And if you can’t stop making mistakes or be perfect all the time, then maybe you should start cutting some slack for others that make mistakes and pragmatically accept their imperfections.

As you judge so you will be judged. Those that give mercy will be given mercy.

counterlight
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counterlight

Very strange and incomprehensible doings in Virginia. How did 2/3rds of the congregation who are not, and have no desire to be, Episcopalian get to decide for an Episcopal parish? In my small ever so liberal parish in New York, everyone is invited to share the blessings of life in our parish; all are welcome to our ministries and our parties as either workers or beneficiaries. All baptized Christians whether Mormon, Methodist, or Maronite are welcome at our Table, while others are encouraged to come to the Table for a blessing. However, in order to be a voting member of… Read more »

DGus
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DGus

Here’s what the canons actually say about who is a member of the Episcopal Church, and who is entitled to vote: “All persons who have received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, whether in this Church or in another Christian Church, and whose Baptisms have been duly recorded in this Church, are members thereof.” (Canon 17, sec. 1(a), TEC.) “All members of this Church who have received Holy Communion in this Church at least three times during the preceding year are to be considered… Read more »

laurence
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laurence

‘..a “homophobic church” that “touts an angry, judgmental Old Testament deity.” I am not quite sure how to put this. I want to beseech Christians carefully to consider, the use of this kind of language, in relation to its possible meaning and effects on members of the Jewish Faith. I do wish Christians would replace ‘OT’ with either ‘Hebrew Bible / Scriptures’, or ‘Tanakh’ in their spech and writing. It would be a modest and kind step, given that we have appropriated (at best) these books, re-arranged their order to fit Christian polemics. Do you even know to what I… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

DGus, I, of course, cannot document any homophobic statement made by a leader of Falls Church. As a result, I do not form opinions as to whether or not such a thing has happened. What I can see is that Falls Church has no problem putting itself under the leadership of a man who favours jailing for 5 years, not only gay people, but anyone who is supportive of gay people. He also admitted that the first time he knowingly touched a gay man, he “jumped back”. How would we feel if he had responded the same way to a… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

One might add this link to The Nation article: Holy Homphobia …

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?bid=15&pid=150489

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

It just occurred to me how really odd it is, that churches like Truro and Falls Church VA – so experientially steeped for several decades in charismatic renewal living – (speaking in tongues is just the tip of the iceberg of deep gifts of the Holy Spirit, after all, even if one limits oneself to canonical scriptural sources) – should be throwing stones at other believers for exercising gifts of the Spirit, not to mention for demonstrating fruits of the Spirit in their daily lives. Thanks to legacy prejudices, enshrined in attitude and laws and regulations and customs; and thanks… Read more »

John-Julian, OJN
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John-Julian, OJN

I live such a sheltered life! I never knew there even WERE Episcopal Churches that behave the way T&FC apparently have. What’s to leave, when they are already so far away from Anglicanism? And why in the world would T&FC even bother with troublesome things like ordained Anglican clergy? Does it really all have to do with pension funds and the like? Or “social standing” of being “Episcopalians”? Does this also tell me something more about the Church in Nigeria as well? I wonder if 2/3 of their touted millions are Anglicans at all? Maybe they, too, pad their lists… Read more »

Lois Keen
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Lois Keen

DGus has quoted the canons of TEC correctly. I would add only this: how one becomes “registered in the particular parish in which they intend to vote”. It is by being baptized in that parish, or by being confirmed as an Episcopalian Christian in that parish, or by being received into the communion of the Episcopal Church in that parish (or in a service of confirmation in the deanery or in a diocesan service, as a person claimed by a particular parish within that deanery or diocese), or by transferring their membership from their previous Episcopal Church to the parish… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

My grandmother (obm) was a charismatic Episcopalian, who spoke in tongues (at charismatic prayer services—never that I saw, during Eucharist).

…she also had an *openly lesbian priest* give the blessing at her 80th birthday party (and this, 25+ years ago!).

There is NO reason to equate “the Gifts of the Holy Spirit”, with institutionalized, Bible-cited homophobia. Truro and TFC have just *chosen* to equate them.

[Share the gobsmackedness at the 2/3 ***non-Episcopalians***, voting to TAKE Episcopal parishes with them…]

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence I echo your concerns about the idea of a previously angry God, but the Christian God isn’t. Your posting raises two questions. One is on whether to use the word OT or Hebrew scriptures or whatever. I actually choose to use the word OT because the OT that which is bound with the NT and put out as the bible. It is not the same as the original Hebrew texts. There was editing, the same as the early church edited out Thomas, Philip, Mary scrolls to leave us with the four “pure” gospels. I will not falsely portray the… Read more »

DGus
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DGus

One CAN “transfer” his membership to TEC without being confirmed or received by an Episcopal bishop. Canon 17, sec. 1(a), provides that members of TEC are persons baptized “whether in this Church OR IN ANOTHER CHRISTIAN CHURCH, and whose Baptisms have been duly recorded in this Church ….” Sec. 1(c) states that “It is EXPECTED that all adult members of this Church … will have been confirmed or received,” but a not-yet-confirmed adult communicant is as much a MEMBER as a not-yet-confirmed child communicant. Maybe the distinction between confirmed and unconfirmed members might affect their voting rights in some dioceses:… Read more »

ruidh
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ruidh

“It just occurred to me how really odd it is, that churches like Truro and Falls Church VA – so experientially steeped for several decades in charismatic renewal living – (speaking in tongues is just the tip of the iceberg of deep gifts of the Holy Spirit, after all, even if one limits oneself to canonical scriptural sources) – should be throwing stones at other believers for exercising gifts of the Spirit, not to mention for demonstrating fruits of the Spirit in their daily lives.” It’s not strange at all. Speaking in tongues does not threaten the established orthodoxy the… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

And on the comments about miracles. Early on it became clear there was a section of the church that had pegged out their paradigms and nothing on heaven and earth was going to move them from their position. They set the ground rules for this round. No miracles, hands on healing, speaking in tongues or any “super human” solutions. Any such solutions would be seen as the “evil one” trying to throw a glamour, unverifiable and lead to allegations of insanity. The only thing they said they would listen to is scriptural authority. Anyone advocating a position had to advocate… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

I want to beseech Christians carefully to consider, the use of this kind of language, in relation to its possible meaning and effects on members of the Jewish Faith. I do wish Christians would replace ‘OT’ with either ‘Hebrew Bible / Scriptures’, or ‘Tanakh’ in their speech and writing.” I would heartily agree. The image of the God of Hebrew Scripture as angry and vengeful is at odds with the One who gave his fallen humans a second chance after the Flood, who restored his chosen after bondage in Egypt, who restored them after the Babylonian Exile, who used prophets… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Well the departure of the Virginia churches was obviously VERY important politically… or there wouldn’t be so many articles and commentators sniping still! But I do get a bit bored of the old “homophobia” line. There are lots of other conflicts between evangelical Christianity and the liberal take on Human Rights… Can’t we be lambasted for believing that Christ is the *only* way to God and rejecting other religions, or for campaigning against abortion because it is murdering the unborn child, or for objecting to the second-class status of Christians in some Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and communist countries, or for… Read more »

C.B.
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C.B.

Dgus – the issue isn’t whether the outcome of the vote would have been different. – Although it certainly would have read differently with nearly a quater of the church voting against it despite the years of indoctrination against TEC. – But that the nature of the congregation as a a whole appears to bear no particular allegiance to or affinity with the TEC in the first place.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Bravo.

The total witness of scripture is more varied, more mixed, more contextual – than any of the new conservative set pieces for Absolutized (Idolized?) Biblical Authority (capital letters advised) will permit us to recall.

Bravo.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Lois: An Episcopal bishop expecting his ring to be kissed (I can’t imagine one of our women bishops doing that)? I haven’t seen that in all my years, including in such an Anglo-catholic environment at the Diocese of Chicago. When I have seen a Roman Catholic (or other Christian whose episcopate we recognize as historic) the bishop has simply received the person with a handshake. Occasionally I’ve seen a bishop receive (as opposed to confirm – different prayer) and still lay on hands; but in most cases, since we trust the episcopate the person comes from, there is not need… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“However, this “2/3 non-Episcopalians” issue is, in any event, a complete red herring, since the vote was so overwhelming.”

Nice try, DGus, if not for the many reports that former parishioners who wouldn’t toe the party line at Truro/TFC “felt obliged” *cough* shoved out *cough* to leave these assemblies, for more faithfully *Episcopalian* ones.

Once the deck is stacked, that proverbial Royal Flush just ain’t all that, is it? :-/

simon dawson
Guest

Cynthia You said “The image of the God of Hebrew Scripture as angry and vengeful is at odds with the One who gave his fallen humans a second chance after the Flood, who restored his chosen after bondage in Egypt, who restored them after the Babylonian Exile, who used prophets to call them to just and loving living …” In my opinion your statement rest upon the concept of “the chosen”. The God of Hebrew Scripture is great if you are Hebrew – but not if you happen to be different. I wonder if the mothers of the firstborn of… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Simon D – there’s plenty of vengeance against the unchosen in the NT (the Apocalypse, anyone?). And you do seem to have neglected significant strands in OT thought in (eg) Isaiah and the Wisdom literature.

As David Lane of Mirfield of blessed memory apparently used to say to those who looked down on the OT, “How can you understand the appendix if you don’t read the book?”

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Marshall Scott: re the kissing of the bishop’s ring. Funny you should mention Chicago – the bishop was a retired Bishop Suffragan of Chicago. He was acting as interim bishop in the diocese where the ring kissing took place. He was greatly loved, and when he died, the whole world attended the funeral in our little cathedral. Regarding the parish register, what is supposed to be and what is are indeed two different things. People worship regularly, give of their time, talent and treasure, are on the mailing list, submit a promise of pledge in the fall thus falling on… Read more »

laurence
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laurence

I’m just writing this while its before me, and before the thread drops from sight….. I am all for listening to Blake. Big time. But my PLEA (above) had less to do with Christian self-understanding, including Christian relation to Bible. It was a plea for us to consider the Jewish Faith and synagogues. In the Christian communities we use without a second thought, language which implicitly devalues Judaism (I pointed to one or two — “Old Testament” and the implication that ‘the Christian God’ is superior to ‘the Jewish / OT’. Also i’ll addd : the oft used phrase ‘the… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

On the subject of ring-kissing — hey, it is Epiphany ! In Southwark Diocese (south London, UK), bishop Mervyn Stockwood – ” the last of the Prince Bishops” as he used to refer to himself with pride & a touch of irony — he insisted people he’d just ordained kissed his ring; more or less on their knee. He would thrust his hand and sort of propel one downwards in one wonderful stroke –trying to remember how he did –twas 25 odd years ago! I don’t think anyone minded. Anglos like me loved it –and the young evos wondered what… Read more »

Robin D
Guest
Robin D

In response to DGus’s comment above about the “so overwhelming” nature of the vote – “still a 73% super-majority in favor of disassociating” – at The Falls Church, I offer this post from another list: >I was surprised the other day when I looked at Church of the Word’s website, to see that only 73 members voted on their resolution to leave the Episcopal Church. I was surprised because I thought they were much larger. >Well what do you know: I looked at the Journal of last Council to find that they reported 230 Communicants in Good Standing (CGS). So… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Simon I think one of the problems we have is that people ascribe to Jews what Jews say; or take the words of one of their rampant extremes and project that onto all Judaism. Judaism is actually better at acknowledging righteousness in others than, say, Christianity does. There are an awful lot of Christians out there saying that they hate Jews because Jews say this. What is really happening is that there are an awful lot of Christians out there who listen to each other and don’t check their facts. They then act on an incorrect group think and no… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The opening post of mine, last part of third paragraph down, might be of interest to this general area – the space available for the Episcopal Church to move compared and contrasted with the Unitarian Univeralist Association.

http://www.faithspace.co.uk/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=71&t=7999&st=0#entry131706

Possibly Mynsterpreost might be interested in what we get gassing about after a service, though he didn’t preach in this one (he says elsewhere here that he did at 8 am but it’s too early for me; he the Queer Bible he says so I obviously missed something interesting).

laurence
Guest
laurence

Very interesting to read the link to your blog Adrian. I am always fascianted by your knowledge of church history, especially the Great Ejection and Unitatianism etc. Thank you. Also like the brahma logo.

What medium do you paint in, if you don’t mind me asking ?

laurence
Guest
laurence

Thanks, Cheryl

I particlarly like ‘unilateral grace’. A striking word for our times…

Pluralist
Guest

Very cheap gouache and watercolour paints, sometimes on entirely the wrong surfaces and using the wrong method (ie I paint up to white instead of from white to dark) and I am a heavy user of gouache white and black mixing, just like you shouldn’t. Oh and I have painted a version of Rublev’s Trinity icon for tonight’s experimental worship which, er, well, is rather different. I’ll have to photograph it and then reduce and upload for visuals. The portrait one I can scan – not sure – and I’ll take my big painting of the church too. The Brhama… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

Thanks Pluralist. VEry interesting.
Have replied more fully via your website. Hadn’t realised till now that ‘clicking’ on your name would take me there !

Painting (and looking at paintings) have to be among the sanest human activities.

I recently came across this slogan :

Make art Find joy

never a truer word spoekn!