Saturday, 16 December 2006

second big weekend in Virginia

The first one was here. And the statement of the ACC Secretary General in the matter of CANA’s ecclesiastical status was reported yesterday.

This weekend voting concludes in the two big parishes, The Falls Church and Truro Church, and there is some excitement in the air. See also the comments to that post for some descriptions of last Sunday. At another parish the voting is over and the result declared.

Detailed instructions have been issued to the media in anticipation of extensive coverage tomorrow. That PDF is also available as html, here.

Some very strong stuff indeed appeared Thursday in the Falls Church News-Press:
F.C. Episcopal to Report Results of Vote to Defect Sunday
Nicholas F. Benton: An ‘Old South’ Backlash
Editorial: Descent Into The Abyss

The Living Church has published two further reports:
Secretary General of ACC Clarifies Communion Status of CANA
Virginia Diocese Questions Voting Procedure

If like me you were puzzled as to why the diocese cared about the voting procedure details, this comment on titusonenine explains.

The Clergy and Wardens of the Church of the Apostles, Fairfax, Virginia, wrote a letter to Bishop Peter Lee which you can read in full here.

The perception of Truro Church leadership concerning CANA’s Anglican District of Virginia are contained in this PDF file.

The Washington Times had this detailed report by Julia Duin today: Diocese faces exodus of flock.

And if you are wondering about whether Virginia law is clear about the ownership of parish church property this note by Jim Naughton On church property may confuse you further.

Further update: some useful background statistics on the voting numbers involved can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 1:36pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

I'm concerned about the voting procedures. I wonder what notice has been given to the congregants in advance and, most especially, if notice of the meeting was done above-board, publicly published. When the vote is turned in, I would very much like to see the total number of congregants of each parish and percentage that voted.

Posted by: Annie on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 3:03pm GMT

I read the instructions for the press and will now show my ignorance. What is a 'mult box?'

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 3:44pm GMT

Cynthia, it's a device into which broadcast reporters can plug in jacks to pick up audio from the institution's sound system.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 4:19pm GMT

How about this hysterical comment in the FCNP Editorial: "If this week’s vote results in the departure of Falls Church Episcopal from the Episcopal denomination, the church will go down in infamy as a regrettable and despised bastion of bigotry, prejudice and hatred."

What a load of c**p! I'm sure that the Editor also has moral views on sex, and yet doesn't believe that (s)he is bigotted, or hates everyone whose sexual desires or behaviour *(s)he* disapproves of!

This almost marxist dialectic is the sort of hate speech that is inciting real hatred and vilication.... of 'conservative' Anglicans!

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 6:05pm GMT

The editorials from the Falls Church newspapers are spot on. Let's hope those who remain faithful non-schismatic Episcopalians find homes in new inclusive local parishes - time for some missionary activity in northern Virginia.

Posted by: Byron on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 6:51pm GMT

I'm concerned about those 6 in All Saints' Church who voted against leaving the Episcopal Church.

I too think the editorials were right on and spot on.

Posted by: counterlight on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 8:24pm GMT

"...sort of hate speech that is inciting real hatred and vilication." Dave

Yep, the kinda viscious speech/actions directed against LGBT Christians that encourages crimes of HATE in Uganda/Nigeria and way down South in "Dixieland/Networksville" everyday of the week (with the additional "gag" feature of pending Anglican Church/Akinolan backed-up anti-Human Rights legislation that will ENHANCE fear and hate in Nigeria)!

Those self-pityfilled and poor misunderstood puritans...rarely have they fully realized how it *was/is* to be marginalized,loathed and despised even within their own Church...but, THEY are getting *it* BIGTIME as puritans keep up with the bigoted nonsense while simultaneously moaning about the harsh words from heathen meanies directed at the selfrighteous THEMS.

Silly geese.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 8:27pm GMT

It will dear Dave, and remember, this is not the 1930-ies or 1960-ies anymore.

Who did what or didn't in Europe of the 30ies and 40ies or in the USA of the 60ies is overlooked because only the closest mourners have a clue.

In fact few of them - if any - have ever said anything to their children and grand-children.

(In my case personally, my grand-parents told me things they never ever let their children even suspect)

But today we have the Internet to record everything we do or don't. And what's written in cyber space will be there to haunt us and our descendants in secula seculorum.

So this is my predicion (my Finn blood, you know ;=)

50 years hence the grand-children of today's operatives will have to change their names.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 8:44pm GMT

I agree Byron. I would also like to see at least the historic structures vacated for those who remain in TEC.

I've often thought if we did as much reaching out as politicking our pews would be filled. Instead of worrying about who's leaving let's build up the church with radical hospitality and a hopeful future.

Peace

Posted by: Robert Christian on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 9:49pm GMT

Dave, I can understand why you find that editorial offensive, but that really is how many, if not most, people view fundagelicals.

Posted by: JPM on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 10:22pm GMT

Dear Leonardo, Puritans *were* badly persecuted in the UK... many left to found a new world in America! However I don't think that many people in the Falls Church are real puritans. Just Christians who believe in the authority of the teachings of the New Testament on matters of Christian faith and [moral] conduct. Given that the NT teaches that sin cuts you off from God, and that "homosexuality" (as it was then understood) is condemned as one of many sinful behaviours, it is hardly surprising that they cannot continue in association with a church and diocese that has recently started affirming same-sex sexual relationships.

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 11:05pm GMT

Dear JPM, yes. And that sort of twisting words to vilify people is extremely dangerous - only one step from persecution and witch-hunts. It has been used very successfully in the last hundred years by several very unsavoury regimes round the world to separate groups from society and then oppress or do away with them.

If people want to disagree vehemently with Christians who uphold traditional/biblical morality, they could at least have the decency to admit that we are genuinely trying to be loving while upholding our moral beliefs... rather than accusing Christians of "hate" when they patently don't.

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 11:17pm GMT

The Falls-Church editorial is neither well-written nor particularly interesting. I've decided to ignore it.

Posted by: Matt on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 11:45pm GMT

Dear Annie:

Your concerns about notice of the vote being adequately given to the congregation can all be satisfied by reference to the publicly available info: Yes, the vote was well publicized -- not just in a manner adequate to satisfy the local canons (which require only notice at a Sunday morning meeting a few days in advance), but repeatedly, redundantly, two months in advance, weekly for some time in the Sunday bulletin and orally in all services, repeated in multiple mailings and e-mailings, followed up (in the case of the Falls Church, at least) by a "phone tree" campaign to reach everybody who hadn't voted yet as of the end of the first day of voting. I think that about 3/4 of the eligible voters will probably have voted by the time the polls close.

Posted by: DGus on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 11:57pm GMT

It's really quite pathetic watching fundies trying to present themselves as victims. Not only deluded, but paranoid as well.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 12:49am GMT

Yeah the righter wing of conformed believers in Virginia has quite a tricky balancing act to manage now, hewing to their loud-high classical condemnation fashions on the one hand, and yet on the other hand having to more carefully manage that classical condemnation as it slowly devolves, letting go of precisely those legacy powers to sanction or punish or interfere which were previously just the ticket.

Aside from directly and indirectly trying to interfere with queer folks (or other folks) just getting on with the best in their lives, including of course the best queer stuff, just what is the point?

Is not the legacy equation clear: blanket queer condemnations = blanket straight privileges and superiorities? Is this a way to spread really good news among citizens who already have queer folks somewhere in their biological families, and who of course will continue to have to connect with them in lots of other citizen arenas as well?

Truro hasn't left the planet after all, just said clearly that unconformed believers are not welcome until they either conform, or at least seem properly sorry or apologetic for not conforming. I think everybody is probably going to end up still being welcome, sort of, as outsiders and visitors who lack by definition any sort of institutionalized voice inside the separated community of rightwing believers.

Wow, what a witness.

All the good conservative believers getting together, unspoiled, to deprive everybody else of precisely those institutional powers that the newly unwlecome members of the family would otherwise exercise by virtue of having been born, in one way or another, right into the family?

So we remain, constituents of this shrinking global village in which we now live in this century.

We are all still with you, there, then, in Truro and the rest of Virginia. Yep. Right there with you. Still.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 1:27am GMT

The Falls Church News-Press reflects not only common sense, and indeed the tolerance for which the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion has long been celebrated, but what may be more important, the overall take of the coming generation. Perhaps it is among young adults that TEC needs to seek its new adherents.

As for the issue of Jesus as the only way to salvation, has this not been discussed at very high theological levels over the past 25 years? If I recollect, the previous Pope, with the present one as counselor, issued statements supporting God's unbroken covenant with the Jews, and on the work of the Holy Spirit with non-Christian peoples. There have also been a number of Anglican theological statements, both supporting those of the Roman church, and separate ones. Jesus is the only way to salvation for us, but we seek forever to know the one complex God who works in ways --- with other people equally created in His image --- that we are incapable of fully understanding. Isn't that the current thought of the universal churches?

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 1:30am GMT

""homosexuality" (as it was then understood) is condemned as one of many sinful behaviours, it is hardly surprising that they cannot continue in association with a church and diocese that has recently started affirming same-sex sexual relationships."

I am not sure why the "" on homosexuality or what is meant by "as it was then understood."

The rest of the sentence is in error:

TEC, in the resolution on same sex blessings in '03 did not 'affirm' anything. It simply stated the fact that in some dioceses they in fact are affirmed. Recognizing a fact is not affirming a practice, and to say so is either sloppy or disingenuous thinking and writing.

It is news indeed to me that the Diocese of Virginia has "started affirming same-sex sexual relationships." I wish the writer would produce evidence - a document, for example. OTOH, the writer can go to the Profile of the diocese produced for the Coadjutor search to find a statement of diocesan policy on sexuality matters. It does say that we are in conversation about these issues, which is, after all, in compliance with the last Lambeth.

Maybe for the writer even to think about these things is too scary.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 1:17pm GMT

>>>Puritans *were* badly persecuted in the UK... many left to found a new world in America!

And what did they immediately do upon arriving in the New World? They set about persecuting others, and then turned on one another. There's a lesson in this.

>>>"homosexuality" (as it was then understood) is condemned as one of many sinful behaviours

Then why don't the so-called orthodox condemn those other sins? Homosexuality seems to be the only one they care much about, perhaps because they, for the most part, can condemn it without condeming themselves, whereas denouncing greed or self-righteousness or remarriage after divorce would pretty much clear out the pews.

>>>...that sort of twisting words to vilify people is extremely dangerous - only one step from persecution and witch-hunts. It has been used very successfully in the last hundred years by several very unsavoury regimes round the world to separate groups from society and then oppress or do away with them.

Yes. There's an unsavory regime in Nigeria presently engaged in this practice. Unfortunately, a pet cleric of that regime has declared himself our new pope.

I agree that vilification is not helpful, but it is important to realize that many people around the world have a very negative view of Christianity, thanks to the actions of many so-called evangelicals.

It might be different where you are, but here in the U.S. the public face of Christianity has become Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and the like. Many people see them and, quite sensibly, want nothing to do with them or any cause that they espouse.

I wonder how many souls have been lost as a result of this terrible, terrible witness?

Posted by: JPM on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 3:44pm GMT

" 'Puritans *were* badly persecuted in the UK... many left to found a new world in America!"
Quite true about the persecution.

"And what did they immediately do upon arriving in the New World? They set about persecuting others, and then turned on one another. There's a lesson in this."

Also true - they drove Roger Williams out to found Rhode Island.

They were responsible for one of the last horrible outbreaks of witch hysteria, and the tortured deaths of many women who were sent to their deaths on the basis of dubious testimony even for those fear-fraught and superstitious times.

Their self-rightous offspring made buckets of money from the slave trade.

What a fine legacy!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 7:49pm GMT

It is absolutely untrue that the diocese of Virginia has "authorised" same-sex blessings.Poor +Lee consented to +Robinson's election, and there's been hell to pay ever since. Perhaps, if we could ship +Minns+ back to the old country and keep Lord Carey there, as well, Virginia could declare peace and the two estimable gentlemen might pass the rest of their days cavorting with the Covenanting fundagelicals.

Posted by: John D on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 9:12pm GMT

Cynthia Gilliatt wrote. "TEC, in the resolution on same sex blessings in '03 did not 'affirm' anything. It simply stated the fact that in some dioceses they in fact are affirmed. Recognizing a fact is not affirming a practice, and to say so is either sloppy or disingenuous thinking and writing."

Dear Cynthia, I think that is very disingenuous, and I can't imagine that you will find many people other than TEC's politicos who would agree with you. Voting to recognise something is accepting that it exists, isn't it? And "consecrating" of a man who was living in a same-sex sexual partnership was also effective official affirmation" of that form or relationship by TEC.

As for the Virginia diocese, I bow to your greater knowledge of your official resolutions and actual practices! But if Virginia had repudiated TEC's unbiblical morality I don't think you would have lost some key churches this weekend.

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:02pm GMT

Dear JPM, If you read what I wrote, you will notice that I said that the folk at Falls are *not* Puritans!

As for persecution, I don't think that you can justify the persecution of the English Puritans on the basis that they subsequently did it to other people.. Sounds like you are arguing for "Do unto others before they do it unto thee!"

I think you will find that most conservative Anglican statements on sexuality are careful to set homosexuality in the context of all sexualities and sexual behaviours, many of which are condemned in the Bible as perversions, abusive or unfaithful, rather than to just single out homosexuality. It is liberals who continuously come back to homosexuality as a single issue cause (in my view because the liberal case is much weaker if you start trying to discuss in the context of all sexualities).

And finally, I think that on the whole US Christians are doing a much better job that Europeans at getting souls saved. You just have to look at the miniscule number of people in church over here to realise that hell could easily have a predominantly Western European population! And of course people will vilify and mock us: human nature doesn't like the Gospel - never has, never will.

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:26pm GMT

Cynthia Gilliatt wrote: "... many women who were sent to their deaths on the basis of dubious testimony even for those fear-fraught and superstitious times."

It is not a question of "those times".

The Middle Ages believed in Black magic; that is in doing wilful damage to the group; to Society, by superstitions “acts”, and by spreading (libellous) rumours about such superstitious “acts”.

The Renaissance belief in "witchcraft" as something “r e a l” (in the World of Ideas) was taught.

Taught by Neo Platonist Academies – rejected by Aristotelian ones.

To wit, there were witch-hunts only in those parts of Sweden where the civil servants and the clergy attended the Universities of Uppsala or Dorpat (funded by the privy purse of the Absolutist Calvinist Kings), but none in Finland where the civil servants and the clergy attended Åbo Academy.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:26pm GMT

It amazes me Dave, that you do not see that in the year of Grace 2006 "Hell" (not that there is one) must "have a predominantly Northern American population", just as in 1945 it had a predominantly German population.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:56pm GMT

Dave ; if heaven is full of your mob, and your thoroughly nasty god and its 'jesus', then hell, here I come!

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 11:02pm GMT

>>>Dear JPM, If you read what I wrote, you will notice that I said that the folk at Falls are *not* Puritans!

Sure. My point had to do with the inevitable result of purity movements.

>>>As for persecution, I don't think that you can justify the persecution of the English Puritans on the basis that they subsequently did it to other people.

No, I don't believe in persecuting anyone. Again, my point had to do with the logical end of movements based on exclusion.

>>>I think you will find that most conservative Anglican statements on sexuality are careful to set homosexuality in the context of all sexualities and sexual behaviours, many of which are condemned in the Bible as perversions, abusive or unfaithful, rather than to just single out homosexuality.[etc.]

When they condemn remarriage after divorce, or greed, or unjust wars, or other popular sins, then I might believe that they are consistent.

So far all I have heard is them obsessing over homosexuals, and that is an easy "sin" for them to condemn, since they cannot possibly pay any price for it, while calling people out about other ones might empty out the pews and thus dry up the cashflow.

As for whether we Americans are so good at saving souls, I am not as sure as you.

Churches that appeal to the common desire for entertainment and self-improvement do well, but the others have a much harder time.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 6:28am GMT

JPM,

"When they condemn remarriage after divorce, or greed, or unjust wars, or other popular sins, then I might believe that they are consistent."

The evangelical churches I have been to (namely, Truro and The Falls Church) do in fact both condemn these things, are teach that God is gracious to those guilty of them. The difference between these things and the morality of homosexual actions is that these things are pretty well condemned by everyone one, and so don't cause huge fights that cause publicity.

Same-sex unions however, even if not officially approved by TEC, are recognized as part of its common-life. This is where the debate comes in, and this is what gets publicity.

TEC does not approve of greed, polygamy, unjust war, murder, or many other morally problematic things, so naturally there isn't that much point in talking about whether they are part of our common-life.

"all I have heard is them obsessing over homosexuals, and that is an easy "sin" for them to condemn, since they cannot possibly pay any price for it"

Do you honestly believe that to be true? The price they have paid is giving up their member ship in TEC (which is cause for mourning no matter which way you 'vote'), vilification in the media, the scorn of many contributers on the site and around the world.

"dry up the cashflow"

You do know where the cashflow goes right? It's not like these people working for the church are pulling in six figure salaries, belive me, I know. It goes to supporting mission in the USA and around the world, if you want to really know, go look at the websites for Truro and TFC. Look at the mission/outreach part of the websites.

I would recommend that before people condemn these two churches, they (if they can, or are in the area) visit one of them, see how much 'gay-bashing' goes on in a typical service, see if it is just flashy entertainment, see if the people there are as bigoted, homophobic and hateful as many people seem to judge them as being without having first met them.

And to respond to the inevitable comments about members of these churches judging homosexuals without first meeting them before it is made. There is a distinction between taking a moral standpoint, and judging a human being. To say otherwise is simply to reduce a person to an action. Is a homosexual finally defined by their sexuality? I would say no. They are people, just like heterosexuals, who struggle in their lives, are forgiven by God, and learn to forgive from God.

Posted by: StAndTheolStud on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 3:33pm GMT

Dave wrote, "Puritans *were* badly persecuted in the UK... many left to found a new world in America!"

Yes, and, sadly, we North Americans been paying for it ever since. The successful importation of Puritanism to the New World is one of the most regrettable chapters in our early history.

and then, "...they could at least have the decency to admit that we are genuinely trying to be loving while upholding our moral beliefs... rather than accusing Christians of "hate" when they patently don't."

You're right. I don't know how many of the extremist types actually hate our GLBT brothers & sisters, as I can't see into their hearts. But I certainly *can* accuse them of blatant bigotry, which they patently DO exhibit.

And no, I don't find anything "loving" about bigotry. That would require a level of cognitive / spiritual dissonance on my part that's positively Orwellian in nature.

Posted by: David Huff on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 4:34pm GMT

But they are also people who live within relationships, and if they cannot be accepted and celebrated, well, that's negative judgment as far as I am concerned.

I'm not prepared to accept conditional second-best

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 5:23pm GMT

David Huff wrote: "I don't know how many of the extremist types actually hate our GLBT brothers & sisters, as I can't see into their hearts. But I certainly *can* accuse them of blatant bigotry, which they patently DO exhibit."

Dear David Huff, Hate, vilification and bigotry are not synonymous with ethics and morality: http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002087.html#comments

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 10:34pm GMT

"... vilification and bigotry are not synonymous with ethics and morality"

Well no, dear Dave. Which is why we object to them.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 9:30pm GMT

... and object to them being paraded as such.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 9:31pm GMT

Dear Dave, leaving aside the question of whether “homosexuality” is mentioned in the Bible (and where ;=), I fail to see how you make the connection between

a) "… homosexuality" (as it was then understood) …” and homosexuality as it is understood (= orientation) in late modernity?

b) “… one of many sinful behaviours …” and “… they cannot continue in association with … "?

Enlighten me!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 7:21am GMT

"Hate, vilification and bigotry are not synonymous with ethics and morality"

Indeed, but in the experience of most gay people the first three are so often hidden under pious expressions of the latter two that we really have a hard time trusting that they aren't there. Even on these boards, people who have been arguing morality and ethics have let the shield drop and revealed the hatred and bigotry underlying their oh so pious comments. The Bible is often used to justify attitudes and behaviours that are anything but Christian.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 12:43pm GMT
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