Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Virginia: Tuesday reports

Updated Tuesday evening

At the risk of overkill, here are some further links to reports about or comments on the Virginia parish defections from ECUSA (how come Christ Church Plano didn’t get similar coverage?)

Stephen Bates has written on Comment is free about The problem of dissolution.

Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press has a report, Leader: Episcopal Church not splintering.

Dave Walker has another cartoon, How a chain of evangelistic carpet shops could help the Episcopal church.

The Diocese of Virginia has issued two further press releases:
News Update from the Diocese of Virginia
Diocesan Leaders to Reach Out to All Episcopalians

Episcopal News Service had Virginia diocese promises ‘every encouragement’ to Episcopalians remaining in disaffected congregations by Mary Frances Schjonberg

The Anglican Communion Network (or NACDAP) issued this press release:
Network Moderator Commends Virginia Churches

The Living Church has Seven Virginia Parishes Vote to Leave Diocese by George Conger and also Virginia Diocese Will ‘Assert’ Canonical and Legal Rights.

Statistics on the voting, membership, etc. of the departing parishes is being maintained in a spreadsheet here (thanks Karen B).

For American local TV reports, scroll down at this titusonenine entry, and follow the links there.

Religion News Service Episcopal Split Accelerates as Va. Parishes Vote to Leave by Daniel Burke.

The Washington Post has Diocese Declares Time Out on Lawsuits by Michelle Boorstein.
And the Richmond Times-Dispatch has Legal action put on hold in Episcopal split by Alberta Lindsey.
The Washington Times had Julia Duin saying Diocese approves freeze on litigation.

Another Episcopal News Service report, ‘Large, viable remnant’ wants to continue as Episcopal congregation.

Another Comment is free article, Anglicans in America by Bruce Bawer.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 2:39pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

The Daily Show, a comedy news program on a US cable channel, mentioned the dustup under the title Episcolypse Now.

Posted by: ruidh on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 4:24pm GMT

Is anyone saying "woopiedoo, they so pure and holy"? When *all* the press is concerning schism as though that's a bad thing (and it is), what exactly have they achieved?

Posted by: Tim on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 5:54pm GMT

I hope those who left these parishes as they became so sharply defined will now contact the diocese so they can be considered continuing members.I remember that happening with other parishes that left other dioceses in the past. Columba Gilliss

Posted by: Columba Gilliss on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 7:26pm GMT

Ah, but Tim, the schismatics will look at the secular press as *proof* of their heroic martyrdom.

Simon: "how come Christ Church Plano didn’t get similar coverage?"

Wash DC GOP power-elite in VA?

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 7:34pm GMT

As a TEC member in an inclusive congregation, I send you Christmas greetings and a prose snapshot of Advent and Christmas at our church. I have been with my partner in faithful monogamy for 20 years. Two Sundays ago when the Advent greenery was dedicated to the memory of my parents, the stewardship chair reported that our congregation grew by 15 families last year. Last Sunday, our vestry gave a gift to our (woman) priest in honor of the 11th anniversary of her ordination and her 2nd anniversary with our congregation. My altar guild team has Christmas Eve duty, so I will be helping to set up for the pageant and helping to prepare for the midnight Eucharist. My partner will play a clarinet solo at the Children's pageant. Featured in the pageant are the two daughters of two female couples in our congregation. The girls were adopted from China.
It's interesting to note that while everyone in our congregation was not happy at the election of Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori, not a single member has left because of the controversy. Our current challenge is to expand our Sunday School program to accommodate all the young children in our growing congregation. We are sad that the Virginia congregations have decided to leave and that the Anglican Communion is in turmoil because of our witness to the love of Christ for gay people, but we are very grateful to have such a welcoming church home. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Peace to all at Thinking Anglicans.

Posted by: Susan in Georgia on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 7:38pm GMT

Thank you Susan, for sharing that lovely story of your home parish. I may have wept yesterday at the decsions made over the weekend, but you have brought tears of joy and hope for your honesty and selflessness.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 8:37pm GMT

Ruidh. Thanks for making me laugh.

Susan, It is lovely to hear of the graciousness of your parish.

I think one thing that a lot of people forgot or glossed over was that both Robinson and Schori were elected by majorities. It wasn't some covert action by an elite guard issuing documents and making pronouncements on behalf of their charges without due consultation. Maybe that is why they haven't responded as wisely as expected, they are so used to acting with impunity within their own dioceses that they have become blind that souls not used to such strong arm tactics would be repulsed by them. And within their own dioceses, those who were repulsed have either left or made a political decision to stoically endure in the hope that this appalling phase of their dioceses' history will surely pass. Empires and dynasties come and go, but God lives on.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 8:38pm GMT

"Ah, but Tim, the schismatics will look at the secular press as *proof* of their heroic martyrdom." -- JCF

I really don't understand how Anglicans can say things like this.

Aren't these people just following the Anglican model of Richard Hooker:
"That which they call Schism, we know to be our reasonable service unto God, and obedience to his voice, which crieth shrill in our ears, 'Go out of Babylon, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that yea receive not of her plagues.'"

"Crieth shrill in our ears."

Posted by: Ley Druid on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 11:01pm GMT

Oh, but Lay Druid,

"Babylon" in 16th century parlance is Rome.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 6:09am GMT

Babylon would also apply to any nation foolish enough to have aspirations of becoming a "pax empire" aka Roman empire.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 10:38am GMT

Cheryl and Choirboy, Thank you for your kind responses to my greetings. There are two things I forgot to mention. First, our rector is a grandmother. She went to seminary when she was in her 40s; her vocation was first discerned by members of the parish where she grew up. Her husband has fully supported her call and her children are regular visitors in our parish. Second, our convocation also has a fast-growing, inclusive mission led by a woman vicar. It will soon break ground on a permanent church building and we hope to see it become a parish in its own right in the new year. I should mention that we are nowhere near Atlanta. This is not a particularly liberal diocese, just typically Episcopalian.

Posted by: Susan in Georgia on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 3:02pm GMT

Stepping back from all the new conservative hoo-ha for just a second, maybe what we are witnessing is the rumblings of a new sort of Reformation - as received institutional structures fail to give equal oxygen to all believers, and as so many different believers search across and beyond and outside of the established structures for what their best discerments tell them is the really breathable air. If so, what we so far lack is the sort of leadership that the last Protestant Reformation offered, along with of course its overall cultural continuities.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 3:57pm GMT

Goran - you so often miss the point and focus on some small detail which proves nothing.... there is a great English phrase you should have a look at which goes, "You cannot see the wood for the trees."

Ley Druid is right - the "network" people are just being "protestants" and following honourable examples like Luther in not being bound by corrupt institutions when there are higher priorities and loyalties

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 4:37pm GMT

There is a much more encouraging view of life within the Diocese of Virginia here:

Would that some of those "Covenanted Evangelicals" of the other current thread would have his long-term experience to parish-based ministry.

I wonder what the total years experience of parish ministry among those who have signed -ie outside eclectic churches and theological colleges or para-church organisations.

Posted by: Tom Allen on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 5:59pm GMT


Thankyou for your posting, it leads to another good point for this time which is that early Christians survived without formal structures. Also, Jesus put up as role models stories of individuals who acted independently and spontaneously in the course of their lives e.g. the good Samaritan story.

Then, of course, there was Abraham and Sarah, whose life was dedicated to bringing people into relationship with the one true God and were yet careful not to be aligned with any one faction or tribe. For example, Jewish writers note that they made a point of setting up camps at cross roads so they would not be aligned with one group of people or another, often refusing hospitality within the towns per se for the same reasons.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 8:38pm GMT

"Many different believers search across and beyond and outside of the established structures for what their best discerments tell them is the really breathable air." -- drdanfree

However unfortunate, this seems like a more honest assessment of the situation. With respect to leadership, howevermuch some might pine for 16th century leaders and polemic, I suspect we are stuck with the postmodern leaders we actually have. Consider Bishop Lee of the Diocese of Virginia, who, unlike some people on this thread, does not mention schism or schismatics, but rather says:

"The leadership of the Diocese of Virginia has labored for three years to seek another course that would have maintained the integrity of the church and the spirit of inclusiveness that has been a hallmark of the Diocese and the Anglican Communion. The votes today have compromised these discussions and have created Nigerian congregations occupying Episcopal churches. This is not the future of the Episcopal Church envisioned by our forebears."

Posted by: Ley Druid on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 8:55pm GMT

Siblings, I found something that might help us keep our difficulties in some perspective: http://episcopalhospitalchaplain.blogspot.com/2006/12/another-opportunity-to-keep-things-in.html

It could be worse.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 10:49pm GMT


Cute link. The sad thing is that things would be this bad if there were not fears of litigation and accountabilty through the tools of the secular state to keep some extremists under control. (My apologies to any moderates who are horrified at this suggestion - but you have no idea how far some people would go. Just as most people did not participate in Klu Klux Klan activities but that did not stop the strong haters from their covert organised lynchings).

Again, I sing praises to the secular state.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 8:20am GMT

Let me hasten to add yet again, that I exempt PB KJS in TEC - is that enuff initials for today? - from my lament for effective religious leadership among all the believers searching for breathable institutional air. Everything she has done as leader so far suggests she is the right women for this difficult moment in our varied local, provincial, and worldwide relationships. Thank goodness, thank God.

There are many others, too, who are doing the daily best that makes our common lives possible. One prays, one hopes they just keep on keeping on as things run their various courses.

One of my worry themes runs right through all the rightwing Anglican leaders who consistently link following their best conscience with disenfranchising various other people. Then if you notice that link, they loudly claim you are about to disenfranchise them if you worry about them disenfranchising others. Somehow the underlying presupposition, that godliness means power to punish never ever gets looked at for very long. Ah, those lovely penal punishment penalties. What ever would we believers do without them? The only real gospel is the one that can be insitutionally policed it seems. Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 3:33pm GMT

Further to the statement by Bishop Duncan, the Calvary lawsuit against him has been reactivated (from calvarypgh.org/calvary.html):


In October 2003, following a Special Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Calvary Church, together with its rector and senior warden, brought suit against Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven, and other officials of the Diocese. St. Stephen's Church, Wilkinsburg, and Mr. Herman S. Harvey, a parishioner of St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley, later joined Calvary in the action as plaintiffs. One of the reasons for the action was the passage of Resolution Six, "Title to Property," at the 2003 Special Convention. Resolution Six denied the rights of the National Church to property held or administered by the Diocese or by parishes within the Diocese. Because Calvary is firmly committed to the National Church, it contested the passage of Resolution Six and other actions which it believed were contrary to the interests of the National Church. Ultimately, Calvary obtained a settlement and Court Order, entered October 14, 2005, which provided for protections of those property interests and also established the nullity of Resolution Six, which had been withdrawn.

In light of occurrences since the date of that October 14, 2005 Court Order, particularly the purported withdrawal of the Diocese from the Third Province of the Episcopal Church and the request that the Diocese not be under the authority of newly elected Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (both of which were approved by the Standing Committee in June, subject to ratification by the Diocesan Convention, which ratification occurred in November) as well as events since then, Calvary believes that -- despite assertions to the contrary -- persons and property within the Diocese are effectively being removed or have been removed from the Episcopal Church. As we understand it, no funds have been sent by the Diocese to the National Church for some time. Now, withdrawal from the currently established Province structure of the Episcopal Church effectively eliminates participation in the participatory government process of electing representatives to the Executive Council, and, also importantly, removes the process (which resides at the Province level) for review of discipline imposed by a bishop on a priest or deacon. In light of these developments, a Petition has been filed by Calvary to have the Court of Common Pleas enforce what we believe to be the correct reading of the Stipulation and Order entered October 14, 2005. The text of the Petition will ultimately be available on the Prothonotary of Allegheny County's website, by clicking here.

Posted by: Rick on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 4:59pm GMT

This is the url of an Article in the washington Post by Harold Meyerson entitled "Episcopalians Against Equality". It is worth noting that an alliance with the Diocese of Nigeria and the exclusiveness of these "anti-gay" congregations is an embarrassment to anyone concerned with basic human rights, let alone Christian love. Akinola is an embarassment to the Christian Faith, let alone Anglicanism. But he wants to be the African version of the Archibishop of Canterbury and he won't mind the financial and other perks of aligning himself with the wealthy white Southern Episcopalians, many of whose ancestors (and maybe even now) would have excluded blacks as readily as they now exlude gays. Many ironies here.

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 6:01pm GMT

Richard - have a look at what JC said- all of it in context - his mission was very different to your human rights agenda and a lot of his language was far from inclusive - you cannot make up your own JC and ignore him when it suits you

Posted by: NP on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 7:19am GMT

Richard. Some people seem to have become confused about what Jesus stood for, and no amount of evidence from the bible will convince them otherwise. Plus they completely gloss over looking for consistency in God's character between the gospel and the Old Testament. Thus they diminish Jesus ministry by not highlighting the OT cross corroborations.

Don't let such people diminish you or others. They also don't even seem to be able to recognise biblical passages, even if you give them chapter and verse numbers.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:13am GMT

Why not, NP? You and everyone else does. In any case, we only have second-hand statements to go on - which is why literalism is so dangerous.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:45am GMT

Neither can you. I'm intrigued that you can think that defence of the oppressed is not part of the Kingdom.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 12:48pm GMT
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.