Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Central Florida saga, next episode

According to the November issue of the diocesan newspaper, one of the seven parishes that was departing has changed its mind:

*LATE BREAKING NEWS: Fr. Holsapple, St. Anne’s, Crystal River, e-mailed Bishop Howe at press time, saying he had reconsidered and would not leave, nor would his parish.

Meanwhile, the Central Florida Episcopalian published full details of the proposed protocol by which any disaffiliations will be handled: see here.

Note that this has not yet been agreed to, as the bishop explains:

How we move forward will necessarily differ from one case to another. If an overwhelming majority of the members of a given congregation were to decide to leave, we might face a situation in which disposal of the property would eventually have to be considered.

I have shared the following proposed protocol with the clergy at our annual Clergy Conference at Canterbury, and it will be presented to the Diocesan Board and Standing Committee later this month. It has not yet been adopted, but I believe that it – or something very like it – must ensure that the spiritual needs of all the members of the Diocese will be protected. (This is more detail than most of you will want, but for everyone concerned we need to be as clear as possible.)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 5:57pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

"If an overwhelming majority of the members of a given congregation were to decide to leave, we might face a situation in which disposal of the property would eventually have to be considered."

Oh, brother: is this another one of those "overwhelming majorities" wherein everyone who disagrees---who wants to *stay* in TEC---has been driven out already? Or (as in Grace Church, Colorado Springs CO) where you have to have affiliated w/ the schismatic group, merely in order to vote in the first place?

Whatever. In any case, the schismatics best-case "overwhelming majority", is merely a *snapshot*: a majority at a particular moment in time (and not at a regular, *repeated* event, like a diocesan or General convention). It doesn't reflect the *generations* of faithful Episcopalians who came before, nor those who will come after. It's just a cherry-picked assembly of kvetchers, worshipping at the altar of "God (i.e., false-god who) Hates Fags".

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 6:29pm GMT

JCF, it could be the kind of situation you describe, but read the rest of the protocol before you make your mind up. The decision to sell the church has to be made by the remnant who choose to remain in the Episcopal Church. And there could be situations in which the most prudent decision would be to sell the existing building, and build a better, more energy-efficient, more sustainable church.

Bishop Howe's proposal contains some fairly strong safeguards against the kind of election-packing that has been alleged in some other decisions of this kind.

It seems to be an equitable proposal, carefully thought through. I am in the Diocese of Central Florida, and I am not a supporter of Bishop Howe's positions on most issues (as many know), but this proposal would have my support, unless there's something I've missed.

Posted by: Charlotte on Tuesday, 30 October 2007 at 9:51pm GMT

_A decision to sell parochial property is one that must be made by the continuing members of a congregation, not by those who have voted to leave it._

Seems reasonable. Anyone or any group can leave any time. Of course, having left, they may not want Howe's oversight any longer.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 12:47am GMT

Thank you for your emphasis that this protocol has not yet been approved all round, even though it has at least been discussed with clergy, and will be presented to the Exec Board and Standing Committee. I'm in Virginia, and in a similar situation here, parishes acted thinking that because the protocol had been devised by a mixed group convened by the bishop, it was therefore official. Actions were taken before said protocol was actually formally agreed to as "the" way to manage departures, and the blogosphere has been bristling with complaint ever since.

Posted by: Robin on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 2:56am GMT

'kay, my bad: JCF fires "mouth" first! (i.e., I leave judgment to those most involved, the faithful Episcopalians of Cent. Fla---oh yeah, and those who actually READ the whole proposal, unlike Yours Truly! ;-/)

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:03pm GMT
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