Wednesday, 8 April 2009

news from Virginia

Updated Thursday lunchtime

The Diocese of Virginia has issued a press release: Diocese of Virginia Appeals to Virginia Supreme Court in Order to Protect Religious Liberty in the Commonwealth.

Determined to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia, and to return loyal Episcopalians in Virginia to their Episcopal homes, the Diocese of Virginia today filed a petition to appeal The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia v. Truro Church, et al.

The Diocese is appealing on a number of grounds, including a challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia’s one-of-a-kind division statute (Va. Code § 57 9(A)) and the rulings of the Circuit Court in applying the law…

The full text of the appeal petition can be read as a PDF file here.

The Anglican District of Virginia has responded with ADV Responds to Appeal by The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia.

FAIRFAX, Va. (April 7, 2009) – In response to the appeal in the Virginia church property litigation filed on Tuesday, April 7 by the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church, the Anglican District of Virginia Vice-Chairman Jim Oakes issued the following statement:

“We are saddened that The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia find it necessary to continue this litigation with an appeal filed during Holy Week. The appeal process will cost additional millions of dollars that could be spent on mission and ministry. Both sides have already spent some $5 million in legal costs, money that could have gone to helping our communities during these tough economic times. The legal victories we’ve had so far in support of our religious freedom have only encouraged us to stand firm in our Anglican faith and work together to deliver the message of Christ.

“Since our final legal victory in December 2008, the Anglican District of Virginia has added two more congregations, bringing out total to 25 congregations and three mission fellowships. This continuing growth here and around the country is tangible evidence of the hunger for orthodox Anglicanism in the U.S. Despite today’s appeal, we will continue to move on with our mission to spread the transforming news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our doors are open to everyone, especially those who thirst for transformation and renewal.”

Thursday update

The Episcopal Church has also filed a petition, see The Episcopal Church’s Petition to the Supreme Court of Virginia to Hear Appeal (PDF).

There is a full article at ENS about all this, VIRGINIA: Diocese, Episcopal Church ask state Supreme Court to review property rulings by Mary Frances Schjonberg.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 8:09am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

I am having trouble with the link to the ADV site - both here and when I use my browser. I have an older computer with slow dial-up. Can you extract the statement from the website and post it for those of us who are speed challenged?
Thanks.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 3:34pm BST

My sense in reading the appeal is that they have several strong lines of argument and a few weak ones. They only get one chance to raise all of the issues that they will ever get to raise in appeal, so it makes sense to raise all issues, but the constitutional ones are most important. As I read the district court's decision, I was struck by how deep it had to involve itself in doctrinal issues in order to reach its decision. That should have been a huge red flag to the district court judge that he was treading in impermeable areas. My sense is that it's going to be quite clear to the appeals court that this case has gone wrong at the trial level and that the application of the Virginia statute to a hierarchical church is inappropriate and unconstitutional. I fully expect a reversal.

Posted by: ruidh on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 4:47pm BST

"My sense is that it's going to be quite clear to the appeals court that this case has gone wrong at the trial level and that the application of the Virginia statute to a hierarchical church is inappropriate and unconstitutional. I fully expect a reversal."

From your lips to God's ear. I don't, even though I have lived in the Commonwealth since 1971, have a very clear sense of what the current Va Supreme Court is like.

I note again in the ADV's reply - and THANK YOU for making it readable - the implied lie that Dio of VA is responsible for the litigation. We are not. It was Truro et alia who filed suits to steal property. Dio of VA would have been negligent in the extreme not to have contested these suits. The reference to Holy Week is gratuitous self-righteousness. We of course would have lots of money for mission and ministry had they not tried to steal TEC's property by intiating the lawsuits. And I realize I have said all this before, but the only way to combat lies is to keep on insisting on telling the truth.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 6:23pm BST

TEC should prove it is really an hierarchical denomination by suing the provinces who are facilitating this theft.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 7:12am BST

"an hierarchical denomination"

Or perhaps it might not, thereby showing that the "hierarchy" that is a part of the Catholic Faith is not about the exercise of power by those higher up the scale, but is actually about those on the top of the hierarchy being the servants of those below. It doesn't make sense from an earthly viewpoint, but that's to be expected. Now, if only "The King of the Bishops" could learn what "servant of the servants of God" actually means! And I love the 'an' before 'hierarchy'. I love to argue with such an one as this.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 1:46pm BST

Robert, I have long believed that Venables and the others should be named in the lawsuits.

Posted by: JPM on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 2:43pm BST

I find this kind of behaviour really hard to understand or accept from a religious body. The deception, the lying (basically). Am I just naive ? Or are they somehow self-deceived ? This has been very hard for me to accept or come to terms with, that the ultra-conservative believers, can act unethically or unkindly- and never seem to realize it, think twice, change tack, or say sorry. Most of us as individuals sometimes manage this, or change comes in the workings of grace. Must be much harder for organisations and groups, to think and act well.
:---

'..note again in the ADV's reply - and THANK YOU for making it readable - the implied lie that Dio of VA is responsible for the litigation. We are not. It was Truro et alia who filed suits to steal property. Dio of VA would have been negligent in the extreme not to have contested these suits. The reference to Holy Week is gratuitous self-righteousness. We of course would have lots of money for mission and ministry had they not tried to steal TEC's property by intiating the lawsuits. And I realize I have said all this before, but the only way to combat lies is to keep on insisting on telling the truth.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 6:23pm BSt

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 3:24pm BST

I must say it had never occured to me to think of TEC as hierarchical. It seems so democratic and open in its workings. Well ordered yes, open to change, respectful in its processes of the views and aspirations of all --but hierarchical, no.

Things are done decently and in order

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 3:27pm BST

Rev. Roberts:

"Heirarchical" as opposed to "congregational"...in that the structure of the church is top-down--the national church creates dioceses which then create parishes, all of which are subject not only to their own canons but to those of the larger body of which they are a part and by which they were created.

Congregational denominations tend to be "bottom-up"--individual congregations joining together to create larger bodies.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 3:18am BST

Pat. Right on with your comment that hierarchy in the Church generally means that oversight which is facilitated by the episcopate, whether in conclave or locally in the diocese. This should lead to organic unity rather than congregational anarchy - which appears to be rife in some parts of our Communion at this time - more's the pity.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 11:40am BST

"I find this kind of behaviour really hard to understand or accept from a religious body. The deception, the lying (basically). Am I just naive ? Or are they somehow self-deceived ?"

Several years ago, now, the so-called Anderson memo [have I got the name right? It's a while back] revealed precisely the tactics we are now seeing acted out.

Many people then thought the document too extreme to be realistic. They were wrong, as we now see.

Once again, I will point you and others interested in the nitty gritty of this to the excellently documented examination of these perfidious prelates and their abettors to the website of the Diocese of Washington DC, where I hope you can still find Jim Naughton's "Follow the Money" articles.

Penitential reading for Good Friday.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 1:11pm BST

That would be the CHAPMAN report,Cynthia.
Copy available at
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/ss/archives/000405.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 8:21pm BST

"That would be the CHAPMAN report,Cynthia"

Thank you. And thanks for the link. If any have doubts about the perfidiousness of these maneuvers, click on the link Simon has provided.

MY foolishness when I read it the first time was to think that bishops and others in TEC would read it and take preventive measures. Now that we know their plans, I reasoned, we can thwart them. Wrong.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 8:42pm BST

The American legal definition of hierarchical is not like that of the Roman Catholic Church. US courts regard denominations like the Presbyterians as hierarchical.. what is meant is a centrally co-ordinated denomination.. and not an independent congregational church.. like Westboro Baptist.

Note how the conservatives are saying the Episcopal Church is not hierarchical when compared to the Roman Catholic Church...this is a smokescreen..and it will not wash in the courts.

Judge Randy Bellows fell for their false "reasoning".

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 9:02am BST

"I find this kind of behaviour really hard to understand or accept from a religious body. The deception, the lying (basically). "

Whyever should you find deception and lying hard to understand or accept from a religious body? Nothing to be marvelled at there. Marvel instead why it is that after thousands of years of practice, they haven't perfected the techniques.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 13 April 2009 at 5:51pm BST
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