Comments: Virginia: yet more detail

I'm amazed that Minns dosn't remember that the protocol calls for a parish to negotiate with the diocese and to come to a financial settlement before formally leaving. Truro and the other churches did no such thing. They continually claim to have followed the procedure, but, like the Windsor Report, they only read the parts they want to and ignore the parts that don't support their position.

He also seems quite defensive on the "part of the Communion" issue. He seems, to me, to be in the same boat as the AMIA, another "mission" of a foreign province to the US. In that case, Abp. Carey declared that he couldn't recognize Bp. Murphy's jurisdiction. By that precedent, Minns is out of luck.

Posted by ruidh at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 5:45pm GMT

Bp Minns says;

"We are trying to do what we can to ensure an orderly transition [of benefits]. Under COBRA the former employer does not pay anything in order to ensure continuous coverage. COBRA allows up to 18 months for a transition to a new plan. As Christians we should be more generous than civil authorities, not less."

This appears to be a very carfully crafted statement that, while it contains no falsehoods, is intended to cast the Diocese as 'opressing' the departing clergy.

We have been over this before but it bears repeating. COBRA is a program in which employees that have left an employer's health plan have the option of continuing the coverage at their own expense for a period of up to 18 months.

" Under COBRA the former employer does not pay anything in order to ensure continuous coverage"... the statement is true but implys that that if the employer chose to they could continue coverage of the employee. An employee health plan is just that, a plan for employees.

"As Christians we should be more generous than civil authorities, not less." Again, a statement with which few would argue. The Diocese has extended coverage for the departing clergy and lay staff through the end of January, 2007 even though is was under no obligation to extend that coverage.

Clearly the intended aduience for these statements are those within the Anglican Communion, CANA and the Network who , along with many right here in the US, do not fully understand our health care system and want to believe that the folks who voted to dissassociate themselves with TEC are subject to harrassment and shoddy treatment.

If there is any evidence that Bp Lee or anyone in the Diocese "denied access" to COBRA it is a matter for the Department of Labor to determine and assess whatever penalties are perscribed under this Government program.

Continuing to repeat the claims of improper treatment without offering any actual proof of that treatment serves no useful purpose and makes it extremely difficult to try to then plead being the victims of abruptly terminated negotiations or lawsuits.

Posted by Newlin at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 12:18am GMT

ruldh - I don't know if that's so. The protocol set forth in September by the special committee called for a vote and then a negotiated price for the property. However, it is clear from the statement published by the Special Committee that the congregation is leaving TEC and will buy the property. But the congregation went to court and filed a claim for the property irrespective of any payment they might make for it under the Va. Code establishished for situations where a church splits. Clearly, Bishop Lee was not anticipating this move in September and neither was the Special Committee.


Posted by C.B. at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 12:57am GMT

Speaking as someone who was there at Virginia's diocesan council, I'd say Paul Handley's piece is one of the best I've seen about the human, rather than the theological, side of the current commotion. This is NOT a case of "Good riddance, you stinker!"

I just wish I could read the rest of the series, but I really don't need another subscription in my life, either electronic or paper.

BTW, Ruidh, at that same council, the report of either (don't remember which, wasn't taking notes) the Executive Council or the Standing Committee reminded us that far from being approved by all, the protocol was ONLY "received" (ie, "you did the work; we'll check it off in the grade book") by those two bodies. This was due to continuing (and major) disagreements about its content. Both sides would do well to remember this, when they claim that they have behaved properly, and the other side hasn't, based on this protocol.

Posted by Robin D at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 2:55am GMT

One more point to add to your excellent analysis of the insurance issue:

In most dioceses (mine included), health insurance is cost-shared between the clergy and the diocese or parish. Truro has not been paying any apportionment to the diocese for years. If the employer share is paid by the diocese, have Minns and his colleagues been freeloading on the loyal parishes? If the employer share is paid by the parishes, has Truro continued to remit that money to the diocese?

He seems to want the continued financial benefits of employment within the Diocese of Virginia even though he has left it.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 6:02pm GMT

COBRA does not apply to religious organizations according to my CPA, who specializes in working with clergy of all denominations.

Mr. Martyn Minns is defaming the Diocese of Virginia, intent on agitating the Global South to take an anti-TEC position. Sadly, "the truth is not in Mr. Minns," although a bishop of the Province of Nigeria!

Posted by John Henry at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 10:30pm GMT
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