Thinking Anglicans

American paranoia?

After the Living Church published on 19 October a news report, Via Media Groups Mobilize for the ‘Day After’, the American Anglican Council got very excited about a document that came its way which was a partial rough draft of some minutes from a Via Media USA steering committee meeting. Curiously, the particular organisation discussed in this draft, the NACDAP, hasn’t yet shown any reaction at all.

Update Monday 24 Oct the NACDAP has now published this response: Network responds to “worst-case scenario” and reprinted the original document on its own website.

The author of the draft has issued a personal response which is reproduced here below the fold.

The silliness of all this is discussed by Mark Harris in this blog item, The AAC and the Via Media Memo: Lots of Noise and Smoke, and Certainly Paranoia.

Very sensible comments about it were made by Dale Rye on titusonenine which you can read here and here.

A personal response

I am sorry that the world at large has been subjected to my unedited, unapproved set of minute notes from the most recent Via Media USA steering committee. The topics discussed at the Via Media USA steering committee are those that reasonable and prudent individuals who are committed to the Episcopal Church might discuss given the actions and statements of some conservative leaders here and abroad. If these conservatives were to act on their threats, Episcopalians in some dioceses where schism and abandonment of the communion of the church will then have taken place would need to move quickly within the structures of church canons and constitution to rebuild. That requires some advance thinking. Of course, our preferred course of action is to see this church healed and whole, welcoming to all.

As has been noted previously, Via Media USA is not associated in any way with the Via Media curriculum which was developed by Every Voice Network. In fact, there is no overlap of membership at a leadership level between these two groups. We both happened to choose the Via Media name (us, as a name for organizations and them as a name for a curriculum) because it is a treasured position of the Episcopal Church.

Joan R. Gundersen

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Dave
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Dave

Hi Simon As you might expect I see this as the counterpart of the Chapman letter that liberals sent up such shrieks about a couple of years ago! I think that it is quite likely that ECUSA will try to do what Brazil has just done. So, first declare the NACDAP and ACC are “anti-ECUSA”, forbid membership then summarily ex-communicate those who refuse, whilst making a legal grab for the dioceses’ and parish’s property. Don’t believe it ? Here’s a resolution from those nice liberal Canadian Episcopalians in New Westminster: Resolution 7.4 .. requests that the Bishop, in consultation with… Read more »

George Conger
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George Conger

Simon, how do you know they were a “a partial rough draft”?

And, you might want to be clearer in your chronology … first came the Living Church article, the next day came publication of the minutes by a number of bloggers, then came the AAC’s reaction piece.

(Simon adds: I’ve slightly amended the wording to make the TLC’s original scoop clear)

Bob in Pittsburgh
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Bob in Pittsburgh

I certainly agree with Dave about Liberals being capable of the same banter and subterfuge as the conservatives.
I’m a member of one of the liberal groups. I watch the post and the reactions and I have to say I’m not sure I want any these liberals running ECUSA anymore than I Like the bitter conservatives i.e. Duncan+.
So much of this fight is about “it’s my way or no way!” Such a waste.

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

Isn’t it quite standard for aggressors to accuse their enemies of the same act of aggression? As Mark Harris says, It is only sensible to make some kind of contingency plans. Prior to these minutes being publicised, I had ASSUMED that all those with pastoral, organisational, legal etc responsibilities throughout the Anglican Communion were meeting together to thrash out what their responses should be in different scenarios issuing from the present crisis and threatened (actual?) schism. It would be NEGLIGENT for them not to do so. For the results of what looks a bit like the results of one brain-storming… Read more »

Thomas Bushnell, BSG
Guest

I love where they say that Via Media is a “pawn” of 815.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Augustus Meriwether wrote: “Isn’t it quite standard for aggressors to accuse their enemies of the same act of aggression?”

Dear Augustus, quite. You will have noticed that it is almost exclusively *liberal* Bishops and PBps who are acting to throw conservatives out of jobs and property (ECUSA, Brazil, New Westminster etc)… Yet the way liberal commentators on TA talk, you’d think it were completely the other way round !

What people *actually do* shows their real intentions !

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“What people *actually do* shows their real intentions!” Dave

Ah yes, the evil-doers!

More does need to be done to stop the very REAL and demanding/insistant radical righteous who instigate hate and behind-the-scenes thievery against fellow Episcopalians/Anglicans. Their arrogant and narrow “interpretations” of the Bible are wearing thin on the TRUTH covering their actions.

Gracias Via Media!
Onward and Upward (literally)!

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Dave, we have had a two-year fracas in the AC, because self-appointed bosses tried to throw the (duly-elected/nationally-confirmed) Bishop of New Hampshire out of *his* job. (And throw same-sex couples out of the New Westminster churches which would bless them).

I agree w/ “Bob in Pittsburgh” that this is a waste. It’s just that, sometimes, cliches ARE actually true: “just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”—“They started it!”

And the self-appointed orthodox DID *start this*.

Faithful Episcopalians (and other moderate Anglicans: witness Brazil) have just been trying to *respond to* these hostile innovations ever since.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Leonardo, What you call “narrow interpretations” has another name… “Christianity” – as believed and practiced for the last 2000 years !

Ian Montgomery
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Ian Montgomery

Notwithstanding the firm convictions on both “sides” the bottom line is that the innovation of a few in the West is a scandal to the Communion as a whole. If it were not so then the process would have evidenced some unity whereas it has produced bitterness and acrimony. The “few” declare the rest of the communion to be “puritans”, fundamentalists, and bigots, narrow interpreters of the Bible. Surely the arrogance of the “few” is further manifest in their persecution – in fact and in intention – of those in the US/Canada/Brazil who hold to the official teachings of the… Read more »

Christopher Calderhead
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Christopher Calderhead

It’s all a bit rich, isn’t it? After several years of their own planning, establishing talking points, building political alliances, delegitimizing elected bodies that don’t toe their line, and holding strategy meetings (Plano, anyone?) the AAC freaks out when anyone else starts to think about how to handle the split.

Good on Mark Harris for putting it in perspective, and good on Via Media for beginning to think of how to handle the folks who’ve been planning the demise of ECUSA for the last several years.

Todd Granger
Guest

Whatever the merits of these Via Media groups making contingency plans for the “day after” General Convention 2006, it is clear that they can no longer with any sort of righteous indignation huff about the “Chapman Memo”. If indeed, as some VM supporters have stated about the American Anglican Council’s reaction to the VM minutes, “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, then they should cease cries of “foul!” when sauce appears on the table.

serpentdove
Guest
serpentdove

Thank you ms. gundersen for your interest in keeping the church welcoming to all, however, as one of those theological conservatives in a liberal diocese (CNY), I certainly don’t feel welcomed here. Just sneers from your colleagues. Have your friends who feel so enlightened and welcoming, welcome all of us, not just those with your perspectives.

RB
Guest
RB

Simon: While there may be some over-reaction on the part of the AAC, I do not think this is paranoia. David Booth Beers, the chancellor for our presiding bishop, had expressed the opinion that if a diocese leaves, all the church property should go to whatever remnant remains, not just the church property where the liberals are predominant, see the article in the Living Church http://www.livingchurch.org/publishertlc/viewarticle.asp?ID=364 I see nothing in this memo specifying what property VM feels that it needs to cover, whether it be just a few churches or the entire property in the diocese. I appreciate Dale Rye’s… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

“What you call “narrow interpretations” has another name… “Christianity” – as believed and practiced for the last 2000 years !” Dave Dave, I’m a Christian. I’m Episcopalian and my ancestors were Anglicans from England on both sides of my family tree. I/they don’t/didn’t believe in stoning to death misbehaving children (got some?), murdering adulterous folks (know any?) or any *other* barbaric and narrow/fanatical Biblical interpretations. Well, maybe they did participate in a “lynching” or two that murdered Negro people…I don’t know if they did or didn’t indulge in that shameful and evil activity surrounding slavery. All the slaves owned by… Read more »

Mark Beaton
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Mark Beaton

Leonardo, I haven’t a clue who my ancestors were 150 years ago or what they did, nor do I greatly care (since I’ve inherited nothing from them!). There wwere no slave holders among them; more likely some of them became indentured labourers in America. What I want to know is why liberals NOW want to dispossess conservatives of their churches and properties by legal strategems. They have cared for and poured money and work into these buildings and bank accounts. Common justice holds that they have acquired some share in them, at the very least. In the event of a… Read more »

Rev. Kurt Huber
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Rev. Kurt Huber

RB said, “disdain the ECUSA liberals have for the conservatives (which is true in the reverse as well), demonstrated in e.g. the lack of protest from the liberal faction when Smith seized the church property of St. John’s in Bristol CT and countless other examples…” Seize St. John’s, Bristol? What a farce! The canons allow Bishop Smith to intercede when the parish faced financial and spiritual difficulties without proper clergy & vestry oversight (bills unpaid, clergy AWOL, dwindling membership). This is not a conspiracy, nor counterpart to the Chapman letter. Bishop Smith is in the right to oversee the parishes… Read more »

Marshall
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Marshall

RB wrote, “Indeed, I think many of the liberal faction (including readers here) will say that VM has a right to those properties.” I hope not. I hope liberals will understand that the Episcopal Church has rights to those properties. If leaders of Via Media organizations (and I am not a member of any, much less a leader) are planning ways to support the Episcopal Church in maintaining those rights, they are still not claiming those rights for themselves. After all, there is no legal entity or institution known as “The Anglican Communion.” The Anglican Communion is spoken of (of… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

I am still reading all of the relevant documents and responses in this case, and I can see why people are touchy about any issues involving property. That said, it doesn’t strike me as especially sinister that the Via Media USA folks are planning to use the canons of the Church to resolve issues of property and authority. That is some of what the canons are for.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“In the event of a divorce property is divided, and if you care about justice, that is what you should be agitating for. Don’t you think so?” Mark I don’t believe in divorce unless a dangerous *situation* exists…are you dangerous Mark? But, I do believe in Justice and thanks for noticing my signs of Integrity. Justice is the “key” actually. Is there justice up your way in OUR church Mark? Do you embrace and love LGBT people in your clergy and parish family life? Are you “inclusive” Mark? Are LGBT and women in danger of injustice in your diocese and… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Leonardo’s comment says more about the state of ECUSA than anything else. It is not about the truth, not about the Gospel, not about transfiguration at all. -It is all about having the right inheritance!! God, I thought you americans had a revolution in the 18th century, but perhaps that did not touch the true episcopalians!

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Simon, could you perhaps terminate a thread on the grounds of “depressing in the EXTREME”?

What non-Christian could *possibly* look on this thread and “know we are Christians by our love”?

🙁

Lord have mercy!

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Leonardo, I didn’t know it was possible to steal one’s own property. You know a split is coming, and indeed is already underway. Thousands have left already in the past few years, and this is accelerating: look at LA, the Connecticut 6, the Florida 6, the dissidents in Ohio, AMiA, Christ Church Overland Park – everywhere you look, you see a church coming apart at the seams. The GC in 2006 will make it permanent. So you should work for a fair distribution of the property, whoever you think is to blame for all this.

bls
Guest

Oh, my yes, it’s certainly horrible of Leonardo to tell someone that “WE have ALWAYS loved you.”

Scandalous. Dreadful. How could he ever?

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“Leonardo, I didn’t know it was possible to steal one’s own property. You know a split is coming, and indeed is already underway. Thousands have left already in the past few years, and this is accelerating: look at LA, the Connecticut 6, the Florida 6, the dissidents in Ohio, AMiA, Christ Church Overland Park – everywhere you look, you see a church coming apart at the seams. The GC in 2006 will make it permanent. So you should work for a fair distribution of the property, whoever you think is to blame for all this.”– Mark Beaton Thousands have left?… Read more »

Derek
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Derek

Hey Kurt–try Resurrection. I wouldn’t be surprised to find some at Ignatius either. Truth be told there are some Network supporters and some seriously on the fence people at General too. All of which–obviously–are in Manhattan. No, there isn’t unanimous agreement, even here in the Big Apple.

Your assumption and insinuation about the “socially backwards” parts is alienating to those of us not from the Atlantic or Left Coasts.

-A Red-Stater in Exile…

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Kurt, your comments reminds me of the (apparently true) statement of a journalist in 1972: ‘I don’t understand how Nixon won, nobody I know voted for him.’ You should get out more, and find out about the growing churches in the south and southwest, especially among Hispanics. Maybe there is some hyperbole in my words about ‘coming apart at the seams’ since that indicates rather more restive energy and life in Ecusa than it actually has. Nationally Ecusa can only muster about 800,000 to church of a Sunday (under 0.4% of the US population), most of these are over 55,… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

Seeking Truth? Care about Real? Righteous Rightist Fear tactics got you down? Try Newsweek Magazines Denial Blocker! It Works!

Are U.S. Episcopalians running for cover and sprinting out of our churches while screaming/defecting and seeking “protection” from the aledged Satanic LGBT leftish/weirdo meanies?

Nope, see below and immediately avoid/abandon hysterical thinking, spin and spew:

Newsweek
October 17, 2005
Page #56

US Church Growth, 2003 to 2004
Mormon +1.71%
RCs +1.28%
Southern Baptists +1.18%
Episcopalians +.57%
United Methodists +.01%
American Baptists -3.45%
Presbyterians -4.87%

Source: National Council of Churches

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Canon law rules the Episcopal Church.

Personally, I find it hard to believe all this pretention and loud-mouthed denial about something as dry and unequivocal as Canons.

Why do people pretend that the Rules of the Game can be ignored?

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

So, what are you trying to say, Mark? That it’s not the 1950s?. The go-go years for suburban church growth? OK, I will grant you that. Church growth in the areas you cite may well be a function of national population shift. In-migration of a new generation happens all the time. People go where the jobs are — particularly if they are young. Obviously the relative decline in the population of Northeastern Episcopalians is a function of this, not some “liberal agenda” that is “driving out” young people. Get real, Mark. I don’t think that when push comes to shove… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Leonardo, I don’t have access to Newsweek so I can’t comment on the article you refer to, except to say it’s unclear what ‘church growth’ means in the piece you’ve cited and it’s very much at variance with Ecusa’s own collected statistics. The Living Church Magazine reports in its July 10, 2005 issue that the estimated average Sunday attendance in the Episcopal Church was down by 3.2 percent. According to the article, this represents “19,268 fewer people attending each week among the 5,222 churches” who had submitted their 2004 parochial reports. The magazine based its reporting on a presentation by… Read more »

Simeon
Guest

Kurt wrote: “In fact, it is only a “crisis” in a few socially backward parts of the USA, affecting perhaps 10 or 15% of the ECUSA. Big deal. So split already.” Well, uh…yeah, actually. If you really dig in to the *actual* membership statistics of the “Network,” the estimate of 10 or 15% is about right. Now, being one who lives in one of those “socially backward parts,”* (Dallas in my case) it’s a bit tougher and more personal for me. I wish we had a lot more real, concrete help & support from the rest of the Church to… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

(Source for Newsweek: National Council of Churches) Mark, When you demean LGBT people at the ECUSA you are harming OUR whole church. OUR church is a enormous and diverse Christian family of friends and a fellowship of loved ones. It’s ALWAYS been that way. The only difference NOW is that we are no longer are able to “pretend” we are not a openly loving and inclusive lot. We will not lie/pretend things are *different* than they are anymore for you Mark, or to ourselves and especially not before God. God wants us to be the generous, helpful and loving people… Read more »