Thinking Anglicans

Virginia: Sunday reports

Updated Sunday Evening

The BBC Sunday radio programme had a report on the Northern Virginia parishes by Jane Little in Washington, About 4 minutes, now available here.

BBC report also here: US parishes weigh Anglican split.

Other press coverage:
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopal Parishes Might Break Away

New York Times Laurie Goodstein Episcopalians Are Reaching Point of Revolt

Update
Voting results from BabyBlue

BREAKING NEWS: The Falls Church votes 90% in favor of severing ties with The Episcopal Church
The Falls Church has voted 90% in favor of severing their ties and leaving The Episcopal Church immediately to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). They also voted resoundingly (96%) to retain their property.

and now also:

Truro votes overwhelmingly to sever ties with the Episcopal Church
Truro Church has also voted 92.1% to sever ties with The Episcopal Church and join CANA immediately. They also voted 94.3% to retain their property.

Washington Post Bill Turque and Michelle Boorstein Two Episcopal Congregations Split From Church

A Statement from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia

BBC US church splits over sexuality

Associated Press Matthew Barakat Virginia parishes split from Episcopal Church over sexuality

Episcopal News Service Mary Frances Schjonberg Virginia bishop vows to care for remaining Episcopalians, assert rights to departing congregations’ property

Statement by Martyn Minns at press conference (from titusonenine)

Press Release from The Falls Church and Truro Church (via BabyBlue)

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Göran Koch-Swahnemynsterpreost (=David Rowett)Ford ElmsMerseymikeCheryl Clough Recent comment authors
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Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

They may vote to leave TEC, but they may not vote to take TEC’s property with them. Let the lawyering begin.

Andrew Gerns
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This is a sad day. We are seeing estrangement overcoming unity. This is a day where things that were raised up are being cast down; things that were made new are grown old; and where human perfectionism seeks to prevail over God’s plan for salvation. They may have won the vote in these churches, and they may have the comfort of being “right” but at what cost to the Church and to their own souls? Pray for the Church.

DGus
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DGus

Cynthia: In case this is relevant to your point, the congregations voted separately on property because the “Protocol” required that they do so. This odd provision was included in the Protocol at the insistence of the diocesan reps on the committee. Of course, this vote does not resolve the property questions (if that’s your point), and litigation may ensue (as you predict) if settlement is not possible; but the diocese did call on them to take a separate vote on the property question. Go figure.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

The official status of the so-called protocol is in question, but that is perhaps moot. Based on the results of the past three years’ efforts to accommodate and reach out to these folks on the part of the diocese, I would not be sanguine about any permanent property settlement outside the courts. Such reaching out included (1)inviting former Archbishop Carey to confirm in parishes which refused the ministry of their bishop,(2) allowing parishes that out of ‘conscience’ did not want to support the work of the diocese through its general budget to give to designated other diocesan ministries,(3) setting up… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

I want to announce that I, JCF, have just voted 94.3% to retain unto myself “all the gold in Fort Knox.” ;-/

But seriously…

Lord have mercy!

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

Today we prayed that God would gather into one body his Church that is scattered in different places and separated groups. That God would unite us, that we might rejoice together that we share in his salvation. That he would grant us sincere repentance for the faults -in each – that has held us apart.

counterlight
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counterlight

There are some very lucky lawyers in Virginia as of today. They will emerge as the only real winners in all this madness.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Most certainly so, Counterlight.

Piracy and litigation.

DGus wrote: “Cynthia: In case this is relevant to your point, the congregations voted separately on property because the “Protocol” required that they do so.”

Sorry, DGus, but before you let us read this famed “Protocol” we simply don’t believe this.

Politeness notwithstanding.

DGus
Guest
DGus

Dear JC: Clever move!–voting yourself someone else’s gold. That’s essentially the same clever move that ECUSA pulled in 1979. It declared itself, in its “Dennis canon,” the owner of the beneficial interest of all congregational property. (Congregations were not consulted about their consent.) Any one of us could declare himself the owner of congregational property. But alas, we would learn what Bishop Lee probably knows already: Virginia law abhors these “trusts”. For resolving property issues, Virginia has a little eccentricity: It prefers to look at the title deed. And Virginia prefers to look at “neutral principles,” rather than religious authorities… Read more »

DGus
Guest
DGus

Dear G K-S: The Protocol has long been available on the diocesan website at:

http://www.thediocese.net/News_services/pressroom/docs/special_committee_report.pdf

It is the “Protocol for Departing Congregation” that begins at page 2 of the report. The requirement for the separate vote on property appears in paragraph (f).

Dave
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Dave

All this guff about the churches leaving the properties that were built by faithful Episcopalians!

If they could be asked, most of them would reject TEC’s recent innovations too… Do I have psychic powers ? Not needed: until just a few years ago TEC itself rejected same-sex sex as immoral!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Most interesting read indeed, dear DGus, especially the names and parishes at the end of it ;=)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dave dear, a few years ago (1966) a l l churches rejected a l l sex as immoral.

The English translation of the Bible de Jérusalem and Focus on the Family changed all that ;=)

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

The duplicity and sheer nastiness of fundamentalists knows no bounds.

But its a good thing – TEC will be all the better once the last conservative has left the premises, for conservative religion has not a single redeeming feature.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“All this guff about the churches leaving the properties that were built by faithful Episcopalians! If they could be asked, most of them would reject TEC’s recent innovations too… “ And if they could be consulted, many would be shocked to know that actual Black people were bishops priests and deacons, and that lay Episcopalians had stopped paying pew rent, and that we no longer use the Prayer Book they used, and that actual women were also bishops, priests, and deacons, but wait! That the PB is an actual woman. Wow! That is why the property rests with the national… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

I have to wonder if the members of these Virginia parishes are the same types who brought you Ollie North and the escalating fracus in Iraq. Thought so. My tory ancestors would be aghast at people that base serious decisions such as this on very private sexual matters. They may pretend, but the present day congregants at these two major Virginia parishes have nothing in common with gentle folk of my cradle Episcopalian lineage. Trash is trash. Not very Christian I admit, but what these people are doing to the church I love certainly aren’t either. Laugh at the “Dennis… Read more »

DGus
Guest
DGus

Not sure I get your point, G K-S. The committee consisted of 6 members, per Bishop Lee’s decision. Bishop Lee asked John Yates and two others of his choosing to serve on the committee. (Yates chose Hugo Blankingship (TFC chancellor and former chancellor of the diocese) and Tom Yates of Truro (no relation to John). I assume those are the parish names you notice.) Bishop Lee himself named the three others, and you see them there. (They are various shades of liberal.) I.e., there were three members from the dissenting congregations, and three members in agreement with the Bishop. Their… Read more »

Columba Gilliss
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Columba Gilliss

Question — how many of these congregations were or are heavily involved in the Charismatic movement?
Columba Gilliss

Byron
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Byron

I am praying that TEC makes a first priority of doing missionary work in Virginia. Even the smallish number of “no” votes at the two reactionary parishes still require us to reach out in love to them and provide them with welcoming spiritual homes. And shame on Dave for his unkind words about the long-deceased – the lingering prejudices of an older era not withstanding. Remember, these schismatic churches aren’t returning to some earlier “golden age” Anglicanism. They’re adopting puritan congregationalism in some cases – and certainly moving away from the Via Media balance that drew myself and so many… Read more »

H. E. Baber
Guest

The liberal clergy who run TEC asked for it and now they’ve got it. For the past 30 years they’ve been manipulating and bullying the laity, who finance the operation, to push through their politically correct agendas on everything from liturgical revision to sexuality convinced that we were dumb-asses who needed their wisdom and guidance, and that if we resisted it was because we had psychological hang-ups and were irrationally resistant to change. The fundamental issue is not sexuality but clericalism. I don’t think there’s a damn thing wrong with homosexuality–or for that matter any consensual sex, including bestiality if… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

“Clever move!–voting yourself someone else’s gold. That’s essentially the same clever move that ECUSA pulled in 1979. It declared itself, in its “Dennis canon,” the owner of the beneficial interest of all congregational property.”

The Dennis Canon was nothing new. It merely codified a legal position taken by TEC for over 150 years. The Supreme Court heard a case in the 1830s regarding a parish which wished to remove its property from TEC. They lost because the church asserted the same legal doctrine that the Dennis Canon codified.

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

“All this guff about the churches leaving the properties that were built by faithful Episcopalians!”

Scoundrels and thieves abound.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Could this not be interpreted as a hopeful sign? — I mean, it looks as if the dreaded Schismatic Forces will never be anything more than a scattered archipelago of parishes, who will no doubt return to the fold when their moment of panic has passed. If there was a real schismatic tsunami coming, these parishes would have waited to have their boats lifted by it. So their precipitous actions could then be taken as a reassuring sign that ECUSA is not threatened with any real rift. But am I missing something?

JPM
Guest
JPM

>>>until just a few years ago TEC itself rejected same-sex sex as immoral!

Not long ago, TEC believed that the blind were unworthy to serve as priests, based on a literal reading of a Levitical passage.

Fortunately, that has changed. My own priest is the first totally blind man to be ordained in TEC, and he is wonderful. Only forty years ago he would have been rejected.

Sometimes things do get better with time.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I have a great respect for some of what Professor Baber has written over the years. I even agree with her that some of the “consultations” that went on in her church were nothing more than poor shams that did not listen to other views and verged on bullying. I too have seen the “steam roller” church in operation and despair of the consequences. I too fear clericalism at its most insidious and despair over the power and coercive influence it can have. Only recently an archdeacon friend visited a large congregation famous for its opposition to WO on the… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“The fundamental issue is not sexuality but clericalism.” Those fleeing TEC to be under the authority of ++Akinola or other African archbishops in hopes of escaping ‘clericalism’ are in for a nasty shock. TEC could have arranged its polity to include an archbishop, but instead created the office of Presiding Bishop and a polity much like the American constitution, that includes all orders in the church in its governance. Readers will remember how in the wake of Gencon ’03 many in the Anglican Communion kept referring to +Gene’s having been ‘appointed,’ along with calls for the PB to ‘remove’ him.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“We’re consumers. If TEC doesn’t provide the religious product we like there’s no reason we should buy it.”

Dear God! If you actually mean this, if it is not some sort of sarcasm, then we really are two different churches. Religion as commodity. Faith as product. Believer as consumer.

H. E. Baber
Guest

You bet I actually mean it–though I confess I used the terms “consumer” and “product” for shock value. What this “consumerist” account means is that we’re adults capable of making rational, informed choices, and that it’s time the Church recognized that. If you don’t like it, consider the alternative: clergy as moral teachers, therapists and community leaders; laity as pastoral care objects or a peasantry to be manipulated into correct political views and heathy attitudes. This is the role in which clergy have cast themselves for the past 30 years–it’s PATRONIZING and I don’t see why we should put up… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I imagine Professor Baber has never had (and is unlikely to have) contact with the Holy Office or indeed will never be placed before the “sedd fawr” in a congregational meeting, she might have some different perspective on how other churches work then.

As to everyone yawning as Nigeria merely proclaims its doctrines – not quite dear Doctor.

They are determined to lock us “perverts” and our advocates up. Calvin’s Geneva not too far away here. That is the clericalism we should both fear.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

So some consider themselves “adults capable of making “rational, informed choices (based on their fears and prejudices perhaps?) and time for the church to recognize that.” And always a two dimensional argument; clerics as moral teachers (what else would they be per chance?) or another brand of clerical hierarchy that “the faithful yawn at and ignore”. And there’s a “rationally considered intellectual position” in all of this schismatic nonsense. So why don’t the lot of schismatic types get the nerve to do what Puritans, did, leave the property behind, stop pandering to third world countries and get on with their… Read more »

AmyS
Guest

DGus, that “protocol” you mentioned has not been formally adopted by the Standing Committee as of yet. Please don’t put the cart in front of the horse. And as Cynthia already pointed out, it is hard to wage reconciliation when one party is doing all it can to avoid coming to the table.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

So the idea of the Church as the community of the baptised and of the clergy as individuals set apart by God for specific roles in that community, the idea that the Kingdom of Heaven is something different from what the world offers us, these things mean…what, exactly? Frankly, the image you portray is so alien to anything I understand Church to be that I really don’t know where to begin to argue with you. Your first scenario is a disturbing, if accurate, depiction of how things used to be. I don’t really understand the second one. I agree that… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Cynthia Gilliatt wrote: “…if they could be consulted, many [now dead episcopalians at falls Church etc] would be shocked to know that actual Black people were bishops priests, and deacons…….. etc
That is why the property rests with the national institution, that lives in the present.”

Dear Cynthia, your Psychic powers are indeed well developed! However you just defeated your own arguement – that the church properties were paid for and maintained by “faithful Episcopalians” who would not support the departure of these churches to CANA. 🙂

JCF
Guest
JCF

This thread just makes me weep. :-(…

Lord, have mercy!

On the other hand: hearing our PB’s wise words yesterday [a link to it, SimonS? Check out NPR’s site], quoting ABC Temple, about how “the church is the only institution who exists, primarily, for those outside of it.”

This means, for TEC, that we now exist for (among others) those persons who voted to leave us yesterday. If it was difficult to see Christ in them before [behold some of the posts above], Episcopalians HAVE TO see Christ in them now.

Lord, give us hearts like Yours!

R. A Asika
Guest
R. A Asika

“Nothing wrong with….consensual sex or bestiality if the sheep is ok with it” Baber has touched on one of my fears and confusions about all this sexual prefereces that has brought the church this much turmoil and confusion. Where do we draw the line. If there is no divine authority to draw the line, then who draw the line? Human authority is fraught with danger and much guess work. If I say “Love” is the only answer, the question arises, am I permitted to express sexual love to whoever and whatever I claim to love? Does the sheep and the… Read more »

DGus
Guest
DGus

Dear Amy S: You say, “that ‘protocol’ you mentioned has not been formally adopted by the Standing Committee as of yet.” Why the scare quotes around protocol? We’re quite clear that the S.C. has not “adopted” nor “approved” the Protocol. Rather: The S.C. commended the Protocol as “a way forward” and published it to the congregations engaged in discernment; and the Bishop said he “supports” it. The Protocol provides that those congregations that get a 70% vote in favor of departing will then engage in negotiations with the Diocese about property; and Bishop Lee has named the team of people… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

RA Asika, NOT the “slippery slope” argument again!

Observing the line drown thousands of years ago would re-establish slavery as a legitimate insitution, reduce women to chattel, and establish male patriarchy as divinely ordained. Taking John 14:6 in its literal sense would have us engage in pogroms against Jews, whose covenant has been superceded by that of Christ. The Christian Church has had a horrible track record equalled only by the Muslims described by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel (cf. Ratzinger’s Regensburg Address). Is that what you want us to return to?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Yep R., it’s a real slippery slope when you recognize two adults can have consensual monogamy. It’s like when we outlawed slavery – talk about crossing “the line where it has been drawn for thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition!!!”

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

R.A. Asika wrote: “I think the traditionalists, by their resistance, are simply saying: let’s leave the line where it has been drawn for thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition. The slippery slope is a real and present danger, I think.” Only this is a lie newly made up (40 years ago). The “thousands of years” claimed here are 2.500 years and belongs to Indo European Philosophy, which (probably to the surprise of some) is neither Jewish nor Christian. (Not to say, that Judaism and Christianity do not interpret the Bible in the same way – certainly not the terror passages… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

R. S. Asika, The difference lies in the fact that neither children nor animals are capable of informed consent to sexual acts, so any such acts are abusive by definition, and damaging to the parties involved because of that. Not difficult. And there is Divine authority to draw the line, the argument is about whether the Divine has actually drawn the line to exclude monogamous committed gay relationships. The answer is only clear to those whose reading of Scripture is literal. This need for a literal reading of Scripture then leads them to accuse of faithlessness those whose understanding of… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – so the RC church has adpoted a post-Reformation view on what the bible says on certain moral issues?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, I doubt the Romans have accepted ‘sola scriptura’, can you prove that they have? You have misunderstood my argument, which is that ‘sola scriptura’ is a Reformation era innovation. Rome’s reasons for opposing homosexuality are not based on “it’s in the Bible”. I am merely pointing out that some people read the Bible with a very literalist mindset, and find that comforting. I, on the other hand, find it destructive to my faith. Sadly, it leads people to the belief that anyone who does not have a such an understanding is faithless, which is untrue, and often couched in… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Ford Elms, What’s wrong with bestiality is that it is against God’s created/natural order, not just that sheep can’t indicate their mature [sheep-level] consent! I guess that on a purely utilitarian arguement H Baber could say that, if both the [mature] human, as far as they are concerned, and the [mature] sheep, as far as they are concerned, have both consented [in their own way] then the abuse is hard to show – and, she might argue, the harm is less than the benefit. I suspect that this is not the only wierd conclusion that reductionist utilitarianism can lead… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Ah, but arguments based on “natural order” are fraught with difficulty. It used to be said homosexuality was wrong because it went against nature. Not much of that now that we know that there is homosexual behaviour in numerous animal species. It could equally be said that monogamy is against the natural order. Indeed, given that for most of the Bible, monogamy seems to be of pretty low priority, one could argue it isn’t God’s law either. Or else what are we to say of the patriarchs? So you come down to what God says/doesn’t say on the issue. This… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“The answer is only clear to those whose reading of Scripture is literal.”

The answer is only clear to those whose reading of 2nd Millennium Neo Platonist t r a n s l a t i o n s is “literal”.

Starting with the 12th century (deliberate) Parisian changes (= the non fictional Versio vulgata) in the (by then) 1000 years old Latin translation.

R A Asika
Guest
R A Asika

My question elicited some strong reactions. However, John Henry, I think your line of argument is quite an exageration. True, the Christian movement has not always lived up to its own ideals, but there are certain moral norms that are so obvious and is almost instinctively recognised universally. I must also reply Ford Elms. Yes I guess the question of two consenting same sex adults in monogamous relationship may seem so right to the liberals of today. But what happens when the polygamists and bigamists and even animalists of tomorrow raise the same arguments of rights and exclusion in the… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Ford Elms said: “It used to be said homosexuality was wrong because it went against nature. Not much of that now that we know that there is homosexual behaviour in numerous animal species.”

Dear Ford, just because same-sex sexual behaviour crops up in animals *occasionally* doesn’t mean that it conforms to the natural order… more likely quite the opposite. Don’t forget that the according evolutionary theory the *primary* function of sex is reproduction of the species (or their genes if you are of Dawkinesque views).

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Ford Elms is spot on when he writes: “Rome’s reasons for opposing homosexuality are not based on ‘it’s in the Bible.'” Rome’s arguments that homosexual relations are against the order of nature (and, therefore, disordered) presumes that gays/lesbians are heterosexual persons. Once Rome accepts the fact that certain human beings are homosexual because of genetic predisposition, etc., Rome, too, will become inclusive rather than exclusive. And that process may have begun behind ‘closed’ doors as RC moral theologians and members of the curia are beginning to listen to the experiences of the gays/lesbians banished from their religious orders by Pope… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

“Yes I guess the question of two consenting same sex adults in monogamous relationship may seem so right to the liberals of today. But what happens when the polygamists and bigamists and even animalists of tomorrow raise the same arguments of rights and exclusion in the future?” We’ll look for the same signs that we look for and find in faithful, monogamous relationships today — Are these relationships ones in which we see the love of God reflected? Frankly, I don’t expect to see that in polygamy. The only way such a relationship can be stable is through unhealthy psychological… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“… he and his cohorts can argue strongly that they are genetically wired that way, are we to deny them of their objects of love and attraction.”

So is the shool yard bully and the marriage breaker and a host of others… You’re mixing things, doing some damage to our own logic.

And yes, we are to deny the bullies of this World the objects of their “love” and “attraction”. It’s in the Bible, stupid.