Be My Guest: Via Media's voice will be heard.

Posted this morning on several list-serves was this article, submitted to the Living Church for publication. The Living Church, it is reported, decided not to use it. Fair enough - they don't use everything submitted, even when by request. That is why they have editors. Still, Via Media USA's article is important, given the great flap about the memo from their September meeting, and I am glad to give it space here.

To be honest, in the light of the video publication "Choose This Day" that came out of the "Hope and the Future" conference, I don't think the Via Media editoral was anywhere near as critical as it might have been.

Having been a voting deputy at General Convention 2003 and having voted "yes" on the two most famous resolutions here, I am outraged to be called in that video part of a "counterfit" community, or to have the Episcopal Church be viewed as insane or counterfit. The video "Choose This Day" is an attempt to marshall lay people to a vague idea, that their church is counterfit, and that what they really want is somewhere else. It is itself an example of trying to pass off really bad news as good. This video is slicker than a weasel and will be no end of trouble until people see through it.

Here is the editorial by Via Media:

November 15, 2005

Via Media USA - Faithful Stewards

Via Media USA was founded in 2004 to preserve and protect the faith,
unity, and vitality of the Episcopal Church. Via Media USA is an alliance
of grass-roots voluntary regional organizations without endowments, and
dependent on supporter's contributions.

We hope to act so that all those who want an Episcopal Church will have
one. We are called to craft a unifying middle way, continuing to be a
church of the crucified and risen Christ. Such a church is founded on a
unity of the sacraments God has given to us, and a unity that celebrates
the differences and abundant love in which God has created us. In this
truly living church to which God has guided us, we come to the altar to
receive the Eucharist--side by side by side. In receiving these
sacramental gifts we are reminded that only God knows the final truth of
things and that for this reason if for no other, all shall be well. We
return from the altar, filled with the God-given dignity of being fully
human and redeemed, able to understand and be free and distinct
individuals as well as members of thriving, faithful communities.

In our home dioceses, our hearts are broken as we watch individuals and
congregations pour out contempt on our beloved church -- by removing the
word "Episcopal" from signs, directing funds to other groups that once
were earmarked for the Episcopal Church or ERD, rebuffing us when we propose
reconciliation and amending diocesan constitutions to nullify actions of
General Convention.

While some have difficulty understanding our sense of urgency, many of
our dioceses have passed resolutions saying that they no longer accede to
the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. One bishop has warned
clergy that "the day after" General Convention 2006 they will no longer
be part of the Episcopal Church. Another has requested that his diocese
be placed under another province's jurisdiction. In the midst of
predictions of "realignment" and pronouncements that we are already two
churches, our groups struggle to be a voice for that traditional
Episcopal practice of the via media.

In the context of the actions and statements of some conservative leaders
here and abroad, the topics discussed at our September Via Media USA
steering committee meeting are those that reasonable and prudent
individuals who are committed to the Episcopal Church must discuss. If
those who have threatened to realign were to act on statements they have
made, schism and abandonment of the communion of the Episcopal Church
would then have taken place in their jurisdictions. Episcopalians in
those jurisdictions would need to move quickly, within the structures of
church's canons and constitution, to rebuild. While we pray that our
unity can be restored, this threat of schism in our dioceses troubles us
deeply. As faithful stewards we must be prepared to care for those people
and things entrusted to the Church in our home regions should the
divisions occur.

Our wish is for a church able to celebrate a diversity of theological
opinions. Leaders in the Episcopal Church who conform to the constitution
and canons of this church and respect the polity of its General
Convention, under whose authority they lead their portion of the flock of
Christ, should have no cause for concern arising from our planning. Those
who do not, particularly if they should persist in breaking their vows
and separating their portions of the Episcopal Church from the rest of
it, may take such good counsel as seems best to them. Our efforts will be
to serve, as best we can, those who wish to remain connected to the
Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

Via Media USA strives to help the Episcopal Church be healed, whole, and
welcoming to all. To that end we work, and pray we work with grace. We
welcome others with that same goal to join us in our work.

NB--this was written in response to an invitation from The Living Church
for Via Media USA to write a guest editorial or op/ed piece in response
to their release of our purloined draft minutes. Upon review, they have
declined to publish it. Please forward it as you see fit to, and thanks.
Christopher Wilkins


  1. What an amazing thought--trying to hold together a wide spectrum of theological perspectives, using established canon law and treating others with respect even in the face of differing opinon. Who woulda thunk it?

    (Uh, that IS slightly sarcastic, in case anyone is wondering....)

  2. Sue in Pittsburgh16/11/05 9:11 PM

    Many thanks, Mark, for publishing the Via Media USA article.

    Sue in Pittsburgh


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.