4/30/2008

Things proceed apace in Virginia

A friend pointed out a small notice on the Diocese of Virginia news page, to wit:

"We are now less than six months away from a trial that will require significant preparations and are pleased that the Court has granted our request to proceed with discovery. We believe that a full and fair examination of the facts – including the opportunity for a thorough and necessary process of discovery – will show that the property in question is held in trust for The Episcopal Church and future generations of Episcopalians."

Good.
Proceed apace.

12 comments:

  1. Sadly, the diocese "forgot" to mention that there is another hearing of consequence on May 28. That will greatly inform what happens - or doesn't happen - in October.

    bb

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  2. Come now, Mark, you know as well as I do that if TEC wins this case, they won't save the property for "future generations of Episcopalians." They'll sell most of it. They'll have to. It's very expensive to maintain empty buildings.

    I don't understand what joy the idea of driving thousands of people away from their places of worship gives folks. I wouldn't want to see it happen to the other side, if the situation was reversed.

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  3. Yes indeed.
    If the thousands of departing members leave and lose their property, that's fine with revisionists. But, what DOES one do with a multi-million dollar property meant to serve 500 after it falls into the hands of 50"remaining" Episcopalians? Sounds like the expensive legal action is about to foist dozens of even more expensive dead properties on the rest of the Church to maintain. Great plan. How can we lose more members?

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  4. Rumors of our (TEC's) death have been greatly exaggerated!

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again: these parish edifices were built by Episcopalians to share the GOOD News. I'd rather sell them, for the no-news of (many) secular purposes, than see them continue to be used to spread the BAD news that schismatics doing with them now.

    Lord have mercy!

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  5. Mark+, I believe it is crystal clear that the Christian thing for either side to do is to let go of the property rather than wage legal war to recover it. Can anyone imagine Jesus calling his lawyer over a property matter? That seems about as far from "turn the other cheek" as possible. Can anyone imagine Jesus talking about fiduciary duties with respect to property? This is after all the Jesus who spoke of property as a hindrance to getting to heaven and advised a young rich man to give up everything and follow him.

    I do not belong to any of the breakaway congregations, and I believe that the Episcopal Church interprets the law correctly. But I also believe that the right answer is not a legal one.

    bb, the Diocese does mention the May 28 hearing on its website. And it is you that assumes that the May 28 hearing has the potential to impact the trial in October. As I've heard it, your lawyers argued the same thing on this discovery motion ... and lost.

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  6. One other thought. Regardless of whether the legal battles are a Christian thing to do, I do not believe they are wise. Rather, they do significant harm to the Church.

    We now (as a result of the actions on both sides) have millions of dollars being spent on lawyers rather than missions or charity. (Worldwide food crisis, anyone?)

    And the image of the Church is taking a beating. When many people think of the Episcopal Church now, they think of lawsuits. That is a terrible thing for the Church's ability to retain current members and attract new ones.

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  7. Mark,

    I am changing the subject a bit --away from property; are there any reflections on the "memo" for suing the Presiding Bishop? What's for real? Is this scenario of presentment against her really going to play out? It's like it's Narnia, winter and never Christmas. Is there any Good News in this?

    -margaret

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  8. Mary Clara1/5/08 10:04 AM

    The Episcopal Church is an institution, a legal entity which maintains title to property for the purpose of carrying out the many facets of its mission and ministry in the world. No institution established for whatever purpose can afford to allow its name or its property to be alienated at will by persons who are departing from it to establish or affiliate with another institution. Still less can it do so when such persons are intent upon damaging, displacing, defaming, discrediting, disabling or destroying it. Playing the violins and asking "What would Jesus do?" in this context overlooks the fact that the schismatic congregations and dioceses in Virginia and across the country are parties to a concerted campaign, partially funded by outside entities with a distinct political agenda, to break down TEC, cripple its Gospel-based social witness, and replace it as the recognized Anglican presence in the US.

    It is tragic that many parishioners let themselves be deluded into thinking that they could simply vote to leave TEC and take the buildings with them. Those who led the campaign, who should have familiarized themselves with the constitution and canons of TEC and the relevant laws and been guided by them, have a lot to answer for. They have put their trust in disinformation and propaganda, playing upon people's fears and prejudices, hoping to create 'facts on the ground' which would then be persuasive to a court of law. But a delusion shared by many over a period of years does not become less delusional through its persistence.

    There is no joy in this for anyone, but the legal actions are necessary. A prime task of the shepherds (our bishops, including the PB) is to secure the sheepfold.

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  9. "I'd rather sell them, for the no-news of (many) secular purposes.."

    This is a big assumption. How WILL it look for an historic Church (this IS Virginia) to be turned into a shopping center or steakhouse? You assume that any developer will want the publicity, the rezoning hassle, and the impractical task of retrofitting an ecclesiastical complex. If the Church isn't historic, you still face most of these issues. The property will be DEAD, useless, and expensive.
    How about stopping the categorizing of people as schismatics. These people were counted on and praised so long as they showed up, gave, worked, and made the bottom lines look good. Once they became critical they became nothing to this Church. After awhile you can't keep telling thousands how wrong/disposable they are...especially when no one is replacing them. We have reached "awhile" and passed it.

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  10. While churches and their property are more, in hearts and mind, than just money -- they do remain *assets*. If it turns out that some of these buildings need to be solved because too large a proportion of their congregations have abandoned their support of them, the proceeds realized will be put toward the Church's mission in another way.

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  11. I know the answer, but has anyone ever stopped to consider the question of why the schismatics never ask what Jesus would do? He never claimed He could move into Caiaphus's place by simply appropriating it.


    FWIW
    jimB

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  12. While I completely have the inverse perspective and thinking than DavidH, I do end up nearly at the same conclusion.

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