3/21/2009

Fling out the Accusations


The American Anglican Council puts out a weekly news update, sent by email. This week, in an article on the continuing legal process in Central New York over the property, real and monitory, of Good Shepherd Church, there appeared this cartoon logo. The point, apparently, is that AAC's Bishop Anderson believes the Diocese of Fort Worth is being held at gun point by the Chancellor of TEC over the return of funds under the guise of a "peaceful and orderly transfer of property and other assets."

Anderson says, "The use of the word "peaceful" for their demand reminds me of a satirical cartoon seen on the internet (at left): a hand holding a loaded pistol, with the caption "Hand over the money and nobody gets hurt." That about sums up the Episcopal Church's concept of peaceful. . .their way or else. " He doesn't note source of the cartoon.

The imaginative ways of proclaiming the deep wounds being inflicted on the realignment, conservative or anglo-catholic folk in TEC are indeed creative.

Last week it was the accusation brought by the headline of an article by George Conger, proclaiming that "Now a bishop is blacklisted in the USA." He writes, "The American Church’s blacklisting of conservative clergy has spread to the episcopate. On March 9 the former Bishop of Southern Virginia, the Rt Rev David Bane informed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that he was resigning from the US House of Bishops and had been received into the Province of the Southern Cone, were he will serve as an assisting bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh to the Rt Rev Robert Duncan." Conger further opines, "since his resignation, Bishop Bane had been blacklisted for employment as an interim and part-time priest, and stated that his calls to the local and national church leaders for assistance had been ignored." He then notes, "While evangelical and Anglo-Catholic clergy have long been aware of the blacklist exercised by the church hierarchy against employment in many dioceses, Bishop Bane’s ban appears to be the first of a centrist bishop seeking clerical employment after having voted against Robinson."

The one-two-three punch is (i) Bishop Bane is unable to get a job and joins the Province of the Southern Cone, (ii) He was blacklisted by TEC, (iii) it must be because he voted against Bishop Robinson. Of course he doesn't quote Bishop Bane as saying that he was blacklisted. He shows no proof of a "ban" in place. Perhaps Bishop Bane is not without fault in all this. But at any event there is no evidence of a "blacklist" or a "ban" in hiring Bishop Bane.

Oddly the news might have been stated differently: Bishop Bane who could not get a job in a TEC diocese looked for work elsewhere. The object of this article is to dump on that terrible thing, that The Episcopal Church hierarchy that is out to "get" anyone who voted against the confirmation of Bishop Robinson.

The Church of England Newspaper, not an "official" paper of the Church of England, runs many stories by George Conger. The impression of readers there must be that TEC is shot through and through with terrible people set on destroying anyone who gets in their way. Flinging out the accusations makes it almost impossible to work with the truth, which is quite unlike the image projected in this story.

Small parishes are being held up at gun point and bishops are being banned from employment. Perhaps it is not that. Perhaps it is just that both are being held accountable, the one for the proper use of trust funds, the other for proper use of trust.


55 comments:

  1. When one has nothing else to stand on, one tends to run to Patriotism (in this case "orthodoxy") or a persecution complex.
    Conger has, apparently, decided to take refuge under both, but finds that playing for sympathy is a good way to keep his audience on his side.

    Besides, playing the "aren't they mean" card is a way to distract from the actual issues.

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  2. On Oct. 3, 2005 Virtue Online reported the following:

    "Problems in the Diocese over the past several years culminated in the adoption of Resolution R-5 at the 2005 Annual Council in February. The resolution called upon Bishop Bane to request that the Presiding Bishop appoint three Bishops to come into the Diocese to evaluate programs and relationships and recommend steps to move the ministry of the Diocese forward. "

    Might not Mr. Bane's problems finding employment actually be attributable to his own issues? Is it fair to consider that angle?

    The Virginian Pilot reported this about Bishop Banes:

    "AN INTERNAL DIOCESAN REVIEW in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia concluded that the jurisdiction is wracked by the non-leadership of its top bishop, David Bane; rancor between Bane and his female suffragan, Carol Gallagher; anger by both bishops toward some clergy; "major ineptitude" in financial management and a near-total absence of accountability. Issued by a 14-member panel appointed by the diocesan executive board and led by a federal judge, the review did not link the problems to any criminal wrongdoing or to divisions resulting from the consecration of Gene Robinson (though Bane supported the gay cleric). But it said that the diocese is "adrift and leaderless" and "floundering in all areas." It made 66 recommendations for change, calling, for example, for an independent audit of diocesan funds for the six years Bane has been diocesan, and for the bishops to either get along or find other positions. Bane said he would not challenge the report, but said it is unbalanced, and disputed its claim that the diocese is known for being dysfunctional. "We’ve never had trouble filling positions" in the diocese, he said. Southern Virginia has 123 congregations and 37,000 members. "

    It is certainly not as exciting as accusing TEC of blackballing the good bishop over his anti-consecration vote but it does make one wonder if his employment problems are of his own making. Yet a simple Google search reveals that Conger's unchristian lying has been trumpeted far and near across the conservative side of the aisle.

    I truly admire those of you who continue to believe that we can achieve anything through dialog or any other kind of relations with these people like Conger. I am not that Christ-like.

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  3. It's purely coincidental that the AAC's remarks remind me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when Michael Palin cries out "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o76WQzVJ434

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  4. John, that is a very funny scene.

    Bp Bane doesn't sound like the model of a conservative bishop. I hope that under Bp Duncan, he will be paragon of orthodoxy.

    There is a report making the rounds that describe the high price that denomination is paying for the lawsuits. The actual costs while high, pale in comparison to the price being paid in terrible publicity. An example from the north:

    "The Anglican Church of Canada has reached the point where its bureaucracy has outlived its compassion. There. I said it. And I can speak with at least some small authority, considering that I was once an Anglican myself, although my observations led to enough disillusionment to see my departure from the Anglican Church."

    The reality is that these parishes are indeed tiny Davids. That makes the TEC (and ACoC) Goliath. There are two outcomes: David defeats Goliath or Goliath squashes David. Neither outcome looks good for Goliath in the eyes of the public. So get used to headline after headline of bad press.

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  5. Odd that George Conger and David Anderson should claim poor Bishop Bane is being persecuted for having voted against Robinson when the Virginia Pilot clearly states that Bane voted FOR Robinson.

    Now, I've never heard of the Virginia Pilot. It could be a supermarket tabloid a la the National Enquirer for all I know.

    But I'm still quite game to take it as more reliable and credible than anything from either Anderson or Conger given their long and documented history of . . . er . . . creativity regarding facts.

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  6. Malcolm, here is what Wikipedia says about the The Virginian-Pilot:

    "The Virginian-Pilot is a daily newspaper based in Norfolk, Virginia and serving southeastern Virginia, Virginia's Eastern Shore, and northeastern North Carolina, all part of the Hampton Roads community. It is owned by Landmark Publishing, part of the privately held Landmark Communications. It is the largest daily metro paper in the state of Virginia."

    The quote I posted was from The Christian Challenge, an orthodox blog, and appears to be a misprint. There are no archives online that I can find to confirm but I did find this other quote from The Virginian-Pilot:

    "The leader of Hampton Roads' Episcopal Church voted against installing an openly gay priest as the denomination's bishop of New Hampshire.

    Bishop David C. Bane Jr., who heads the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, revealed how he voted in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

    "Bane did not say why he cast a ``no'' vote at Tuesday's confirmation hearing of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who has been living in a committed homosexual relationship for 13 years."

    The attribution that Bane voted "yes" on confirmation of Bishop Robinson appears to be incorrect, perhaps because the rest of the So. VA delegation (2 clergy, 2 lay delegates) voted "yes".

    According to ENS archives from 8/1/2003. Bane said the following:

    "Bishop David Bane, suffragan of Albany, said a Robinson consent separates the church from traditional teaching and "threatens to shatter the Episcopal Church as we know it." . . . Said Bane: "We will lose vast numbers of congregations, members and revenue, and this act will show us not to be the prophets of the
    Anglican Communion but American mavericks going our own way." . . . "Stating he was "humbly" asking Robinson to step down as bishop-elect, Bane warned that proceeding to a vote, up or down, "will simply rupture
    the Episcopal Church family."

    It seems clear that Bane is indeed an orthodite through and through (and not so good at predicting the future) but whether it is that fact or the fact that he presided over a huge mess at his last diocese and the diocese asked him to step down is to blame for his unemployment remains to be proven.

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  7. And RobRoy, since the orthodites have been screaming about an alternative province since their Good Shepherd communique in 1997 (over women's ordination then), I don't think "bad press" is such an worrisome issue.

    In 11 years they've managed to pick off 4, maybe 5 dioceses. I think we can live with that. What is more of a stain on the Church (with a capital C) is the repeated lying and deceit of the orthodites in service of their agenda.

    Bearing false witness, even if for a "right" cause is a serious sin and blackens the eye of the church far more than hysterical conservative "bad press".

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  8. Malcolm, you are not correct. (No bitter "l" words from me.) Here is the low-down from Louie Crew:
    ---
    Bane signed A Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans from Some Member Bishops of the Lambeth Conference (a GLBQT friendly act).

    He voted against Blessing of Same-Gender Unions to be added to Book of Occasional Services (8th resolve to D039) (a GLBQT unfriendly act).

    He voted for recognizing and affirming fidelity in relationships outside of marriage (D039) (a GLBQT friendly act).

    He voted against consenting to the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire (a GLBQT unfriendly act).
    ---
    The D039 resolution is especially troubling since it explicitly undermines Christian marriage. Sex outside of marriage is simply wrong - monogamous or not.

    Now, if Bp Bane repents of his failings to defend the faith - all good and well. To reject him would be Donatistic.

    The majority of the blame for the trashing of the once great Christian denomination lies with the so called "moderate" bishops that failed miserably to stamp out heresies. I see Bane as one of these.

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  9. I truly admire those of you who continue to believe that we can achieve anything through dialog or any other kind of relations with these people like Conger. I am not that Christ-like.¨ Priscilla

    Make that a double but please add a large twist(ed) of Anderson as I like my LIE INTAKE straight up!

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  10. Robroy,

    You seem to miss the point, at least the point that I would make.

    Stealing is wrong, period. That is what some of us believe is happening...a few bishops supported by foreign pillagers are trying to steal that which does not belong to them.

    Forget the PR battle. Forget the argument regarding lawsuits. What they are doing is wrong, and cannot go unanswered, whatever the cost.

    Most Anglicans understand this, and do not want such pillaging going on in their own backyard. Thus the lack of support for those leaders who pretend that such plundering raids on North American congregations are being done in the name of biblical truth, when the reality is that it is much more about personal power and personal biases.

    Forgive my intrusion with this off-topic response, Mark. But sometimes I think it is necessary to correct the propaganda that oozes from the extremists. No response suggests that there may be some truth in such a false witness.

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  11. I am quite sure that Fr. Conger's reporting is biased. On the other hand, the Church of England Newspaper is widely distributed and read in the UK.

    Let us not be complacent here about the effect such propaganda has had in the past. There are many in the Church of England who have a distorted picture of events in the Episcopal Church, simply because they have been successfully propagandized. For quite some time the Episcopal Church did not seem to consider it important to get its own story out. This has no doubt done us lasting damage in the Communion.

    This and similar stories in the overseas press need to be countered, with checkable facts, clearly, firmly, repeatedly. Is this being done? Or are the liberals on this and similar blogs merely telling one another: "Oh, ain't it awful, the things that George Conger says about us"?

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  12. Conger is a journalist in the same way that Tokyo Rose was.

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  13. If Mr. Congor is a journalist, I am an astronaut.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  14. The Episcopal News Service's breakdown of the bishops' votes on Robinson's election records David Bane as voting against the election. It also records other bishops voting "no" (e.g. Dorsey Henderson of Upper SC & Charles Jenkins of Louisiana) who have definitely not been blacklisted.

    Robinson vote

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  15. Priscilla, the tragedy of the ungodly lawsuits is not measured in the rise of the ACNA but the death spiral of the once great Christian denomination. For a leader to say that "We are past the worst of it" when the statistics point to only acceleration of the decline is as false as George Bush's saying that the hard part of the Iraq war is over. The denomination is now losing the equivalent of 1.5 parishes per day and again, that rate is accelerating. We have a saying in medicine that "all bleeding eventually stops." Of course, this might be after the patient has depleted all their blood volume. The ACNA has only subsumed a fraction of the diaspora.

    Jake, you say that the parishes belong to the denomination. The parishioners think otherwise. St Paul asks, why not be wronged? The implication was that those to whom Paul was speaking also thought they were in the right just as you do.

    The situation in Virginia is a great example. The diocese most likely would have been compensated a pretty penny. Instead, it has mortgaged its future on orders of 815 and suffered an onslaught of terrible publicity, bad publicity whose cost is almost incalculable. (This is not speaking hyperbolically. Try to imagine the cost of newspaper, radio and television advertisements to counter the bad press.) If the diocese had been allowed to continue in the amicable talks, it would have resulted in being smaller but financially very healthy. Instead, the diocese is smaller and in financial ruin.

    All that to say, I don't see how the present course can be changed. Even if the "moderates" came together and said this insanity must stop, the leadership won't suffer an insult to their pride. I wonder if everyone agrees that left must press on "no matter what the cost." If the cost is the destruction of the denomination, should the lawsuits go on?

    The median parish size is now 69, that means many churches are either not viable or on the edge of viability. 27% of Episcopalians are over 65. 38% of parishes don't even have a Sunday school! That 38% of parishes are simply waiting to die.

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  16. Regarding Fr. Jake/Terry Martin's accusation of theft - and in the spirit of his distaste for false witness- NOBODY HAS STOLEN ANYTHING.

    Want proof? Exhibit A: all court cases are in CIVIL court, not CRIMINAL. So Fr. Jake/Terry Martin's accusation of theft is demonstrably false.

    If Fr. Jake/Terry Martin honestly believes there has been a theft, I suggest he file a police report. Otherwise, it's just more rhetoric denouncing rhetoric.

    If there was a theft "whatever the cost" would be $0, because the prosecutor would be in the case.

    I wish the "whatever the cost" attitude translated to the Millennium Development Goals, rather than lawsuits that could have been settled.

    DoW

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  17. Grace Church, Colorado Springs, DoW?

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  18. I find it hard to believe that Bane has been ostracized for his beliefs due to the fact that none of the so-called "orthodox" bishops offered him a position.

    It seems more likely that even Howe and the like did not want Bane to do to their dioceses what he did to his own.

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  19. DoW,

    I believe I'm speaking English?

    Taking that which does not belong to you is theft. pretty simple, really. Those parishes and dioceses, as well as the pillaging Primates, know darn well that parishes and dioceses are held in trust for the use of all Episcopalians. But they have claimed them anyway.

    I'm in no position to file charges against anyone. But, if someone tried to take my property, and refused any attempts to resolve the issue in any other way, you bet I'd file charges.

    The fact that such criminal charges have not been filed is evidence of the restraint being used by those wronged by these thefts. That does not change my stance that as I view the facts of each case, there have been acts of grand larceny committed by a number of person wearing purple.

    Regarding the MDGs, whatever the cost is indeed my position on that matter as well. But don't mind me, I'm just a middle aged guy at the end of his career with anger issues, right?

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  20. One does wonder what the minuscule Province of the Southern Cone (smaller than the Diocese of New Hampshire, I believe) will do with all those unassigned bishops it has collected. I confess I've lost count--it's at least a half-dozen now, I think. It doesn't seem likely, though, that Bishop Bane (unfortunate name, no?) will have any better luck finding interim work with the Southern Cone than he did in the U.S. church.

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  21. So tiresome...it is clear to anybody who has any business talent/experience (clearly, the orthodox ¨set¨are a unable to plan self-sustaining profitablity at Church and beyond these days/daze) there are volumn ups and downs...ANYWHERE money is generated, donated or not, there will be variations of demand and income...especially, in the classifications of basics rather than ¨fad¨ or fashion merchandise (or in our case extremist, frantic/fanatic religious promoting...some who would make a sideshow out of other people and their sacred beliefs). WE, yes us, have arrived at the ¨post peak¨ part of this failed ¨take over¨ attempt (yes, I know you´re still PRETENDING you matter) as the ¨excluding and purist¨ promotional campaign and blip of a fad bites the dust. Dust to dust it goes. The fundamentalist churchgoer catagory, obviously made up of those who don´t own their own property and are failing to steal parishes from TEC. Failing due to court decisions ruling against them in all parts of the United States, will soon struggle no further against TEC. Many will fail, some will limp along. Meanwhile, those who have built TEC religious establishments from generations of solid beliving and solid basics of beliving such as ¨loving one another¨ at The Body of Christ will survive...you can put money on it (if you have any left).

    We, the inclusive and loving families of The Episcopal Church, will continue to ¨bring home the bacon¨ long after the stickyfingered stop paying their overdue legal bill(s)...they will have long since moved back to the halls in strip malls where they launched their fear and hate campaign against Heterosexul Women in the Clergy and LGBT Episcopalian/Anglicans at all levels of Churchlife.

    It´s back to basics in most classifications of everyday life...you are welcome to join in or stay outside and remain in the dark until you see light!

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  22. Robroy, I say this without some of my usual spitfiring: The Falls and Truro are hardly little Davids fighting Goliath. Much of the press coverage the Virginia case gets is because of our interesting law and the incredibly high value of the land. Toss in that they are in the land of the Washington press corp, and you've some nice copy for a slow news day. It's interesting to talk about even without TEC politics, and I might add that my RC and Methodist friends understand the TEC viewpoint; they aren't congregationalists. And you can't honestly think if the CANA churches had lost in the lower courts that there wouldn't have been an appeal - the culture here is more Washington, DC than Virginia in many ways. The case is just too interesting to not go all the way through the courts.

    I understand you have friends in Northern Virginia that share your views, and they are the people you trust. But you really don't hear much from people in parishes that aren't involved in the law suits - that should tell you something. I belong to a fairly large church with mostly moderate members*, and we just get on with the business of church life and serving the community.

    The Diocese of Virginia will be fine, it went through much worse after the Revolutionary and Civil wars. And don't think this is just about money and a land grab, and I'm not sure the land would be that easy to develop despite the prime locations of Truro and The Falls. I would be just as incorrect if I claimed the CANA churches only left because of Bishop Gene Robinson - these churches aren't old-style TEC they have a unique Pentacostal style that isn't to the taste of many traditionalists who enjoy the liturgy. There were always clashes of style, and that's that.

    I know you don't agree with my assessment of all this, but I live here and I'm a native Washingtonian with deep roots to the left and right, liberal and conservative.

    *(I call my church moderate because the liberal TEC churches would call it conservative, and the conservative ones think it's liberal. I am obviously one of the outlaws on the liberal side.)

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  23. Here is a very dignified and proper answer:

    March 10, 2009

    Ms. Kathleen Wells
    Taylor, Olson, Adkins, Sralla & Elam, LLP
    6000 Western Place, Suite 200
    1-30 at Bryant lrvin Road
    Fort Worth, Texas 76107-4654

    Re: Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth property transition

    Dear Ms. Wells:

    I represent Bishop Iker. We acknowledge receipt of the letter delivered by you to Chancellor William T. McGee and thank you for your communication. Regrettably, the ambiguity of your letter prevents any manner of meaningful response. If the letter's purpose (as your concurrent "press release" seems to indicate) is to arrogate (then publicize) an agenda for property confiscation that would contravene the expressed wishes of the vast majority of this Diocese, then I fear that there is little we can discuss. On the other hand. if the letter intends to initiate a considerate and devout resolution of property issues between well-meaning Christian brethren, then we welcome (as we always have) a virtuous and dignified discussion of the achievement of that goal.

    We shall look forward to your clarification.

    Very truly yours,

    Marshall M. Searcy, Jr.

    From another perspective, it is the national church that is engaged in thievery. It seeks to reap that which others have sown. It may get away with it, but morally, it is reprehensible.
    Isn't it great fun standing across from one another calling each other thieves? You are! No you are! I know you are but what am I? Sticks and stones may break my bones .. blah, blah, blah. What a witness to the world.
    Dan

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  24. Re: Virginia

    I've heard quite a bit from the conservatives about Bp. Lee's pulling out of negotiations because of supposed pressure from the Wicked Witch Presiding Bishop and her flying monkey chancellor. Something just doesn't sound right about that spin. Why would he do it simply because 815 told him to? For some reason, I think I remember Bp. Lee mentioning that he realized that the breakaways weren't really negotiating in good faith, but I can't remember where I read that. (Hopefully, I didn't imagine it.) Can anyone shed some light on this?

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  25. - As Lapinbizarre indicates, the case of Fr. Armstrong in Colorado Springs proves my point. He is under criminal investigation because he is alleged to have STOLEN something. No other cases are in the criminal courts because it is a dispute over property.

    - Now Fr. Jake/Terry Martin, the purpose of Fr. Harris' post seems to be how bad it is to "fling allegations", and you of course respond by flinging allegations (which are easily disproved - not on opinions, but on FACTS).

    You said, Fr. Terry/Fr. Jake, that you are not in position to file charges. I suggest you file a POLICE REPORT, not charges.

    If I saw somebody robbing my neighbor, I would file a police report, because that is what people do when they witness a crime.

    So Fr. Terry/Fr. Jake, you claim that you KNOW OF A CRIME and you haven't filed a police report? Why not? Of course we know why not, because NOBODY HAS STOLEN ANYTHING.

    The Virginia properties are in the civil court system, and it certainly looks like CANA is going to win those cases. Obviously, if there was a crime involved, it surely would have come up in the cases. Even TEC's lawyers know the comedy of such rhetoric.

    So I ask you Fr. Terry/Fr. Jake, if you are convinced a crime has occurred, please do the decent thing and tell the police.

    DoW

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  26. There is no heat behind my argument that the issue here is one of theft. I am simply stating how I see the situation. I fail to understand how it could be viewed any other way.

    If a group of people did not like the way that the federal government ran a national park, and since they had worked to beautify that park as volunteers, could they suddenly claim that park for themselves? Of course not, especially if they denied use to others for which that park was created.

    The congregations and the dioceses belong to the Episcopal Church. End of story. Those who try to place them under some foreign jurisdiction are committing an act of theft, in my opinion.

    That is my logic. A police report, or the lack thereof, does not support or detract from that logic.

    With that explanation, I'm bowing out of this discussion. I've been exchanging barbs with DoW for ...what...eight years now...all the way back to the BNET days, and, to be quite honest, I've become weary of that particular exchange.

    Look, if I'm right, God reigns. If you're right, God reigns. So, in the end, our little debates don't matter too much, do they?

    Thanks for your patience, Mark.

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  27. Christopher (P.)23/3/09 2:19 PM

    Kevin M.

    Perhaps not what you were looking for, but below is from Bishop Lee's Pastoral Address to the 212th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, January 26, 2007 (as reported in the March 2007 issue of The Virginia Episcopalian, available on the website):

    "My experience with the
    leadership of the departing
    members is that compromise and accommodation with difference among fellow Christians are especially difficult for them. When members of the churches informed me of their decision to leave in December, I wrote the
    rectors of each, asking them to assure me that provision would be made for faithful Episcopalians to have access to worship according to Episcopal discipline. The response
    was that such an accommodation might be possible as part of an eventual, overall settlement but clearly was rejected for now. That was, for me, the last straw in
    repeated experiences of hard line practice by people who do not welcome the breadth of The Episcopal Church."

    I agree with your intimation that Bp. Lee made the pertinent decisions, not 815.

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  28. DoW--How about we change the Decalogue. We can just put an astrerisk next to each commandment and at the end add this rubric:

    *Applies only when reported to a civil authority.

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  29. Theft might not be the most sustainable criminal accusation, but trespassing might have a stronger case. However, it would have to have been determined clearly that the diocese owned the property upon which these fundagelicals are trespassing. Because that was a disputed question, it seems like it would be the province of civil court. Then if they still refuse to leave, criminal charges could then be filed.

    Of course, if I had been the bishop at the time (God forbid), I would have been tempted to have some sort of diocesan sit-in. Have people, including myself, volunteer to occupy the church offices and worship space until the dissidents left. Then it would have been up to them to respond. Just think of the PR problem if they tried to have the police remove the bishop.

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  30. Kevin, the videotaped deposition where she admits to telling Bp Lee to break off amicable discussions and sue is here:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8949878082609465579

    Lynn, you are absolutely right about Falls Church and Truro not being little defenseless Davids. Then again, the national church truly does have gazillions. But regardless, this is a PR disaster which Terry Martin/Father Jake should not irresponsibly try to minimize. He is in charge of evangelization for the TEC. Your moderate church will suffer. The diocese is paying interest on a $2 million line of credit it took out a year ago to fund lawsuits against the eleven parishes. Interest payments on the loan jumped from $70,000 in 2008 to $105,000 this year, according to diocesan reports. And for what purpose?

    Interesting that Episcopal Online is actually having open debate about the lawsuits. Cracks in 815's defenses?

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  31. Just because she told him, that doesn't mean he had to agree to it. Besides, I wasn't asking about her statements. I was asking about Bp. Lee's. As far as I know, he hasn't indicated that he did it under duress.

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  32. Do you know the old story, Bonnie, about the C of E bishop (unnamed, alas) who supposedly observed that "the Ten Commandments are like an examination paper - eight out of ten only to be attempted"?

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  33. And let's all remember that when Larry King famously asked our former Episcopal colleague why he stayed in the Episcopal Church, David famously answered, "Well, I like a good fight."

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/15/lkl.01.html

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  34. Poor old Robroy just can't admit that his "PR disaster" trope is more conservative nonsense, any more than DoW can admit that he's making spurious analogies wrangling with Jake (a losing proposition -- Jake has style and class and street cred, LOL.)

    If the orthodites are truly, truly the best of the best of Christians and follow the gopsel to a "T" then they would be the ones to back off -- if someone takes your cloak give them your girdle too, and all that. What a charade!

    The only people who see this as a "PR disaster" are the wild-eyed conservatives who thrive on tabloid journalism and propaganda the likes of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Bill O'Reilly.

    The scandal behind the scandal is that ACNA, CANA and other such alphabet soup groups are a coordinated effort under IRD and are involved in efforts to take over all mainline denominations (and the US government) using Republican party dirty tricks and strategies in the churches and utilizing their influence in the last administration to place judges sympathetic to their aims and to pass laws that will favor their far-right policies. Not quite the work of Jesus but more that of Caesar, don't you think?

    Quite clear to any who watch closely and who use the google. Karl Rove could've written the playbook for all of these organizations (and may have had a hand in all of this). Regular people aren't fooled by the lying rhetoric of the Matt Kennedys and the George Congers and they preach mostly to a rabid choir. They see this for what it is -- a movement based in hate and exclusion that is hiding under a cloak of religious piety.

    Just like the Republican party and its policies are seen by more than 3/4 of Americans as the emperor who has no clothes and no one listens to them any more, the orthodites have utterly failed to gain the masses of followers and funding that they have claimed would follow them for the last 20 odd years.

    Jesus wept.

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  35. Kevin, Bp Lee forewarned the departing parishes that the rules might be changing, "because there was a new sheriff in town." A month later, the bishop broke off negotiations.

    Now, disposal of property has always been the purview of the diocese and there has never been a 815 edict stating that one could sell property to say a casino company but not the outgoing parish on its way to CANA, etc.

    Why did Bp Lee cave in? I have no idea. I don't think BabyBlue knows either. He will always be remembered as the one that brought disaster to his diocese and ignominy to himself. He retired early because the diocese didn't have enough money to pay two bishops, practically running away like a whipped dog with tail between the legs. It is sad, really. BabyBlue still has affection for the man, I believe.

    Speaking of BabyBlue, she has an interesting piece where she embarrasses the supposed historian Joan Gundersen by punching major holes in Ms Gundersen's argument favoring the lawsuits by correcting her historical inaccuracies. Worth a look just to review one's 8th grade history. (All I learned of American History was from the movie/musical 1776.)

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  36. The canonical position of the Presiding Bishop is actually quite weak - weaker than most any diocesan certainly.

    Yet robroy, to suit his slanderous fantasy, needs to turn her into some all-powerful female Voldemort / Sauron. Thus his farcical claim here that Bishop Lee would only have acted as he did because "She who must not be named" said so. Likewise his bizarre claim on Ruth Gledhill's blog that a simple word from "You know who" silenced the thousands of conservatives who would otherwise have been rioting in the streets over the election of the Buddhist Bishop of Northern Michigan.

    A piece of advice, robroy. You might get farther if the things you were making up were at least vaguely credible.

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  37. There is no heat behind my argument that the issue here is one of theft. I am simply stating how I see the situation. I fail to understand how it could be viewed any other way.

    Thank you for sanity, Jake. Since it is sanity, Worms, Dan, robroy will not get it - or, rather, they will and try to twist it. It's what they do.

    They are saying, basically, that anything they might've given to their parents would be corban(sic) - sacred to the Lord - who, like the ancient Pharisees, the Reasserters believe they own.

    On a personal note, Jake, I am so grateful to you and Mark Harris because you taught me to look calmly at the Reasserters, to step back. In that way, I'm not drawn into their madness and can respond to the actual issues.

    Thank you.

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  38. Robroy, my parish will be just fine; no David, either, and we went through the same process as Truro and The Falls - staying with the Diocese, period.

    As for the History of Fairfax and Truro parishes, you might want to see what the U.S. Supreme court says on the issue: Reports and Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States, February Term, 1824: Mason vs. Muncaster. They didn't agree with BB on a couple of things. I'm a bit of a church history buff, too - though Virginia is just a sideline because I live here; my interest is primarily in general world history of Christianity.

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  39. DoW has the most curious defense of not theft, but attempted theft of Episcopal parishes by breakaway church congregations. I suggest DoW google the term "civil theft", as a theft can be civil as well as criminal.

    but I will do that for him.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_a_civil_theft_suit_mean

    Civil theft is a civil action granted to private persons. It is a statutory right, and in Florida it is defined in §812.012, Florida Statutes, as "obtaining or using the property of the Plaintiff by taking or exercising control over property, making that an unauthorized use, disposition, or transfer of property, such conduct previously known as stealing; larceny; purloining; abstracting; embezzlement; misapplication; misappropriation; conversion; or obtaining money or property by false pretenses, fraud, or deception; or other conduct similar in nature. . ."

    Sound familiar?


    I would call it attempted theft, because none of these congregations will hold on the property they attempted to steal, it will all revert to it's rightful owner, The Episcopal Church. The law is already definitive in California and New York, it will be in Virginia, too, if it needs to travel to the US Supreme Court.

    Roger

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  40. Re Grace Church, Colorado Springs, DoW, a Colorado Springs judge has now ruled that Don Armstrong's CANA congregation "shall immediately cease all use and relinquish all possession, control, and dominion over the disputed property". (Hat tip Thinking Anglicans)

    Colorado Springs ruling

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  41. What's so conveniently forgotten in the Virginia case are these two facts: one, the CANA parishes filed suit to retain their property almost immediately after the votes to split; and two, the diocese is the DEFENDANT. So Bishop Lee didn't really have much of a choice in the matter. As a diocese, I think we are stronger because of this, or at the least better able to focus on things like the work we do in the Sudan and how we'll send kids to summer camp without bankrupting their families. Not having the constant drumbeat of rancor at the table has made us better able to listen to one another. And it has been nothing short of amazing to watch the new life springing up from the remnants of the breakaway parishes.

    Amy in NoVA

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  42. Speaking of stolen property (how did we get so far off topic?) I think the judge in Colorado got it just about right today, eh Robroy, DoW, Buehler, Buehler?

    From Thinking Anglicans:

    "Judge Larry Schwartz issued a 28-page ruling that concluded , among other things: “The Diocese over most of its 135 years existence demonstrates a unity of purpose on the part of the parish and general church. … The trust created through past genereations of members of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s prohibits the departing parish members from taking the property with them.”

    Good on you Jake, you call 'em as you see 'em.

    Mark, an apology for keeping this thread alive past its freshness date. I look forward to all your postings and hope all is well with you. A blessed Lenten time to you and to all who visit here.

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  43. Priscilla,

    Since you asked, my quibble with Fr. Jake/Fr. Terry was his penchant to take a dispute over property and accuse one group of committing a crime.

    Now that the judge has ruled, if Fr. Armstrong refuses to leave and changes the locks, then he and the congregation can rightly be seen as stealing.

    I agree with Father Harris' original post - it is not right to fling allegations at people. Period. Fr. Jake / Terry Martin, with no sense of irony, responded by flinging an allegation. Mark Brunson accused me of being insane (although he was ready to kill himself over student loans).

    I suppose on some level we all get more excitement out of life when we prop up an enemy and label them insane or criminals. Behind all this internet rhetoric are real flesh and blood people, and I think that was the point of Father Harris' original post.

    So you got your answer, Priscilla. It may not be the one you wanted, but there you go.

    DoW

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  44. PotomacXer writes, "What's so conveniently forgotten in the Virginia case are these two facts: one, the CANA parishes filed suit to retain their property almost immediately after the votes to split; and two, the diocese is the DEFENDANT. So Bishop Lee didn't really have much of a choice in the matter."

    Now, I am not wont to use the ugly "l" word, but this prevarication has been repeated frequently. Here is a document of the Episcopal News Service, for example, (and one can find many, many more) that clearly states that the national church is a co-PLAINTIFF with the diocese and the churches and clergy (Bp Minns, etc.) are the DEFENDANTS. Mr PotomacXer, if you are ignorant of legal proceedings, I remind you that plaintiffs sue defendants. Defendants can indeed counter sue, but there was no counter suit filed here.

    The only thing the parishes did after the vote is to report results of the vote to the county clerks. Reporting an outcome of a vote is not suing!

    If the diocese wins, it loses. If it loses, it loses. The only thing that the diocese of Colorado has won is an albatross around its neck. The diocese can't sell the property in these bad economic times, nor can it sell it due to the terrible press it would receive. Thus, it must maintain the property which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each month for utilities alone.

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  45. "The only thing that the diocese of Colorado has won is an albatross around its neck." So Mr Armstrong was doing the diocese one big favor, RR? Spin away.

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  46. Roger speaking

    sorry, Robroy, but when the Colorado diocese wins ....

    IT WINS. And the TEC wins, and will win everywhere, because that is the law as established and observed. California, New York, Colorado, and more to come.

    and there would not be any great loss of monies devoted to lawsuits if the breakaway parishes had observed the established law in the first place, rather than attempting to steal the property which is held in trust for TEC. That is where the blame must squarely lie.

    Roger

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  47. robroy--As a former member of Grace & St. Stephen's EPISCOPAL Church in Colorado Springs, I can assure you that it will not be an albatross around the necks of the Episcopal congregation nor was it in the past. If you check out their website you will find that they are in good financial health and will maintain the property in the future as it was maintained in the past. Probably even better since they won't be saddled with a half million dollar + residence for the rector, and other multitudinous, various and sundry perks for the rector and his family. And I would like to correct this piece of misinformation. 90 percent of the congregation did not vote to leave. 90 percent of the people voting, voted to leave. That was around 400 people. And since Don claimed that the congregation at that time was 2,000 plus people, 400 people participating in a vote to leave was hardly a ground swell.

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  48. Robroy, I am neither ignorant of how courts work, nor of the particulars of the Virginia litigation, nor am I male. I am also sorry that you seem to be so angry about all of the disputes currently taking place in TEC.

    The Diocese's website has a full history of the trial phase, which includes copies of most of the relevant court documents. Please take some time to read them for yourself. They're located here: http://www.thediocese.net/News_services/property.shtml

    The introduction on that page reads as follows: "The dispute over property in the Diocese of Virginia entered the civil courts when the separated CANA congregations filed petitions with the courts in their jurisdictions reporting the results of their congregational votes and seeking the court’s declaration that the property belonged to the congregations. The Diocese and the Episcopal Church responded to those filings and are defendants in those cases. " (Emphasis mine.) The summary contained the one motion that has been filed so far in the appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court is worded similarly.

    Amy in NoVA

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  49. Robroy's claim that the Colorado ruling is an "albatross" is based on his unsubstantiated assumption that outside the schismatical bodies there cannot possibly be any vital and viable congregation. It is not based in fact, It is rooted in the delusions of the extreme right. Indeed, it is the nature of extremists to believe that everyone agrees with them.

    Regarding the original vote to steal, er separate, it should be noted that Armstrong and his minions required people to sign an assent that they would support the position of the vestry. Anyone refusing to sign was not allowed to vote.

    In other words, it was a free and fair vote of those who agreed with the proposed act of theft.

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  50. Worms!

    Ah, there's the simple country-boy we all know and love!!!

    Mark Brunson accused me of being insane (although he was ready to kill himself over student loans).

    No, I didn't, actually. Nice dig, btw, at someone who has already admitted publicly that he has emotional problems. Very Christian. Hope you don't mind if I use it as an example of what you people are like!

    I suppose on some level we all get more excitement out of life when we prop up an enemy and label them insane or criminals.

    Like you just did?

    Or perhaps when we call people . . . oh, I don't know . . . herectics, apostate, perverts, sexual deviants?

    This is your nature, Worms.

    If you were insane, you'd have a defense.

    You have none.

    You shame yourself and hurt the God you profess.

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  51. Oh, and Worms?

    I'm sorry if you felt I was calling you insane.

    But then, what did you expect? I'm just one of those disturbed, deviant homosexuals, right?

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  52. No, Mark, you are not "one of those deviant homosexuals".

    You are an individual loved by God with flaws and blessings like everyone else.

    I like visiting Fr. Harris' blog because although we disagree with theology, he seems like an honest and sincere man who wants the best for people.

    Fr. Harris wrote a post about "Flinging accusations", and objected to Jake's/Terry Martin's comment because I felt he was doing his own flinging of accusations.

    The question in my mind was that in this whole Anglican-Episcopalian battle, are we against "flinging accusations" or just "flinging accusations against us?"

    As for the insanity comment, I apologize too, because I felt that in your comment you were implying that I cannot understand a sane comment, or am somehow bent on twisting sanity.

    We have become obsessed with labels in this whole dispute, and that is unfortunate. Criminals, deviants, whatever. Perhaps it is too late to change the path we are on, and it is fruitless with someone with my theological point-of-view to comment here.

    And I see now on your blog you have built up a whole fantasy story about someone you don't know, which kind of demonstrates what I was talking about in the first place.

    Peace,

    DoW

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  53. I have given a long response to you, and that's why I haven't reposted it to take up space here.

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  54. The Washington Post, in a piece by Kathleen Parker oddly dated "Sunday, March 29, 2009", reveals that Howard Ahmanson "has abandoned the GOP for the Democratic Party". Link

    This will take any number of folks, 'self included, by complete surprise - Parker notes ""What!!!!!" is typical of the response I've gotten as I've sought reactions."

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  55. The Democrats are the party in power - corrupt from the inside.

    Ahmanson is simply not one of those people to whom I will ever be likely to attribute decent motives.

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