an information resource
for orthodox Anglicans

The Bishops Have Spoken

January 29th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, TEC Comments Off

From Canon Phil Ashey, AAC

[...]  Does this mean that there won’t be any blessings of gay couples in the Church of England? Does this represent the bishops decisively rejecting these unbiblical innovations (pending facilitated conversations)? In all likelihood, no. I’m reminded of the saying, “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Remember, the leadership of The Episcopal Church here in North America made exactly the same commitment with regards to the “official” teaching on marriage while at the same time permitting such blessings to take place–unofficially–in increasing numbers until there was no turning back. Traditional bishops in the Church of England ought to consider this and ask themselves: is there any reason whatsoever that the same will not happen in the Church of England?
 
Along with this, orthodox bishops should consider the well-trod path of facilitated conversations:
 
[...]  For over 10 years, such “conversations” within the Instruments of Communion have simply enabled TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada to project false teaching and confusion across the Communion without any consequences. And now, I am sad to say, it appears that the bishops of the Church of England propose to follow the example set by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Culture changes. God’s word never changes. Cultures and contexts can and do err. God’s word does not. It is a tragedy that TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada have decided to “indaba” themselves to death rather than speak prophetically and lovingly to Western culture with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. It is an even greater tragedy that the bishops of the Church of England should now propose to join them in projecting confusion and error through “facilitated conversations” across the Anglican Communion.

 
Read here
 

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How to spend $30 million (Episcopal) dollars

January 22nd, 2014 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

By David Virtue, VOL

How to spend $30 million dollars:

1. Educate 100 seminary students (average 3-year cost $45,000) for $4,500,000.

2. Plant and build 2,000 churches in Africa for about $6,000 a church. Total cost $12 million.

3. 24,000 children die of hunger each day in the world. An estimated 3.1 million children die every year due to hunger and lack of nutritious food. A single meal costs .22 cents to produce. $2 million would produce 9 million meals and feed more than 3 million children. An estimated 850 million children in the world do not have enough food to eat or do not get a nutritious meal every day.

4. $50 can provide a nutritious meal for a child for a year. $5 million would feed 100,000 children for one year.

5. $200 can provide an education for a child including provision of buildings and teachers' salaries etc. for a year. For $5 million you can equip 25,000 children.

6. WFP, the world's largest humanitarian agency, says that it costs 25 cents (US) to fill a cup with porridge, rice or beans and give girls a monthly ration. $1.50 the price of a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts (but not Starbucks) is enough to feed a child through school for one week. For $1.5 million dollars you could feed 1 million children for one week. One development agency leader told VOL there are still lots of hurting people and the numbers keep growing.

7. In one fell swoop you could rebuild the Episcopal cathedral in Haiti and every Episcopal parish that was destroyed by the earthquake in that country.

TOTAL COST $30 MILLION

OR you could spend $30 million Episcopal dollars on law firms like David Booth Beers to endlessly litigate against orthodox Anglicans who only want to proclaim the gospel and to keep properties they bought and paid for. The Dennis Canon might well be the most expensively litigated church law in the history of the world.

The figure of $30 million is a conservative figure. It does not include ongoing litigation, nor the millions of dollars the other side has spent defending church properties. One canon lawyer estimates that the true figure could be well over $60 million, in which case the figures above could and should be doubled.

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BREAKING: Welby names Tory Baucum as “Canterbury Preacher”

January 16th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, TEC Comments Off

by David Ould, Stand Firm

This from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s site
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, is delighted to announce the appointment of the Revd Dr Tory Baucum, Rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral.

Dr Baucum will be installed as one of the Six Preachers during Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral on 14 March. The Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral unanimously approved the nomination of Dr Baucum shortly before Christmas.

The College of Six Preachers was created by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1541, forming part of his plans for a new foundation to replace the dissolved Priory. Canterbury was unique in this; no other cathedral had a group of preaching priests and was a reflection of Cranmer’s determination to give greater prominence to preaching. Today, the Six Preachers are called to preach on various occasions at Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion. The preachers serve five-year terms, which can be renewed.

While Dr Baucum has extensive experience of preaching, evangelism and peace-making, his appointment is also recognition of his commitment to reconciliation, which is one of Archbishop Justin’s ministry priorities. Truro Church seceded from the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in 2006 and subsequently became part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

When Dr Baucum became Rector in 2007, the church and the diocese were involved in litigation over property rights. Dr Baucum, a priest in ACNA, developed a close friendship with Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Shannon Johnston, and a settlement was subsequently reached.

Readers of Stand Firm will be very familiar with that “settlement”. It included Baucum referring to Johnston as a brother and promoting his ministry in the Church of England. All of this despite the fact that Johnston remained utterly commited to the same heresies which caused Truro to choose to split from TEC. This basic issue remains unaddressed. “Reconciliation”, without any repentance at all on the part of Johnston.
 
Read here
 
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2014: Seizing the Moment. How Episcopalians and Anglicans Will Fare

January 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, TEC Comments Off

By David Virtue, Virtueonline

The year past ended with one of the worst and most litigious years in the history of the Episcopal Church. At a time when congregations are shrinking and closing, millions of dollars are being spent on lawyers to take back church buildings that will inevitably be sold off to other (evangelical) church groups, to Muslims…anybody except to orthodox Anglican churches that could keep them open as places of Anglican worship.

The Episcopal Church is now more dysfunctional than ever and more and more people, especially Millenials, are simply not interested in The Episcopal Church and its constant rants about the need to accept pansexuality as a prevailing cultural issue. Talk of inclusion and diversity has not stirred them to suddenly fill Episcopal churches. Pews are emptying and will continue to empty with no salvific message of redemption and hope being heard from pulpits.

Endless preoccupation with social and "justice" issues, whether it is about the Middle East or women's rights to abortion, or gay marriage, will not and is not, making churches grow. People are spiritually starving and hurting. There is more pain out there than ever before. Suicides are up, divorce is still rampant and perhaps the biggest single unaddressed issue in America today is loneliness. Millenials are not committing themselves to much of anything and, apart from occasionally "hooking up", they are not committed to life-long marriage. I recently heard a wedding vow in which both partners said "till love do us part" not death.

A whole generation has given up on the church. Millenials don't care. Once upon a time, they would have looked to the Church for aid and comfort. No more. Nowadays, people turn to therapists and psychologists of one stripe or another for help along with self-help gurus, professional advisors, and financial advisors. No one really believes a clergy person has the answers they need for the angst in their souls. Gnosticism, agnosticism, atheism, skepticism and naturalism rule the day.

In my own view, the main cause of spiritual dysfunction in the church is now the almost complete focus on the church as little more than a community for outreach on a variety of social issues. Secondly, there is a complete loss of nerve in proclaiming the exclusive claims of Christ to a nation in urgent need of hearing them. Furthermore, one rarely hears any talk of sin, except perhaps in corporate terms; hence there is no need for salvation. Inclusion and diversity is the hallmark of most churches with a nod to the creeds and sacraments. Today you are more likely to hear talk of Interfaith Alliances and going along to get along. No one is willing to stand up and say "this is the Word of the Lord" — it stands over all time, space and history.

Read here


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Tidings of discomfort and joy

December 17th, 2013 Jill Posted in News, TEC Comments Off

By Jamie Dean, World Magazine

In breaking with The Episcopal Church, many Anglican congregations have lost beautiful buildings but gained something greater

CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK, and CALIFORNIA—A scorched earth policy. That’s how Anglicans who have left The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its endorsement of unbiblical beliefs and actions often describe TEC’s response. From depressed Binghamton, N.Y., to affluent Newport Beach, Calif., TEC leaders have fought dozens of court battles to force congregations leaving the denomination to forfeit the buildings they, their parents, and their grandparents paid for.

Here’s one example: Church of the Good Shepherd stood for nearly 130 years on a main road through Binghamton, a former manufacturing hub that now has a high unemployment rate. Members were long concerned about theological drift, and the consecration of a homosexual bishop in 2003 by TEC’s General Convention was the last straw.

Binghamton rector Matt Kennedy began a conversation with the bishop of central New York, telling him the church would likely leave TEC to seek oversight of an Anglican bishop in another province. Kennedy says the initial meetings were productive, and the congregation offered to buy its building from the diocese for $150,000—but TEC hierarchs rejected the offer. After the congregation disaffiliated from TEC in 2007, the diocese filed suit for the building. Kennedy says the congregation considered walking away, but would have had no resources to continue. Plus, the rector said: “We thought it would be good for outsiders to see that those who claim to be about tolerance and inclusivity really aren’t about those things. It’s really more a kind of tyranny.” In 2009, though, a judge ruled against the congregation, which had to leave immediately.

Kennedy remembers “one of our more stoic men standing in front of a plaque bearing his father’s name, tracing the inscription with his finger.” The plaque would have to stay. In 2010 the diocese sold the church to local Muslims for $50,000, according to Virtue Online, three times less than what the departing Christians had offered. The Muslims used a crane to remove the cross. A sign on the building now reads, “Islamic Awareness Center.”

Read here

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Episcopal Church down 24% in ten years

November 7th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

By George Conger, Anglican Ink

Baptized membership in the Episcopal Church of the USA declined by 29,679 in 2012 to 2,066,710, the Episcopal Church reported on 31 October 2013.

Statistics released by national church showed Average Sunday Attendance declined steadily across he church as well 2.6 per cent in 2012, with 679,923 Episcopalians in church on Sundays.

Growth in baptized membership was seen in 33 domestic dioceses: Alaska; Arkansas; Atlanta; California; Central Florida; Chicago; Colorado; East Tennessee; El Camino Real; Florida; Fond du Lac; Hawaii; Idaho; Iowa; Kansas; Maryland; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Navajoland; North Carolina; North Dakota; Northern California; Oklahoma; Pittsburgh; San Joaquin; Tennessee; Texas; Upper South Carolina; Washington; West Tennessee; Western Massachusetts; Western New York.

However, Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) grew in only twelve domestic dioceses: Alaska, Arkansas, Chicago, Fond du Lac, Nevada, Northern California , Northern Indiana, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rio Grande, San Joaquin and Tennessee.

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After Quincy: Rethinking The Purpose Of Our Common Life

October 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

The Revd Ephraim Radnerby Ephraim Radner

The recent decision in Illinois upholding the property rights of dioceses who withdraw from General Convention may not stand up on appeal. But the opinion’s reasoning, by Judge Thomas Ortbal, was perhaps the most careful and thorough on record in such cases, and will likely have to be taken into account in all future judgments. In any case, the decision offers a chance for sober consideration of our church’s mission and its relation to ecclesiastical structure.

I am someone who once assumed that TEC was a single entity, and that dioceses were an integral part of this entity, gears in a larger machine. The notion of a diocese “leaving” TEC never crossed my mind, and in fact seemed simply antithetical to the meaning of “Church”. I still think this, deep down, and much of my academic writing on the Church has been devoted to trying to understand how Christian unity properly founds the very nature of our Christian faithfulness, as it is engaged by God’s gracious gift of Himself to our rebellious hearts and hands: God for the godless.

Nonetheless, this past year I found myself on the side of supporting just those arguments that Judge Ortbal made upholding the Diocese of Quincy’s departure from TEC. I did so for two reasons.

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GAFCON II: What has changed?

October 23rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, TEC Comments Off

by Mary Ann Mueller, Virtueonline

Much has changed since the original Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) met in Jerusalem in early summer of 2008. Yet much stays the same. In June 2008, when nearly 1200 Anglicans gathered in the Holy Land in the shadow and memory of Christ's earthly life, the Anglican Communion had been thrown into disarray as an opening and practicing homosexual, Vicky Gene Robinson had been elevated to the episcopate firmly clutching the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire's crozier. Katharine Jefferts Schori, too, had burst through the stained glass ceiling to become the first female primate in Anglicanism. Both events shook the Anglican Communion to its very core. The very fabric of Anglicanism had been torn – rent asunder – and the healing of Anglicanism continues to slip through fingers like water and sand.

Now as GAFCON II opens in Nairobi, Kenya, Bishop Robinson has retired as a sitting Episcopal bishop. He has moved to Washington, DC to become the Bishop-in-Residence at St. Thomas on DuPont Circle, apparently leaving his "partner" behind in New Hampshire. The outspoken bishop continues to globe trot with his LGBT message. On Oct. 17 he tweeted, "In London. Breakfast with new Archbishop of Canterbury this morning at Lambeth Palace, and Morning Prayer in 13th c. chapel." Lambeth Palace has refused to comment. "The meeting to which you refer was a private meeting and therefore we can't offer any comment," Jan McFarlane the Acting Press Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury replied to VOL's inquiry.

Three days later, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made an 8,000 mile flying trip to Africa – while on his way to a Porvoo Communion Primates' Meeting in Iceland – to schmooze with the gathering GAFCON bishops and provide for some photo ops while quickly preaching at All Saints Cathedral's 9:30 and 11:30 Sunday morning services. The new Archbishop of Canterbury was all smiles when he posed with American Archbishop Robert Duncan, who has been summarily marginalized by the Anglican powers that be in the western hemisphere.

Meanwhile Katharine Jefferts Schori's ecclesial reign of terror, which has seen Mitregate, Bishopsgate, UTOgate and the disposing of at least 700 Episcopal clergy, is drawing to a close. The Episcopal Church is slated to elect a new presiding bishop at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since the first GAFCON meeting many global south Anglican primates have refused to sit at table with her, break bread with her, or even communicate with her. Anglican bishops and primates alike have been no shows to major Anglican Communion events such as Lambeth Conference, the Primates' Meeting, or the Anglican Consultative Council confabs because the Episcopal Presiding Bishop was scheduled to participate.

Since the first GAFCON, gathering four more Episcopal dioceses have realigned and left The Episcopal Church for greener spiritual pastures including the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and South Carolina. The Diocese of San Joaquin realigned before GAFCON I took place – a foretaste of things to come.

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Episcopal Church suffers huge losses in domestic membership and attendance numbers

October 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

by Mary Ann Mueller, Virtueonline

The Episcopal Church's downward spiral in membership numbers continues as preliminary 2012 domestic bar graphs were released last week. The graphs reveal a drop of 4.15% in baptized membership and a staggering 4.9% drop in average Sunday attendance (ASA). Final numbers will not be known until the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), AKA The Missionary Society, releases its actual numeric figures.

The 2011 Domestic Fast Fact figures show that in recent years (2007-2011) the domestic baptized membership fell 193,703 souls. Another 79,746 souls can be added to that slide bringing the baptized membership of the 2012 domestic portion of The Episcopal Church down to approximately 1,843,300 or a 13% drop from the 2007 figure of 2,116,749 domestic Episcopalians.

As far as average Sunday attendance figures go, TEC's 2011 minuscule uptick of 56 Sunday worshippers was totally wiped out in 2012 by a resounding 32,225 drop in Sunday attendance resulting in an approximate total 625,662 ASA. Since 2007, the ASA has fallen by 14% from 727,822 Sunday worshippers resulting in a loss of 102,160 people in the pews.

Read here

 

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Judgment in Quincy; Chicago Denied Substitution, $1.1 Million Released

October 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

By A S Haley, Stand Firm

On October 9, 2013, Judge Thomas H. Ortbal of the Adams County Circuit Court entered a final judgment against ECUSA and its (no-longer-existent) “Diocese of Quincy”. The judgment decrees and declares that the Anglican Diocese of Quincy is the sole owner of its real and personal property, including approximately $4 million in its bank accounts that has been frozen ever since ECUSA first wrote a letter to its bank in January 2009.

In order to keep the funds frozen, ECUSA had filed a motion to stay enforcement of the judgment pending its appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. It also filed a motion to substitute, in place of its former “Diocese of Quincy”, the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, into which the former Diocese of Quincy merged ecclesiastically effective September 1.

In a separate order, also entered October 9, Judge Ortbal denied on technical grounds the motion to substitute in the Diocese of Chicago, and stayed the main judgment as to all but the real property and $1.1 million of the funds on deposit. He did not require any bond from either side.

The judgment as entered makes several key findings of fact:

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An aging maverick, Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong has no regrets

October 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Revisionism, TEC Comments Off

By David Gibson, RNS

At 82, retired and enjoying life, Bishop John Shelby Spong doesn’t have to be the liberal enfant terrible whose pronouncements for gay rights and against traditional dogmas once scandalized Christendom.
 
Indeed, many of the views that once turned the former Episcopal bishop of Newark into a lightning rod are now regarded as so matter-of-fact that they barely occasion much notice: ordaining gay clergy and blessing same-sex marriages, for example, or having a female presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman elected to lead a national church in the Anglican Communion.

“I can remember when getting a woman as a rector was the hardest thing you ever did,” Spong said with a gratified smile as he relaxed on a sofa in the suburban New Jersey home he shares with his wife, Christine. (“I was told to put a collar on. I haven’t worn one in a long time.”)

On a range of issues, Spong can point to advancements that he helped push during a long and remarkable career – 20 years as a priest in North Carolina and Virginia and 24 years as a bishop in Newark. During that time, he became an unabashed provocateur in the fierce debates over sexuality that split many churches, including his own, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Through it all, Spong never retreated an inch. By the time he retired in 2000, his own diocese had 35 openly gay and lesbian clergy, and he also helped promote a new generation of church leaders who can carry his progressive torch: 11 clerics from his tenure are now bishops, more than from any other diocese, he says.

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Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop announces Archbishop of Canterbury’s planned visit

September 29th, 2013 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, TEC Comments Off

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriFrom the Episcopal Church website

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced to the House of Bishops that the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will be visiting The Episcopal Church in April 2014 for personal visit with her.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has contacted me and we are planning a private discussion next April,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori told the House of Bishops currently conducting its fall meeting in Nashville, TN (Diocese of TN).

Archbishop Welby plans a personal visit to the Presiding Bishop in 2014 to provide an opportunity for informal conversation. This planned visit is part of his effort to visit all the Primates of the Anglican Communion during the first eighteen months of his ministry.

Current plans call for the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop to meet in Oklahoma City, OK (Diocese of Oklahoma).

Read here


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Anglican Unscripted Quincy Special

September 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

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The Importance of the Quincy Decision

September 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

Quincy Bishop Keith AckermanBy A S Haley, Stand Firm

Just how important is the ruling handed down yesterday in the Diocese of Quincy litigation? As a precedent binding on other courts—both in Illinois and other states—it is of little significance, because it is the opinion of a trial court, and therefore binding only on the parties to it.
 
But as a roadmap for other judges—both trial and appellate judges—the decision is of enormous importance. The reason is that most judges have very little time to devote to any one case. (Appellate judges by design have more time, but even they, it has been estimated, spend at most about four hours, on average, in considering any one case.)
 
In this instance, Judge Ortbal of the Adams County Circuit Court spent literally hundreds of hours presiding over pretrial proceedings and the trial itself, together with another hundred or more hours going patiently through the mountain of exhibits introduced at trial and the post-trial briefs of the various parties. Indeed, it is probably accurate to say that at this point, the Hon. Thomas J. Ortbal is the most knowledgeable judge in the entire United States on the history and polity of the Episcopal Church (USA).
 
His 21-page Findings, Opinion and Order reflect that fact. After hearing days of opinion testimony from various church expert witnesses, Judge Ortbal faced at the outset a crucial question: given that he had determined at an earlier stage in the case that the courts of Illinois applied neutral principles of law in resolving disputes over church property, just how much “deference” was the court required to show to ECUSA, as a putatively “hierarchical” church? The first three-and-a-half pages of his decision are devoted to drawing out, from earlier U.S. Supreme Court and Illinois opinions in church property cases, the guiding rules for resolving just that question.
 
Read here
 
 
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TEC loses battle for Quincy

September 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

Bishop Keith AckermanBy George Conger, Anglican Ink

An Illinois circuit court has rejected the national Episcopal Church’s claim that it is a “hierarchical church” under law, handing down a ruling that supports the Diocese of Quincy’s secession from the national church.

Details of the court's ruling have yet to be analyzed by Anglican Ink, but the Illinois ruling appears to have rejected the legal arguments brought by the national Episcopal Church in its litigation with departing dioceses and congregations — upholding the neutral principles of law doctrine over deference to the denominational polity of the church.

The suit came On 7 Nov 2008 delegates to the diocesan synod meeting at St John’s Church in Quincy, Illinois, approved the second and final reading of a constitutional amendment withdrawing from the Episcopal Church. The vote was 41-14 in the clergy order and 54-12 by the laity. A second resolution affiliating the diocese with the Southern Cone pending the creation of a Third Province in North America was approved 46-4 in the clergy order and 55-8 in the lay order.

Attorneys for the national church in January 2009 wrote to the bank that manages the diocese’s endowment funds, stating that the breakaway diocese no longer had a claim on the funds and that its officers should not be permitted to disperse the funds. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote the members of the Standing Committee in February informing them that she no longer “recognized” them as officers of the diocese.

The diocese responded by filing suit in March against the national church, seeking a declaratory judgment that it had the legal right to the name and assets of the diocese. The national church filed a counter claim against the officers of the diocese – which was without a bishop following the retirement of the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman – and sought a summary judgment against the diocese and its leaders. It argued that a rump group within the diocese that remained loyal to the national church was the true diocese, and the court should give precedence to the denomination’s leadership in resolving the dispute.

Read here

Read also:  Decision in Quincy: ECUSA Has No Rule Keeping Dioceses from Leaving by A S Haley, Stand Firm

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Bishop Iker and Church of the Good Shepherd Win in Texas

August 30th, 2013 Jill Posted in ECUSA, TEC Comments Off

Bishop Jack IkerBy Allan Haley, Anglican Ink

Today the Texas Supreme Court handed down decisions in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. In the first case, the Court sided with Bishop Iker's Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker's Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a "neutral principles of law" analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court's judgment in the case.

In the second case, the Court by a vote of 7-2 reversed the Court of Appeals' decision requiring the Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo to turn over its building and all other assets to the Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court definitively ruled that all Texas courts must follow "neutral principles of law" (rather than deferring to an ecclesiastical hierarchy), and that based on such an analysis, the Dennis Canon was not effective under Texas law (or that if it were effective to create a trust, the trust was not expressly irrevocable, and so could be revoked by the parish in question).

The two decisions establish "neutral principles of law" as the governing approach to church property disputes in Texas courts. (The Texas Supreme Court had last addressed the issue in 1909, seven decades before the U.S. Supreme Court authorized "neutral principles" in Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595 (1979).) And under that approach, as we have seen happen time and again more recently, courts are coming to realize that ECUSA's case has no neutral principles going for it.

ECUSA loses under a true "neutral principles" approach because it ignores the Statute of Frauds in its Dennis Canon, and proclaims a trust on other peoples' property of which it makes itself the beneficiary. And in the Diocese cases, where ECUSA does not even have the Dennis Canon available to it, it simply waves its hands and claims to have made an "ecclesiastical determination" that its Dioceses cannot withdraw from the denomination unilaterally, and that even if they could, the Diocese impliedly agreed to hold all of its property in trust for the denomination, and so must relinquish control of that property upon leaving.

Read here

Pastoral letter from Bishop Iker here

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Federal Judge Dismisses Case Against Bishop Mark Lawrence

August 25th, 2013 Jill Posted in News, South Carolina, TEC Comments Off

From the Diocese of South Carolina

U.S. District Court Judge Weston C. Houck today dismissed a federal trademark lawsuit filed by Episcopal Church Bishop Charles vonRosenberg against Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina Mark Lawrence.

The decision acknowledges the authority of the Circuit Court of South Carolina to decide the rightful owner of the names, symbols and property of the Diocese of South Carolina.

“The sum of all disputes and conflicts arising in the wake of the Diocese’s estrangement from [the Episcopal Church] are more appropriately before, and will more comprehensively be resolved, in South Carolina state court,” stated Judge Houck in the order dismissing Bishop vonRosenberg’s lawsuit and denying his motion for an injunction to prohibit Bishop Lawrence from acting as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In January, the Diocese and several of its parishes filed a lawsuit asking the state court to issue a declaratory judgment against The Episcopal Church (TEC) to protect the Diocese’s real, personal and intellectual property and that of its parishes.

The Diocese filed the lawsuit after it dissociated from the Episcopal Church when the denomination attempted to remove Bishop Mark Lawrence. Following the Diocese’s decision, 49 churches representing 80 percent of the Diocese’s 30,000 members confirmed their desire to remain with the Diocese of South Carolina, disassociating from the Episcopal Church.

Read here

Canon Lawyer Allan S Haley analyses the decision here

 

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A befuddled “non-theistic” new dean for Washington’s National Cathedral.

August 12th, 2013 Jill Posted in TEC Comments Off

By Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

Liberal Episcopal Church elites often seem determined to fulfill caricatures of themselves. The Very Rev. Gary Hall, new dean of Washington’s prominent National Cathedral, does so fulsomely, gregariously, wonderfully in a recent Washington Post profile by Sally Quinn. They met in his favorite French restaurant near the magnificent Gothic edifice, which hosts so many solemn pageants of American civil religion.
 
Hall has made a splash in town by focusing on gun control and same sex marriage. He hosted a press conference soon after last year’s tragic school shootings in Connecticut. And he’s opened the cathedral for homosexual nuptials. Liberal Episcopalianism strongly emphasizes sexual liberation, and for Hall that liberation includes heterosexuals too.
 
“We have this cartoon in America where you grow up, get married and stay the same person,” Hall told Quinn. “For the church to say, ‘No sex before marriage,’ is not realistic,” claiming he has wed over 500 couples, only about five of whom were not already cohabiting, statistics exponentially beyond the national average. He wants the church to model “how to live a life of faithfulness and integrity” while evidently embracing the new permissiveness.
 
It’s all about moving with the times.
 
Read here
 
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Episcopal Task Force on the Study of Marriage reports on initial meeting

August 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Marriage, TEC Comments Off

From ENS (Hat Tip: Barbara Gauthier)

The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage has issued the following report.

At the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012, Resolution A050 called for a Task Force on the Study of Marriage to be appointed by the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings to study and consult broadly on the subject of marriage. They were asked to explore historical, biblical, theological, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage, and to do so in consideration of the “changing societal and cultural norms and legal structures” of our time.
Resolution A050-2012 further asked for the following outcomes:
  • tools for theological reflection and discussion at the local level;
  • a way of addressing “the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same-sex couple in states that authorize such”; and
  • a report on its progress to the 78th General Convention in 2015.
The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, Task Force Chair from the Diocese of Rio Grande, noted following the group’s first gathering, “This remarkable and diverse group of clergy, bishops, and laity appreciate the enormity of the task before us, and the importance of doing so at this time. We are honored to have been appointed, enthused about doing the work, and confident that with the Spirit’s guidance, we will produce something of value for our Church.”
 
Read here
 
Read also:  Jackie Bruchi at Stand Firm (along with some contributors to the blog) analyses the membership of this Task Force, and the conclusion is:  'So are there any conservatives who are likely to support the traditional Christian view of marriage on the task force? Little information is available on the last two clergy in the list; but, from what we can tell, the task force looks to be heavily stacked with those likely to support non-traditional views of marriage. And that is the problem with the Episcopal Church: the inmates are now running the asylum, and conservative Christians are nowhere to be found.'
 
 
 
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The ‘men without chests’

August 2nd, 2013 Jill Posted in Feminism, TEC Comments Off

By David Virtue, Virtueonline

For some months now, I have cogitated over why it is that The Episcopal Church seems to draw priests who are decidedly lacking in masculinity, with more and more being older second career women, lesbians, gays and "men without chests".

My hand was tipped to this reality when Catholic writer Michael Voris analyzed the situation in the Roman Catholic Church. When asked what he thought was the central problem in Catholicism today, he replied, "The utter failure of the masculine in Church leaders – that is what is to blame for where we have now arrived.

"Fathers – spiritual fathers are almost nowhere to be found among the clergy. Many priests keep as far a distance as they can from their bishop because – well – as many have confided to us – they simply don't trust that he has their best interest at heart.

"If that doesn't speak volumes in revealing the sorry state we faithful Catholics find ourselves in – nothing does or ever could. Bishops – so many of them – are not the fathers they need to be – not only to their own priests, but also to their sheep – to those souls given to them by Christ to lead to Heaven.

"This explains virtually everything. It explains why they left heretics run wild in parishes and chanceries and universities. It explains why they are ALWAYS siding with the latest liberal political cause to come down the pike – USUALLY but not always thanks to the Democratic Party.

"It all boils down to the one issue that they love the respect of men more than they love their priests and their sheep. If they truly loved the sheep like a father – they would teach and guide and protect them, personally.

"If they loved their priests like a father, they would protect the ones who truly love Our Lord and correct the ones who need correcting.

"This is what fathers do – this is THE hallmark of masculinity – to die for those you love and protect all who need protecting no matter the cost to you."

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