Friday, January 19, 2007

Truro-Falls Church press release

Quote (pdf):
Two leaders of the Anglican District of Virginia today urged the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, to cease both his divisive rhetoric and his march toward the courthouse and instead return to the negotiating table.
"It is still not too late for Bishop Lee and the leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to stand down from making any more threats against faithful Christians who followed the Diocese of Virginia's protocol for departing congregations, and instead to return to the negotiating table," said Tom Wilson, Senior Warden of The Falls Church and Chairman of the Anglican District. "I still have hope, even now, that we can sit down and reason together."
"I am sorry that Bishop Lee seems to have forgotten the conclusions reached by his own Diocesan Reconciliation Commission as well as his own personally-appointed Special Committee led by the diocesan chancellor," said Jim Oakes, Senior Warden of Truro Church and a member of the governing board of the Anglican District. Oakes noted that the Truro vestry had just met last week at the request of the Diocese to appoint its representatives to negotiate with the Diocese and gather information requested by the Diocese. Before the representatives could begin negotiations, the Diocese abruptly reversed its course and terminated negotiations
Both the reports from the Diocesan Reconciliation Commission as well as the Bishop's Special Committee are still available for download from the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and have not yet been taken down. "I see that as a sign that as long as the reports are still available to the public there is hope for an amicable settlement," said Oakes. "The facts and our history speak for themselves."
See also the take of Babyblue. It's not so amicable. It's ugly. What we have is good cop, bad cop.

There's something paranoid in the phrase "as long as the reports are still available to the public." The Diocese is hardly so powerful that it can overcome the power of the internet. No one is seeking to "pretend they never existed" (to quote Babyblue). And "march to the courthouse?" Declaring the properties abandoned is a necessary prelude to negotiation given the steps the departing churches have taken to claim possession. Quoting today's WaPo:
In a letter Tuesday, attorneys for the breakaway churches warned diocese officials that they would be exposed to "substantial legal risk -- including liability for trespass and unlawful entry" -- if they attempted to take possession of the property. The diocese declared the churches "abandoned" Thursday and said it would pursue the return of the property.
A final note: Read the whole WaPo article. It appears that someone who disagrees with the breakaway churches has vandalized them. That's ugly and self defeating.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi John,

I enjoy reading your posts.

I still have hope - I just don't understand why the protocol got shelved after all the work that Bishop Lee and Russ Palmore and John Yates and Hugo Blankingship and Caroline Parkinson (up for bishop) and Andrew Merrow put into it. Now we have these statements from the new Presiding Bishop (which contradict what the former Presiding Bishop said about the autonomy of dioceses in these matters). Well, as Bob Dylan said, "Things Have Changed." What I'd like to know is "what happened" that caused Bishop Lee, of all people, to cast it aside (and the Reconciliation Report, which was chaired by Merrow) and its findings as well.

By the way, it's not easy to find the Protocol - you have to know there was a press release about it in order to get what looks like a hastily made pdf. There is no obvious link to it (like there is, sort of, for the Reconciliation Report). I think in the newspaper business its called "buried." Do you think that's not true?

Just want you to know that I do enjoy reading your blog - I assume you are in Orkney Springs since you have the clock up. You are so blessed to be there.