Friday, April 4, 2008

BREAKING NEWS - Judge in Virginia says the Episcopal Church is out of touch with reality, allows Anglican congregations to keep their property

From the ruling:

"ECUSA/Diocese argue that the historical evidence demonstrates that it is only the "major" or "great" divisions within 19th-century churches that prompted the passage of 57-9, such as those within the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches. ECUSA/Diocese argue that the current "dispute" before this Court is not such a "great" division, and, therefore, this is yet another reason why 57-9(A) should not apply. The Court agrees that it was major divisions such as those within the Methodist and Presbyterian churches that prompted the passage of 57-9. However, it blinks at reality to characterize the ongoing division within the Diocese, ECUSA, and the Anglican Communion as anything but a division of the first magnitude, especially given the involvement of numerous churches in states across the country, the participation of hundreds of church leaders, both lay and pastoral, who have found themselves "taking sides" against their brethren, the determination by thousands of church members in Virginia and elsewhere to "walk apart" in the language of the Church, the creation of new and substantial religious entities, such as CANA, with their own structures and disciplines, the rapidity with which the ECUSA's problems became that of the Anglican Communion, and the consequent impact-in some cases the extraordinary impact-on its provinces around the world, and, perhaps most importantly, the creation of a level of distress among many church members so profound and wrenching as to lead them to cast votes in an attempt to disaffiliate from a church which has been their home and heritage throughout their lives, and often back for generations.Whatever may be the precise threshold for a dispute to constitute a division under 57-9(A), what occurred here qualifies."

I highlighted that particular phrase because the Presiding Bishop and other TEC spokespeople keep saying "All is well" and "There's just a few dissenters". The judge heard the evidence and saw the reality. Please pray that TEC leaders will have their eyes opened and return to contending for the Gospel instead of for property. The fastest way to peace and reconciliation is for TEC to embrace its own foundational values, giving Scripture first place in church teaching.


Joe said...

Fr. Tim,

We focused on the same language this morning. I have not had time to fully digest the opinion, and though it is clearly only a preliminary skirmish, I look forward to following Judge Bellows' analytical process from beginning to end.

I continue to pray for enlightenment at 815 and amongst the bishops of our church, but I am afraid that TEC will reverse course only if and when the rank and file Tim's and Joe's and Sally's in the pews wake up and demand a return to the teachings of the historic faith of our ancestors and the Apostles. But once again I am reminded that in God, all things are possible!

God's peace,


TLF+ said...

Hi, Joe -

Amen. I will be posting in the next few days on what you bring up. There are some profound questions that need to be asked - not arguments, but questions and appeals to conscience - both to the rank and file and to the reappraisers. The actions of TEC leadership are not helping any group in the church - not those who have MDGs and social issues as their main concerns; not the average person who is devoting time, talent and treasure to TEC... and certainly not any kind of glory to God.

There has to be a better way forward. May God grant TEC's leaders some insight, some peace and healing, and some willingness to find "the more excellent way."

cp said...

Why you and Joe can't understand that if you are unhappy with the growth of the Episcopal church to fully include women, GLBT folk, and others, you are welcome to leave with our blessing, but you simply can't take the silver, continues to mystify me.

Maybe it's because you refuse?

Victoria said...

Father Tim has been more then supportive to me in my call to be a priest. And I am a woman. You are making unfound accusations on an assumption.