Winning In Virginia, Losing In New York and California – Battles For Property; Battles for the Soul

I’ve read articles from both sides of the aisle over property belonging to churches that have left the Episcopal Church. TEC continues to operate on the idea that people will stay in TEC simply because of buildings. Bishop Bruno of Los Angeles stated he was going to invite St. James Newport Beach back to the fold. It is as if the institutionalists just don’t get it…at all. The property would be nice to have, but it is not essential to mission and ministry. There are times when I’d like to take a flame thrower to every piece of Episcopal Church property in the United States (or maybe sell it all and give the money to the poor). Perhaps then the battle would become for the soul, rather than property. That is a battle worth fighting.

Look for our glorious Presiding Bishop to ride into Fort Worth on a white horse in the short term to build a rump Diocese. Good sources tell me this will happen sooner rather than later. I also think the Communion Partner bishops might have something to say about this and some other things in the short term.

The +ABC has lost his two clerical right hand men – Canon Cameron will now be a bishop in Wales, and Andrew Norman is now teaching somewhere. I can’t help but think this will mean a change in dynamic at the Communion level. Heck, the mere fact that someone else will be doing Cameron’s duties, well, doesn’t mean it will get better, but it will be different.

We are getting some rumblings here in Western Louisiana of parishes discerning whether to stay or go. This year will be challenging, and GC2009 will be a worse train wreck that 2006. We are already plotting some badges and other accouterments that will say “This is not the Church, this is General Convention” for possible sale and use during GC2009. What will be truly horrible is the aftermath. Things are ugly now, but they will get uglier.

I hate to say it, but since I’ve made partner, I’m likely to focus more on the law practice than the Anglican world. I think it is healthy to focus on what is working in your life and only doing what is necessary to taking care of what doesn’t.

8 Responses to “Winning In Virginia, Losing In New York and California – Battles For Property; Battles for the Soul”

  1. 1 Alice C. Linsley January 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    A good insight, Brad. Focus on what is working! Look at the big picture. God will use you in your practice of Law.

  2. 2 Bob Maxwell+ January 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    The title of a thread I saw somewhere: You keep the house, we’ll take the kids. That’s the worse that happen and as a father that ended up with sole custody of all three of mine, the results are beyond compare!

  3. 3 Deb Milner January 13, 2009 at 3:36 am

    Our church was fortunate to be able to retain use of the building (note, the building is NOT the church, it is a place for the church to meet in fellowship) for two years after we notified the Bishop we were leaving.

    We said we would leave when asked, and for two years we did not hear a word from the Diocese, then suddenly at the start of Advent, recevied a visit from a representative that we could have our service the following morning, but to vacate immediately after the service was completed. Given that every other congregation in our diocese was given a year minimum and in some cases two, we felt this was a bit…abrupt. We stayed through Christmas, but left at the first of the year.

    We were a small congregation, and of our regular attendees, all but one left ompletely, the other person splits her Sundays between our church family and the newly reformed TEC mission.

    What saddens me most is that for those of us who left, at least those that I know, we left because we simply could not, in good conscience, stay in the TEC. The fundamental theological differences were too great. For some of our members, this was a very painful decision, as in some cases, their ties to the Episcopal church went back generations. We chose to walk apart, but in doing so, we lost many “friends” from the diocese who stayed. People we have known and have been to Cursillo and who worked Kairos with for years, have suddenly given us the “cold shoulder”, who when they speak to us at all, do so in a rather ugly fashion. It is as if some of our old friends believe that because we left, we have somehow caused them harm and they will not longer associate with us on any civil level.

    They don’t get it. I don’t have a problem with them, my problem is with the spiritual authority of the TEC. I cannot deny my faith and belief in the authority in Scripture as the inspired Word of God. It is a theological difference with TEC that has caused me to leave. That we choose to worship with others of like mind, who also believe that Sriptural authority is not dependant on current social practices and opinion, should not make us targets. We would have left anyway.

  4. 4 Tregonsee January 13, 2009 at 3:39 pm


    Those who react badly to someone who has departed are _usually_ those who for whatever reason believe that TEC is largely as it once was, and that all would be fine if only people like us would stop making trouble. In short, we are being disloyal and ungrateful. Others are aware of the real issues, but see us as a rebuke to their inaction. And to be honest, some of those who left have not been gracious in that departure.

    As a pragmatic example, my final TEC parish had been growing steadily, and completed a major expansion. My financial contribution would accurately be called significant, and I made the last contribution, on schedule, 2 months after I left worship there. However, and this is before the recent economic turmoil, there were enough departures that they had to do a second building fund, and things are looking grim.

    The senior warden, who always took the attitude that we were above all this, still will not talk with me when I encounter him, as I am regarded as a trouble maker. By comparison, when I see my former priest, he is always glad to see me, asks about my new church, and is delighted that I have found a spot within Anglicanism for spiritual sustenance and growth.


  5. 5 kmfrye January 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Sister Deb, I can understand your plight. We left our Conservative, ACN parish (which has adopted the “Inside Strategy”) for the REC, and have noticed fellowship growing colder each time we visit – and we even brought cake! 😉

    No grand exit, we just gradually found ourselves going to our new non-TEC parish more and more.

    I think that Tregonsee has the right of it – ACNA makes some conservative laity and clergy uncomfortable, because they are still yoked to the unbelieving national church.

  6. 6 G. I. Joe January 18, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Hey Deb: “I say a little prayer for you.”

    It is coming up very quickly for us as well, and I know the loss in friendship and community will be awful.

    Jesus had this kind of loss in mind when he prepared his followers for the kind of ostracism they would experience in the earliest days of the church — as the “Good News” Jews had to face the ire of their brothers and sisters in Jewish communities all over the Roman world for following the messiah.

    “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39

    And again, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25.

  7. 7 teddymak January 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

    A reminder to all: We did NOT loose in California. St. James has gone back to the Supreme Court for a clarification, and in any event there will be a trial of the facts, and appeals, and then we will see who wins and looses. Ungnash your teeth boys and girls, mend the sackcloth, put away the ashes. The Game is still on.

    I am betting on the good guys, and so are a lot of legal experts. JJ Bruno still hasn’t gotten away with Grand Theft One. What a pompous Jerk. That is not an editorial comment, it is a statement of fact.

  1. 1 A Response To Deb Milner - Why Folks Who Stay In TEC Feel Hurt By Those Who Leave « Drell’s Descants Trackback on January 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm

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