Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Good Shepherd and the Diocese of Central New York: An ominous sign (from the rector’s journal), 2007

From Stand Firm, more on the history of Matt Kennedy+ and his dealings with the bishop of Central New York [boldface mine]:

. . . The Diocese of Central New York had more pressing concerns than the status of Good Shepherd. The wheels were starting to come off of the diocese's contrived, trumped up, and ultimately failed case against Fr. Bollinger, former Rector of St. Paul's, Owego who had openly questioned the dioceses' failure to pursue accusations of sexual abuse against one of his predecessors. The lawsuit against St. Andrew's Syracuse had not gone well and the bishop was beginning to feel the heat for his legal adventurism.

It was not until July 2007 that I finally spoke with Bishop Adams personally by telephone. The conversation, however, was very productive. We discussed the steps Good Shepherd and the diocese might take together to best facilitate our departure and the bishop reiterated his desire to avoid litigation and his belief that it would be possible for us to retain our property. It was in that context that he asked that I write the following letter to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central New York, formally appraising them of the situation at Good Shepherd, our intent, and the discussions the bishop and the vestry had had up to that point. . .

I did not hear from the bishop again until the day we met for lunch during the House of Bishop's meeting in New Orleans in the latter half of September. It was a very important meeting and I came away feeling quite confident about the possibility of reaching a solution. On September 27th, I sent the following report to my vestry via email from New Orleans:
Dear Vestry,

I had an opportunity to speak to the bishop while down in New Orleans. We had a good conversation. He acknowledged that the national church was actively discouraging the sort of deals that we want to work out, but said that the national church was not going to force his hand, especially if the deal that we work out is quiet and there is little publicity.

I asked whether our departure would trigger a lawsuit. He said no. He said that the difference between us and the other churches was that we have not acted without consulting him. We have not embarrassed him or the diocese. We have, he said, a relationship of trust. I agree and as much as it depends on us, we should do everything to maintain that. . .

Read it all. And check out Matt's earlier posts:

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