Thursday, October 09, 2008

Shoe Thursday: Final edition

One of my first shoe postings (a year ago October) was on boots, accompanied by the Nancy Sinatra song, “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” That was a little more prescient than I knew.

So in that spirit, here are some more boots for walking:

Bally Jeleny-09
and with that, this blog is done.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and thanks especially for all of the support.

To God be the glory!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Diocese of Western New York: Another one gone

From Bishop Michael Garrison and the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, trying to put the best possible spin on the news that the rector and a large part of the congregation of St. Bartholomew's Church are leaving (but, hey, the diocese keeps the property, so "All is Well" although it seems as though Bishop Garrison is seeking an amicable parting, much to his credit) [boldface mine]:

On Tuesday, October 7, 2008, the Rt. Rev. J. Michael Garrison, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, met with the Rev. Arthur Ward, rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. During that meeting, Ward informed Bishop Garrison of his desire to disaffiliate himself from the Diocese of Western New York, and to transfer from the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church to a different Anglican entity.

He also declared that other clergy affiliated with St. Bartholomew’s and some portion of the congregation also intend to leave the Episcopal Church. Ward and others who share his convictions plan to vacate the property at Brighton and Fries Roads before the end of this year.

People may come and go, but St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Tonawanda will continue,” state Bishop Garrison. “We are ready and able to carry on with worship, pastoral care and administration. We stand ready to support and work with continuing Episcopalians who have been a part of St. Bartholomew’s, as well as those who have felt disenfranchised by the position of its leadership.

“It is my intention that Fr. Ward’s departure be handled as sensibly and amicably as possible. He has indicated to me that the time has come for him to seek to continue his priesthood in a different branch of Anglicanism. I respect his right to follow his personal conscience in this matter.”

Episcopalians from the congregation of St. Bartholomew’s who have any pastoral needs and those who wish to learn about the continuing worship schedule at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church are encouraged to contact the diocesan office. . .

H/t to the Lead.

Common Cause Partnership leaders meet this week to discuss plans for new Anglican province

From BabyBlue Online:

I've learned this afternoon that the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership is meeting this week to discuss the mission and vision of a new orthodox Anglican structure in North America. . .

Please keep these leaders in prayer as they meet at the Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Virginia.

Read it all.

Why I left ECUSA, Addendum: Roma è chiamata

Final thoughts to finish my series outlining why my family and I believe it is time for us to leave the Episcopal Church (read Part 1: A brief history, Part 2: A crack appears, Part 3: The deluge, Part 4: The end, and Part 5: A new beginning. . .)

I thought about writing a long post on how my family made the decision of which church to join, but Martial Artist beat me to it, so I thought I would post his comment, which is much better written than anything I could do.

The only difference between us is that while MA will start RCIA in November, I have already begun the classes at my local RC parish and am slowly working my way through the Catechism. (I have reformatted MA’s comment here for easier reading and have boldfaced some sentences.)

If, after going through RCIA (which I will likely enter in early November after I have returned from my present vacation and my last sea deployment of this year) I continue to hold the conclusion that my understanding of the Gospel is in full accord, or where it is not that I am prepared to assent to the teachings of the magisterium without reservation, then I will, at the Paschal Vigil (I prefer not to refer to it by a name that references a Celtic fertility goddess) I will seek acceptance into the Roman Catholic Church. This will not be as a reaction to TEC or Anglicanism, which is a separate, but not wholly unrelated, issue, but because I will have concluded that the Roman Catholic Church embodies the fullest understanding of Christ and the Gospels on earth. That is, in my mind, both a necessary and a sufficient condition to do so.

I am on vacation visiting my mother. She was raised as a Roman Catholic, but left the Roman Church for the LCMS when she married my father in 1942 at the age of 18. She is now 84, suffering from macular degeneration, and rarely gets to church unless driven. My wife and I, therefore, insisted on being fully available to see to it that she got to her regular congregation (about 20-25 minutes drive from her house) on the Sunday we were visiting.

The minister who preached the sermon made a very interesting statement about the LCMS church and the doctrine of sola scriptura. He said that all that is needed is scripture, not interpretation and not tradition. The clear implication (indeed, the several sentences he devoted to expanding on the doctrine made it almost explicit) is that each believer needs only the bible and the Holy Spirit.

Even based solely on my experiences with TEC over the past 38 years, I see this as an obstacle to joining any sola scriptura denomination. My reasoning is as follows: The Bible is composed of words. Words have meanings, both denotational, and connotational. It is not uncommon that a word or phrase has multiple meanings, whether denotational or connotational. If I am to be confident that I understand the application of scripture to any particular question, and to deal with the multiple meanings and the fact that some scripture is literal and historical, and some is allegorical and allusional, I (and every other individual in the denomination) will have to give up most of our other activities, including those that provide our sustenance, to have the time to ensure we fully and understand precisely how to apply scripture correctly to any given question or issue.

Clearly, some proposed responses will be obviously contradictory to scripture, but the current unpleasantness teaches us nothing if not that different readers will tend to apply it differently. The foregoing does not even begin to address the question of finding the time to master Hebrew, Syriac, Greek and Latin as those languages were used in the relevant time periods. My conclusion is that I shall ultimately have to rely on someone else to carry most of freight in getting to that unambiguous understanding that I need to live my life in accordance with the Gospel and God’s will.

Stated another way, I have to trust someone to have the correct interpretation of the scriptures that applies to at least some of the questions to which I am going to need the answer. I either do the interpretation myself, working to hear the Holy Spirit, and hope I don’t mishear, or I will have to trust it to someone more knowledgeable than I am, whose judgments I have tested enough to trust. So Pastor Mueller is demonstrably wrong in his statement, assuming, as I did and do, that he meant it literally. And while tradition does not trump scripture, it is an invaluable aid, along with the ecumenical councils, in understanding how those earlier, and therefore closer in time to the divinely inspired human authors of scripture, understood them, not that they anticipated the current issue/question, but that I can extrapolate, or interpolate, from their reasoning from the relevant scriptures as they applied them to their similar issues, in order to help discern the correct answer to my issue.

If I finish reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and have found no issue on which I cannot submit myself to her teachings, then why would I persist in maintaining a schism the causes of which have been appropriately addressed? To do so on the basis that Catholicism had not successfully “proven” their understanding would require me to assume that I know more than they do, perhaps as much as God himself—a highly unlikely, and in the latter case, demonstrably false, assumption.

Finally, this individualistic assertion, that each believer is his own interpreter of scripture, appears to me to be a major contributing factor in the disintegration of TEC. If a Christian denomination has no magisterium, in the sense of an authoritative teaching authority, then it will always be more open to apostasy and heresy than a denomination that does have such an authority. I think it is also a major contributor to the always increasing number of Christian denominations, particularly within protestantism.

This absence in TEC is, I think, its (possibly) fatal flaw, and, to the extent that it is present in other parts of the AC, their (possibly) fatal flaw, as well.

Like Keith, I also wrote a letter to my rector outlining our reasons for leaving. And I am approaching the RCIA classes with no deadline in mind. If it works out, I would love to enter the Roman Catholic Church at the Paschal Vigil, but as I've learned one thing in RCIA, there is absolutely no pressure - at least at my parish, they want you to be sure, not just present.

Because I am no longer with an Anglican parish, while I will continue to keep up with Anglican events and hopefully do some more interviews for AnglicanTV, I will end this blog soon. My focus is turning elsewhere - I can't yet see where, but I feel the time belongs to God.

Virginia Episcopal church joins land dispute: Diocese will cite 1746 deeds

So sad to see.

When I first moved to D.C. after college, I attended Christ Church (actually taught Sunday School there) for several years. I guess it's ironic that when my husband and I became engaged and wanted to get married in my home church in Charleston, the rector there said that would be fine, as long as we did our pre-marital counseling at The Falls Church with John Yates - who knew that according to the Diocese of Virginia, we were still on Christ Church land??

From the Washington Times [boldface mine]:

Christ Episcopal Church of Alexandria, one of the most venerable parishes in the Diocese of Virginia, has joined a historic lawsuit against several Northern Virginia parishes attempting to leave the denomination.

Members of the 235-year-old parish were informed Sunday at a parish meeting that the diocese will represent them in the largest property dispute in Episcopal Church history, taking place at the Fairfax County Courthouse. The multi-trial case will resume Oct. 14.

Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows has dealt three consecutive defeats to the diocese and the denomination in their battle to retain millions of dollars of property held by 11 churches that fled over issues of biblical authority and the 2003 election of the openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The diocese will cite 18th-century cases to argue that the Falls Church, a 276-year-old congregation that is the oldest of the departing parishes, cannot lay claim to its property on 5.5 acres in the city of Falls Church. Attorneys have produced two 18th-century land deeds that say Christ Church possesses the property.

The deeds, dated March 19 and 20, 1746, say the land was owned by "Truro parish," the designation for Colonial churches in Pohick, Alexandria and Falls Church. The diocese unearthed two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1815 and 1824 saying that Christ Church, founded in 1773, is the successor to Truro parish and that the Falls Church was a ward of the Alexandria congregation.

The diocese's attorneys say they can prove that Christ Church still owns about 2 acres of what the Falls Church occupies. That part of the property includes the "historic" Falls Church - a brick building completed in 1769.

In order to argue this case in court, the diocese needed Christ Church's permission to act as its proxy. Although the diocese notified opposition attorneys on Sept. 5 that it would represent Christ Church, it was not until Sept. 22 that the vestry, or governing board, was told of the matter. The vestry approved it Sept. 24.

Parishioners were not so accommodating. On Sunday, some worried that Christ Church's involvement - however distant - in a lawsuit could make its finances precarious. The church has a $135,000 deficit, and only 507 of its 2,459 members - or one-fifth - actually give.

"There were quite a few people who were stunned and said, 'We don't need this,' " said one former vestry member who asked to remain anonymous. "[Parish leaders] didn't give it much time.". . .

Read it all.
H/t to Stand Firm.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

California Supreme Court church property cases oral arguments to stream live

Today and tomorrow the California Supreme Court will finally hear the litigation between Bishop Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Anglican churches in the area who left the diocese and kept their property. Will the Court follow the precedent of "neutral principles" or not?

For more background on this, watch my interview with Eric Sohlgren, attorney for St. James Newport Beach and others on AnglicanTV.

A run-down of all the documents pertaining to the case:

Episcopal Church Cases

Expanded background summary (PDF, 9 KB)
Case information, including Supreme Court docket entries
Court of Appeal opinion (PDF)
Petition for review (PDF, 4,368 KB)
Answer to petition for review (PDF, 622 KB)
Reply to answer to petition for review (PDF, 676 KB)
Bunyan et al. brief (PDF, 2,186 KB)
Episcopal Church's brief (PDF, 2,052 KB)
Bunyan et al. reply brief (PDF, 1,763 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Charismatic Episcopal Church) (PDF, 745 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Diocese of San Joaquin) (PDF, 1,389 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church) (PDF, 2,067 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Iglesia Evangelica Latina) (PDF, 1,496 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Kirkpatrick) (PDF, 1,174 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Lee) (PDF, 1,292 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Poch) (PDF, 1,885 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Presbyterian Lay Committee) (PDF, 2,063 KB)
Amicus curiae brief (Presbytery of Hanmi) (PDF, 2,035 KB)
Bunyan et al.'s response to amicus curiae briefs (PDF, 2,046 KB)
Episcopal Church's response to amicus curiae briefs (PDF, 1,818 KB)
Answer brief to amicus curiae briefs (PDF, 2,302 KB)

And here's the live-streaming info from SanDiegoAnglicans:

Event Date: 10/07/2008 9:00am - 10/08/2008 5:00pm

Event Address: (updated: there seems to be conflicting information on the sites referenced below about whether this is being covered by streaming video or not. It does look like it will be carried on Cox Cable Public Access, which is channel 23 in southern areas).

Watch streaming video of this week's California Supreme Court oral arguments.

Check it out.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just a picture. . .

BabyBlue: Upcoming timeline

From BabyBlue Online, a list of upcoming events:

October 8 - TEC/Diocese of Los Angeles vs Anglican Congregations (Appeal before the California Supreme Court)

October 14 - TEC/Diocese of Virginia vs CANA, Virginia (significantly scaled-down to focus on whether the VA Division Statute also applies to three smaller properties)

Oct. 20-23 - TEC Executive Council, Helena, Montana

Oct. 21-22 - Anglican Awakening - Akron, Ohio

Nov. 4 - Election Day, USANov. 7 - Diocese of Pittsburgh Special Convention - Pittsburgh, PA

Nov. 7-8 - Diocese of Quincy Annual Synod, Quincy, Illinois

Nov. 13-15 - Anglican Awakening, Amesbury, MA

Nov. 14-15 - Diocese of Ft. Worth Convention, Bedford, Texas

Dec. 1-3 - Common Cause Partnership Council

Dec. 15-19 - Windsor Continuation Group Meeting, Mustang Island, Texas

Jan/Feb 2009 - Anglican Primates Meeting, Bahamas

Check it out.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

AnglicanTV in Pittsburgh **sticky through the convention**

Kevin Kallsen of AnglicanTV will be live streaming the Diocese of Pittsburgh Convention starting Saturday morning, October 4.

Diocese of Pittsburgh Convention

Online TV Shows by Ustream
Please help with AnglicanTV's Travel Expenses:

Friday, October 03, 2008

More hospitality needed

From one of the letters at EpiscopalLife Online [boldface mine]:

Upon reading the article "Not so alien" (September), I thought that it might be worthwhile for me to share my experience of visiting the headquarters of our church in Manhattan.

First, when I arrived in front of the entrance, I did not notice either the Episcopal flag or emblem anywhere outside the building. Given the propensity of New Yorkers to be "in your face," I am wondering if it is not being unduly modest. I am proud of being Episcopalian and would have smiled had I seen the shield or flag that represents something so dear to my heart.

When I entered, I was confronted with two persons at a table to the right of the entrance. They were obviously there to screen people who want access to the building. It was all very businesslike.

Silly as I am, I had imagined that someone would be in the lobby to greet me (a wandering soul) and tell me "estas en tu casa," as the Latinos would say (i.e., "welcome to your home"). Obviously, it would not be efficient to have someone there just to greet people and make them feel at home; however, that building is where our Presiding Bishop spends much of her time, and you would think that we would not want to miss an occasion to demonstrate that Episcopalians welcome all who approach us.

It was, all in all, a very disappointing experience. Perhaps my comments will help make our headquarters a little more in tune with the tradition of hospitality. Small gestures such as welcoming strangers do indeed often have far greater impact than could be rationally expected.

Would it be too snarky for me to say that this does not surprise me at all?

Great Lakes district formed as CANA continues to grow

Via email:

HERNDON, Va. (October 2, 2008) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is announcing the formation of a Great Lakes District that includes a growing number of congregations in the area. The affirmative vote to create the new district was taken at a recent CANA Council gathering in Akron, Ohio.

“The formation of a Great Lakes District within CANA is an exciting new development. In the short time of CANA’s existence we have grown to more than 70 congregations and 150 clergy in 21 states plus the District of Columbia. We look forward to continued growth throughout the upper Midwest as our congregations shine the light for Anglicanism rooted in Biblical truth and reach out in the love of Jesus Christ to the least, the last and the lost,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.

The new district is comprised of 13 congregations in three states and is modeled after the Fairfax-based Anglican District of Virginia, which was the first district to be formed within CANA. The Great Lakes District will be led by CANA Suffragan Bishop Roger Ames of Akron, Ohio, and will be governed by a board and a synod council.

“The vote to formally create the Great Lakes District within CANA was a clear acknowledgement of the strength of the orthodox Anglican movement in our area. Over the past few months, we initiated work on our set of bylaws and our constitution that are modeled after CANA’s Virginia District. We are thankful for this new structure that has been created to help us live within the Anglican way. A focal point for the Great Lakes District will be on starting new churches throughout the region. We are grateful for the opportunity to further Christ’s kingdom in the Great Lakes area,” said CANA Suffragan Bishop Roger Ames.

The parishes that comprise the Great Lakes District include: St. Luke’s Angli! can (Fai rlawn, OH), Church of the Holy Spirit (Akron, OH), St. Barnabas (Bay Village/Cleveland, OH), St. Anne’s (Madison, OH), Christ the King (Columbiana, OH), Holy Trinity (Milan, OH), Christ the King (Lexington, MI), St. Andrews (Lewis Center/Columbus, OH), Anglican Church of the Good Samaritan (Cleveland Heights, OH), and St. Michael the Archangel (Westfield, IN), a gathering of four parochial mission churches that includes St. Anne’s (Anderson, IN), St. Matthew’s (Nashville, IN), St. Patrick’s (Noblesville, IN), and St. Paul’s (Greenfield, IN).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

TEC cheatsheet on Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh

Did you know that our very own Bishop Mathes here in San Diego is on this task force, the House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes (as he continues to sue several churches here who are unable to continue in heresy)?

And remind me again why a task force on property disputes is commenting on an issue of "abandonment of communion"??? Huumm???

So when they try to tell you the action against Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh has nothing to do with holding on to the property or keeping the money, just remind them that their own Task Force on Property Disputes is issuing info on Bishop Duncan's deposition - not exactly in their purview.

Questions and Answers about matters involving the Bishop of Pittsburgh

Meeting of the House of Bishops, September 2008

Q: Why is the House of Bishops contemplating action against Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh?

A: At its meeting Sept. 17-19, the House of Bishop will be considering the report from its Title IV Review Committee, which certified in December 2007 that Bishop Robert Duncan had "abandoned the communion of this church," primarily because he has been involved with actions and decisions to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh from The Episcopal Church and affiliate it with the Province of the Southern Cone. Under the provisions of Canon IV.9, this certification goes to the House of Bishops for it to consider whether or not to depose Bishop Duncan.

The House of Bishops' Task Force on Property Disputes, through its work to protect property assets within The Episcopal Church, also has concluded that Bishop Duncan openly renounced the discipline of The Episcopal Church, which constitutes abandonment of the communion of this church and requires his removal from ordained ministry, or deposition.

Q: What does "abandonment of communion" mean?

A: The Canons of The Episcopal Church define abandonment as " open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this Church ..." (Title IV, Canon 10, Sec. 1)

Q: What kind of things has Bishop Duncan done to constitute this "open renunciation"?

A: Bishop Duncan has actively worked to remove the Diocese of Pittsburgh from the authority of The Episcopal Church. (see House of Bishop’s Property Task Force Memo. "Evidence of Abandonment by Bishop Duncan") He has supported and encouraged the diocesan convention to change its constitution to accomplish this. He also has sought out affiliation with the Province of the Southern Cone, located in South America. All these actions point to his open and conscious renunciation of the authority of The Episcopal Church for him personally and, he hopes, for the entire diocese under his care.

Furthermore, he has used assets of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to accomplish this goal, and he has stated that he does not now, nor will he, have any obligation to protect the assets of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for the use of The Episcopal Church.

Q: What has caused this rift between The Episcopal Church and Bishop Duncan?

A: This case is about Bishop Duncan's actions, not about his beliefs. For years Bishop Duncan has been a leading spokesman for conservative theological positions. But there are a wide range of theological convictions within The Episcopal Church, and there is room for all those within the church. The issue here is that he has renounced the authority of The Episcopal Church over him and seeks to have his diocese adopt the same policy through a vote of its convention.

Q: The final vote by the Pittsburgh Diocesan Convention to split from The Episcopal Church doesn't take place until October 4. Why not wait until after then?

A: While the House fervently hopes that the Pittsburgh convention may yet decide not to vote to sever ties with The Episcopal Church, action involving Bishop Duncan is not tied to a vote on that date. Any action by voters in the Diocese of Pittsburg does not lessen the culpability of Bishop Duncan, since he is encouraging his diocese's departure from The Episcopal Church and is actively working to that effect. Whether or not delegates to the Pittsburgh convention vote to follow Bishop Duncan's abandonment of The Episcopal Church is one thing. That Bishop Duncan already has abandoned The Episcopal Church through an open renunciation and repudiation of its discipline is another, and already is well established.

Also, should the House wait until after October 4 to consider action against Bishop Duncan, the matter normally would not come up again until the spring meeting of the House in March, 2009. People in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, both supporters and opponents of Bishop Duncan's theology, have said that waiting until then to finalize the matter would leave the diocese in far too long a period of limbo to be sustainable. Acting before October 4 also would have significantly positive effects in protecting the assets of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for use by Episcopalians.

Additionally, because the Title IV Review Committee has certified that Bishop Duncan has abandoned the communion of this church, the canons call for consideration of such matters at the next meeting of the House after such a certification.

Q: Is this action just about trying to keep property in The Episcopal Church?

A: This matter, at its root, is about maintaining accountability for one's actions as a bishop within The Episcopal Church. However, there are a complex set of pastoral imperatives involved as well. As Bishop of Pittsburgh, Bishop Duncan controls millions of dollars in assets within the diocese. In a hierarchical institution like The Episcopal Church, canon law vests ultimate ownership of parish property with dioceses, and diocesan property with the wider Episcopal Church. Property is owned not for the benefit of individuals but of the church as a whole.

We are sacramental people who believe in the importance of "outward and visible signs." What happens to the sacred spaces in Pittsburgh matters a great deal to the many faithful members there who want to remain in The Episcopal Church and who have worked hard and given sacrificially to support these facilities. It is the obligation of The Episcopal Church to make certain that property intended for use by Episcopalians is available to future generations of Episcopalians for worship and for mission.

The House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes
The Right Reverend Stacy Sauls, Bishop of Lexington, Chair
The Right Reverend Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles
The Right Reverend Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of Ohio
The Right Reverend John Howard, Bishop of Florida
The Right Reverend William Persell, retired Bishop of Chicago
The Right Reverend Dean Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas
The Right Reverend Mark Andrus, Bishop of California
The Right Reverend Philip Duncan, Bishop of Central Gulf Coast
The Right Reverend James Mathes, Bishop of San Diego

Read it all, and head over to Stand Firm to get a good break-down of the erroneous points in this Q&A.
H/t to Stand Firm.

TEC loses another one

From Hening in the comments below [boldface mine]:

This past weekend I made the decision to tender my resignation in TEC. This means giving up the opportunity of being ordained along with losing contact with those that I have had the honor of teaching and loving within the Spirit of God.

The flaunting of the gay lifestyle is something that has become part of everyday life in New England. Having a post-op trans-gendered person attending church functions and confusing the young children is shapes of things to come with new deacons and priests. Even though that is all out of place and outside of the community Paul preached about, it was the promotion of genocide that finally tore me away from my church.

I will either wind up in an African parish with hopes to continue towards the priesthood or an Antiochan Orthodox parish, where my wife would like to attend. My last official act after turning in the church keys, the website password, ending Taize worship bulletins, finishing my vestry tenure and saying farewell to my charges in youth ministry is to write a letter of resignation to the bishop, and pray that it might actually express the horror of what TEC has become in a short time.