Comments: Virginian property dispute continues

For the love of Christ, CANA-ites: stop, just stop.

Go build your churches, and leave us Episcopalians ours.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 5:01am GMT


I wanted just to pass this by. . . but one more thought!

Let's see, people who have worked and served in a particular church over a life time (paid for the buildings and cared for the people to build up the church), it does not belong to them, leave it to us! Churches that heard the voice of the larger communion and want to continue in communion . . . By what standards of truth or justice does this make sense? Drink a strong cup of coffee and clear your mind!

Ben Wiebe

Posted by Ben W at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 1:19pm GMT

Ben Wiebe

No more than my Grandmothers stained glass window belongs to me and my family or to YOU...they belong to whom they were freely "given" and donated to...a loving God thru the Christ they were freely given to ALL of our sisters, brothers, moms/dads, friends and fellow pewsitters, you know, ALL the people at TEC! Nothing was built/given SELECTIVELY with "strings" attached.

Go build elsewhere if you wish but don't steal anything on the way out (it would only underscore that you gave selfishly/falsely and PRIDEFULLY in the first place and "you have YOUR reward already."

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 4:08pm GMT

Ben, a church is God's house to which He invites us, not our house to which we invite Him. Those buildings were given to God. It is not appropriate for the descendants of the original givers to ask for these gifts back because they don't like the people looking after God's property. Yours is a surprising attitude for an Anglican to have. I'm rather suspicious that you think that working for the Gospel entails some sort of reward. Second, what is the "voice" that people are refusing to hear? A voice that says that roughly ten percent of the population are less than animals and ought to be jailed, are evil, willfully disobedient against God in ways they clearly mean are different from "regular" human sinfullness, while claiming this is NOT the meaning at all, a "voice" expressed after much political manipulation and discord that shows little attempt to discern the will of God, that is used in the expression of untruth and hatred? Frankly, I do not see the Gospel in the behaviour and statements of those who most loudly use this "voice". It is not their claims that homosexuality is sinful, it is their behaviour in nearly every other aspect of this debate. One cannot claim to follow a Gospel of love when one's behaviour plainly shows hatred, malice, and conniving. What I find amusing is that these people don't seem to think this behaviour is in any way inappropriate! That sort of behaviour is not necessary to preach a mesage that homosexuality is sinful. Indeed, it is pretty much the opposite of the Gospel, yet not one Evo, not one, has come out against it. Not one. So, again, why should I believe that those whose voice is raised in such an unChristian fashion are to be followed blindly?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 4:33pm GMT

Ben - I left the Methodist Church, but I didn't get to take the building with me.

The particular churches you speak of all have members of the congregation who are Episcopalians and plan to remain Episcopalians. No matter how long particular members of the congregation have been there, even if they are a majority of the congregation, they can't take the building from those folks, or that denomination, when they leave.

I really don't understand why people leaving the Episcopal Church can't seem to understand what theft is. Was that not taught to them in Sunday School?

Posted by Phyllis at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 4:34pm GMT

The Anglican Communion is not - and will not be - defined on the basis of uniform agreement on matters of sexual ethics as regards gay people. Imagine a church so focused on (and opposed to) gay sex, rather than on Christ, that this would be its core, defining doctrine! No, thank you.

I agree that a cup of coffee generally does us all some good, but the issue here is Episcopal Church canon law, under which all parishes in Virginia have lived and worked and to which they are subject, even when some members of a current generation disagree with the way issues of sexual ethics are addressed in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by christopher+ at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 4:34pm GMT

By this standard, Ben: that not everything on which you spend your precious money and/or time is at your complete disposal or discretion to deal with as you wish. Examples include children, organizations to which you and others belong, public infrastructure supported by taxes (without which most free-marketers would not even have money to spend). Besides which, what of those who worked and served and paid and cared and do NOT wish to leave TEC? Are they to be kicked to the curb with nothing?

Posted by In hoc signo at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 5:40pm GMT

The property is by law held in trust for TEC and for the Episcopalians in generations to come who will use that property. I dare say the families of those whose ashes rest in the columbarium that forms a wall of our church's chapel intend that those ashes will not suddenly be stolen and taken to Nigeria.

When I was growing up, my dad was transferred by his company fairly often. He used to joke that he'd built several Episcopal churches he'd never set foot it - seems like as soon as one building fund campaign got going, he'd be tranferrred somewhere else. But he didn't really complain, nor did he withdraw the money he'd given because he wouldn't be using the building.

And please remember, that these lawsuits were initiated by the departing congregations. For the Diocese and TEC not to contest them would have been a huge dereliction.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 6:33pm GMT

"sort of behaviour is not necessary to preach a mesage that homosexuality is sinful. Indeed, it is pretty much the opposite of the Gospel, yet not one Evo, not one, has come out against it. Not one"

And THAT is the crucial point. In the whole debate, on TA and everywhere else I've been following people's actions and conversations.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 7:15pm GMT

Drink a strong cup of coffee and clear your mind!

Ben Wiebe

Posted by: Ben W on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 1:19pm GMT

Brother Ben, drink a strong cup of coffee and see if you can remember if the "tax deduction" for "giving" all those wonderous GIFTS to TEC was filed with Nigeria or the Good Ol' U.S.A.?

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 7:27pm GMT

Heh: coincidentally, I just finished a good strong cup of coffee!

I just wanted to correct one thing to my preceding post: when I said "leave us Episcopalians ours (churches)", I'm not really talking about "us Episcopalians, Right Now."

We don't own the churches anymore than CANA does.

I'm talking about holding them *in trust*, for FUTURE Episcopalians...

..."while the Lord tarry". Natch! ;-)

Posted by JCF at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 7:48pm GMT

Leonardo et al,

Hold on! You recall the original contrast made by JCF? "Go build your churches, and leave us Episcopalians ours."

Last I heard ECPUSA is still claiming allegiance to the larger communion of the AC. Though that is more and more being contested. In as much as that is the identity those who stand with Lambeth'98, including 1.10, can at least in this respect be regarded as the "original Epicopalians." So to whom do the churches belong?

At the same time, I am not simply concerned about a legal point here, as Christian people the reason for raising it at all is that it will be seen who people are precisely in this matter of whether there is a sense of truth and justice beyond legalisms, grounded in the gospel.

The post from In hoc signo makes it clear that in some cases it will be a mixed situation when there is a parting of ways. By all means take that into account and find a way to represent that in a settlement.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 8:09pm GMT

"Besides which, what of those who worked and served and paid and cared and do NOT wish to leave TEC? Are they to be kicked to the curb with nothing?"

They are faithless persecutors of the faithful remnant who believe nothing, have no respect for Scripture, and are seeking the approval of the World to the extent that they are willing to sell out the Gospel to do it. They are pagans, unitarians, hedonists who seek to give God's blessing to promiscuous homosexuality. Or at least that's what the Right trumpets with every opportunity.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 8:30pm GMT

In addition to all the above, it's worth mentioning that at the VA churches in question, it's clear that many of those voting to leave TEC were not life-long Episcopalians and members of that parish, but relatively recent newcomers, who joined (according to those in the know) for social and political advancement.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 11 January 2008 at 9:53pm GMT

"Last I heard ECPUSA is still claiming allegiance to the larger communion of the AC."

Ben, I think the only "allegiance" I've ever "pledged" to is the U.S.A. (not to be confused with respectfully reciting/confirming the Creeds in my personal religious life)...I know TEC is "in Communion" with ALL of the Anglican Communion Provinces even though Nigeria/Uganda and their liked minded accomplices have "sworn off" being in Communion with us. They have, by their excluding actions, betrayed any wish for a loving ongoing relationship at the moment, as a matter-of-fact they've grandstanding by "degrading" any former relationship with TEC publicly (you do "keep up?")...not-to-worry, both fear and hate can't be perpetuated for long...not even in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and beyond where fear/hatemongering and internal corruption are glaring world-wide examples of violations against fellow citizens/human beings. Ben, please don't keep "dragging" back in your idea of "fair play" while rationalizing deceit, persecution and the outcasting of fellow Christians at all levels of OUR Churchlife...and please, if you must proceed with the "abominating" selective Scriptural "angle" of your brothers and sisters at The Body of Christ rent your own buildings to conduct/preach your pogom program...but, don't forget:

The Episcopal Church, WELCOMES EVERYONE (everyone means everyone)!

Got it?

Mil Gracias.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Saturday, 12 January 2008 at 2:34pm GMT


There will I guess be some of that,
people leaving for various reasons. But there will it seems always be rationalization ("they were never part of the church anyway"), even the absurd is rationalized - the definition of ideology.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Saturday, 12 January 2008 at 3:02pm GMT


Google for press reports on all this. Read the descriptions of Falls Church and Truro, including the comments from the cradle Episcopalians in those parishes about how they were pushed out by the newcomers in many ways. (And I say this as someone who is not a cradle Episcopalian.)

These parishes were not built by those currently controlling them and voting to remove them from TEC, nor by their ancestors. Rather, they were built by the ancestors of the very people who now find themselves described as "unfaithful" because they prefer to maintain their affiliation with the national church.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 12 January 2008 at 5:58pm GMT

The final disposition of property is going to be made by the civil courts on the basis of civil law and not cannon law. Given the growing chaos that is happening in TEC all over the US, it is reasonable to expect that different courts are going to interpret matters differently.

When the dust finally settles, it seems likely that there will be two or more church organizations with an Anglican heritage in the US. Property ownership will probably be a hodgepodge. What seems very certain is that a bunch of lawyers will have greatly benefited from the process.

Posted by Richard Lyon at Saturday, 12 January 2008 at 11:04pm GMT
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