July 17, 2007

That's My Church - Scorched Earth Division


The ECUSA continues to wage a "terror" war against the Virginia Secessionists:

A leader for 19 churches that have left The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the Diocese of Virginia and affiliated with two orthodox African Anglican provinces, says that the Episcopal Church's "terrorizing tactics" will fail and the volunteer laity of those churches being sued by the diocese are immune from civil liability.

Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia for 15 Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas (CANA) affiliated churches plus four with the Province of Uganda, told VirtueOnline, "We are supremely confident with what we have done and with the right motives. We have already won. The legal fights are merely distracting and unfortunate."

Oakes said he could find no motive for the Episcopal Church's suing lay individuals except with the motive "to terrorize us."

"Virginia law is abundantly clear that voluntary leaders of non-profit organizations are immune from civil liability unless the plaintive alleges willful misconduct or criminal negligence and they have not alleged any of this," he told VOL. "They are trying to terrorize people and we believe that their only intention it to send a signal to lay church leaders across the country who follow us. They are trying to implement a dampening effect on other churches that are looking at us and hope they will lie low and not try and leave the Episcopal Church. Attorneys for the diocese and The Episcopal Church are following a scorched earth policy."

The Episcopal Church recently filed a motion amending their lawsuit to add individual vestry members who were elected to the vestries of these new churches long after they had left TEC according to Oakes.

"This makes the sin more egregious. These lay people were not even on board when the parishes were with TEC, but since they left the diocese and TEC and joined CANA and the Anglican District of Virginia they have now been singled out by the diocese for legal action. It is all about intimidation."

Emphasis added. Keep that one in mind the next time Her High Priestessness goes into her Why-Can't-We-All-Just-Get-Along? shtick. Velvet glove? Meet iron fist.

Meanwhile, a group of retired bishops are demanding to know just where the hell the money is coming from to support this campaign:

Four retired bishops called on Executive Council to state how much The Episcopal Church has spent in recent years on litigation and to make public where the money is coming from in order to conduct litigation.

“The Episcopal Church is already involved in expensive lawsuits in Los Angeles, Virginia, Florida, San Diego, New York and elsewhere. Now the Executive Council is threatening even more legal action against four dioceses who affirm their membership in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,” the bishops wrote in an open letter dated July 14. “We would like to know where the money is coming from to conduct this litigation, especially in view of the fact that the program budget is being reduced because insufficient funds are being received from dioceses.”

The letter was signed by the Rt. Rev. C.F. Allison, retired Bishop of South Carolina; the Rt. Rev. Maurice Benitez, retired Bishop of Texas; the Rt. Rev. Alex D. Dickson, retired Bishop of West Tennessee and the Rt. Rev. William C. Wantland, retired Bishop of Eau Claire.

The bishops concluded by noting that “an open and transparent disclosure is crucially important to avoid speculation, rumors and consequent distrust of The Episcopal Church.”

Well, good luck with that.

"The money? We held a bake sale."

A presentation on the budget at the March Executive Council meeting noted that the cost of legal assistance to dioceses and disciplinary activities in 2006 had exceeded the amount budgeted by roughly $900,000.

A summary of revised legal expenses for 2007 amounted to $1.2 million in three categories: Title IV investigation, trial and legal costs amounting to $300,000; legal assistance to dioceses in the amount of $500,000; and corporate legal expenses equal to $362,611.

Executive Council also appropriated $100,000 in 2006 toward the House of Bishops Ad Hoc Task Force on Property Disputes. The task force also received $25,000 from the Church Pension Fund. The task force had not spent any of the funds as of November 2006, when the existence of the task force funds was made public.

Gee, just think of how many starving little kids in Africa all that jack could save if it weren't being blown on pummelling dissenting parishes.

Posted by Robert at July 17, 2007 09:47 AM | TrackBack

It is interesting that NO active bishops signed that letter. It seems like such a reasonable question to know what the cash burn is due to legal activities, and what is expected in the future. Well, 815 has ways to encourage compliance.

Posted by: Tregonsee at July 17, 2007 10:43 AM

A lot of money, yes, but still small compared to the Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles's legal bills of late.

Posted by: The Colossus at July 17, 2007 11:12 AM

The blogger who uses the name 'Mencius Moldbug' has a nice post on Universalism, his take on the secular-reason versus revelation struggles in US religion. I think it ties into ECUSA pretty precisely: go to July 17th - http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/

Posted by: dave.s. at July 18, 2007 08:19 AM