August 02, 2007

That's My Church - "You Can't Quit - I'm Firing You!" Division


Peter James Lee, bishop of Virginia, o-fficially puts the TEC kybosh on the secessionist clergy within the diocese who have fled to other Anglican havens:

In an official act observed by two presbyters of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and with the advice and consent of the diocesan Standing Committee, Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee took the required canonical action August 1 to remove from the priesthood clergy inhibited by him on January 22, 2007.

The 21 clergy were inhibited following a determination by the diocesan Standing Committee January 18 that they had abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church. The possibility of such a determination was explained by the Bishop in a December 1, 2006 letter to the clergy and leadership of the now-former Episcopal congregations. By this action, the former Episcopal clergy are "released from the obligations of Priest or Deacon and ... deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in Ordination."

In addition to losing their capacity to officiate in Episcopal churches or in any manner as Episcopal priests, the former Episcopal clergy lose their capacity to contribute to pension plans begun during their time as Episcopal priests and any other benefits of service as Episcopal priests or employees of Episcopal churches or institutions. Pension benefits accrued to this point will remain payable.

Those removed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church are the Revs. Robin Adams, George Beaven, Mark Brown, Marshall Brown, Neal Brown, Jeffrey Cerar, Kathleen Christopher, Richard Crocker, Ramsey Gilchrist, Jack Grubbs, John Guernsey, David Harper, David N. Jones, Marion D. Lucas III, Herbert McMullan, Clancy Nixon, Robin Rauh, Valerie Whitcomb, Elijah White, Frederick M. Wright, and John W. Yates II.

The Rebel Alliance says Bishop Lee can get stuffed:

The conservative Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (NACDP) said the decision "will not have force in much of the Anglican Communion or in a number of Episcopal dioceses."

Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman; Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith; Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, NACDP's moderator; Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker; and San Joaquin Bishop John David Schofield issued a statement saying that they will maintain relationships with the 21 clergy.

"In conscience we must remain in relationship and ministry with these priests, and the many others who have had this canon used against them because of their determination to stand with mainstream Anglicanism," the statement said. "As bishops, we ordain priests for the whole church. Surely we overstep our bounds when we attempt to decide for the whole church that a priest's ministry is ended because he is no longer under our authority."

The statement noted that because the clergy "are priests in good standing in the Provinces of Uganda and Nigeria ... each is recognized as a priest in good standing of the Anglican Communion. Therefore we welcome them to exercise their sacerdotal ministries in our Dioceses. Though we continue to work and pray for a charitable disengagement, actions such as this only make our relationships with each other more difficult and divided."

And in other Rebel Alliance news, a fellow cranky member of my congregation reminds me that it looks as if the Diocese of Pittsburgh is gearing up to consider breaking away. Pittsburgh is under the guidance of Bishop Robert Duncan, one of the more outspoken of the rebels. Indeed, his recently voiced opinion that not only is TEC lost, but so is Canterbury, is starting to form cracks in the Alliance even as it begins to coalesce. This is, in fact, exactly what TEC would like to see - a splintered, granulated sprinkling of cranks instead of an organized orthodox alternative. TEC still hasn't the remotest idea why anybody would want to abandon it, given what a paragon of Big Tent Deism it's become. But it's obviously happier if it feels they have no viable place to go.

Posted by Robert at August 2, 2007 04:36 PM | TrackBack

yowza. I remember getting taken once as a kid to the old Riverside motor speedway outside of Springfield MA. There was a Figure 8 race, in which all of the cars would inevitably slam into each other. First (and only, one would think) prize was $800. Now why would that come to mind, I wonder?

Posted by: tdp at August 2, 2007 04:58 PM

Yeah - how's Rome coming along with that Anglican Rite thingy?

Posted by: Robbo the LB at August 2, 2007 05:08 PM

There is a long history of leaders of collapsing countries and empires issuing orders to legions or armies which have ceased to exist. A strong similarity here.

Posted by: Tregonsee at August 2, 2007 05:52 PM

It's all about the real estate, kids.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at August 2, 2007 05:57 PM

I think I need a score-card.

And a dictionary. (presbyters? are these strictly different from bishops?)

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 2, 2007 09:53 PM

Oh, and in keeping with the spirit of the thing....

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 2, 2007 09:54 PM

Robo.... I just have to ask.... "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 2, 2007 10:07 PM

Somehow "get stuffed" no longer cuts it fellows. By fellows, I mean the 'rebel' bishops. These priests have had their livelihoods seriously endangered, their parishes divided, their reputations if not ruined, definitely damaged, and probably their entire families have experience great emotional distress.

All for trying to uphold the teachings of the church they took vows to support.

What will it take for someone with a miter to use the H word?

According to them, the fight is over the truth. Well if the truth is involved, one side is right and one side is wrong. There's no in between. It is black and white.

So who is the heretic?

If the answer is no one is no a heretic, then this is the most ridiculous argument in the world since the Hatfields and the McCoys. It's also not an fight over the truth.

It's about power and land.

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at August 3, 2007 01:35 PM