Author Topic: TEC unraveling officially begins  (Read 245113 times)

LutherMan

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #450 on: November 11, 2007, 04:49:06 PM »

Actually, no, I don't think anyone was as open then as now. I am not sure that it matters, the seminary community was aware that if a person was denied certification on the basis of sexual orientation, we would all opt out. I don't think that they felt that they could afford to have that happen. Of course, we were a community based upon solidarity and that was not taken lightly.

John Dornheim
Was that "Concordia Seminary in Exile?"

John Dornheim

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #451 on: November 11, 2007, 05:22:39 PM »

Actually, no, I don't think anyone was as open then as now. I am not sure that it matters, the seminary community was aware that if a person was denied certification on the basis of sexual orientation, we would all opt out. I don't think that they felt that they could afford to have that happen. Of course, we were a community based upon solidarity and that was not taken lightly.

John Dornheim
Was that "Concordia Seminary in Exile?"

Yes.
John Dornheim

Brian Hughes

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #452 on: November 13, 2007, 10:55:46 AM »
Now that whole dioceses are beginning to vote on whether to leave TEC because of their stance on openly gay and lesbian clergy, the threat of lawsuits is growing.  Here's a snippet from Bishop Iker in response to TEC's Presiding Bishop:

While I do not wish to meet antagonism with antagonism, I must remind you that 25 years ago this month, the newly formed Diocese of Fort Worth voluntarily voted to enter into union with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. If circumstances warrant it, we can likewise, by voluntary vote, terminate that relationship. Your aggressive, dictatorial posturing has no place in that decision. Sadly, however, your missive will now be one of the factors that our Convention will consider as we determine the future course of this diocese for the next 25 years and beyond, under God’s grace and guidance.

http://www.fwepiscopal.org/bishop/bishoppbreply.html

Brian
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 12:23:59 PM by Brian Hughes »

Brian Hughes

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #453 on: November 13, 2007, 10:59:00 AM »

And other dioceses are now going after individual laity.  This is truly shameful and a terrible witness from our ecumenical partner.  Using the courts to threaten and intimidate lay leadership is, IMHO, a sin.

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
November 12, 2007

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese's existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.

The targeted members include everyone on the parish's governing board as well as the church's main spokesman, Alan Crippen, and its rector of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong.


http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5745216,00.html

Brian

Richard Johnson

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #454 on: November 13, 2007, 11:31:16 AM »
the treat of lawsuits is growing.  Here's a snippet from Bishop Iker in response to TEC's Presiding Bishop:


I'm going to generously assume you meant threat rather than treat.   ;)
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Hughes

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #455 on: November 13, 2007, 12:23:47 PM »
the treat of lawsuits is growing.  Here's a snippet from Bishop Iker in response to TEC's Presiding Bishop:


I'm going to generously assume you meant threat rather than treat.   ;)

 Yeah, but it works either way doesn't it?  :-)

Brian

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #456 on: November 13, 2007, 12:28:27 PM »

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese's existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.
I note the term "countersuit," which suggests that a suit against the diocese had been filed by the congregation and/or individual parishioners.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

John Dornheim

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #457 on: November 13, 2007, 12:31:06 PM »

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese's existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.
I note the term "countersuit," which suggests that a suit against the diocese had been filed by the congregation and/or individual parishioners.

It has been my understanding that congregational councils can be held liable for decisions which they make. It is also not a new policy in TEC concerning church properties. Constitutionally, I believe, in case of division they revert to the diocese.

John Dornheim

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #458 on: November 13, 2007, 12:41:47 PM »
It has been my understanding that congregational councils can be held liable for decisions which they make. It is also not a new policy in TEC concerning church properties. Constitutionally, I believe, in case of division they revert to the diocese.
Yes. If someone wishes to sue a congregation, they can also sue the individual council members. Congregation should make sure that their insurance plan covers the council members. Similarly, a friend was on the board of regents of a college, and when a professor was going to sue the school, they were all also named in the suit.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Hughes

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #459 on: November 13, 2007, 12:44:10 PM »
[
It has been my understanding that congregational councils can be held liable for decisions which they make. It is also not a new policy in TEC concerning church properties. Constitutionally, I believe, in case of division they revert to the diocese.

John Dornheim

  It's my understanding that the legal division of property is the heart of the issue.  From what I can tell, this isn't about constitutionality, but something called the "Dennis Cannon" wherein the diocese holds all property in trust.  That was a late addition to how TEC has understood its structure. There's also some rousing debate going on as to whether it was properly enacted in the first place. From what I can figure out, the Dennis Cannon would be like my neighbors getting together, years after I bought and started paying for my home, deciding to vote that should I decide to align myself with another neighborhood, they can take my house.  It's all very odd to me and sounds very much about power and financial gain. 

BTW, the trial for the 11 congregations in Virginia starts today.  The congregations seem to be on solid ground as most of their properties predate TEC by *centuries* and Virginia has it's own unique property laws.  An outside body cannot claim ownership if their name isn't on the deed. 

Brian
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 12:48:08 PM by Brian Hughes »

Steverem

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #460 on: November 13, 2007, 12:47:07 PM »

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese's existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.
I note the term "countersuit," which suggests that a suit against the diocese had been filed by the congregation and/or individual parishioners.

It has been my understanding that congregational councils can be held liable for decisions which they make. It is also not a new policy in TEC concerning church properties. Constitutionally, I believe, in case of division they revert to the diocese.

John Dornheim

Yes and no.  As a general rule, yes, the property is held in trust by the diocese.  However, there are instances (such as the case with the two most prominent CANA churches here in northern VA) where the church actually pre-dates the creation of the diocese.  Also, in Virginia, there is a certain Civil War-era legislation that allowed churches to leave the diocese with their property that is still actually on the books.  These are both fairly unique circumstances, but there are other legal questions raised elsewhere as well.  And then there is the issue of dioceses that leave the denomination--do those seeking to remain in TEC lose their property to the diocese?  Suffice to say, these property disputes will likely drag on for many, many years.

(Note:  It appears Brian H. beat me to the punch.)

Brian Hughes

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #461 on: November 16, 2007, 10:05:09 AM »
From the taped deposition of TEC's Presiding Bishop:

According to prior testimony, Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee was ready to accept buyouts from the 11 departing churches, several of which sat on historic pieces of property in Fairfax and Falls Church. That changed after he met with the new presiding bishop soon after her Nov. 4, 2006, installation.

"I told Bishop Lee I could not support negotiations for sale if the congregations intended to set up as other parts of the Anglican Communion," Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referring to the 77 million-member worldwide body of which the Episcopal Church is a part.

What particularly angered her, she said, was the presence of the Nigerian-controlled Convocation of Anglicans in North America, then headquartered in Fairfax. An American bishop for CANA, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, had been consecrated that August.

CANA's presence "violates the ancient principle of the church that two bishops do not have jurisdiction in the same area," said the presiding bishop, whose face appeared on three screens positioned around the courtroom.


http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20071116/NATION/111160097

  "Violates the ancient principle of the church that two bishops do not have jurisdiction in the same area."  Hmmm ... what about our Slovak Synod?  Or what about the local ELCA and RC bishops in Northern Virginia?  Shesh.

OTOH, it does appear there was a climate tilting toward negotiating fair settlements until she came on the scene.  New sheriff in town, no more soup for you!

Brian
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 10:09:16 AM by Brian Hughes »

Charles_Austin

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #462 on: November 16, 2007, 10:13:52 AM »
Maryland Brian writes:
"Violates the ancient principle of the church that two bishops do not have jurisdiction in the same area."  Hmmm ... what about our Slovak Synod?  Or what about the local ELCA and RC bishops in Northern Virginia?  Shesh.

I comment:
Brian! What makes you think our non-geographical synods (on the way out, by the way) have or should have any relation to the structure of the Anglican communion?

Brian Hughes

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #463 on: November 16, 2007, 10:25:42 AM »
Maryland Brian writes:
"Violates the ancient principle of the church that two bishops do not have jurisdiction in the same area."  Hmmm ... what about our Slovak Synod?  Or what about the local ELCA and RC bishops in Northern Virginia?  Shesh.

I comment:
Brian! What makes you think our non-geographical synods (on the way out, by the way) have or should have any relation to the structure of the Anglican communion?

Charles,

She's using a universal statement "ancient principle of the church" in her argument.  Does having an ELCA and UMC and RC bishop in Northern Virginia also violate her understanding of the church?  I just thought it was an odd line of argument for her to use, particularly when Rowan Williams has clearly articulated the local bishop is the primary marker of the church AND he apparently has no problem with US based dioceses aligning with another province. 

Bishop Lee, through action and process, clearly had no problem helping these congregations exit TEC in a fair and negotiated way.  I could be wrong, but I interpret that to mean he correctly understood the church was larger than his particular diocese AND since these congregations planned to remain within the Anglican Communion, he may have thought it was a pastoral approach to the rising schism within TEC.

The PB, again from what I can tell about Anglican polity, simply doesn't have the authority to hinder what Lee was attempting to do.  Why he switched approaches we'll never know.  We do know she's  threatened two other Bishops in their efforts to guide their dioceses through their own internal process and, given the multitude of lawsuits her office has joined around the country, it's pretty clear she'd be more than willing to drop one on Bishop Lee if needed.  Only crazy people continue to engage in behaviors that could trigger a lawsuit.

IMHO, she has no basis for using the "ancient principle of the church" from within her own tradition or considering the reality of other Bishops representing the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church who are also on the territory of Northern Virginia.  Perhaps her understanding of "the church" is limited to her membership in one particular US based denomination. 

Brian
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 10:30:45 AM by Brian Hughes »

Scott4

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Re: TEC unraveling officially begins
« Reply #464 on: November 16, 2007, 10:28:38 AM »
Perhaps her understanding of "the church" is limited to her membership in one particular US based denomination. 

That understanding would be the only one I can see that would actually make her argument credible.