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Back to work at 2:15. The Bishops dealt with a sensitive issue. Seven bishops--some retired or no longer Episcopalian--had signed a friendly brief for the court proceedings in Fort Worth to support the parishes who left The Episcopal Church and are trying to keep their property. Because much of our conversation was private, I can only report that we had a unanimous roll call vote to support the Episcopal parishes, the right of the Episcopal bishops in the dioceses struggling with property disputes, and affirmation that the Episcopal bishops are the only rightful bishops in these dioceses. It was a hard but grace filled conversation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012 TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Polity & Canons --Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012
Resolved, That Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin--lay and clergy--be commended for their unflagging efforts to continue to witness to God's mission as The Episcopal Church during recent difficult times as they reorganize their continuing dioceses in that same spirit; and be it furtherYou may read more there.
Resolved, That the leadership in each of those four continuing dioceses be commended for their similar efforts, including in particular the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth; the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh; the Rt. Rev. John C. Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy; and the Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and especially the strong lay leadership of each dioceses.
Update: You can check to see the headline chosen by the TEC affiliated diocese of Fort Worth there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012 TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Polity & Canons * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefforts Schori
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY, 10017
Re: Request to set the record straight
Dear Bishop Jefforts Schori:
We, the bishops of the Dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth, with the support of the Standing Committee and Council of each diocese, respectfully urge the Church’s House of Bishops, at its meeting at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis, to set the record straight regarding recent statements by certain bishops in our Church. The subject bishops are:
1. The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez (resigned, Diocese of Texas);
2. The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe (resigned, Diocese of Central Florida);
3. The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert (suffragan, Diocese of Dallas);
4. The Rt. Rev. William H. Love (diocesan, Diocese of Albany);
5. The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson (diocesan, Diocese of W. Louisiana);
6. The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins (diocesan, Diocese of Springfield);
7. The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton (diocesan, Diocese of Dallas);
8. The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith (resigned, Diocese of Springfield); and
9. The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon (resigned, Diocese of South Carolina).
The House of Bishops is well aware of the litigation across this Church resulting from breakaway factions who left The Episcopal Church but claim to have taken parishes and entire dioceses, and all the historic church property, names, records, and funds, with them, and claim to “be” the continuing parish or diocese. In the Dioceses of Quincy, Fort Worth, San Joaquin, and Pittsburgh, these breakaway efforts were led by former members of the House of Bishops.
Recent events illustrate that there are still bishops in our Church who harm the Church by officially misrepresenting the polity of the Church; invading the episcopal jurisdiction of other bishops; taking official, formal, affirmative actions directly against their own Church and sister dioceses; and even recognizing the continuing authority of breakaway former bishops over the bishops who are recognized by this Church. In doing so they give aid and comfort to breakaway factions who would take title and control of substantially all of the real and personal property of this Church and cripple its mission and ministry.
Specifically, on April 23, 2012 Bishops Benitez, Howe, Lambert, Love, MacPherson, Martins, and Stanton, purporting to act in their oficial capacities as bishops of The Episcopal Church and its House of Bishops, caused to be filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief n litigation in support of a breakaway faction led by former bishop Jack Iker and against this Church and its Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
Similarly, on October 6, 2011, 2011, Bishops Salmon, MacPherson, and Beckwith, purporting to act in their official capacities as bishops of The Episcopal Church and its House of Bishops, caused to be filed affidavits in litigation in support of a breakaway faction led by Alberto Morales and against this Church and its Episcopal Diocese of Quincy. The details of their misrepresentations are reflected in the documents themselves. However, generally the bishops falsely claimed as follows:
1. They Represented that Dioceses Can Unilaterally Leave: These bishops give aid and comfort to breakaway factions trying to alienate this Church’s historic property and identity and urge a false view of polity that would purport to authorize each bishop across this Church to lead his or her diocese and church property in the diocese out of The Episcopal Church.
2. They Denied the Dennis Canon and Failed to Safeguard Church Property: These bishops advocate that the breakaway parties should prevail in the litigation against The Episcopal Church and the loyal Episcopalians in those dioceses and assert positions that would strip millions of dollars of historic property and funds, lovingly accumulated by generations of Episcopalians, from the mission and ministry of this Church, and instead urge that they be used by breakaway factions for the mission and ministry of a new church. They thus would nullify this Church’s trust interest in all the real and personal property of congregations in those dioceses and, indeed, across The Episcopal Church and fail to safeguard property of the Church and its dioceses.
3. They Recognized the Wrong Bishops: The amicus bishops in the Fort Worth case expressly claim that Iker, not Bishop Wallis Ohl, repeatedly recognized by the Church, is still the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth; in the Quincy filing the affidavit bishops imply that Morales, not Bishop John C. Buchanan, repeatedly recognized by the Church, is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy. By this claim these bishops not only reject this Church’s authority to recognize its own bishops but they arrogate for themselves, in direct defiance of this Church, the authority to determine the episcopal authority of every other bishop in the Church, substituting at will their personal standards for those of this Church and trying to inject chaos into core ecclesiastical functions of The Episcopal Church itself.
4. They Violated Episcopal Jurisdiction: By their public filings in local litigation, without invitation or consent of the ecclesiastical authority in those sister dioceses, these bishops directly violated the ecclesiastical authority and episcopal jurisdiction of Bishop C. Wallis Oh1 and Bishop John C. Buchanan, respectively, who have been consistently recognized by The Episcopal Church as being the current bishops of Fort Worth and Quincy. By inserting themselves in local litigation against the ecclesiastical authority in those dioceses, the subject bishops have violated the longstanding prohibition against “acting in another diocese without the consent of the diocesan authority”’ and have engaged in boundary crossing to interfere profoundly in the mission and the very existence of a sister diocese and the jurisdiction of other bishops of this Church.
This is not a matter of a few unhappy bishops stating their personal views on church polity. They each affirmatively and officially acted by injecting themselves, intentionally and without invitation from the bishops exercising jurisdiction, into local litigation, opposing this Church and sister dioceses on core ecclesiastical issues regarding the very identity of other dioceses.
We respectfully urge that the House of Bishops set the record straight on the polity of this Church regarding its hierarchical character.
(The Rt. Rev.) C. Wallis Ohl (TEC) Bishop of Fort Worth
(The Rt. Rev.) John C. Buchanan (TEC) Bishop of Quincy
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Polity & Canons
Judge Ortbal further rejected the evidence of other court decisions as having proven that the Episcopal Church was “hierarchical as a matter of law."
The national church had cited “numerous cases” which they “assert mandate acceptance of their position in this case and granting of their motion for summary judgment. The court has reviewed the cases, but does not find it is bound by them,” the judge said.
He further stated that he found the “cases distinguishable on different levels and does not find them conclusively persuasive as to the record before it. For example, the vast majority of the cases involve disputes between local parishes and dioceses and/or the national church. These cases appear very fact driven and many involved concessions or stipulations as to matters which are disputed on this record. Many involve specific religious corporation and/or other state statutes not applicable in the present case.”
Read it all.
In a ruling released yesterday afternoon by the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Adams County, Illinois, Judge Thomas J. Ortbal denied motions for summary judgment brought by ECUSA and its rump diocese of Quincy, which had intervened to join in ECUSA's counterclaim against certain clergy and laity who held property and funds in trust for the (now missionary) Diocese of Quincy in ACNA.
To my knowledge, this is the first summary judgment motion lost by ECUSA, or by any of its rump dioceses, in their attempts to seize the property of the four dioceses which have thus far realigned with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and with the Anglican Church in North America ("ACNA").
Read it all.
Jim Cowan, liaison to Council from the Anglican Church in Canada, reflected that he found the conversations concerning the Dioceses of Quincy and San Joaquin intriguing. He asked, "How do the dioceses that have suffered as a result of schism compare with those dioceses that are marginal? There are real concerns about viability, but where do these concerns mesh with plans for the extended mission of the Church?
He also observed, "We have talked about 'pruning for growth.' What does this mean to us? Pruning, whether for maintenance or for growth, hurts."
Read it all.
Read it all.
Women have been ordained as priests in all 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church, after the last holdout, in Quincy, Ill., ordained its first woman on Saturday (Oct. 16).
The Rev. Margaret Lee, a grandmother of five and former chemist, is the first woman ordained a priest in the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy's 133-year history, according to Episcopal News Service. She had been a deacon since 1996.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Departing Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Women
Frank Kirkpatrick, professor of religion at Trinity College, wrote in a survey article in 2008 that "there were, as of December , 55 [Episcopal Church] property disputes in one state or another of resolution around the country." (You may find a listing of those lawsuits in this post from August 2008, and see also the latest report from the American Anglican Council.) Of those fifty-five lawsuits, I estimate that ECUSA itself was a party to about half of them. Thus from the five lawsuits to which it was a party as Bishop Griswold ended his term in November 2006 (the Pawley's Island case in South Carolina, the three Los Angeles lawsuits, and a case involving St. James Church in Elmhurst, in the Diocese of Long Island), the number increased by five times in the first full year of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's term.
Under Bishop Jefferts Schori, ECUSA did not just passively stand by as the property disputes emerged, and allow the diocese involved to carry the laboring oar. It aggressively prosecuted the cases in both California and Virginia, joined in filings in Connecticut, Georgia and New York (where it intervened as the DFMS against St. Andrew's, in Syracuse, and filed an amicus brief in this case in New York's highest court), became enmeshed in additional litigation in San Diego and Colorado, and threatened litigation against the dioceses of San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Quincy if they dared to withdraw from the Church. (The latter two threats were issued by the Presiding Bishop's Chancellor on his own initiative, as discussed in this earlier post.)
There are no records in the minutes of the Executive Council during this period to show that it was ever consulted before any of these multiple filings in the name of the Church took place; as quoted in the previous post, the Presiding Bishop held the view that only she personally, and neither the Council, nor even General Convention, had any authority over litigation. Thus she simply gave her Chancellor free rein -- and ECUSA's legal bills began to mount exponentially.
Read it all (and please note it is part of a series all parts of which need to be perused).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin TEC Departing Parishes TEC Data * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Diocese of Quincy, a member of the Anglican Church in North America, has elected The Rt. Rev. Alberto Morales to be the 9th bishop of the diocese. Abbot Morales was elected on the 2nd ballot at a special session diocesan Synod which met Saturday at Grace Anglican Church in Galesburg, Illinois.
Bishop-elect Morales is the Abbot and spiritual leader of St. Benedicts Abbey, an ecumenical abbey in Bartonville, Illinois near Peoria. He was one of three candidates nominated for bishop by a special committee formed in 2009 to guide the selection process.
Abbot Morales founded St. Benedict's Abbey in 1985 in Puerto Rico and moved the community to Illinois in 1996 after suffering religious persecution in Puerto Rico. Upon arrival in Illinois, the Abbot opened not only a monastery, but also a church for the people of the local community. Additionally, he started the local ministerial association along with other pastors of the Bartonville area and established St. Benedict's Charities. He has been involved in helping the Church worldwide through his work in missions, spiritual direction, and conducting conferences and clergy retreats.
The other two nominees considered by the Synod were the Very Rev. Canon Edward den Blaauwen, Dean and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral (pro-tem) in Moline, Illinois, and Canon Liturgist of the diocese; and the Rev. Canon Michael Brooks, Rector at St. Peter's Church in Canton, Illinois, and the administrator and Canon Missioner of the diocese.
As two former Episcopal dioceses hold conventions this weekend, they are beginning to incorporate congregations from across the nation.
The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote on welcoming Harvest Anglican Church, Homer City, Pa.; Church of the Transfiguration, Cleveland, Ohio; HolyTrinityChurch, Raleigh, N.C.; and St. James Church, San Jose, Calif.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (Southern Cone) plans to receive St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church, Springdale, Ark., as a new mission station. It also will welcome two existing parishes: St. Matthias’ Anglican Church, Dallas; and Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulsa, Okla.
On Oct. 30, the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee went to court against St. Andrew’s Church, Nashville, which left the Episcopal Church in 2006 and has since announced its affiliation with the Diocese of Quincy (Ill.).
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin TEC Departing Parishes * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
The Diocese of Quincy held its 132nd annual Synod October 16-17, and formally aligned itself as a constituent member of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a group of more than 700 Anglican churches in the US and Canada that was founded in June. Since that time another 40 churches have joined the new body.
The Synod, hosted by the Church of the Transfiguration in Princeton, also reaffirmed its pastoral relationship with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone which offered the diocese “safe harbor” a year ago when the diocese separated from the Episcopal Church.
"God has truly blessed us over the last 12 months,” said Fr. John Spencer, President of the Standing Committee which currently oversees the diocese. “Our churches remain strong, we are focused on the future, and we are blessed to now be part of an orthodox Anglican body here in the US.” The ACNA is led by Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and a leader over the last several years of the movement to restore a traditional, biblically grounded Anglican presence in the US.
In addition to routine business, the annual Synod welcomed three new parishes into the diocese. “They applied to become part of Quincy,” Fr. Spencer said, “because they know our diocese had taken a firm stand for the historic faith and practice of the Church. They know we adhere to biblical teaching and biblical morality, and they found a home with us.” Several other parishes have approached the diocese about possibly becoming members.
“God isn’t hampered by the rebellion of some in the church. When some stray from the Gospel, God raises up faithful Christians who are willing to stand against the social and moral decay that can infect and destroy a culture.” That decay, Spencer said, has infected some US churches. “There is a cost when you stand against the flow of society. But Christian faith is not a popularity contest. Our first calling is to uphold the teaching of Christ. Cultures have always resisted the Gospel. That’s no reason to stop teaching it, or stop living it.”
Two of the largest Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion have already formally recognized the new ACNA. As the ACNA receives growing recognition around the Communion, Spencer said, the diocese will maintain is pastoral relationship with the Province of the Southern Cone as its “official” link to world-wide Anglicanism.
This paper examines whether the Presiding Bishop is authorized to initiate and conduct recent property litigation and finds no source for such authority in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Arguments based on a presumed equivalence of the roles of the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council to those of a corporate CEO and board of directors are found not to be valid. The paper also examines claims that pursuit of litigation is necessitated by fiduciary duty. It concludes that no convincing case has been made that this is so. First, no person is under a fiduciary duty to undertake something that has not been authorized. Putting aside the issue of authorization, several factors relevant to a proper fiduciary duty analysis suggest refraining from litigation such as has been commenced against disaffiliating dioceses. In this connection, relevant fiduciary duties are not limited to those that may be owed to TEC as an organization, but also include duties owed to its member dioceses. Claims that a member diocese cannot disaffiliate and retain ownership of its property implicate the latter set of duties. The paper presents a case that the duties to dioceses include duties to those that have withdrawn because the claims against them are based on alleged consequences of their having been dioceses of TEC rather than the actions of an unaffiliated third party.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
Largo, Florida – By a vote of 174 to 13, the membership of St. Dunstan’s Church today voted to sever its ties with The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a parish within the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, Ill. The vote took place during a special meeting convened following regularly scheduled church services this past weekend.
The ACNA unites some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes into a single church. Jurisdictions which have joined together to form the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the Anglican Church in North America include four former Episcopal dioceses (the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin); the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda, and South America’s Southern Cone. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations. The ACNA is headed by the Archbishop Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate.
The Episcopal Church (USA) currently is a party to some sixty lawsuits across the United States. Its litigation budget from 2006-2012 could approach $7 million, or more than $1 million per year -- and that is just the official, published figures. There is another considerable amount going out to prop up its Potemkin dioceses in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy.
Those are the four dioceses which have thus far voted to leave the Church, and each departure has spawned a lawsuit. ECUSA from the beginning has adopted a high-stakes, winner-take-all strategy which depends for its success on its ability to prove in court the proposition that a diocese is not free to withdraw from the voluntary unincorporated association which ECUSA has been since its formation at common law in 1789....
The inverted logic of this argument should be apparent to any mind that loves reason. The Presiding Bishop and Chancellor first contend that ECUSA's Constitution and Canons prohibit any Diocese from amending its Constitution so as to withdraw from the Church. They can point to no language in the national Constitution and Canons which says as much; they argue that the prohibition against leaving is implicit. Then they contend that because it is forbidden implicitly to withdraw, a vote to do so pursuant to the express power to amend spelled out in the diocesan Constitution (which, in the form approved by General Convention when the diocese in question was admitted, was an unlimited power to amend the document in any manner whatsoever) violates that implicit prohibition. So an implicit and unwritten understanding overrides the express language of amendment: the latter does not mean what it says, because despite its unrestricted language, it is to be understood that certain amendments are out of bounds. And it is further understood (although nowhere expressly written) that you are out of office the moment you choose to follow the express language in a manner that is implicitly prohibited.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues
No, as you can see plainly from this chart.
I post this today because earlier I read the following:
St. Francis is one of 28 parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
According to the Episcopal Church Annual of 2007 (which reflects parochial reports from 2005) there were 67 parishes in the diocese of Pittsburgh that year. So the quite significant drop in active baptized membership in the domestic dioceses of TEC from 1997-2007 of -9.7% does not yet reflect the realignments in Pittsburgh, Quincy, Fort Worth and San Joaquin.
A Rock Island County judge Tuesday upheld an earlier decision blocking Moline's Christ Church from its endowment.
The church is a parish of the Diocese of Quincy which elected last year to leave the larger Episcopal Church because of differences on a variety of topics, from interpretations of Scripture to homosexuality.
Read it all.
The recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, CA, held few surprises. As we expected, actions taken by the bishops and representatives of the remaining Episcopal dioceses continue to support teaching and morality that is contrary to Christian Scriptures and practice. The convention’s actions place them further outside the norms and fellowship of the Anglican Communion. We had hoped The Episcopal Church would listen to other Anglicans, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, and turn back. They have not.
Even the claim of Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori that a focus on individual salvation through a relationship with Jesus was “heresy” is not surprising, considering her past statements suggesting there are many ways to salvation apart from Jesus Christ.
What most concerns us are our friends in local churches who decided to stay in the Episcopal Church after our diocese realigned last fall. We know many of them object to the actions taken by their General Convention. We are saddened that those who tried to stand against the tide are now pushed further to the fringes of their own church. Our hope is that all faithful Anglicans in central Illinois will feel welcome in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which our diocese helped found, and move forward together with us in local and world mission in the ACNA.
We invite all in our communities to visit our churches, learn more about the Anglican Communion, and join us in bringing the world to Christ.
The Standing Committee
The Diocese of Quincy, Anglican Province of the Southern Cone/ACNA
A split between local...[Episcopal] churches earlier this year has resulted in a legal dispute over church assets that will be heard today in a Rock Island County Circuit Courtroom.
Last week, Christ Church of Moline filed the suit against The Episcopal Church, its presiding bishop and a chancellor to the bishop. According to the suit, the defendants sent a letter to First Midwest Bank last month in which they claimed to have "legally enforceable interest" in the funds held for Christ Church.
Christ Church then demanded The Episcopal Church withdraw its demand, which the suit claims it did briefly before re-submitting it to the bank a day later.
Read it all.
The Anglo-Catholic Diocese of Quincy based in Peoria has announced plans to elect its next bishop.
The diocese has been led by the diocesan standing committee since the retirement of Bishop Keith Ackerman last fall.
"We've begun the process of assessing the needs and vision of our diocese and forming a search committee," said the Rev. John Spencer, president of the standing committee. "We'll begin receiving nominations on July 1 and will move forward with interviews through the late summer. We plan to elect at our annual synod in October."
Read it all.
The Diocese of Quincy (Anglican Province of the Southern Cone) plans to elect a diocesan bishop at its annual synod in October. The standing committee has acted as the ecclesiastical authority since the retirement of the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman Nov. 1.
The diocese separated from The Episcopal Church and voted to accept an offer of temporary affiliation with the Church of the Southern Cone at its annual synod Nov. 7-8. At a meeting later this month in Bedford, Texas, the diocese will seek to become one of the founding members of the Anglican Church in North America.
Read it all.
JESUS is a way, but not the only way to salvation, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori has told members of the Diocese of Quincy....
“If Billy Graham or Pope Benedict” were asked the questions the presiding bishop were asked, they would respond that “Jesus is the way, the truth and life,” South Carolina theologian Canon Kendall Harmon said. In a time of doctrinal confusion, “good leadership claims its particular identity from the stability of its historical faith,” he argued.
“It’s the leadership of this church giving up the unique claims of Christianity,” Canon Harmon said. “They act like it’s Baskin-Robbins. You just choose a different flavour and everyone gets in the store.”
Read it all.
An unprecedented visit to Peoria on Saturday by the top leader of the Episcopal Church was welcomed by some local churches but was largely ignored by the 19 that have broken away from the national organization.
The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, called a special synod at St. Paul's Cathedral to name new leadership within the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy and "to get the diocese back on its feet."
"It was remarkable to experience this synod," Jefferts Schori said after the special convention. "Everything passed unanimously, which is rare."
Read it all.
Deputies to a special synod meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy acted with dispatch on Saturday, April 4 as they quickly and unanimously elected new leadership, approved a diocesan budget and elected a provisional bishop. The actions were necessary after a majority of deputies at the 2008 annual synod voted to leave the Episcopal Church and realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
Deputies elected the Right Rev. John Clark Buchanan, retired bishop of the Diocese of West Missouri, as provisional bishop of the Diocese of Quincy. Buchanan most recently served as interim bishop in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.
In his opening remarks to the synod, Buchanan told the deputies and guests that he now "lays claim to your heritage and to all who belong to the Diocese of Quincy."
Read it all.
The Rt. Rev. John Clark Buchanan has been nominated to serve as provisional Bishop of Quincy. Bishop Buchanan and other newly appointed diocesan leaders must be confirmed by delegates to a special reorganizing convention to be held April 4 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Peoria, Ill.
Bishop Buchanan currently serves as the Parliamentarian of the House of Bishops. He was Bishop of West Missouri from 1989-1999, and recently completed a term as an assisting Bishop of Southern Virginia.
Read it all.
[QUINCY, ILLINOIS] The Diocese of Quincy has petitioned the Circuit Court of Illinois in Quincy to issue a Declaratory Judgment clarifying the rights of the Diocese to hold and manage its endowment funds. The petition was filed in response to actions taken by leaders of the Episcopal Church in New York claiming that trust funds held by the diocese must remain in the Episcopal Church. Quincy formally separated from the Episcopal Church at it annual Synod in November, 2008.
“We hoped from the beginning to avoid any legal action,” said Fr. John Spencer, President of the Standing Committee which oversees the diocese. “Our Fall synod passed a resolution asking the leaders of the Episcopal Church to find ways ‘in which the two entities might carry out the mission of the church as brothers and sisters in the Lord Christ rather than as hostile parties.’ We sent that to the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop. She never responded. We wrote to the leader of a group of several churches that is setting up a new Episcopal diocese here, asking to meet and talk about the property issues. They said they didn’t have the authority to talk with us.”
Quincy, along with the Dioceses of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Ft. Worth, withdrew from the Episcopal church over the meaning and authority of Holy Scripture and other basic Christian teaching, according to Fr. Spencer. San Joaquin separated in December, 2007, and the other three last fall.
A series of legal actions by the Episcopal Church led to the filing of the Quincy petition this week, Fr. Spencer said. In January, an attorney for the Episcopal Church wrote the bank that holds Quincy’s diocesan endowment funds, claiming that those funds have to stay in the Episcopal Church. The letter also claimed that the elected officials of the diocese no longer had any say in the control of those funds.
In February, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, wrote the members of the Quincy Standing Committee, claiming they were no longer officers of the Diocese. “The problem is,” Spencer said, “she has no authority to make such a judgment. The governing officers of each diocese have always been elected at the local level, and the General Convention officers in New York have no say in the matter.”
About the same time, Spencer said, a group of churches that have broken away from the Quincy Diocese announced they would organize a new Episcopal diocese in central Illinois. An article appeared in the March edition of the Episcopal Church’s official newspaper, “Episcopal Life,” saying the Episcopal Presiding Bishop was giving “extensive guidance” to the churches organizing the new diocese and that the goal of Episcopal Presiding Bishop and other Episcopal leaders was “to craft a lawsuit that is trim and focused on the critical claims involving ownership and possession of diocesan property.”
“It was clear,” Spencer said, “that a law suit was heading our way. From suits they have filed elsewhere, we know Episcopal Church leaders will start by trying to seize our funds, and eventually try to take our churches.”
After lengthy consultation with their legal counsel, the Quincy Standing Committee made the decision to petition the Illinois court to clarify and define the property rights of the Diocese against the claims of Episcopal Church officers from New York.
“We want people to understand, this is not a typical ‘law suit’,” Fr. Spencer said. “We’re not trying to take property away from anyone. We’re simply trying to protect the property of our Diocese and local churches which we believe legally — and morally — belong to the people of those churches, and to our historic Diocese that has existed since 1877.“ A Declaratory Judgment, Spencer said, is a particular court petition that asks the court to spell out what the rights, duties, and responsibilities of the Diocese are under Illinois law. “Only then will we be able to move forward with releasing property to those churches who have decided to leave us. We want to do everything properly, and an explanatory ruling from the court will ensure that we stay within the bounds of the law.”
Spencer emphasized that the Diocese has offered to work charitably with those few churches that decided to leave the Diocese and stay under the control of the Episcopal Church. “We were willing to begin those talks. Unfortunately, the improper legal claims by leaders of the Episcopal Church in New York have tied our hands. We need direction from the court before we can proceed.”
Spencer said he had no idea how soon the court will make a decision on their petition. “The sooner the better,” he said. “The Episcopal Church has spent millions of dollars in the last few years suing churches who no longer want to be a part of it. Our goal is not to make their lawyers rich. Our goal is to protect our churches and diocesan resources. Many people have given sacrificially to our Diocese for over a hundred and fifty years because we have always upheld traditional Christian faith and discipline. We plan to do so for the next 150 years, God willing.”
The presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church is scheduled to visit Peoria next month.
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The Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore has agreed to serve as consulting bishop to the reorganizing Episcopal Diocese of Quincy in the period prior to a special synod at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Peoria, Ill., on April 4.
The reorganizing synod became necessary after a majority of clergy and lay delegates voted last November to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy, resigned Nov. 1, six days before the synod convened.
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As I watch the sad saga of our bishops’ legalistic and punitive response to “traditionalist” bishops, dioceses, and parishes who are attempting to leave the Episcopal Church in order to form a new North American Anglican province, I am reminded of the defensive and dismissive response of the Church of England bishops to the Methodist Movement in the eighteenth century. The result of course was the founding and development of a separate Methodist Church, which is now much larger than the “Anglican” Church (at least as we are now constituted) on this continent. Imagine the strength and witness of Anglicanism today if the Methodists were welcomed as a preaching order within the Church of England. Surely, they would be more “orthodox” and we would be more “vibrant,” and together we would be much larger and much more effective for the Gospel in the world than we are divided. This, by the way, is exactly what Innocent III achieved when he embraced St. Francis and welcomed his friars into the ministry of the Catholic Church at the beginning of the thirteenth century, despite the fact that they were preaching such a dangerous “new” doctrine.
Now what I wonder is this: what would happen if the Presiding Bishop with the support of the House of Bishops were to welcome the formation of a new province for “traditionalists” within the Episcopal Church, allowing every diocese, parish, and church institution to join this province with a two-thirds vote by the appropriate parish meeting, convention, or governing body? She could even stipulate an acceptable window of a year during which this vote would be required to happen.
In this way, both “sides” of our church could continue in dialogue from protected positions of mutual respect without the present feelings of distrust and fear. Both would also be encouraged to grow by teaching the doctrines and practicing the liturgies they believe in, which they could proceed to do with conviction and enthusiasm. We could, for instance, continue to share the Church Pension Fund and Episcopal Relief and Development, and our primates and bishops could continue to meet on an annual basis to look for areas of agreement, common witness, shared costs and joint projects, but in a way which is more representative, more conducive to collegiality, and more focused on results than our present General Convention. I also wonder if it would not be appropriate for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Consul to ask us to do this in one final attempt at unity and civility before they are forced by our actions to actively establish or passively recognize a permanent state of schism between us.
I would hope that the traditionalists would find such an arrangement better than what is now proposed as it would allow clergy, parishes and dioceses to reorganize without the loss of their properties and the cost of legal action. The risk for the Presiding Bishop, of course, is that too many will want to leave, but at least they will not be completely leaving and no one will remain because they have been bullied and threatened into submission. There is also the obvious advantage pointed out by others who have written to this magazine before me that such an action on her part and on the part of the rest of the House of Bishops would show true Christian humility and a more genuine openness to the power of the Holy Spirit to build the Church and thus to lead the Church in His, if not necessarily our own, direction.
--The Revd. Dr. D. Stuart Dunnan is Headmaster of Saint James School in Maryland; this article appears as a Guest Column in the February 8, 2009 Living Church on page 10 and is used with the author's kind permission
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin TEC Departing Parishes Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her staff have attempted to aid the four dioceses in which the leadership and a majority of members have left the church with a combination of "guidance, support and pastoral care."
So says an eight-and-a-half page memo Jefferts Schori gave the Executive Council during its winter meeting here. The memo was written by Mary Kostel, the recently appointed special counsel to the Presiding Bishop for property litigation and discipline. Kostel has worked closely with David Beers, who is chancellor to the Presiding Bishop.
While the situations in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy are all different, there are similarities in their experiences and in the way Jefferts Schori has worked with them, Kostel wrote. Those efforts usually begin with the Presiding Bishop encouraging the formation of a steering committee of Episcopalians from across the diocese who are committed to remaining in the church "and who represent a broad spectrum of views in the diocese on issues such as human sexuality and the ordination of women."
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Members of Christ Church, Moline, Ill., narrowly defeated a proposal to remain with The Episcopal Church during the annual meeting on Jan. 25. The Rev. Canon Ed den Blauwen, the church’s rector, is president of the standing committee and vicar general of the Diocese of Quincy which voted to join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone on a temporary basis during the annual synod last fall.
Members voted 80-59 to remain with The Episcopal Church, but failed to achieve the required two-thirds approval the diocese established in order to be released from the diocese. The vestry was divided, but not so bitterly that its members were unable to work together prior to the annual meeting, Canon den Blauwen said.
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The standing committee of the Diocese of Quincy recently clarified its relationship with The Episcopal Church and its former bishop, the Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, who resigned as bishop of the diocese Nov. 1.
“Bishop Ackerman fully supports those of us who have realigned with the Province of the Southern Cone and who are moving forward, as part of the Common Cause Partnership, to build a united, orthodox Anglican province here in the U.S. and Canada,” said the Rev. Canon Ed den Blaauwen, president of the standing committee and vicar general. Canon den Blaauwen added that Bishop Ackerman serves as one of seven lead bishops of the Common Cause Partnership in his role as president of Forward in Faith/North America. That organization has worked for almost two decades for the creation of a traditional Anglican province in the U.S.
“The new province I have long supported is now becoming a reality,” Bishop Ackerman said, “but there are still churches in The Episcopal Church who need care from orthodox bishops.”
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“This vote demonstrates that when people have an opportunity to study the facts, they realize that the information disseminated by the ultra-conservative leadership of the diocese was misleading,” said the Very Rev. Robert Dedmon, the cathedral’s dean, on a website established by a group working to reorganize the diocese within the Episcopal Church. “Now this parish must get on with our Christian mission and ministry.”
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When the Diocese of Fort Worth voted Nov. 15 to become the fourth American diocese to leave The Episcopal Church, the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) scheduled a constitutional convention in the Chicago area Dec. 3 to form a new North American Anglican province. The event will be followed by “a province-by-province visitation and appeal for recognition of the separate ecclesiastical structure in North America.”
Significant details about the plan were revealed in a short AnglicanTV internet video clip containing remarks delivered by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and Bishop Bill Murdoch, a missionary bishop to the U.S. consecrated by the Anglican Church of Kenya.
Read the whole thing and please take the time to view the video interview here.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Common Cause Partnership Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin
The departure of Quincy and three other conservative dioceses raises questions about the future of the Episcopal Church. The church, led by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, represents the U.S. branch of the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. However, leaders of the conservative breakaway dioceses are pushing for a second province in North America. Approval of an additional province by the archbishop of Canterbury would be unprecedented and pose a strong challenge to the Episcopal Church.
"You have some significant, traditionalist Episcopal dioceses that no longer feel that they have a future in the Episcopal Church. That's a tragedy," said Rev. Kendall Harmon, a theologian in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. "Now, we also have a bigger group that's trying to organize, link with the Global South and compete as Anglicans within the same territory. It will be interesting to see how the leadership of the Anglican Communion responds to this."
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Greg Griffith: So not just from a conceptual standpoint, but really from an official standpoint, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is not a creation of General Convention.
Bishop Iker: Not at all. If it's a "creation" of anything, it's a creation of the Diocese of Dallas, which decided for missionary and church growth purposes that they would divide the diocese in two. Two-thirds of the geographical area remained the diocese of Dallas. They wanted to create a new diocese which at the time didn't have a name; it was referred to as the "western diocese," so the first convention had to, among other things, choose our name - it wasn't given to us by someone else. There were several proposals, and the vote was that we call ourselves the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
Greg Griffith: Provided the resolutions at your convention pass, you'll be joining Bishop Schofield and San Joaquin, Bishop Duncan and Pittsburgh, as well as the diocese of Quincy, which voted yesterday, in a realignment with the Southern Cone under Archbishop Venables. I think we have to be candid and say that's probably it for the near term - that's probably all the dioceses that will be aligning with the Cone for the time being.
Bishop Iker: I think so. It's interesting, though, that historically to form a new province it's been customary to have 4 dioceses.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Common Cause Partnership Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin
Along with ending its affiliation with The Episcopal Church during its annual synod last weekend, the Diocese of Quincy established a protocol for clergy and parishes that do not wish to join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.
The Rev. Canon Ed den Blaauwen, president of the diocesan standing committee, was named vicar general by Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone. Canon den Blaauwen announced that members of the clergy would receive a certificate indicating they are members in good standing of the South American province. Clergy who wish to remain with The Episcopal Church were asked to write the word “rejected” on the certificate, sign and date it, and return it to the diocesan office.
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Five years ago, General Convention threw a match onto a gasoline-soaked garage floor, instigating a chain of events of which the secession of Quincy is now the latest link. At the very least, we are witnessing a series of rebellions that might plausibly be interpreted as one Big Rebellion in several parts. The hope of dioceses like Quincy (along with San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth) is that they are part of a larger movement of realignment within Anglicanism, the end of which will result in a new Anglican province on North American soil, one that will be institutionally unconnected from both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. Several other Anglican provinces are cooperating with this movement: the Southern Cone, obviously, by providing a temporary insitutional haven, but also all the groups that fall under the umbrella known as GAFCON (from their initial gathering in Jerusalem this past summer, the Global Anglican Futures Conference). This big tent includes the Anglican Mission in American (AMiA, connected to Rwanda), the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA, connected to Nigeria), and a smattering of parishes that have come under the aegis of Uganda.
So far, then, what we have is a rebellion in progress. But the hope of what we might call the realignment community is that it will continue to grow–both by continuing to peel off dioceses and parishes from TEC (and its Canadian equivalent) and by growing their parishes, both in size and number–and that TEC will continue to decline (by ongoing loss of dioceses and parishes and by stagnation in spiritual and financial vitality) to an envisaged tipping point, at which it will simply be a fait accomplait, with or without any official pronouncement from Canterbury or elsewhere, that TEC has been replaced as the holder of the Anglican franchise in this country.
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Fallout from the weekend decision by the Diocese of Quincy, Ill., to leave the Episcopal Church of the United States may include litigation over millions of dollars’ worth of property and assets.
“We pray there will be no litigation,” the Rev. Ed den Blaauwen said Monday. Den Blaauwen, the rector of Christ Church in Moline, is also the newly appointed vicar general of the diocese that is now aligned with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina.
Church resources would be better used for Christian activities than in the courts, he added.
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[The Rev. John] Spencer said the church recognizes the decision was not unanimous. By a separate action, the synod made provisions for a nine-month grace period during which members can withdraw from the diocese in order to stay in the national Episcopal Church.
"It is a matter of allowing everyone to follow their consciences in these very difficult times, without recrimination," Spencer said.
The Rev. John Throop, a local Episcopalian minister, said he anticipated the breakaway and transferred to the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago last year for that reason. Throop does not consider himself an extreme liberal, but he said his new diocese is more accepting of his point of view.
"I'm grieved that it has come to this, but I knew it was coming, and there was nothing I could do to persuade leaders to think otherwise," Throop said. "I pray for God's grace to be with them."
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Following the unexpected resignation of Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman, which was effective November 1, the synod convened without a sitting bishop. The Rev. Canon Edward den Blaauwen, rector of Christ Church, Moline, and a member of the Standing Committee, was appointed to preside at Synod’s business meetings.
At the opening session of the synod on November 7, which was closed to the public, Spencer reported that Ackerman was on hand to ceremonially “pass the gavel” to den Blaauwen.
Following the votes to realign, a letter was read from Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Southern Cone, in which he reported that he had appointed den Blaauwen as Vicar General of the new diocesan unit, in the absence of a sitting bishop.
Den Blaauwen who also serves as executive administrator for Forward in Faith North America, of which Ackerman is president, attended the Global Anglican Futures Conference in June. He also accompanied Ackerman to the Lambeth Conference this past summer.
Spencer noted that no plans have yet been made for a search for a new bishop.
“Our focus has been entirely about just getting through this synod for now,” he said.
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(A press release received via email).
The Annual Synod of the Diocese of Quincy’s meeting November 7-8 in Quincy, Illinois, has voted by strong margins to realign itself with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, breaking its ties with The Episcopal Church in the US. On two key votes more than ¾ of the clergy and lay deputies voted in favor of the realignment.
The move came after several years of prayer and discernment about the diocese’s relationship with The Episcopal Church. Many in the Quincy Diocese, both clergy and lay people, have been at odds with the national leadership and other dioceses over the authority of the Bible, church order and discipline, and the church’s moral standards and teaching on Christian marriage.
On the vote to disaffiliate from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, 75% of the clergy and 82% of the lay deputies voted in favor. On the subsequent vote to realign the diocese with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone the vote in favor was 92% in the clergy order and 87% in the lay order.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Fr. John Spencer, press officer for the diocese. “We have talked and prayed about this for a very long time. But we take our relationship to the Anglican Communion very seriously. Since 2003, over half the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been in a state of broken Communion with The Episcopal Church. By realigning with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, we are now back in full communion with the majority of over 75 million Anglicans around the world.”
Canon Ed den Blaauwen, incoming President of the Standing Committee, said the focus of the diocese will remain on mission. “Our churches and our diocese will continue in mission and ministry locally and around the world. We feel much at home under the oversight of Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, who has warmly welcomed us into affiliation with that Province,” den Blaauwen said. “We are once again back in full fellowship with our brother and sister Anglicans.”
Shortly after the votes were taken, Canon den Blaauwen, who acted as chairman for the Synod, read a letter from Archbishop Venables welcoming Quincy as a member of the Province of the Southern Cone.
Bishop Keith Ackerman who retired from leadership of the diocese on November 1, spoke to the gathering Friday afternoon just before the synod convened. Quoting the Epistle of Jude, he encouraged them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ and the historic faith of the Christian Church as they considered the momentous decisions before them.
“While the votes show there was very strong support for this decision,” Fr. Spencer said, “we realize this was not a unanimous decision.” By a separate action, the synod made provision for a nine months grace period during which a congregation or member of the clergy might consider withdrawing from the diocese in order to stay in the Episcopal Church. “It is a matter of allowing everyone to follow their consciences in these very difficult times, without recrimination,” Spencer said.
The Diocese of Quincy's governing synod has voted resoundingly to leave the national Episcopal Church.
The announcement came Friday afternoon during the group's meeting at Quincy Country Club. In the past five years the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy and some of the other conservative-leaning dioceses around the nation have threatened to leave the Episcopal Church to join other Anglican bodies.
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Update: An ENS article is here.
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