Skip to comments.2006 - The Year In Review [TEC]
Posted on 12/30/2006 8:35:09 AM PST by sionnsar
It was a year of more fleeing orthodox parishes from The Episcopal Church - the worst ever in the history of the TEC - the church's nastiest nightmare, with no seeming let up in sight for 2007. An estimated 115,000 Episcopalians over the last two years have gone forever.
It was a year that saw the first woman Presiding Bishop of the TEC - Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori - a person who believes that Millennium Development Goals are more important than the proclamation of the Great Commission was elected to lead The Episcopal Church.
She is the first female Primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion who, within weeks of her nomination, found herself at the center of controversy with an unacceptable rating with most of the church's archbishops because of her ultra-liberal views on theology and morality.
She is the first Primate ever, to refer to Jesus as "mother Jesus" during a homily at the 75th General Convention Eucharist beginning an alienation from orthodox Anglican believers that only got worse with time.
It was a year in which The Episcopal Church (TEC) changed its name from The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) to TEC for reasons that were not made clear, but commentators concluded that it would allow a pre-emptive strike if the TEC got kicked out of the Anglican Communion, thus positioning the TEC to be its own communion with some 16 provinces (they flew flags at convention) lined up to follow it.
It was a year that witnessed The Episcopal Church's continued decline into the morass of moral relativism by a church already on a slippery slope to oblivion. From hetero to homo, from transgendered to bisexual...can polymory be far behind? (Polymory defined as a new theory of marriage and bonding in which people can have a legitimate multi partner relationship, and still maintain a high level of egalitarianism.)
It was a year that continued to galvanize orthodox Episcopalians to confront revisionist Episcopal powers with bishops meeting in New York City and later in Texas only to be told by bishops Robert Duncan (Pittsburgh) and Jack Iker (Ft. Worth) that they were done "listening" and engaging in blessed "conversation" and the time for walking apart into a new paradigm was now a reality. Will that be a 10th or 39th province? We wait with bated breath. In Texas, Bishop Don Wimberly lead some 22 Windsor bishops on a consultation at Camp Allen with a couple of CofE bishops in the vain hope of finding a way forward for the TEC. They all signed a letter, but little came of it.
It was a year that saw seven dioceses announce they wanted Alternative Primatial Oversight from the Archbishop of Canterbury, but then settle for "commissary" status - that is - oversight from an orthodox Archbishop of Dr. Williams choosing. The seven were Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina, Springfield, Central Florida, Quincy and Dallas.
But by early December, and perhaps to avoid open schism (we have de fact schism) Mrs. Schori announced that she would offer a "primatial vicar" to these dioceses. She would, of course appoint such a person. This went down like a lead balloon and was roundly rejected by these dioceses. One does not, after all, ask the fox to invite a fellow fox to look after seven vulnerable chickens in a wide open coop.
It was a year that saw Anglo-Catholic bishop, John-David Schofield (Diocese of San Joaquin) announce that he and his diocese were now only one step away from formally detaching themselves from the Episcopal Church forever. This was a red rag to four fellow California bishops who had already sought and failed to have him removed from office claiming he had "abandoned the communion" of the church for trying to rewrite the diocesan constitution and canons out of the national church, (the Title IV Review Committee nixed it) but this time, with the threat of a whole diocese departing, the threatening sounds came from New York City where Mrs. Schori told Bishop John-David that he could go pound sand elsewhere if he wasn't prepared to stay in the TEC.
But other bishops also came under fire, revealing deep fissures within the church.
PB Frank Griswold along with the Bishop of Kansas, Dean E. Wolfe filed a formal complaint against retired Bishop William J. Cox to determine if he had violated the canons by ordaining two priests and a deacon, confirming others at Christ Church, Overland Park, Kansas which had already left the Episcopal Church. As the year drew to an end no resolution was in sight and Griswold had gone into retirement.
VOL revealed that the Bishop of Milwaukee, the Rt. Rev. Steven A. Miller got word that a formal ecclesiastical complaint had been laid on him by supporters of the Rev. Martha Ann Englert, rector of Grace Church, Madison. The allegations were that Miller had mishandled a formal complaint against her and prejudiced a diocesan review committee. Ms. Englert stands accused of making inappropriate remarks and disclosures about certain parishioners. She hired the formidable former Newark diocesan attorney Michael Rehill to defend her.
The Bishop of Connecticut, the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith got a taste of his own medicine when he was accused of "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy" after he raided St. John's Church, Bristol, tossing out the orthodox Rev. Mark Hansen and passing the parish over to a liberal woman priest. Smith accused him of abandonment of communion. The ecclesiastical charges against Smith are pending, but a federal suit lodged by five orthodox priests was tossed out by a federal judge. Smith moaned that the legal fees were killing him. The pressure was still on as the year ended.
But the bishop who faced the wrath of nearly everyone - both orthodox and liberal alike this year was Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison. No bishop in modern recorded history has been publicly condemned for his actions against an orthodox priest by two archbishops and told by his Standing Committee and the national church to resign along with groups in the diocese and VOL. He has been dubbed the Sociopath Bishop because he blindly believes he has been called by God for such a time as this. He is facing charges of fraud and 'bad faith' in dumping a godly priest; covered up his brother's sexual abuse of a 14-year old girl and the total financial mismanagement of the diocese. He faces the legal wrath of two lawyers and he is selling vacant church properties to pay his legal fees. He was repeatedly told to resign at his own diocesan convention by liberal and orthodox clergy alike. His future will be sealed in 2007.
It was a year that saw the true colors of liberal and revisionist bishops' who are quite prepared to endorse pansexual misbehavior for their fellow bishops and clergy, wink at doctrinal inexactitudes, but on property issues, reveal a no compromise iron fist. 'Get thee gone and take not the signage or endowment with thee,' might well be their motto.
It was a year that saw The Episcopal Church dodge and weave its way around how far it would go endorsing the Windsor Report and, when pushed, come up with B033 at GC2006, a resolution recommending that standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration" of openly homoerotic priests to the episcopacy. B033 was vilified by almost everyone from the Far Left to the Far Right each seeing in it a compromise too far for the Episcopal Church's pansexualists or totally inadequate or bullet dodging by orthodox Episcopalians who saw in it one more fudge to dodge primatial anger and a prevaricating Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was a year that made divorce and remarriage as commonplace as apple pie when General Convention consented to the Rev. Canon Barry Beisner (divorced twice and married three times) to become the next bishop of the Diocese of Northern California. Only Bishop Walter Righter has had as many marriages and divorces with Bishops Otis Charles and V. Gene Robinson switch hitting from female to male partners as a sign of the church's increasingly lofty notions of inclusivity and diversity, even as "sound doctrine" disappeared down the proverbial drain. It was a year that saw leftist organizations like the Via Media and something calling itself The Episcopal Majority announce that an orthodox priest, the Rev. Mark Lawrence should not be given consents to be the next bishop of South Carolina because of his orthodoxy.
From sea to shining sea, it was a year of lawsuits, as three orthodox parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles, California won their cases based on "neutral principles" over the national church's Dennis Canon, while orthodox parishes in less friendly states like Missouri and Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts saw bishops triumph in property disputes, only to win the properties and close the churches to await real estate brokers. Millions have already been spent and millions more will be spent in protracted law suits over property issues in 2007. No let up is in sight.
It was a year that saw David Booth Beers, first Frank Griswold's attorney and now Mrs. Schori's legal schnauzer descend into the ecclesiastical ring and begin open warfare on fleeing parishes and properties. 'Thou shalt not' took on a whole new, less biblical, meaning.
It was a year that saw the church's largest attended parish Christ Church, Plano, Texas disassociate itself from the Episcopal Church following General Convention with willing Dallas Bishop James Stanton parting company with the parish for a mere $1.2 million - a mere pittance of what the church is worth. Later he declared a moratorium on more fleeing parishes hoping perhaps that the Primates meeting in Tanzania in February 2007 will come up with a plan for alternative oversight.
And out the door they went - 16 parishes in the Diocese of Florida, eight in the Diocese of San Diego, five in the Diocese of Los Angeles, one in the diocese of Missouri and Northern California, and as many as a dozen in Virginia (when the dust settles), and more, all signifying that the Episcopal Church had lost its way over the authority of Holy Scripture, and sodomy on demand. V. Gene Robinson, the hero of homo, had become the nightmare of LGBT (or GLBT) nomenclature.
It was the year of Grand Alliances. Orthodox Episcopal parishes from South to North and from East to West aligned themselves with bishops as far away as Peru, Bolivia and Recife, and across the oceans to Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria on the African continent, with the later now firmly ensconced with its own diocese - CANA - the Convocation of North American Anglicans under its fearless leader the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, the fastest growing province in the Anglican Communion, happily installing his own bishop in the person of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns - making it abundantly clear to The Episcopal Church's hierarchy that he and his fellow Global South Primates were done with the Apostate Episcopal Church and would have no further dealings with her. The flag of an orthodox African diocese was planted firmly on American soil keeping company with other equally orthodox jurisdictions like the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA) that too experienced rapid growth this year with a clear fix on both the gospel and mission.
Other acts of orthodox rebellion included the announcement by an evangelical protestant theological seminary - Gordon-Conwell in Hamilton, Mass that it would offer an Anglican studies degree program, right in the heart of the sodomite Diocese of Massachusetts - one of the most revisionist and orthodox hating dioceses in the entire Episcopal Church. Truly God is not mocked.
The Executive Council of the national church held three meetings in 2006 and approved membership in the pro-abortion organization euphemistically called the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. In Philadelphia earlier in the year the council addressed churches leaving the TEC and in November the "new" council met in Chicago and discussed the possibility of setting up an "Anglican regional Convocation of the Americas." No word on where this is all going.
By year's end, the last word was had by multiple parishes fleeing the Diocese of Virginia and the possibility that the largest church in the Diocese of Georgia might sever its ties. Their godly priest, the Rev. Marc Robertson and vestry and wardens now face the wrath of Bishop Henry I. Louttit who wants them gone by December 31 if they don't pay their full assessment. Liberal diversity and inclusivity to the end.
Liberal Bishop Louttit said what most people only thought, by declaring that Lambeth 2008 may not even take place and it is certainly not clear that the Presiding Bishop will even be invited to attend. In addition, he said, it is impossible to predict what action if any might come from that meeting should it take place.
Last I read, Dallas claimed that it never signed on for APO.
You are correct.
More to come, the fight has just begun.
My advice to fleeing parishes and dioceses is "Don't look back!"
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