Skip to comments.End of the Tunnel?
Posted on 06/07/2005 12:18:05 PM PDT by sionnsar
It's been said that the Anglican civil war will not begin to resolve itself until after next year's ECUSA General Convention. But there are indications that it may end before that:
The July 18-22 bishops meeting in Los Angeles will seek a final settlement of the current dispute, The Living Church has learned. The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of Los Angeles, will host a gathering of up to two-dozen bishops from across the theological spectrum at a facilitated conversation that organizers hope may lead to an amicable settlement of the Episcopal Churchs current troubles.
Among the participants at the five-day event will be the Rt. Rev. John B. Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Jim DeLa, communications director for the diocese, told TLC the gathering was an extension of discussions at the last House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen. They felt like they needed to continue that conversation and needed someone who could facilitate, Mr. DeLa said. Bishop Lipscomb was unsure who would facilitate the conversation, but said the group might seek someone from another denomination, mentioning the Presbyterian Church by name.
One bishop, who told TLC he had not decided whether he should attend, said he had not received an agenda and that the invitation simply said it was to discuss a final settlement.
A second bishop, who said he would be unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, confirmed he had been invited to a meeting whose stated intent was to help sort out the complicated relationship between parishes and dioceses and properties.
Division of assets is one possible outcome, but not the purpose of the meeting, Jim Naughton, communications director for the Diocese of Washington, told TLC last week.
One of the organizers of the five-day meeting told TLC the agenda had evolved since the House of Bishops spring meeting at Camp Allen as positions have hardened among some bishops following the Feb. 24 primates communiqué. He said others within the House of Bishops were hopeful the crisis could be averted without recourse to courts of law, and that an amicable way forward, one that respected the moral consciences of all in the Church, could be found.
According to David Virtue, that last paragraph may be the key to ECUSA's newfound cooperative attitude.
In 1979 at Denver General Convention everything suddenly changed. Traditional parishes came under scrutiny from liberal bishops over womens ordination and in order to stem the tide of parishes pulling out with their property the Episcopal Church changed its property canon to read that all parishes were now the property of the national church.
But heres the kicker. Any changes to the churchs canon law had to be approved at two successive general conventions. The first approval previously had passed in 1976 so the second reading of the proposed property canon change had to pass if the liberals/modernists were to stop the traditionalists from leaving with their monies, buildings and considerable trust funds. IT NEVER HAPPENED.
Like many state legislatures, there is a large amount of church legislation that passes through a logjam on the last day and night of the legislative session. This is apparently what happened to the property change canon. Of course, this was part of the scheming and maneuvering on the part of the liberals, writes Thompson.
"According to the two canon lawyers appointed by the church to compile and annotate all canonical changes effected by the General Convention, Messrs. White and Dyckman, "there is no record of it (the proposed change) having passed both houses". These words were contained in a 1981 or 1982 copy of White and Dyckmans Annotated Constitution and Canon of the Protestant Episcopal Church of North America (the official and legal record of all proceedings of the convention) that I personally possessed and used almost daily in my work. A priest (later a bishop) who was physically present at the general convention and who closely watched to see whether or not this specific canonical change passed told me that it did not pass."
Thompson again: "In 1989, I mentioned this to Ft. Worth bishop Clarence Pope. When he asked me to show him the citation in White and Dyckman, I learned to my utter amazement that it was no longer in the issue of White and Dyckman. It has been expunged from the latest version the bishop possessed. If I recall correctly, it was a 1985 edition. How then did this canonical change "pass"? Why was the explanatory note of the annotators expunged from subsequent editions of the annotated canons and constitution? In the years since this chicanery, almost all parishes dutifully, if not under pressure, slowly handed title to their property over to the diocese. Some fought it in the courts. A few won, but most lost these battles because the courts were reluctant to become embroiled in theological disputes preferring instead to rule upon neutral principles of law."
So what this boils down to is this. If it can be proven that the Denis Canon was never officially passed at two successive general conventions then it is debatable the liberals and revisionists would win in state Supreme Courts if they argue for it.
There are two other possibilities. The strident, defensive and defiant tone of some ECUSA liberals lately(see here, here and here) suggest that they may be tiring of this fight. And it may have been put to Frank Griswold that the only
chance ECUSA has of retaining any amount of "official" Anglican standing is for them to allow some kind of split and for a conservative North American province to be established with Bob Duncan as Frank's equal rather than his inferior.
It's entirely possible that nothing whatsoever will come of this Los Angeles meeting. But the fact that J. Jon Bruno is hosting it leads me to believe that many on the ECUSA left desperately want the Current Unpleasantness to go away as quickly as possible because they're not at all sure they'll prevail in any court fight. We shall see.
The aforementioned L.A. ECUSA bishops meeting in July is getting more and more interesting . The Living Church reports that the meeting will seek a final settlement between liberal and orthodox parties of the church. And, yes, even revisionists are acknowledging that a possible division of assets is on the table.
This is quite a change of tune and an encouraging one to me. I wonder what prompted it. Bishop Bruno of L. A. called the meetings. Perhaps lawyers told him he could very easily lose his property fight with departing parishes.
And, yes, there have been reports that the Denis Canon (which says in effect All your parish property are belong to us.) has been found to not be properly ratified and therefore no canon at all. I havent commented here on that because I seriously doubt the reports. But this sudden change makes me think there might be something to them.
Or maybe its simply that some key revisionist bishops are past their denial. Maybe they see trying to conduct business as usual will bring on a series of long, ugly, expensive fights over parish properties and other matters.
In any case, I find this very interesting and encouraging. And, by the way, an Anglican journalist who has a good B. S. detector has told me there indeed may be some big, positive things going on leading up to this meeting.
Ahem..let me see if I get this. Seem's there's this really, REALLY, BIG upcoming Bishops' conference, that may well resolve many of ECUSA's problems, and there's this one bishop who can't come because he has a "scheduling conflict?" Who is this guy?
I think the real reason they want to cut a deal is because they run some spreadsheets. Even if they get to keep all the buildings..it'll bankrupt the dioceses keeping them afloat. Better to cut one's losses..
Uh oh, it's that's true then Griswold's legal beagle, Beers, may have lost his primary threat. I hope it is true.
Rats, I posted #7 before reading your #6.
Hm. One of the bloggers I track is an ECUSA attorney. I wonder why he hasn't said anything. I shall have to ask him.
Even if the "gay resolutions" are defeated, there is that feminazi new hymnal and all those liberal-Protestant "full communion" agreements, as well as those revisionist and gnositc ELCA seminary faculties. And if the gaysbians are defeated, they'll just keep coming back again and again.
What we really need is to get the "progressives" (i.e., liberal-Protestant and Episcopal wannabes, gaysbians, feminazis, gnostics, heretics, etc.) off our back!!!! Let the "progressive" 25% merge with the gnostic moiety of the ECUSA, which is what they really, really, want anyway. Then the rest of us will be left to reconstruct a viable American Lutheranism for the 21st century!
Question: how can a committee of 20 or so bishops decide anything in a final sort of way? Wouldn't that have to come before the entire HOB? Just asking.
Yes, it probably would. But the precedent would likely carry it through.
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