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Keep the Champagne Corked
Stand Firm [MS] ^ | 6/07/2005 | Greg Griffith

Posted on 06/07/2005 12:40:51 PM PDT by sionnsar

The latest story to set the Episcopal wonk-world buzzing is this Living Church article, linked by T1:9 and MCJ, concerning a meeting being held in Los Angeles and hosted by that diocese's far-left bishop J. Jon Bruno, that is reportedly attempting to work out a "final settlement" to the current crisis, most notably, perhaps, as it concerns property.

Comments around the web have run the gamut from skeptical to almost celebratory, the latter no doubt spurred on by a post on David Virtue's site in which he offers his analysis of the Denis Canon (the legislation passed by General Convention in the late 70's stating that church property ultimately belonged to the national church). In it, he makes the case that the Denis Canon was never properly passed by General Convention (legislation of this sort must be approved by two consecutive conventions, not just one, as it appears happened), and that whatever claims of ownership revisionist bishops are making in property disputes with orthodox parishes may in fact be without merit because Denis is not, in fact, the law of ECUSA-land.

This may indeed turn out to be the case; obviously we hope it does. But it is our opinion that optimism surrounding this theory - to say nothing of one that suggests all our property woes will be solved by one meeting of a dozen or so bishops led by one of the left's hard-liners - should be met, at best, with healthy skepticism. It is Stand Firm's recommendation that no parish, mission, or other group should base any of its decisions at this point on theories such as the one David Virtue is advancing. If it turn out to be correct, then there will almost certainly be no rush to take advantage of it, and decisions can be made calmly and deliberately. If it turns out to be incorrect, then actions taken based on a hope that turns out to be false may well put the group at a serious disadvantage it wouldn't otherwise find itself in.

Overly-optimistic speculation surrounding the Windsor Report, and the primates' Dromantine Communique that followed, created expectations that in both cases were dashed when the actual documents were released. While indeed both documents on their face have represented victories for orthodox Episcopalians, their practical effects have been, to say the least, less than satisfying. Also, the dynamics at work on the international scene are not mirrored within ECUSA: Whatever boundaries, pressures, or dangers affect its actions as it navigates the worldwide communion landscape, they are rarely present in purely internal conflicts such as the one over property that's supposedly being addressed in Los Angeles.

We should remember, as we watch this meeting unfold, management guru Peter Drucker's famous saying, "The best indicator of future performance is past performance." Ask yourself what substantive concessions the left has made in this crisis. Think back to what the overly-optimistic speculation about Windsor and Dromantine suggested would happen. Now ask yourself: What is the probability that the outcome of Bruno's meeting will be something which allows the orthodox to sleep peacefully at night, knowing that we won't have any future Midlands or other such episodes haunting our dreams?

Be optimistic, but more than anything, be realistic.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
[From the comments to this: --sionnsar]


Greg, your concerns that celebration is pre-mature are quite valid, but I fear the situation may be more serious than even that. The original "buzz" about this meeting was that it would be only 20 bishops on the extreme of both sides that would meet to divvy up the assets and try to come to some kind of amicable divorce. According to the Living Church article, not only is the focus of the meeting to find some solution, not necessarily figure out how to split, we also see that moderate bishops are invited. I am wondering if this whole thing won't turn into some awful compromise that puts some moderate bishop into the PB office just to hold to church together for another nine years with no real resolution, and with the continuation of Robinson's episcopate and the expansion of same-sex blessings. For me, I pray that ECUSA turns and repents. But, failing that, I would rather see NC's Curry in the PB chair than some moderate "waffle with fudge sauce" bishop as PB with some plan to continue proceeding gradually with the anti-Bible agenda. At least if Curry becomes PB, we will know where we stand, and we can all just move forward. You are right -- too early to celebrate. In fact, this could be the beginning of more endless compromise and delay. Heaven help us!# Posted by: Eddie Swain, WV Anglicans at June 7, 2005 11:25 AM


So, so agree with your analysis. I think reasserters tend to sometimes imagine that the leadership of our denomination is actually sane and, you know, reasonable.

But that is not the case. People who actually hope for something to come out of this meeting that is reasonable or just are truly still in a very naive and trusting world. It seems clear to me that the idealistic revisionists want unconditional surrender to their agenda, and they haven't received that. And until things became inconvenient the moderate revisionists went along for the ride. So they're on to new tactics now.

I *could* imagine a bunch of people getting together and conversing in a manner like this:

"Gosh . .. things are looking bad for my capital campaign. How about you?"

"Yep . .. pledge receipts way, way down. Quite honestly, I've actually considered downsizing."


Yeh, we've really got to do something. People leaving in droves -- which is fine, as far as that goes . . .they never really were True Anglicans. But I'm noticing that they also aren't filling out any of those wills and advance directives and trust documents that we gave them at our last "Dying Gracefully -- and Generously" conference we held in the diocese. We could be looking at losing a lot of inherited bequests, Brutus."

"What we need is a "drop anchor and hold position until-they-all-go-to-sleep" scheme -- rather than the "full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes" of our friends who actually believe this is a justice issue."

"Hmmm. Your idea holds merit. How exactly would we go about "dropping anchor and holding position until-they-all-go-to-sleep"?# Posted by: Sarah at June 7, 2005 12:25 PM

There can not be a solution to two churches in one until realistic thinking begins to take place. This Living Church article sounds like that just may be about to start happening.# Posted by: David+ at June 7, 2005 01:10 PM

David Virtue is just accurate enough to be worth reading but he does tend to be overly optimistic and hyperbolic. I am afraid that is this meeting is going to be another one those "just wait until_____________" events that never seem to pan out. One thing is true, however: We do seem to be getting the revisionista's attention finally.

the snarkster# Posted by: Michael Ware at June 7, 2005 01:24 PM

1 posted on 06/07/2005 12:40:52 PM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 06/07/2005 12:41:14 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† ||Iran Azadi|| WA Fraud: votes outnumber voters, court sez it's okay!)
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