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April 20, 2012


The Incomprehensible Surrender of Truro

It is difficult to overstate the depth of the failure represented by the settlement agreed to by Truro Church with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

It is a failure on three different and increasingly serious levels:

The first is the mundane and the practical, the world of dollars and cents.

Truro could have walked away from the property the moment the congregation realized that the game was over. They could have walked away, and found themselves a new campus. They could have made a fresh start.

Instead, they will stay in the building for another year, paying hard-earned money for the upkeep of the buildings, and during which visitations by ACNA Bishop John Guernsey are made purely at the pleasure of TEC Bishop Shannon Johnston.

Then they will leave, with nothing, and with a year’s worth of maintenance expenses down the drain, unavailable to them to support any expenses at their new facility.

The second failure is on the level of political intangibles: Morale - the effect this decision has on others fighting the same battles - and what political wonks call “optics” - how it looks to people who have been keeping up with it, and both lending support to it as well as drawing strength from it.

The goal of these legal battles is to keep your property. It’s that simple. Keeping one’s property is the goal of entering into litigation like this.

If keeping the buildings is not important, then don’t enter into litigation over property. Just walk away. Buy new buildings, and make sure that this time you have clear title to them, and that you don’t hand it over to anyone, ever, no matter how godly they may seem. People come and people go, so the good bishop you trust with your congregation’s property today, may well be succeeded by the venal charlatan you wouldn’t trust as far as you could throw him. People also change. And they lie. Just ask Matt Kennedy about the things bishops will say one day, and what they will swear they never said the next.

Yes, I know that the most important thing is the Gospel, not the buildings. I understand that buildings are just stone and wood and glass. We all like to tell ourselves this when we’ve just lost some wonderful buildings.

But buildings do matter. No, they’re not what Christians should consider the most important part of a church, far from it.

But they do matter, and where they matter the most is in those places where they best support the mission and ministry of the church. I am sure the parishioners of Truro can fill books with all the ways their buildings have supported their mission and ministry over the years. I suspect that Truro, over the whole history of its existence, takes second place to no one when it comes to using its buildings the way Christians were meant to use them.

So make no mistake: When Truro lost its buildings, it was a huge defeat. They will never recoup the financial cost of litigation, nor will they recoup the gigantic amounts of human and spiritual energy invested in it. And what was the statement they released explaining their agreement to the settlement with the Diocese of Virginia?

You can read the sad details here, but in a nutshell it’s not just a defeat, but complete capitulation. The congregation loses the buildings. Bishop Guernsey’s visits are made purely at the pleasure of Shannon Johnston. While the congregation may remain for another year, it alone will be saddled with the considerable cost of maintaining the buildings during that time. The TEC diocese waltzes into the facility next April, a gift from the good people of Truro.

Meanwhile, orthodox Anglicans from Pittsburgh to Fort Worth to San Joaquin are left wondering: What??? What’s the point of leaving - to say nothing of fighting - if you’re going to be so pleased with losing?

The third failure is the deepest, and the most serious: It is the failure to make a courageous stand for the Gospel, in the form of letting a wolf into the fold. And not just being asleep or distracted while he slipped in - but knowingly, deliberately inviting him in. And not just into the local parish, but Baucum is “[opening] up relationships and ministry opportunities to him in the CofE.” Whether he means to or not, Baucum is endorsing Johnston’s false teachings by recommending him to other parts of the church.

To do what? Well, presumably to preach the same poisoned Gospel that compelled Truro to leave the Episcopal Church six years ago. But in fact, there’s “reconciliation” going on everywhere you look: According to Baucum, Johnston has allowed him to “minister in Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Virginia as DOK Chaplain and has encouraged my relationship with VTS and Dean Ian Markham, who has invited me to teach a missions course there.”

There’s no doubt, between Truro’s statement and Baucum’s sermon, that whatever differences there may have been between Truro and the Diocese of Virginia, they’re no longer enough to keep them from being partners in ministry, from inviting each other into their homes.

Which raises the question: Why did Truro leave in the first place?

It’s not as though the Diocese of Virginia has stopped pursuing the agenda that prompted Truro’s departure in the first place. If anything, it’s sped up. Bishop Johnston approved the blessing of a “covenant relationship” between two lesbians just a few days ago at St. Paul’s Memorial Church at the University of Virginia. If anything, Shannon Johnston is far more committed to the Episcopal Church’s “new thing” than Peter Lee ever was.

So again, the question: Why did Truro leave in the first place? It could have slapped Johnston’s back, and locked arms with the diocese in mission… and kept its buildings… and not wasted huge amounts of cash on legal expenses… had it simply stayed put.

It’s one thing to engage in a noble fight and lose, to walk away defeated but with your dignity and purpose intact. It is entirely another to engage in a noble fight and lose… and then hug your opponent afterward and say, in effect, that there was really no reason to fight in the first place.

This is what has happened at Truro, but why did it happen? Was it bad judgement born of fatigue? Was it the realization that the split was, on second thought, not such a good idea? Was it part of some sophisticated “master plan” the design of which we do not yet see?

There is nothing wrong with being civil to your opponent in cases like this, nothing wrong with being able to sit down and be polite with each other, to hammer out the details of a settlement as gentlemen. I’m acquainted with Bishop Johnston - he was a priest in the Diocese of Mississippi for years; I interviewed him at our annual diocesan convention shortly after his election as bishop, and asked him specifically how he proposed to handle the property litigation in Virginia. Johnston is a genial man: Soft-spoken and very pastoral in the way most people like their priests to be. So I understand how easy it is to feel at ease around him, and to want to extend one’s warmth and friendship.

But either Shannon Johnston is a false teacher, preaching and promoting a sinful and harmful version of the Gospel; or he is not.

If he is, then there is no justification for the ecclesial comity Truro has agreed to with the Diocese of Virginia - and certainly not under the aegis of Mark 2. The right thing to do is to continue to call out Johnston and TEC as false teachers, to preach and teach against their false Gospel. Speak the truth in love, yes, but by all means speak the truth. Do not make friends of the lie, which is exactly what this proposed “covenant of mutual charity and respect” between Truro and the diocese does.

But if he’s not a false teacher, then neither was Peter Lee before him, and Truro’s leaving was nothing less than an act of schism. In that case, the only right thing to do is repent, and seek full reconciliation with the Diocese of Virginia.

The one course of action that makes no sense at all, is precisely the one the leadership of Truro has chosen: Splitting from a heretical church with which, it turns out, they’re happy to partner on mission and ministry, and handing over their home to them for the privilege of doing it.


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62 comments

This is going to sound really mean, but as a business person it has been my observation that most folks who run churches are like “lambs led to the slaughter” when confronted with others that do not share their world view.  They do not have the business skills (wisdom of a serpent) that would prevent them from being taken advantage of.

I have personally observed an orthodox TEC Bishop take advantage of my priest.  I also attended GC a few years back and personally witnessed lie after lie being told by priests and bishops.  I have NEVER in my life seen a business meeting be so full of deception and lies….ever.

So, my advice - before doing anything that requires legal/business skills, bring in wise counsel - Christians, but with the wisdom of a serpent.

[1] Posted by B. Hunter on 4-20-2012 at 11:51 AM · [top]

Well said, Greg and Hunter.

[2] Posted by All-Is-True on 4-20-2012 at 12:09 PM · [top]

A possible consideration might be that Baucum+ was not at Truro when the original decision was made to try to keep the property.

[3] Posted by Atlanta Anglican on 4-20-2012 at 12:21 PM · [top]

I posted this on the other story…

I know Tory very well.  He is a brother in Christ.  I know that he is a prayerful man who has had the interest of the Gospel, his parish and people, and the future of Anglicanism in North America at heart.  I am quite saddened by the scourging he has received on this blog.

Each rector is in a unique situation defined by their own circumstance.  He did not start this litigation…nor did the bishop for that matter.  He accepted the call during the fight.  But he clearly felt, after prayer and counsel with his vestry, that this would be the best end to it.  I assume the local bishop (Guernsey) was in the know.  The arrangement buys time for the parish to look for another place, remain where they are, pay no rent, and live to build another plant somewhere else.  It also gets 815 to come off their heavy-handed non-compete mentality.

Have we set up a circular firing squad?

[4] Posted by DHR on 4-20-2012 at 12:24 PM · [top]

A thought-provoking and beautifully written piece, Greg!! 

I am in complete agreement, and I can proudly assert that if Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin were to lose the lawsuit filed against us by TEC and TEC Diocese of San Joaquin, then I and my congregation of St. Philip in Coalinga, CA will simply walk away.  I will not allow myself even in the same room with the Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin who has authorized blessings of same gender partners (!!) and has ordained a Deacon who was once a man and is now a woman (!!!). 

I am not sure I am as wise as a serpent, but I am not a complete nitwit!!

[5] Posted by Deacon Francie on 4-20-2012 at 12:27 PM · [top]

Have we set up a circular firing squad?

Not at all… but neither have we decided to paper over what we believe to be terrible decisions by our allies. Failure and defeat we understand, and in this case, while defeat was perhaps unavoidable, failure was entirely avoidable, and doubly disappointing because of that.

[6] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-20-2012 at 12:29 PM · [top]

DHR—all that you list is great [although the “paying no rent” doesn’t quite wash since they’re paying for the upkeep, etc.]

It doesn’t address what he did and said regarding Bishop Shannon Johnston.

And as Greg made clear, this is about *Truro as a whole*, which voted to approve all of this, not about an individual [though it’s mighty hard to mention actual deeds and words without mentioning a name].

[7] Posted by Sarah on 4-20-2012 at 12:29 PM · [top]

Another possible consideration is that we do not know all of the “behind the scenes” details, including the advice that Truro’s lawyers gave its rector, vestry, and those who were vestry at the time Truro was sued (and therefore were personally sued by TEC, Dio VA, and the faux Truro [if there were enough bodies to compose a faux Truro]). Perhaps the lawyers told the defendants that their chances of success in the VA Supreme Court were nil, their chances of having cert granted by the US Supreme Court were slim, and that their chances of being found personally liable (as absurd as that would have to be from a legal viewpoint) were great. After all, unlike The Falls Church, Truro did not exist before the founding of TEC, so that argument is not available to them.  Perhaps the majority of Truro congregants wanted to settle. Perhaps the Truro congregants/vestry were concerned about being able to find a worship space large enough for their congregation on short notice. 

I find it incomprehensible and rather hypocritical, however, that among those who are criticizing Truro are those who are remaining in TEC dioceses and churches headed by bishops who support the revisionist philosophy of TEC. I write as a member of a faithful church that chose to fight the forces of darkness, is still fighting those forces - but our legal and factual circumstances differ from Truro. All I know is that our vestries, rector, and congregants have prayed and struggled with the decisions that have brought us to this point - and having been a congregant of Truro years ago (when Bp Minns was the senior priest and the Revs Richard Crocker and Marshall Brown his assistants), I must believe that the Truro of today is just as prayerful and faithful. I think it is playing into Satan’s hands to criticize Truro at this point. Let us simply pray for them - that they can survive and thrive during the next period, that Bp Guernsey is allowed to visit them and administer to them freely - and that the Truro buildings incur no unusual maintenance costs (until the day after the faithful congregation leaves!).

[8] Posted by sophy0075 on 4-20-2012 at 12:36 PM · [top]

I know Tory very well.  He is a brother in Christ.  I know that he is a prayerful man who has had the interest of the Gospel, his parish and people, and the future of Anglicanism in North America at heart.  I am quite saddened by the scourging he has received on this blog.

Why is it a scourging to question actions that impact the entire orthodox movement?  Since you know him - could you please explain to me how the well articulated differences Truro had with Tec went from theology to anthropology.  If the differences are only anthropology, the questions need to be answered.  Why are they remaining separate?  If Fr. Baucum had been dealing with Bishop Lawrence or Bishop Love, I could understand his actions and statements as they are examples of Bishops seeking to protect the flock from the actions of 815.  However, Bishop Johnston is a clear and resounding advocate of the 815 line of reasoning and theology.

[9] Posted by Jackie on 4-20-2012 at 12:39 PM · [top]

I find it incomprehensible and rather hypocritical, however, that among those who are criticizing Truro are those who are remaining in TEC dioceses and churches headed by bishops who support the revisionist philosophy of TEC.

There’s no hypocrisy there at all, sophy. The decision to remain in a TEC diocese does not disqualify anyone from commenting on the actions of those who have left. My decision to stay is based on the feeling that I am called to stay. There is not a viable alternative Anglican congregation in my area. I have always encouraged those who feel called to leave, to do so boldly.

But - the risk and the cost of doing so is almost always high, and that’s why, if you’re going to make such a big decision, that it makes no sense to retreat to the extent Truro’s leadership has done.

[10] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-20-2012 at 12:44 PM · [top]

I find it incomprehensible and rather hypocritical, however, that among those who are criticizing Truro are those who are remaining in TEC dioceses and churches headed by bishops who support the revisionist philosophy of TEC.

I must be one of those you find to be incomprehensible and rather hypocritical since I am still (as of today) a member of a Tec diocese under a revisionst bishop.  I am not here by choice but because God has not yet called me out.  No one in Tec is in doubt as to my position.  I am the opposition from within.  As are the rest of the members who are still within Tec. 

Do you think the legal counsel advised Truro to link arms and sing Kumbaya with a revisionist bishop who has sued many, many brothers in Christ both corporately and personally?  Do you think the covenant will address the scourging those brothers in Christ have received?

I would love to hear from some mere pewsitters at Truro who have undergone the pain and misery of the litigation.  It would be nice to know how they have reconciled the reason for the litigation as articulated in their <a > February 2012 newsletter </a>

Due to disagreements regarding issues of the authority of Scripture and the unique identity of Jesus Christ, Truro church voted in December of 2006 to break affiliation with the Episcopal Church (TEC).

Has this position changed within the diocese of Virginia and we missed it?

[11] Posted by Jackie on 4-20-2012 at 12:47 PM · [top]

I cannot speak for Tory and the chumminess he has with the bishop.  But I can say that hanging out with other sinners is well within the tradition of the church.

[12] Posted by DHR on 4-20-2012 at 12:54 PM · [top]

RE: “I find it incomprehensible and rather hypocritical, however, that among those who are criticizing Truro are those who are remaining in TEC dioceses and churches headed by bishops who support the revisionist philosophy of TEC.”

Hi Sophy—I don’t know if you’ve been at StandFirm very long but the position of all of us for 9 long years has been that those who wish to stay in TEC must *differentiate publicly* from the evil and corrupt actions of the vast majority of the current leadership of TEC.

We’ve *never* believed that everybody must go . . . or everybody must stay. We do not believe that it is an intrinsic immoral act to remain within TEC—in fact it is an excellent witness for those who remain within TEC to loudly speak up about the gross corruption and heresies of our leaders within TEC.  Both Leavers and Stayers must clearly and publicly differentiate from the horrible heresies of TEC’s leaders. 

Everybody from Matt, to Greg, to Jackie, to me, to David, and now to Fischler, Fountain, and Haley, are in complete agreement.

In addition, it would be the height of dishonor and loss of integrity for us to vociferously disagree with the actions of TEC revisionists while turning a blind eye to actions we believe are seriously mistaken [and sometimes just plain wrong] of our allies.  Were we to be consistent with your thesis, Matt would have to delete any of his critiques of TEC, post-departure, and I’d have to delete my critiques of ACNA, since I’ve stayed.

We don’t grant that thesis one bit.

[13] Posted by Sarah on 4-20-2012 at 01:00 PM · [top]

Does your rector invite those sinners who contradict and condemn the theology of your parish to stand in the pulpit?

[14] Posted by Jackie on 4-20-2012 at 01:01 PM · [top]

hanging out with other sinners is well within the tradition of the church

But we’re not talking about merely hanging out with sinners - we are all of us sinners. We’re talking about keeping company with false teachers. More than that, even: We’re talking about an Episcopal bishop, who is being squired around as a man of authority and sound teaching, for the specific purpose of having him preach and teach to a wider audience.

Hang out with sinners, yes. But don’t let them into your pulpit, and by no means encourage others to do so either.

[15] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-20-2012 at 01:04 PM · [top]

RE: “But I can say that hanging out with other sinners is well within the tradition of the church.”

Wow—it’s like all of us are channeling precisely the rhetoric we heard at so many lovely General and Diocesan conventions.

Six years ago, on this very blog, you guys would have ripped this to shreds when it came out of the mouths of Robinson and Schori.

[16] Posted by Sarah on 4-20-2012 at 01:05 PM · [top]

And I need to be very clear: I’m in no way accusing Tory Baucum of being anything other than a solid, orthodox Christian priest. I know he was persecuted by the odious Stacy Sauls. I know he has made courageous stands for the faith before. What I’m saying is that in this case, he has made a series of devastatingly wrong tactical decisions. Just look at where Truro finds itself now. If they’re going to be partners in ministry with Shannon Johnston, wouldn’t they be far better off if they just sought DEPO?

[17] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-20-2012 at 01:08 PM · [top]

And I would add that Fr. Baucum is probably at a huge disadvantage and was not in the states when we were being dragged around behind the horses of Tec and being told it was good for our health.

It is to those early years that I credit my naming of Tec’s themesong.

[18] Posted by Jackie on 4-20-2012 at 01:24 PM · [top]

I see here repeated in the comments something I saw on another thread.

Baucum did not distinguish between anthropology and theology in this sermon <a >http://www.trurochurch.org/uploads/Blessedarehungerandthirst.pdf</a>.  He did not say that his differences with Johnston were not theological. 

He distinguished between anthropology (the doctrine of Man) and Christology (the doctine of Christ).  Anthropology is a branch of Systematic Theology as much as Christology is.

Google anthrology and theology.  Or go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_anthropology

It just isn’t true or fair to say that Baucum said his differences with Johnston were based on anthropolgy instead of theology.

[19] Posted by James Manley on 4-20-2012 at 01:35 PM · [top]

I’d never fault a rector for a settlement in a lawsuit, even an unfavorable one. Sometimes you lose. Nor do I, personally, question the decision to rent for a year. There may be factors apart from money in play here. Pastors need to weigh not just the financial costs of their decisions but the pastoral costs in terms of morale, unity, smoothness of transition etc. So while Truro may have had the financial resources to pick up and move…it may not have been the right time for the parish.

Again, what bothers me about this is the alliance that seems to have been formed with Bishop Johnson…opening up ministry opportunities in the CofE.

Jesus ate with sinners. Yes.

But he cast out wolves.

He would never introduce a wolf into the fold. But that is what “opening up” ministry opportunities to a heretic is. I alluded to that in my parable from yesterday

If this were my parish, it would be wrong but it would also be no big deal because we are very small by comparison. But Truro is a flagship. What they say and do matters to everyone else. They are leaders and lots of smaller churches look to them for guidance. I am very afraid of others looking into this partnership between Fr. Tory Baucum and Bishop Johnston and seeing a model to follow. This is why it has been necessary I think to openly oppose this public alliance.

[20] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-20-2012 at 01:57 PM · [top]

You are correct.  He did not say they were based on anthropology instead of theology.  He said:

We began by accurately naming the cause(s) of division (i.e. it is more about anthropology than Christology) and restoring trust.

  I am not a priest nor am I a scientist (and do not claim to be), however, I would point out that my understanding of Christology is that it is the teaching and doctrine concerning Jesus and is fully dependent upon the portrayal of Jesus in the Scripture, specifically the Gospels and New Testament. 

Truro states the litigation was Due to disagreements regarding issues of the authority of Scripture and the unique identity of Jesus Christ,

If Christology is fully dependent upon Scripture, how does Fr. Baucum explain the lack of authority Tec/Dio of VA ascribe to Scripture?  I took from various statements that have been made that he and Bishop Johnston agreed that Jesus was an authentic person and had a bodily resurrection.  Great!  A lot of people believe that who totally discount the Bible.  Many of them wear mitres. 

Possibly Fr. Baucum needs to clarify his statement because without the Authority of Scripture which Bishop Johnston discounts, how can there be any agreement on Christology?  He also needs to clarify Truro’s statement for the cause of the division.

[21] Posted by Jackie on 4-20-2012 at 02:12 PM · [top]

I believe the “alliance” is is the fruit of the sloppy theology found too often in certain places amidst the “3 strands” of Anglicanism. 

I think criticism here is NOT essentially the settlement—Truro has a right to settle litigation over property in any way it wants.  It was the seeming facile “reconciliation” and alliance which Father Baucum made with the apostate TEC Bishop Johnson.

The ONLY legitimate reason to separate with TEC is over apostasy & heresy, in which case there can be no partnership in ministry.  It cannot be both ways.

Matt, you and I think very much alike.

[22] Posted by banned4Life on 4-20-2012 at 07:02 PM · [top]

To be fair, there were similar situations/agreements/arrangements in the first generation of Protestants with the Roman Catholics 500 years ago.  While the issues there were serious error, corruption, and even apostasy…I think today’s conflicts are even deeper by comparison.

Certain churches in continental Europe for example would put up a wall in the middle of the sanctuary…letting the Romanists worship on one side, and the Protestants on the other…but of course this was in a state-church/royal-hierarchy controlled society, very different than our own.  Even with this though, both sides were very willing to consign each other to damnation.

It’s incredibly sad that so much effort was expended on the legal battle, only to give up so publicly at the end….on the essential issue too, apostasy.

[23] Posted by banned4Life on 4-20-2012 at 07:10 PM · [top]

As Senior Warden at Truro, I must say that the church Greg describes is unrecognizable to me. He makes three points to support his claim that our “surrender” is incomprehensible. First, he argues that we are wasting money by staying rent free on the property for the next 14 months because we will have to pay ordinary occupancy costs. Second, he suggests that we are failing others by not continuing to fight for our buildings. The third is that we have let a wolf into the fold by befriending our opponent, Bishop Shannon Johnston.

He has said a great deal in the article and I won’t attempt to respond to everything, or to the comments he, Sarah and Matt have made all week. But here are a few short responses.

Since the court ruled against us in our second trial, our position has been like that of Robert E Lee at Appomattox. The judgment represented a complete loss on our claims to the real property. We had the help of some of the best lawyers in the country but the chances of keeping the buildings on appeal were very small. We have already paid millions to assert our claim to the property and we lost. So we negotiated a settlement, as have all the other Virginia parishes except The Falls Church. TFC not only faces losing its buildings but also a financial judgment in the millions of dollars, something we were thankfully spared. We kept them informed as we negotiated. The stakes are different for them and they may very well appeal for that reason; if they do we pray for their success. 

We certainly seem to have let Greg, Sarah and Matt down in deciding not to keeping fighting. I am sorry about that. But they have no idea how or why we made that decision. We have not gotten a single inquiry from them about what our considerations were. The Vestry spent months in a careful process of discernment and prayer. Rather than ask about that, they have spent the week trying to divine our intentions from a one-page press release. (If you would like to know more about our actual thinking, please check out the transcript of our congregational meeting last Sunday when we announced the settlement. http://www.truroanglican.com/uploads/VestryStmt_April15.pdf)

We have sought to help advance the cause of renewal and orthodoxy in North America for decades, and we haven’t stopped. I’d have thought that this would have bought us some good will, and it has from many quarters, for which we are grateful. But not from Stand Firm. Within moments of the press release going public, it lowered its guns on us and began firing.

There seem to be three recurring complaints: First, Tory spoke of Bishop Johnston as a brother in Christ. Second, we have agreed to enter into a covenant of mutual charity and respect. Third, Tory spoke in a sermon about opening up areas of mission together in the Anglican Communion.

Now, when one is uncertain about what someone means in a statement, there are a couple of ways to interpret it (assuming you’ve decided not to go to the person and ask them directly): one is to try to understand it charitably, which some of the commenters on Stand Firm have done. At the very least that means, trying to interpret it as consistent with everything else you know about the person or church. The second approach is to view it with suspicion and interpret it as an alarming demonstration that a person or church was never what you thought or that it has suddenly become unrecognizable.

Nothing will ever convince the latter group, since even replies will be interpreted through those lenses.

But for the rest of you:

Tory has explained to us that there are three kinds of bishops in the Episcopal Church: those that are clearly orthodox, those that accept the teaching of the Nicene Creed on Jesus but are liberal theologically in areas such as human sexuality, and those that do not accept what the church has historically affirmed about the work of Christ.

Bishop Johnston falls in the second category. He believes in salvation through Christ alone. He and Tory have had frank discussions about the areas on which they disagree. But they do agree that it is belief in the Lord Jesus Christ that brings salvation. So Tory calls Bp Johnston a brother in Christ.

Second, the idea of a covenant of mutual charity and respect came in response to the Diocese’s proposal that the settlement agreement include a “non-disparagement clause”. This is a standard clause in settlements and typically means that the bound party will not say or do anything that will cause loss or harm to the other party. That made us concerned that if during the course of the short term lease we expressed any disagreement with TEC or the Diocese of Virginia it might be treated by their lawyers as violating the settlement.

So we suggested a different approach. Rather than try to proscribe bad behavior, why not solemnly agree to treat each other with charity—Christian love. The Diocese liked the idea so we have agreed to prepare the covenant together. Rather than being one-sided, it will be mutual. What binds us will also bind the Diocese.

The covenant is not yet written. The charge that we have agreed to keep silent about our disagreements is untrue and unfounded. The covenant will permit us to speak freely, but we will do so charitably. We will speak the truth in love.

Third, what does it mean that we might open up areas of ministry together in the Anglican Communion? Here is one example. Muslim young people from Darfur have offered to go to South Sudan to rebuild a church that soldiers from their area destroyed in a raid. They want to do this as an act of reconciliation (the story of how this came about is fascinating http://www.sudansunrise.org/project/lopez-lomong-reconciliation-church). An organization called Sudan Sunrise is raising funds for this project. Its Executive Director is on staff at Truro as Adjunct Clergy. The Diocese of Virginia has had an interest in the Sudan for many years. So we might invite them to join us in contributing funds to the project.

We will not be inviting Bp Johnston to teach our young people on human sexuality. Finding avenues for joint ministry will not be a major preoccupation for either the Diocese or for Truro. We will each go forward doing our mission. When there are opportunities to work together without compromising our witness, we will explore doing so.

We do not regret having left the Episcopal Church even though it will cost us, as it has too many other parishes, our buildings. It was a clear choice for us to leave. The Jerusalem Declaration demonstrates how far apart ACNA, the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and Truro Anglican Church are theologically from the Episcopal Church.

We made that choice and have not looked back. Don’t let anyone tell you an intention to be charitable or expressions of gratitude for a favorable short term lease are signs that we have changed our minds.

If you are interested in more information about the settlement or, more importantly our life together, please visit our website at its new domain, http://www.truroanglican.com. We need and value your prayers.

Dan Van Ness
Sr Warden
Truro Anglican Church

[24] Posted by Dan V on 4-20-2012 at 09:27 PM · [top]

As I was reading the comments, I was thinking that if everything we outsiders knew was all that there was to know, then Greg Griffiths and other Stand Firm people would be in the right.  Truro’s decision is a sad one; it would have been wonderful had they been granted the buildings by a court decision, and since the end of the legal path had not yet been reached, we all had a hope that they would pull out a gratifying victory.

The trouble is that we on the outside seldom know the inside as well as those on the inside - and as Van Ness notes above, there are matters we did not know about that make a big difference.  I appreciate his willingness to fill in some of those details - and I am sure that there is yet more that we do not know that does have a bearing on the decision that was made.  Knowing something of the cupidity and viciousness of the Left, I thought that Truro came out of the agreement in pretty good shape.

Continued prayers for the Fall Church!

[25] Posted by AnglicanXn on 4-20-2012 at 10:22 PM · [top]

The three categories of TEC bishops makes no sense to me as three logical categories.  The definitional boundaries of the three categories makes no sense to me at all.

[26] Posted by Matthew on 4-20-2012 at 10:33 PM · [top]

Sorry Dan V. Those who reject the authority of God’s word and defy Christ’s own declaration regarding homosexual behavior are heretics. There are no second or third degrees. Those who do so in leadership positions are not allies or ministry partners in any way whatsoever. Even partnering with them on a purely financial level lends them Christian legitimacy. They are rather as we are told in 2 John 7-11 cut off completely from Christian fellowship. Truro has partnered with a wolf.

[27] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-20-2012 at 10:34 PM · [top]

Dan, I have held out the possibility that the mess of the Truro settlement was perhaps not primarily Tory Baucum’s fault… and perhaps not his fault at all, but rather he was given stunningly poor advice by those in the highest positions of leadership at Truro.

Your response here lends more credence to that theory than I ever thought I’d see.

For starters:

First, he argues that we are wasting money by staying rent free on the property for the next 14 months because we will have to pay ordinary occupancy costs.

That’s not what I wrote, as any one who has read my piece can plainly see.

What I wrote was that the money you’re spending on keeping up a building you’ll just have to vacate in a year, is money you won’t have to invest in your new facility. Perhaps it’s not a significant enough sum to cause you any concern, I don’t know; but my statement is not opinion, it’s simple fact.

Second, he suggests that we are failing others by not continuing to fight for our buildings.

I have never said that, not here and not anywhere. I don’t know where you got that - certainly not from my piece above.

The third is that we have let a wolf into the fold by befriending our opponent, Bishop Shannon Johnston.

No, I said you’ve let a wolf into the fold by promoting a false teacher. I very deliberately said this of Shannon:

“Johnston is a genial man: Soft-spoken and very pastoral in the way most people like their priests to be. So I understand how easy it is to feel at ease around him, and to want to extend one’s warmth and friendship.”

And, as I proceeded to point out, there is a difference between befriending your opponent - acting like gentlemen while resolving a conflict (Lee at Appomattox is a perfect example) - ...and promoting the teachings of someone who is a far more energetic advocate of the pro-gay agenda than was his predecessor, who was bishop at the time Truro decided to leave. If DioVA was unbearable under Peter Lee - if Truro could not find its way to be his partner in ministry - then by what possible stretch of reason has it found a way to partner with Johnston?

You wrote this:

We certainly seem to have let Greg, Sarah and Matt down in deciding not to keeping fighting.

Not one of us has ever said anything remotely of the sort. I invite you to read my piece - I’d say “again,” but it’s pretty clear by now you haven’t read it all. Our disappointment is not that you didn’t keep fighting, but that you made such a mess of the defeat.

You accuse us of this:

I’d have thought that this would have bought us some good will, and it has from many quarters, for which we are grateful. But not from Stand Firm. Within moments of the press release going public, it lowered its guns on us and began firing.

You released a written, public statement, Dan. That is what we responded to. And days later, we haven’t seen, heard, or been provided with anything that changes the meaning of that statement, corrects anything in it, or makes it any clearer.

This is part of what we do around here: We respond quickly to news and press releases, especially when the topic is the Anglican crisis in America. Are you seriously faulting us for responding quickly to your statement?

And: If you think things in the statement needed “clarifying,” then the problem is in the statement, not in our response. You need to release a clearer statement, not point the finger at us for responding to something you had ample time to compose.

Finally:

We have not gotten a single inquiry from them about what our considerations were.

This is simply false, Dan, and you know it’s false.

I cannot imagine why you would make an accusation like this which you know to be false.

I personally forwarded to you several questions from Matt, Sarah and me, through the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic’s director of communications, at 8:20 pm central Wednesday night.

You responded personally to me via email 22 minutes later - at 9:02pm central that same night.

So I’ll say it again: I cannot imagine why you would make an accusation like this which you know to be false.

Here, verbatim, are the questions we sent you:

Fr. Baucum’s sermon indicated that as part of a process of restorative justice, he is opening up ministry opportunities for Bishop Johnston in the CofE. How do you square that with the NT principle of not giving aid or comfort to false teachers?

—-

What message might your actions convey to people in your congregation who have come to believe that the position of the diocese of VA in general and the bishop in particular with regard to homosexual behavior is destructive to souls and bodies?

—-

Do you believe your actions call into question your original decision to leave TEC? Why or why not?

—-

Do you think that the Bishop of Virginia is helping people or hurting people when he teaches them to discount the biblical injunctions against homosexual behavior? If you think he is hurting people, why would you promote his ministry?

—-

Does the Bishop of Virginia have the authority to keep an Anglican bishop off the property according to the terms of your settlement? If so, isn’t this precisely the kind of agreement you could have worked out through DEPO without losing your property?

—-

Do you think it was a mistake to leave TEC?

[28] Posted by Greg Griffith on 4-20-2012 at 10:52 PM · [top]

Greg, I apologize.

You are right, of course, that we did have that exchange. That’s not what I meant when I said there was no inquiry into our considerations, but I can see that it could be read that way. That was not my intention.

My complaint was that there were factual assumptions made immediately after the press release went public that could have been checked out but weren’t, such as whether the covenant would prevent us from speaking the truth about TEC or the diocese.

It was those assumptions which made the Truro portrayed in the comments sound so different from the Truro I know.

As you know, we have people at Truro who are skilled at communicating on blogs. We will be drawing on their expertise to figure out how best to lay out our thinking on the issues you ask about. That may take some time, but these are critically-important issues and should be discussed thoughtfully and well.

Dan

[29] Posted by Dan V on 4-21-2012 at 07:44 AM · [top]

Dear Dan V:

Believe me when I say that I don’t want to add one more straw to the camel’s back here. You guys have been through hell fighting the good fight, and I commend your congregation for it. Not only that, unlike my former parish where the entire Diocese together is facing the legal fight hand-in-hand, your congregation has had to face this onslaught with little local encouragement and with all the provisional courts, local press, and the entire ECUSA establishment bearing down against you.

As a reader who has followed your story, I wanted Truro and the other CANA churches to get justice, just as you did. It is sad that Judge Bellows has given the legal pariahs for ECUSA everything their greedy hearts demanded rather than respecting traditional laws of property that, had Truro not been a church, would have been respected and Schori’s thugs would have been laughed out of court. 

I can understand the fatigue that your congregation is going through because I have witnessed it firsthand. I have no problem with saying that your congregation has done all that is necessary for the honor of Our God—of course, you would have done that if you had followed whatever God had wanted you to do…whether that was to stay and negotiate (and then legally fight once KJS got involved) for your church building, or to leave the building behind when all this started and trust God to provide for you, or to stay in TEC to try to begin a revival of the Holy Spirit and a renewed love of the Holy Scriptures, etc.

I believe you when you indicate that Truro has no plans to enter into some sort of theological partnership with the Diocese. I do think it is weird that you would consider doing a missionary service with the group of people who not only violated the scripture about taking fellow Christians to court (1 Corinthians 6:1-11), but took away a building that was legally yours, where you payed for the upkeep, and were using for good things in the community, all so the building can sit there empty in a year’s time and no service to anyone. (How the local communities will suffer because of KSJ’s legal ‘victory’ in all of these cases, only God can tell.) You are really ready to go to South Sudan and put your life and the lives of your parishioners into the hands of a group of people who would do that? I wouldn’t. I love missions, and I want to do all I can for the people of South Sudan, but I’ll do it another way.

But the issue here, as Greg pointed out, isn’t with some agreement that needed to be made with Bishop Johnston for pastoral concerns during this transition. The issue here is, instead, that some unclear and (if I may say) rather unfortunate statements have been made about this agreement. I won’t get into the Truro statement or your rector’s statement, etc. However, I am really concerned with something you yourself said in your own post:

Tory has explained to us that there are three kinds of bishops in the Episcopal Church: those that are clearly orthodox, those that accept the teaching of the Nicene Creed on Jesus but are liberal theologically in areas such as human sexuality, and those that do not accept what the church has historically affirmed about the work of Christ.

Bishop Johnston falls in the second category.

I know you are reporting what your rector said, not necessarily a philosophy that you are actively seeking to promote here at SF. But I take it that there is some degree of tacit agreement on your part with Fr. Baucum’s paraphrased statement offered here, or you would not have shared it with us here. Furthermore, you seem to offer this statement as support for the forthcoming covenant that might be made between Truro and the Diocese…whatever shape that covenant might take.

Are you saying that Bishop Johnston is better than John Shelby Spong? Are you saying that Johnston and Spong are more than just a different shade of blue?

First of all, bishops like Johnston and Spong are cut from the same cloth, even if they are patterned or sewed together differently. When it comes to some traditional tenets of Christian faith, Johnston might be more heterodox than revisionist Spong, but as Fr. Matt explained elsewhere, when it comes to Christian faith as it has been universally held throughout the ages, heterodoxy is no less heretical than outright revisionism even if it still holds some resemblance to real Christianity.

In fact, I think bishops like Johnston are more dangerous than ones like Spong. I would rather have a full-blown ideological revisionist like Spong than someone like Johnston over my current diocese. As an Anglican/Episcopalian who takes a hard paleo-orthodox line against revisionism, I disagree with almost everything that comes out of Spong’s mouth on any given day. But at least he is open about his views and doesn’t try (or at least doesn’t try since retiring) to dissemble his views to a credulous laity.

Johnston concerns me far more because he is insidious.  Spong openly ordained the first openly gay priest in the Diocese of Newark, so it wasn’t that he tried to deceive anyone, but the General Convention and Executive Council were too weak and unwilling to punish him. But Johnston is smooth and knows how to maneuver. Johnston tries to appear ‘conciliatory’ to ‘both sides’ (the revisionists have never really had a side…just a handful of activists, but I digress), and this makes him look ‘sensible’ and ‘moderate’ to credulous laypeople. While his acts as senior churchman tell a different story, he always puts up a good show of empathy with orthodox Episcopalians which conveys to them the tacit message that while he has ‘differences’ with them, his feelings (if not his acts) are somehow with them…on their side. 

This is purely a political tactic. While traditional-minded Episcopalians are likely to awaken from their apathy with what the national and diocesan leadership does, put aside their differences, and unite against a bishop such as Spong, Johnston knows how to assure them emotionally without really doing anything that would compromise his position with his fellow heretics in the national church.

Because of Johnston’s political maneuvering tactics, so many traditional-minded laity are more likely to remain divided and un-engaged at the regional or national level—so they can continue to obsess with such ‘spaghetti dinner nonsense’ as who sneezed or accidentally yawned during the overly-sensitive layperson’s reading of Wikipedia notes on ‘Women in the Bible’ for the Sunday school class she was the leader of, etc. If theological issues do come up among traditional groups, they can easily boil down to arguing about Calvinist (low church) verses Catholic (high church) views of service, or pipe organ verses guitars, etc.

This climate makes it easier, not harder, for heresy to thrive in our dioceses and churches.

In short, no Dan V:

There are not 3 types of bishops, and the bishop that you seem to indicate you can trust is someone who could not damage the Church any more than he is now if he were a secret atheist who got himself elected to the episcopate with the sole purpose of destroying the church.

I hope that a new statement will clarify things because right now, this whole thing just sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me: Johnston has abused you, used every means at his disposal to harass you through the courts, the media, finances, personal relationships, etc. He not only has continued the policy of suing the churches, but individual members of the parish as well. His lawyers have managed to subvert the provincial legal system to take away what is rightfully yours: not only your church property, but the finances that members of the parish gave in good faith for biblical ministry. But has Bishop Johnston worn you down so much so emotionally, physically, materially, and financially that you are starting to see your abuser and captor as your protector?

If that were true, you are more to be pitted than blamed because, as I said before, you guys have been through human hell and very shamelessly treated. But I hope this is not true, and I hope that Truro will clarify some things in the coming days.

I can understand wanting a fresh start and to not remain a prisoner to these 6 long years. But begin this new beginning right, on sound footing.

God bless you, brother Dan, and good luck to you, my fellow brother in Christ Jesus, in your future as Truro moves forward. I apologize to you if any of my words were to hard, seemed unfair, or were spoken without full knowledge of the upcoming agreement Truro will make with Johnston.

[30] Posted by All-Is-True on 4-21-2012 at 11:24 AM · [top]

As one of the SF writers who is struggling mightily with the Truro issue, my greatest concern is this joining in ministry with a bishop whose theology is far left of his predecessor and closely aligned with much of the national leadership.

I recognize and appreciate your comment on what the bishop has told Fr. Baucum about the person of Christ but it leaves me puzzled.  As I mentioned in #21 above:

without the Authority of Scripture which Bishop Johnston discounts, how can there be any agreement on Christology? 

I can even understand saying - we will agree to disagree, my friend, but I cannot let you near my flock.  For even if Johnston were to agree not to discuss the “anthropology” aspects of his belief system, his theology is well known.  It would be like allowing Gene Robinson or Susan Russell to teach a bible class on likely the one thing you agree upon.  Their belief system is too well known and you are endorsing them by putting them in a position of authority over your flock.

[31] Posted by Jackie on 4-21-2012 at 11:29 AM · [top]

All-Is-True,

I will make a brief comment only about one particular thought of yours that you used as the basis for some of your most recent entry [30]. You said in this entry, “I can understand the fatigue that your congregation is going through”.

Dan Van Ness, in his recent explanatory comment discussed the importance of not imputing as fact that which is not known or not certain.

Of course, I can speak about this with certainty only for my own household and the Truro small group of which I am a member, but I can also say that no parishioners I know are experiencing the fatigue which your comment imputes to the Truro congregation.

We are eagerly pressing forward with various ministries, we care for and pray for one another, we are seeing new Christians coming alive, we are seeing lives changed and our surrounding community affected. And we look forward to the certain hope we have, since that hope is in the Lord. We have been hard-pressed concerning real estate, but we are not fatigued. As Christians, we contend with powers much more formidable than TEC, and we continue to see the Lord’s hand in those contests. Thus, it would not be accurate to impute fatigue to the Truro congregation.

[32] Posted by Bill Cool on 4-21-2012 at 01:01 PM · [top]

I have to say, I really don’t understand what this agreement buys Truro.  It certainly gains them nothing in terms of respect, self- or otherwise, huddling and cuddling with the likes of Shannon Johnston.  Do they expect to learn something from this heretic?

The only thing I can imagine this getting them is time, and even that is a failure of leadership.  Why weren’t contingency plans in place to quickly vacate the property in the event of a loss and decision not to appeal, something that could be implemented quickly to move the ministry to an alternate site nearby?

This strikes me as a “separated but living together” and just as awkward.  Give him the keys and shake the TEc dust from your feet, people of Truro.

[33] Posted by Jeffersonian on 4-21-2012 at 01:13 PM · [top]

@Bill Cool:

I mainly meant legal fatigue more than anything, and I definitely sense that there is weariness at Truro to proceed further legally.

I don’t blame them. I’m still in regular contact with the rector and laypeople at my former parish in Texas, and they are definitely ready for this to be behind them. In 2009, I remember everyone was strongly resolved to fight KSJ and her 815 goons when they first launched this lawsuit against the Diocese of Fort Worth. While they continue to hope for a good outcome, and are confident that they might the right decision to leave the General Convention of TEC, they are tired of this legal matter dangling over their heads, and their legal predicament has not been as ongoing as CANA’s.

Most of my comments were about my concerns with Dan V’s one comment about the ‘3 sorts of bishops,’ and I did not mean to assume anything about his motives for the analogy he was relating. I just wanted to give his intent the most charitable reading I could.

Blessings.

[34] Posted by All-Is-True on 4-21-2012 at 01:49 PM · [top]

I may have missed it as I scanned all the comments, but did Dan V comment on the assertion that Bp. Guernsey can only visit, minister, to the Turro congregation at the pleasure of Bp. Johnston?  If accurate, that is the one that just shocks me beyond belief.  Or, are the details of this still being defined in this covenant that is being negotiated?

[35] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-21-2012 at 04:29 PM · [top]

When I left Truro, I WAS bitter, then fighting bitterness (something about that being a sin) ... Well the cause of my bitterness was someone, an important someone, who even made it to vestry, proving James 3:16 correct in its fullness, even able to chase me out of TFC ...

Well ... I am not happy today! First of all I NEVER wished this even if everything were as it was five years ago, but actually all the “players” have left, leaving only people I think actually love Jesus enough to live out what He commands. I do NOT understand there decision, I understand that they effectively lost in the civil courts. 

Still, in the summer and fall of 2006, we were prepared (Truro & TFC) that there might be a settlement, like Christ Church, Plano, TX. There was much opposition then, but laying ground work. Best description of the second Judge Bellow decision is what Obama said after the 2010 mid-terms, “a shackling,”  I was shocked at how harsh the second time the same judge ruled. This “surrender” may be the balance between the harsh reality of the ruling and the need to care for the flock. I can attest, that the offshoot of another drama here on SFIF, which did me probably a greater violence (go a few chapter earlier in James) had in finding space, where I am now has a contract for space but Fairfax County is the problem. They may not have the advantages of other (Good Shepherd or Christ Church, Savannah, GA) of a place to go and caught in a really tough potions with “competing goods.”

This sucks! Then again the situation might also suck!

[36] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 4-21-2012 at 09:12 PM · [top]

RE: place to go and caught in a really tough potions with “competing goods.”

It might be helpful to understand my pondering to know that I just finished listening to Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy from Audible. I was struck at the length the author justified some of Bonhoeffer’s actions. I really disagreed with the premise and even though I am a layman and no where near the formal education of Bonhoeffer, I “could not go there” with some of the reported justifications, but I also could not throw stones either. This may be even more vivid to my mind, for some outside group put on the play The Beams are Creaking in the spring of 2003, before all the events. I wish Bonhoeffer did not formulate some of his justifications as Metaxas reports but maybe more the double meaning like Corrie Ten Boom’s answer to the Nazi of where she hiding the Jews (under the dining room table, both true (in the basement) and misleading joke,’ ha ha),’ but I also wish the midwives in the first chapters of Exodus answered like Peter with “should we obey God or man?” but instead give an answer that confuses this simpleton.

I disagree with Tory+, I disagree with Bonhoeffer and I disagree with the midwives in Exodus, but I throw no stones, mainly in fear I ever be in a similar situation. I like my world simple, because I’m pretty simple. This situation seems like those “life boat ethics” type of situations I always fail at.

[37] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 4-21-2012 at 09:52 PM · [top]

“This situation seems like those “life boat ethics” type of situations I always fail at’”.

Hosea, well put.

On the surface some of Fr. Baucom’s comments seem niave, particurlarly in light of the rationale given by Truro and others for leaving TEC in the first place.  But I have deep respect for several of Truro’s lay leaders, including Mr. Van Ness, and know them to be orthodox Christians who are very aware of the insidious nature of sin and heresy. I am confident they have acted in good faith, after sincere prayer, in seeking some breathing room in the midst of a very difficult situation.  Finding a new facility for a large congregation is very difficult, and the additional year will likely help.  Paying just for the upkeep of the facility during that year is cheaper than any rental alternative.

I will pray that they will be able to find a new home sooner than expected, and will terminate all entaglements with TEC, legal or otherwise.

[38] Posted by Going Home on 4-21-2012 at 11:43 PM · [top]

I fully endorse All-is-true’s post at #30 (except the bit about personally experiencing some of what Truro Church has been through, because thus far I haven’t, d.v.).  There is much for all Anglicans to admire in Truro Church’s sacrifice and witness over many years.

Despite all the positives, All-is-true still has a deep concern about the direction Truro Church is being led in.  As do I.

It is not a concern about deciding not to continue with the court case, nor about entering into an arrangement to lease the property.  Those are all matters which Truro Church was entitled to do.  Rather, the concern is about the joint ministry that Truro Church has apparently entered into with Bishop Shannon Johnston.

My concerns have been heightened because a warden/elder of Truro Church, Dan V, has graciously and carefully responded to a number of points of concern raised on Stand Firm in recent days (which is good) but seems to have missed some of the most important ones (not so good).

First, lets remember who Bishop Johnston is.  He actively promotes apostasy and heresy.  In a public address in 2011 wrote:

“Personally, it is my hope that the 2012 General Convention will authorize the formal blessing of same-gender unions for those clergy in places that want to celebrate them. Until then, we might not be able to do all that we would want to do but, in my judgment, it is right to do something and it is time to do what we can.”

There are also real fears held by many that +Johnston’s heresy goes further than this, that he agrees with the apostasy of Katherine Schori who has publicly rejected the atoning work of Christ as being essential for salvation.

Secondly, lets look at the points of concern:

1. The rector of Truro Church has apparently written: “I have opened up relationships and ministry opportunities to [+Johnston] in the CofE”

What the ___?? Why would you do that, with Bishop Johnston of all people?  There are orthodox believers in TEC, so why pick someone who very definitely isn’t orthodox and open up opportunities for him in another province?  This question has been asked several times on different Stand Firm threads, and no-one from Truro Church has attempted to answer it.

2. Bishop Johnston has written about his relationship with Truro Church going forward:
“this is an opening for a transformative witness to many across the worldwide Anglican Communion”

How can Truro Church enter into a “transformative witness” with +Johnston.  This goes way beyond greeting him as a brother in Christ; way beyond being charitable to each other; way beyond entering into a lease of the property. 

3. Bishop Johnston also writes:

“Because the Diocese and Truro Anglican are part of different ecclesiastical bodies who share the Anglican tradition, they have agreed to follow a process during the term of the lease by which bishops may visit Truro Anglican with the permission of Bishop Johnston.”

In respect of this, I posted a question (and others have asked a similar question):
“Does this mean that the ACNA ordinary with oversight of Truro cannot visit the church without permission of the Episcopal bishop?” 

The only answer we have received, from someone at Truro Church, essentially amounted to: “+Johnston is a nice person and he would never stop +Guernsey visiting”.  But the question that this begs is, Why has such an agreement been made in the first place?  If you are Anglican, then you have a relationship with your bishop.  You do not give another bishop the right to stop him visiting - unless the other bishop is your ordinary. ... Is +Johnston really the ordinary of Truro Church?

4. Dan V wrote:
“We will not be inviting Bp Johnston to teach our young people on human sexuality”

Are you sure about that?  You are publicly entering into joint ministry with Bishop Johnston, opening up ministry opportunities in CofE that he would not otherwise have, and letting him decide whether your bishop visits you.  This is the same Bishop Johnston who actively promotes church blessings of same-sex relationships and hopes that they will be authorised for the entire church.

By endorsing him, haven’t you already let him teach your young people on human sexuality?  He doesn’t have to visit or meet your young people.

5. Dan V also wrote:
“Finding avenues for joint ministry will not be a major preoccupation for either the Diocese or for Truro.”

I don’t where the line is drawn between a “major preoccuption” and a “minor preoccupation”.  But in any case I have trouble seeing its relevance.  Surely you are either prepared to enter into joint ministry with +Johnston, or you are not?

+Johnston supports Katherine Schori and promotes the conduct of same sex blessings and liberal teaching on sexuality in his churches.  So this is what I do not understand - why on earth would you want to enter into ANY sort of joint ministry with him?

6. DanV also wrote:
“We made that choice and have not looked back. Don’t let anyone tell you an intention to be charitable or expressions of gratitude for a favorable short term lease are signs that we have changed our minds.”

I don’t think you are getting it. The concern is not that you may have changed your mind about leaving TEC and joining ACNA.  The concern is as to why you have chosen to enter into joint ministry with +Johnston, of all people.

[39] Posted by MichaelA on 4-22-2012 at 05:48 AM · [top]

As Truro goes, so will go much of ACNA.  Anti-gay was never enough to sustain a rebellion, much less a full scale reform.

[40] Posted by Aaytch on 4-22-2012 at 07:19 PM · [top]

As a former member of Truro, I agree with the comments made by Dan Van Ness and Bill Cool regarding Fr. Baucum’s and Truro’s actions with regard to Bishop Johnston and the Diocese of Virginia.  These actions, IMHO, are consistent with The Report to Bishop Lee on a Protocol for Departing Congregations (September 2006) (http://www.thefallschurch.org/uploads/09_28_06_ProtocolDepartingCongreg.pdf), which was signed by representatives of Truro and TFC.  The Report states, among other things, that:

“...we may be entering a period of history of the Anglican Communion when we (the Church, the Body of Christ) will be walking the way of the Cross together, but apart.”

“Notwithstanding the division which may cause some to ‘walk apart,’ we shall always share in our own way our devotion to spreading the Good News.  To that end, we shall earnestly seek to find areas of cooperative ministries in ‘as close a union as possible’.”

[41] Posted by Already Gone on 4-23-2012 at 09:25 AM · [top]

I wonder if Fr. Baucum’s strategy is to say to the parish in a few months and after counting the cost of building new facilities:  “hey its going to cost 5 million or so to build new facilities, Bishop Johnston is not so bad as he has been reall nice to us, we have engaged in cooperative ministry and prayed together,  so what do you say lets go back into the diocese, use the 5 million to fund missionaries, and enjoy our current facilities.” 

Northern Virginia is very overbuilt.  It just may be impossible to replicate the facilities any where close to the present location and they will never be able to replicate the historic building.

[42] Posted by Ordinary on 4-23-2012 at 02:57 PM · [top]

As Truro goes, so will go much of ACNA.  Anti-gay was never enough to sustain a rebellion, much less a full scale reform.

#40: What are you talking about? What do you mean by ‘anti-gay’? I haven’t heard anything on this particular tread (or much elsewhere in ACNA) about being ‘anti’ any person, except being anti-people who want to spread heresy in the church.

True, I don’t exactly subscribe to the soft bigotry of low expectations that the revisionists have encouraged the TEC ‘company men’ to adopt—the same soft bigotry that leads these men to AIDS, anal cancer, physical and emotional pain and discomfort, severe stress and depression, and suicide—but this is, after all, about what is best for gay men in this life and the next…not about being politically correct. 

PS: We have seen the effect of similar soft bigotry in other aspects of our society: the ghettoization of our inner-cities, the transformation of our federal safety net programs and educational grants into welfare dependency, the continual failure of our urban public schools in spite of 40 years of increased funding, the increased recidivism of our juvenile offenders, the continual increase of fatherless families…

I could go on, but you get the point.

[43] Posted by All-Is-True on 4-23-2012 at 03:45 PM · [top]

It has been with great difficulty I’ve managed to stay off the comment threads about Truro most of the past week.  I did so because I needed time to pray and to not respond in hot emotion.  Also, I had some work I needed to prioritize and pretty much I sensed the Lord’s clear command to stay out of the discussion until He clearly led me to something constructive to share.  I feel the Lord gave me that tonight.  I am still pressed with many work deadlines, so I might not comment much here, but I do feel free tonight to chime in.

I’m too far away to be able to add much detail to the discussion of what Truro did or didn’t do.  It may be my home church, but from here in Africa, I, like so many others commenting here, am in many ways really just an observer and have not been personally involved in these matters.

YET, the one difference between me and other distant observers I guess is that I DO personally know Truro’s clergy and have sat under more than just one of Tory’s sermons.  I know Dan VanNess our senior warden, having been in a home group with him and his wife back in 1989 - 1991 before I came to Africa.  They have been among my most faithful prayer supporters for the past 20 years. 

What has struck me so strongly in recent days is that everyone I’m in contact with at Truro is expressing gratitude to the Lord for His grace and wisdom and for how He has led in this settlement, not just relief that the litigation will now be over (though there IS some relief too, naturally).  From what I’ve heard and read, we’re excited and encouraged by the commitment to charity, not alarmed by it.  [Of course there may likely be some who are keeping quiet, and are alarmed or who will leave, but I’ve not heard any whispers of such…]

Perhaps now I’ve utterly alarmed the commenting community here even further and many will chime in with “oh no, it’s even WORSE than we thought if this is BROADLY accepted and welcomed by the parish…”

But here’s what I ask readers and commenters here to consider.  Truro has been known as a strong and faithful and orthodox parish in word and deed for some 30+ years now - and that orthodoxy has been *DEEP* by which I mean not just a strongly opinionated orthodox rector, but a very strong base of orthodox lay leaders.  This is not to say that orthodox leaders and parishes can’t and don’t err or need to be corrected, nor to say there is no merit in some of the questions and concerns that have been raised.

Personally, I find trying to find the line between judgment and mercy extremely difficult.  Matt+ and others are quick to quote all the “separate yourselves immediately from heretic” passages.  And sure, they are there, and we are called to take a strong stand against false teachers.  No question.  And yet, there are also an equal number of passages in the NT which command us to be “gentle” towards opponents in hopes of leading some to repentance and restoration.  Look for instance at the end of 2 Tim 2 and the beginning of 2 Tim 3

In chapter 2 we read (NIV)
25     Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God
will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

26     and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of
the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Just a few verses later in chapter 3 we read:

.... There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful,
proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
3     without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal,
not lovers of the good,
4     treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
5     having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do
with them
.

Ok Paul, which is it? I want to ask!  gently instruct or have nothing to do with?  What is the difference between those he is describing at the end of chapter 2 vs. the beginning of ch 3.  Why is there the hope in Chapter 2 that some who have turned away can be led back to the faith, whereas a bit later in Chapter 3 it talks about Jannes and Jambres as those “disqualified from the faith.”

Matt+, Greg, Sarah, and now David, and many others commenting here seem to see clear lines.  I’m not so sure the lines are so clear to me, though I’d welcome calm dialogue and study together on these questions and passages.

But that’s the very problem I have with what’s been going on in the comment threads here all week.  There’s not been calm dialogue or study.  Instead there has been a relentless attack and A PRESUMPTION OF THE WORST about Truro, a readiness to assume all kinds of stupidity, folly, wrong motives, compromise, etc. from the moment the news broke.

I was glad to read in Greg’s exchange with our senior warden Dan VanNess that eventually an email exchange had been initiated.  But the attack started before that.  There was a presumption of guilt.  Why?  What makes so many believe that a sound parish with such a breadth of well-formed orthodox leaders would so totally and quickly go off the rails with no hint of warning?  I suppose it’s possible, but it’s not likely.  It’s not like Truro is some rogue parish somewhere.  I’m reliably informed that Truro’s leadership has been in regular communication with Bp. Guernsey.  So is he too to be attacked for allowing Truro to take this path?  (shudder… I hate to even suggest it lest some take that as a rallying cry to lead the charge!)

Here’s what compelled me to comment tonight.  Reading, thinking and praying through 1 Cor 13.  Some translations render verse 7 “believing the best”  Does not love for Truro’s leaders as brothers in Christ compel believing and hoping the best of them and Truro as a parish and being careful to find out what their motives and understandings of the settlement were BEFORE attacking and judging?  Yes, we are called to judge others in the church.  But we are called much more often in Scripture to love one another.

Read again 1 Cor 13:4-7.  I’m going to post it twice for emphasis, first in NASB, then RSV:

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous ; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly ; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth ; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Perhaps many here have been speaking truth this past week and perhaps Truro’s leadership made a severe error.  I don’t believe so, but I will not presume to weigh in on that matter with any kind of certainty from thousands of miles away.  Yet I would try to humbly ask, have people been speaking the truth in LOVE, or has there been arrogance and rejoicing in evil?

Here is a commentary I have found helpful on 1 Cor 13:7 in trying to draw out in a bit more detail what it means to believe and hope all things.  Consider these words please in thinking about all that has been written about Truro in recent days:

Hopeth all things - Hopes that all will turn out well. This must also refer to the conduct of others; and it means, that however dark may be appearances; how much soever there may be to produce the fear that others are actuated by improper motives or are bad people, yet that there is a “hope” that matters may be explained and made clear; that the difficulties may he made to vanish; and that the conduct of others may be made to “appear” to be fair and pure. Love will “hold on to this hope” until all possibility of such a result has vanished and it is compelled to believe that the conduct is not susceptible of a fair explanation. This hope will extend to “all things” - to words and actions, and plans; to public and to private contact; to what is said and done in our own presence, and to what is said and done in our absence. Love will do this, because it delights in the virtue and happiness of others, and will not credit anything to the contrary unless compelled to do so.

I have found such love demonstrated by hope, trust and belief in Truro and its leaders to have been largely sadly lacking here in recent days and I have been deeply hurt and saddened.

These are important questions.  But I hope in the future they can be discussed in, dare I say it? .... a bit more, um, CHARITY?  Stand Firm has an important ministry and an important voice.  Please don’t squander it by driving away many friends by a lack of love.

Thanks for reading this long comment…

[44] Posted by Karen B. on 4-23-2012 at 06:24 PM · [top]

Apologies, I forgot to provide the source link for the commentary on 1 Cor 13:7 I posted at the end of my comment #44.  Here it is:

http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/13-7.htm

[45] Posted by Karen B. on 4-23-2012 at 06:42 PM · [top]

Just a quick note Karen B, more later.

2 Tim 2:25 is referring to “how” one is to contend with “opponents” - in this case probably the false teachers named in the verses prior or to their followers. Timothy is be gentle, true, but not cooperative, collaborative or compromising. He is to “correct them”. He is not to legitimize their ministry.

I have no problem with Truro correcting Bishop Johnston gently. Unfortunately, that is not what their public statements indicate is happening. Instead they are cooperating with him collaborating in ministry efforts and and legitimizing him

In 2 Tim 3, Timothy is advised to have nothing to do with these men. Probably Psalm 1 and other similar texts stand behind this command…not to walk in the way of the wicked.  “Avoiding” such men does not mean “don’t correct them”. It means don’t “walk in their path”...don’t participate with them, collaborate with them, legitimize them, sit with them…etc.

You have to work very hard to gin up a conflict between 2 Tim 2 and 2 Tim 3. It’s just not there. Both texts command opposition to heretics and a policy of non-cooperation.

Truro has not followed these commands in any way.

[46] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-23-2012 at 08:10 PM · [top]

Karen B.

1. Essentially you seem to be saying, “Truro has a long-standing and deep commitment to orthodoxy, and they are wonderful Christian people, therefore what they do may not be questioned in any way whatsoever”.

Respectfully, I don’t agree. Yes, some of the posts on the various threads have been carping or involved only negative criticism.  But several have asked legitimate questions, which Truro Church as a matter of charity and respect for fellow Christians should be prepared to answer. 

I appreciate that considered replies may take time.

2. You wrote:

“I’m reliably informed that Truro’s leadership has been in regular communication with Bp. Guernsey.”

Karen B, with respect, Bishop Guernsey can speak for himself.  He may well do so in the near future, or he may have good pastoral reasons not to make any public comment.  I am not making any assumptions about what he thinks or does not think, and nor should anyone else.

3. You don’t seem to acknowledge that other Christians may have a legitimate concern about a church which voluntarily adopts a joint ministry relationship with +Johnston.

Not once in your post do you appear to find anything unusual in your Church having a ministry relationship with +Johnston, a man whose declared aim is to have same-sex blessings regularised across the whole of TEC

Briefly, these are the questions I asked above at #39 (and I or others have asked them on several occasions before):

1.  Why did the rector of Truro Church write: “I have opened up relationships and ministry opportunities to [+Johnston] in the CofE”?  This seems to go well beyond “mutual charity”, “brother in Christ” etc. 

2.  What did +Johnston mean when he wrote: “this is an opening for a transformative witness to many across the worldwide Anglican Communion”, and what does Truro Church understand by that?

3.  Why did Truro Church (according to +Johnston) agree that visits by ACNA bishops will be subject to +Johnston’s approval?

These questions should not come as a surprise.  The leadership of Truro Church should have anticipated them, given who +Johnston is, and what he stands for.  Anyway it would be nice to get some answers, instead of: “We are good people so never question anything we do”.

[47] Posted by MichaelA on 4-23-2012 at 08:10 PM · [top]

Also, I have no idea how “we prayed about it a long time and we all agree” justifies legitimizing a wolf like +Johnston. I don’t care how long you pray about it the Holy Spirit will never inspire you to do anything contrary to scripture.

[48] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-23-2012 at 08:13 PM · [top]

Already Gone at #41,

Thank you for at least attempting to answer some of the pressing questions.  In essence, you seem to be saying that the current path of joint ministry being pursued with +Johnston is consistent with that which Truro Church would have followed with +Lee in 2006. 

But are the two situations really equivalent?  Consider the following differences:

(a) +Lee did not openly advocate same-sex blessings for the whole church in the way that +Johnston now does.  +Johnston has declared that he wants to see same-sex blessings regularised across the whole of TEC;

(b) TEC itself has gone significantly further than in 2006, with the Glasspool “consecration” and the Presiding Bishop’s open denial of the unique necessity of Christ for salvation.  A relationship with a bishop who supports the TEC leadership is significantly different now to what it would have been in 2006;

(c) I didn’t understand that the proposed arrangement with +Lee in 2006 required Truro to do such things as “opening up relationships and ministry opportunities in CofE” for a known liberal bishop.

[49] Posted by MichaelA on 4-23-2012 at 08:19 PM · [top]

It’s past 1 a.m. in my time zone, so forgive me if I keep this short. 

But Michael A. I am not at all saying Truro cannot be questioned.  I explicitly acknowledged they may have erred.  I said I welcome further debate of these questions and that important issues have been raised.

You have totally put words into my mouth.  Please reread what I wrote carefully.  Love does not mean no questions.  But it does mean patience and a careful attempt to establish the truth of a brother’s words or actions before judging.

That’s all I was trying to say.

I’ll jump back in tomorrow, but for now I need to sleep.  Sorry.

[50] Posted by Karen B. on 4-23-2012 at 08:25 PM · [top]

Matt+ is your #48 directed at me?

Did I write “we prayed about it a long time and we all agree” so it’s ok?  I don’t think so.  Perhaps you are referring to a comment further upstream.  I confess I’m playing catch up here, so I may have missed the reference for your comment.

[51] Posted by Karen B. on 4-23-2012 at 08:28 PM · [top]

To other comments here and on the facebook side Karen…not yours.

[52] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-23-2012 at 08:33 PM · [top]

Michael A.  one last thing I can chime in tonight before I keel over.

I haven’t addressed the matter of the agreement with Bp, Johnston because I know very little about it.  I’m some 4000+ miles from Fairfax.  I’ve not been in any congregational meeting.  I’ve not set foot in Truro for nearly 8 months.  I can’t speak to Truro’s actions and am not trying to advocate for what they did.

I can understand the concern on quite a few levels.  But I do also feel that people are quick to put their own interpretation on what the “covenant” means (such as saying Truro has been muzzled) without a lot of clear evidence as to what it says.  The initial press release that prompted all the early attacks was very sketchy.

Yes, Matt’s going to Tory’s sermon and responding to his own words was much better, as was Greg’s initiating an email dialogue with Truro’s vesty.  I applaud those things. 

Pretty much all I’m advocating for here is patience and a much more charitable tone that might be willing to include some consideration of the context of Truro’s long history of faithfulness before lumping us in with Bp. Johnston and others as heretics.

[53] Posted by Karen B. on 4-23-2012 at 08:37 PM · [top]

Thanks Matt+!

[54] Posted by Karen B. on 4-23-2012 at 08:38 PM · [top]

“I said I welcome further debate of these questions and that important issues have been raised.”

Good point, Karen B., and thank you for your patience with us.

[55] Posted by MichaelA on 4-23-2012 at 11:04 PM · [top]

Hey all,

I may be beating a dead horse here, now, having come so late to this thread, but I hope not.  I had what I think is a really helpful inspiration this morning - an EXCELLENT example came to mind of the kind of charitable dialogue I’m trying to advocate for - words that are gracious and respectful, but do not compromise truth.

And they are words of none other than Stand Firm author the Rev. David Ould, in his exchange of emails with the Abp. of Perth, Roger Herft, back in 2008

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/13348

David+ took the time to email the Abp, and share his beliefs and engage in a dialogue before publicizing his concerns (about the Archbishop…  He *had* earlier published his concerns about the sermon that was preached by the Dean, something I have no problem with.)  He attacked WORDS and bad doctrine immediately, but he did not attack a PERSON until he had first sought to get clarity and give the Archbishop a chance to examine the matter and to respond.

This is where I feel too much of the dialogue here has crossed the line in recent days.  There was a quickness to attack people and Truro as a whole, to presume compromise without having made a similar effort to allow Truro leaders to respond and answer the queries.

Wouldn’t this be more fruitful as a two-sided discussion than as a shouting match AT Truro and our leaders?

I do think these are important matters, and I am *NOT* saying “my parish, my rector, wrong or right!”  I’m not trying to defend Truro’s words or actions because I can’t and don’t speak for them.

But Tory+, Dan VanNess and our other leaders do need to be given a chance to respond - to honest questions, and lovingly and respectfully addressed concerns.  Not merely reduced to trying to get their voice and defense heard over a shouting match here.

Would the columnists of Stand Firm give Truro leaders that chance to make their defense?  David+ was once gracious enough to give Abp. Herft a chance to defend himself.  I’m hoping and praying similar charity will prevail again.

I pray that if we in Truro are in error, which we well may be - (while I am encouraged with some of what has happened, there are some things that are not at all clear to me yet and are of concern and I’m waiting to learn more) - God will help us receive correction well.  But it will much more likely to be received if it is spoken in love and hope rather than in accusation and derision.

Thanks for listening.  Please pray for us, and pray we might keep walking in ways that are true and right and pleasing to the Lord.

[56] Posted by Karen B. on 4-24-2012 at 06:04 AM · [top]

Hi Karen B, thank you for your comment above.

I definitely recognize and think you are right to point out the difference between critiquing behavior and attacking a person. But I do not see any of these attacks as personal? Can you show me where Tory+ or any other leaders at Truro have been personally insulted or attacked?

Second, I think you make a good point about waiting for a response. We have submitted questions and we’re waiting for a response.

At the same time, I think you can see that the public statements released by Truro and the sermon Tory preached included assertions and principles that Stand Firm has historically stood against in no uncertain terms…namely participating in mutual ministry efforts with false teachers and naming them as brothers in Christ. We have always and will always condemn such language in the strongest possible terms because we think it legitimizes the ministry of those who are leading people away from Christ and into the darkness.

What would you say if one of the most respected physicians in the nation put out a public statement naming a doctor who promotes the use of chrystal meth and crack for teenagers as his “respected colleague” and suggested that despite their differences about crack and chrystal meth for teenagers he was going to open up opportunities for this charlatan to practice medicine around the world?

Would you expect the medical community to wait for a conversation or dialog before responding in the strongest possible terms? Lives are at stake. How dare anyone suggest caution and patience in such a circumstance? It’s really not about the doctors getting along or the one doctor’s reputation - its about saving lives.

In the same way Bishop Johnston is a purveyor of spiritual crack. If you expect Stand Firm to sit idly by while even one of our most respected and revered churches promotes his ministry, then I am not sure you have been paying attention.

[57] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 4-24-2012 at 06:22 AM · [top]

One last very quick thought from me, than I need to get back to work for the day.  I want to state very clearly that by raising concerns about tone and charity I am *NOT* meaning to ignore or divert this discussion away from the concerns Matt+, Greg, David+, and others have raised in their posts and comments.

This is not a bait & switch attempt to change topics.  I just think the concerns are now being drowned out by the way in which they are being voiced, and risk not being heard at all by many because of that.

So please let this be a “BOTH / AND” discussion.  Can we discuss BOTH the substance of the concerns AND the way in which they’re raised?  I think Scripture calls us to do both.

[58] Posted by Karen B. on 4-24-2012 at 06:34 AM · [top]

Matt, your #57 is well stated and helpful.  Thank you

I have to confess I honestly don’t have time now to go look for the specific examples, though you are perfectly right to ask me to cite details of what seemed uncharitable attacks.  Perhaps later today I might be able to find such.

I guess it was just as much of anything the seeming delight in piling on and looking for fault so quickly… the willingness to make a decided judgment “surrender” without letting Truro present their case.

What does most trouble me in this matter IS exactly the question of Tory / Truro’s agreement to promote Bp. Johnston’s ministry in some way.  Well done to question that. 

But perhaps even if this whole series of posts had been prefaced with a simple statement, or an update somewhere along the line of:  “we’ve asked Truro for a response, in the meantime here are our concerns…,” it would have been a lot less troubling.

We perhaps disagree a bit on the URGENCY of the matter.  I don’t think SF’s commentaries have changed anything on the ground re: the agreement.  Afterall David O+ spent 2 1/2 months emailing the Abp. of Perth on a matter related to teaching about the physical resurrection of Christ - the core doctrine of our faith!

I’ll add more later if I can, and if it still seems like it would be a fruitful contribution.  Glad to know a *dialogue* will continue.

[59] Posted by Karen B. on 4-24-2012 at 06:51 AM · [top]

Karen B. – I thank you for your kind and wise words.  I see an utter lack of humility and charity in so many of the words written here.  And for what point?  The level of vitriol reminds me more of the style of a political campaign than Christians disagreeing (why so quick to pounce?)  It takes a lot of certainty to publicly and so quickly condemn another church congregation’s decision in a matter such as this, particularly when those doing the condemning are many miles away, have not been party to any of the decision-making, and are helpfully insulated from virtually all the ramifications of whatever decision is made.  It’s a certainty I definitely don’t have, and I’m much closer to Truro than they are.

[60] Posted by S. Hamilton on 5-10-2012 at 08:30 AM · [top]

Hi S Hamilton

Tone-policing is forbidden on SF and with your delicate sensibilities it might be wise to steering clear of engaging in the discussion here. 

If you choose to engage you are welcome so long as you do not attempt to police the tone.

This is your warning

[61] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-10-2012 at 09:03 AM · [top]

RE: “and are helpfully insulated from virtually all the ramifications of whatever decision is made . . . “

A stunningly ignorant comment considering that one primary commenter on this piece is a) a fellow member of ACNA with Truro and b) had his church legally stolen from the congregation and sold to a Moslem mosque . . . not to mention all the other 1) Anglicans out there worrying over what kinds of settlements they should make with those who abused and personally sued them and 2) Episcopalians who are engaged in battling with leaders who don’t believe the Gospel in their own denomination while watching aghast as Truro declares that a revisionist activist bishop like Shannon Johnston should have his ministry encouraged to other Provinces of the Anglican Communion, that his heresies are relatively trivial, and that we will all get to see a glorious “transformative witness.”

Yeh—we’re all “insulated” alright.

[62] Posted by Sarah on 5-10-2012 at 10:48 AM · [top]

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