An eerie stillness
There's an eerie stillness in the Diocese of Central Florida tonight. The news is out, posted by sources as varied as The Daily Episcopalian and Titusonenine.
The Episcopal Voices listserv is quiet. There's not a word from anyone, yet the news is big.
Bishop Peter Lee and the Diocese of Virginia have declared the 11 parishes that voted to leave the Episcopal Church for the Nigerian church vacant and abandoned, and they are being reclaimed for the Episcopal Church.
Lee said, in a separate letter, "When the membership of these congregations voted to sever their ties with the Episcopal Church and affiliate with CANA, they left remaining Episcopal congregations in those places without vestries, without clergy and without their churches, whether the remaining congregations numbered one or 100 souls. The spiritual abandonment of their Episcopal brothers and sisters of the past, the present and the future, is perhaps the greatest offense for which there is no redress under our tradition...
Bishop Lee detailed his attempts to maintain relations with the leadership of these churches, for naught.
"We have resisted attempts to deny them seat, voice and vote at the Annual Council when they stopped funding the budget of the Diocese. They have enjoyed access to our diocesan-managed medical and dental benefits. They have enjoyed other diocesan resources like grant funding for church planting, mission work and congregational development, Shrine Mont and Roslyn. I have met dozens of times with the leadership of these churches and with their counsel in an effort to find common ground on matters of theology."
I'm waiting to see what happens here, in the eerie quiet. Is it the calm before the storm?
The groundwork was being laid in this diocese for the move to Nigeria. Last week, one of the Network types in my parish (a nice person, but sadly tapped into this stuff) sent a e-mail around, with propaganda hot off the AAC press:
The Path of the Episcopal Church
Here we chronicle the events and their dates leading up to the "Walking Apart" of the US branch of the Anglican Communion from the main body of both the Communion and the Holy Catholic Church.
The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America (PECUSA), is also known as the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA), the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and The Episcopal Church (TEC).
After this intro comes a long timeline of "proofs" that the Episcopal Church has chosen to walk apart. Spong's name figures big in it. Events of 2003 (Gene Robinson becomes bishop, the General Convention) are marked it red.
The sender says, "An interesting read no matter how you 'feel' about things. I hope you'll familiarize yourself with events and go on line and do your own research. I truly believe we will be challenged to make some decisions sooner or later and the more informed each of us is, the better we'll be able to make those decision. SO - PRAY, RESEARCH, PRAY, READ, PRAY and PRAY someone."
I have been, and Bishop Lee and the Diocese of Virginia have answered one of my prayers.
Now let's see what the leadership in this diocese does.