Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bandit Bishop Schori to Lawrence - You're Fired!

In a move that was as stunningly predictable as it was stupid clever, Space Alien Bandit Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, has put the boot into Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina, (DSC) prompting one of the  oldest and healthiest Anglican dioceses in North America to leave the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Mark Lawrence
Last year, bishop Lawrence was anonymously accused of "abandonment of communion" but two of the three  charges were dismissed by a disciplinary panel of bishops especially convened to deal with the alleged infractions. Dismissed that is until this month, when Lawrence was informed by the Bandit Bishop that he had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church and wasn't allowed to function as a bishop.

This triggered secession clauses in the Diocese of South Carolina's Constitution, prompting it to leave the Episcopal Church. Next step? The Episcopal Church will sue the DSC for all its money and property after forming a potemkin diocese to serve as plaintiffs. That will bring the total number of traditional dioceses being litigated against by the Episcopal Church to five, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Fort Worth and now South Carolina. 

Sue You
I won't comment further except to recommend A.S. Haley's post on Anglican Curmudgeon, but I will leave you with a test.

Imagine, for a moment, that you're the leader of a wealthy little denomination that's shrinking at an alarming rate of 50,000 members a year. One of your more numerous dioceses, with 29,000 members, publicly dissents from your prophetic pro-gay agenda. What do you do?

A. Try and find a way to co-exist with the dissenting diocese and concentrate on mission.
B. Sue the dissenting diocese and lose 29,000 people.

If you answered "A" you have failed the test to become the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. If you answered "B", well done! You too can be a space alien and have a grand penthouse apartment on New York's prestigious 5th Avenue! But remember, lest you get too carried away by the logic of your position, a church without members isn't really a church at all.

Carry on suing,



bluesun said...

I know it's not easy, but I say give em' the buildings and meet next week at the park, or rent a gymnasium (what the Anglicans in Butte, MT did). They can try paying for all the upkeep without the 29,000 sources of income. Cliche warning--"The Church isn't a building." Fighting with fools isn't worth it, in my opinion.

Mattexian said...

I gotta agree with BlueSun: give 'em the building, it wouldn't be the first time a congregation has met elsewhere, even using another church's building. (Lots of instances of that, during the frontier and pioneer days. Baptists or Methodists would get a building up first, and let the other group use it in the afternoons until they built their own.) Be a pity to lose their old building if the Diocese can't keep up the rent or whatever; buildings without inhabitants tend to fall apart rather quickly.

LSP said...

Good points, Bluesun and Mettexian. Of course I'd be out of a house... but still, that day may come.

I think that bishop Iker et al would argue that we can't in good conscience leave the entire assets and infrastructure of our dioceses to a marauding gang of liberal litigants -- without at least putting up a fight. Some would say, too, that the polity of the church is worth defending when attacked, even at law.

Of course the libs make a similar kind of argument -- "we can't just let these redneck throwbacks walk off with all our stuff."

So they sue, we defend and if we lose we start fresh and they get lots of empty buildings. If we win, then an important precedent is set. Viz. if the principle of sovereignty resides at diocesan level, and not with General Convention, then every diocese is free to go. (just as they were free to join)

If that's decided, legally, the glue that holds the lib dominated Episcopal Church together will start to melt pretty rapidly.

Perhaps that's worth the lawyers' fees...

Third News said...

I'm unsure of the legal argument against a revanchistic counter-suing of TEC property.

Why are they disembrangled with repect to property stewardship? Are not their assets partially paid for/maintained with donations from diocese churches?

In fact, original property and assets muniments may address morality/dispute clauses that require a legal defense.

The threat of losing the 5th Avenue penthouse apartment, would personalize the risk for the TEC Bishop

LSP said...

Who knows, 3rd News, what goes on in The Penthouse! But we can guess...