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October 14, 2011


Very Sour Grapes


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48 comments

I guess the author missed the part about bishops being deposed, and how parishes have tried in good faith to negotiate fair settlements for church property, only to be sued by TEC.

I pray none of the bad behavior the author mentioned ever happened (and, frankly, it was pretty far off-topic for him to mention it); if it did, shame on anyone doing such a thing.

I thought the WSJ article was extremely accurate.

[1] Posted by B. Hunter on 10-14-2011 at 10:23 AM · [top]

I hope not too…but I, frankly, think he is lying.

[2] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-14-2011 at 10:26 AM · [top]

Yeh—and the comments on that first WSJ piece were outstanding.  It was awesome to read all those Episcopalians chiming in with equal disdain for the actions of our church’s leadership.

[3] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 10:44 AM · [top]

Gracious!  Did you really trash the Good Shepherd when you left, Fr Matt?  So they had to sell it to Muslims at a depressed price?  (As one of the commenters has said!)

[4] Posted by English Jill on 10-14-2011 at 10:44 AM · [top]

From the comments at the linked blog post:

Can you imagine Roman Catholics wanting to leave the denomination, following a disgruntaled priest or bishop and expecting to take the buildings? Why do people think they can take Episcopal buildings, endowments, rectories and camp holdings simply because the bishops choose to go their own way?

Someone needs to learn their own history. In point of fact, Henry VIII and the Church of England did exactly that.

I would hope even the revisionists could manage some kind of outcry if the Pope tried to repossess Canterbury Cathedral and sell it to the Muslims.

[5] Posted by Ecclesiastes 1:18 on 10-14-2011 at 10:49 AM · [top]

Consider the source.  Mathes, ugh.  He forgot to mention the other 7 or 8 parishes that left his tender care and walked away from their buildings.  It is about scripture.

[6] Posted by marney on 10-14-2011 at 10:51 AM · [top]

RE: “Why do people think they can take Episcopal buildings, endowments, rectories and camp holdings simply because the bishops choose to go their own way?”

Um, because the names of the actual churches in the Episcopal Church are on the deed, and they actually pay the insurance.  In the RC church the names of the *dioceses* are on the deeds of the individual buildings, the diocese pays the insurance, and the diocese can actually go bankrupt due to lawsuits for *parish* behavior.

In short—and as our own SC Supreme Court justice pointed out—the RC church actually does own its property and is actually set up as a hierarchical church, unlike TEC.

[7] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 10:52 AM · [top]

But on a happier note again—traditional Episcopalians have really done a fantastic job of getting the word out about TEC, considering the informed comments on the WSJ thread.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

[8] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 10:53 AM · [top]

Hi English Jill,

Yeah, during the lawsuit that we thought we might have a chance of winning, we decided hey, why not just rip stuff up so that if we do win we can then spend lots of money repairing it on top of the money we spent defending ourselves.

Seriously, no. Muthha is a very bitter woman priest who was removed by the bishop for her mismanagement of St. Paul’s Endicott. She used to be a friend of ours until all of this broke open. She is also misinformed about our financial situation. We were way above the water financially when we were sued and now in our new larger building we are pulling in twice the amount of income we did in the old place.

Here’s the real story:

1. The original appraisal for the property was 207,000.00$

2. After we lost and left, the diocese put the property on sale for that price but could not find a buyer.

3. We told them the appraisal was too high but were willing to pay it anyway…they didn’t listen. 

4. Eventually an interested party (the Muslims) toured the place and asked for a second appraisal.

5. The diocese agreed.

6. The second appraisal found that the first appraisal neglected to consider the deteriorating plaster that coats the entire outside of the building.

7. That knocked the appraisal value way down.

8. The sale was finally made at $50,000.00

The Diocese should have taken our offer.

[9] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-14-2011 at 10:57 AM · [top]

Well, I posted on their blog…being the shy kinda person I am…we’ll see what kind words they will have for me.  grin

[10] Posted by B. Hunter on 10-14-2011 at 11:01 AM · [top]

B. Hunter—they’ll be in a happier mood anyway—their blog traffic will soar . . . for a day or so . . .

; > )

[11] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 11:09 AM · [top]

I found the comments of the Bishop of San Diego very demeaning.  The ACNA did not “appropriate” the name “Anglican.” We are officially recognized by 22 other Anglican provinces as “fully Anglican,”  and our archbishop has seat and voice among them in GAFCON and Global South deliberations; thereby according us an indirect connection with the Communion.  I have also looked and found nothing anywhere which tells me that TEC has sole claim upon Anglican Communion membership in this country.  Therefore, in all Christian charity, the least they could do would be to offer us the hand of friendship and a “place at the table.”  They have consistently refused to do that, and as a result, they have proven themselves as something other than Christian.

[12] Posted by cennydd13 on 10-14-2011 at 11:24 AM · [top]

And Matt+, I agree with you:  He is lying.

[13] Posted by cennydd13 on 10-14-2011 at 11:27 AM · [top]

RE: “I found the comments of the Bishop of San Diego very demeaning.”

Hey Cennydd, in order for remarks to be “demeaning” doesn’t the speaker have to be . . . you know . . . respectable?

Seriously, for somebody of the foundational worldview and values that Bishop Mathes has, you’d have to be honored, not demeaned, by his remarks.

[14] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 11:39 AM · [top]

Today’s WSJ (Friday, 14 october) carries two letters to the editor about the Hemingway piece.  The first is from retired Bishop Shipps of Georgia which repeats the TEC line that it is the only Anglican presence in the USA.  The second, from Ann Treimann of Massachusetts, points out something which I had not previously considered.  The noncompete clauses which parish settlements impose on parishes keeping their properties cause “the clergy to lose their denominational group health insurance and group retirement plans” for the duration of the settlement, usually five years.  She says, “Lawyers recognize these disaffiliation agreements are noncompete clauses.  People have been propagating the Gospel for 2,000 years without resorting to noncompete clauses for those with theological differences.”

[15] Posted by Katherine on 10-14-2011 at 11:40 AM · [top]

Hey, Ecclesiastes, #5
Last I heard, someone named Jesus Christ claimed it was His Church, His Kingdom, claimed to be its center, head, cornerstone, builder, owner.  The Church does not belong to any pope, presiding bishop, charismatic leader, denomination or sect.  Jesus also claimed the ones HE delivered into His Church were His people, HIS sheep.

At the time of Henry VIII, the leaders of the church in Rome and elsewhere were playing politics with various powers and claiming property and people, punishing and fleecing Christ’s sheep.  There were no clean innocent hands at that time.  Get over losing England.  Rome deserved it.

[16] Posted by St. Nikao on 10-14-2011 at 11:49 AM · [top]

Although claiming to be Anglo-Catholic, Bp. Shipps was (and is) very liberal. And, though loving his vestments and ceremonial worship, he is most certainly NOT theologically an Anglo-Catholic.

[17] Posted by Ralph on 10-14-2011 at 11:54 AM · [top]

14.  Sarah, in his case, that would be impossible.  I can’t respect him for what he’s done.

[18] Posted by cennydd13 on 10-14-2011 at 11:55 AM · [top]

That’s great, Cennydd . . . so his remarks, then, were not demeaning at all.  He merely *attempted* to be demeaning, which is a very different thing.

[19] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 12:00 PM · [top]

Which is worse, to be demeaning or to try and fail at being demeaning?

[20] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 10-14-2011 at 12:01 PM · [top]

Ralph, There are as many kinds of catholic as there are Anglican.  The ‘affirming’ Anglo-catholic are generally gnat-strainer/camel-swallowers - very ‘tolerant’ of pansexuals (even partnered ones, wink, wink) in the priesthood, but hate, hate, HATE WO, and anything close to ‘low’ or ‘evangelical’ or (OMG!) ‘charismatic.’  They will not tolerate any slight variance (or tackiness) in the liturgy or music, vestments, colors, etc.  They are the prissy, fussy, traditionalists who love Latin and sign their emails with Latin phrases.

[21] Posted by St. Nikao on 10-14-2011 at 12:02 PM · [top]

Katherine, the Episcopal Church….the non-compete clauses now in effect notwithstanding….has claimed (since the schism began) that they are the sole Anglican presence in this country, and as I said earlier on this thread, there is nothing anywhere in Anglican Communion documents (all throughout the Communion, by the way) which proves that claim. 

Their claim is simply unsupportable, and therefore not valid.  If one were to worship as a Baptist, would this not mean that that person who had Baptist beliefs, was actually what he/she claimed to be?  Why, then, would a person claiming to be an Anglican in this country but not a member of TEC be any different?  A pot is a pot, a spade is a spade, and a shovel is a shovel, are they not?

[22] Posted by cennydd13 on 10-14-2011 at 12:08 PM · [top]

21. St Nikao, you can number me among that bunch, except for one thing:  I am NOT tolerant of pansexuals.  Never have been, and never will be.

[23] Posted by cennydd13 on 10-14-2011 at 12:17 PM · [top]

The episcopal group should be made to put their money where their mouth is.  Let’s be fair and give them some choices.
1.  Return all stolen property to the Roman Catholics.  An acceptable interest rate should be paid in addition.
2.  If they aren’t willing to do what they are making those who wish to remain Christian do, then they should be made to require all property be deeded to 815.  And all expenses.  And all lawsuits.  And all clergy costs.  It really rubs me the wrong way that these milk toast judges have allowed them to claim they are a church like the RC’s but not take the responsibility that comes with it.  They could start by ponying up the cost that church group in Dalls is going to have to pay for losing that sex abuse lawsuit.  Oh, then they could pay the cost of allowing that pedophile to be a choir director that the RC’s threw out.  Did they pay the cost of all the Bennison stuff - before they gave him back his hat? 

The really interesting part of taking option #2 will be to see the fellows with the hats turn real pale when they find out they need to concede control to the skinny lady in New York City.

[24] Posted by Sweets on 10-14-2011 at 12:37 PM · [top]

In these dealings, I was threatened with death and told I will go to hell by those who claim to love Jesus more than I do.

Yeah, Bp. Mathes, me too.  In my case, it was a TEC clergyman (who had never met me, I don’t want anyone to think it was any of the rectors former parishes or even the liberal clergy of my acquaintance), and as I recall, the precise words were- “you will burn in eternal hellfire for rejecting the all-inclusive love of Jesus.”  (There were several other incidents, please forgive me if I do not list them, as it would make me personally identifiable to TEC’s diocesan officials and lawyers).
No Episcopalian has ever threatened to kill me, unless you count online threats. Judging from some comments I have seen in my email that were quickly expunged under the comment policy at SF and T19, I imagine that some people here get a lot more of that than I do.
The point is that yes, people do lose their tempers over what is happening.  But it not the case that one side does and the other does not.  I am reminded of that horrifying video of Christians trying to hold a march in San Francisco a few years ago- not to mention the anathemas cast at us on an almost daily basis by TEC clergy on the HoBD listserve.

[25] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-14-2011 at 12:38 PM · [top]

I don’t think he was lying that people told him he would go to hell if he did not repent—I hope and pray someone warned him of that. I think he was lying about the death threats.

[26] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-14-2011 at 01:21 PM · [top]

I would only agree with Mathes as he point to “power”.  But it isn’t the conservatives grabbing at it. It’s people like him and the the new TEC agenda.  They don’t believe in God’s power and are trying to clone it for their own.

[27] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 10-14-2011 at 01:28 PM · [top]

Yes, I think the death threats are out of the same play book as VGR’s consecration kevlar.

It’s gratifying to think oneself part of a life and death struggle when the biggest challenge you face is that some dolt served domestic sherry instead of the real Spanish solera product at the last confirmation party. 

Oh, wait, there weren’t any confirmands that year.  Why aren’t people following the denominational leadership into the snipers’ cross hairs?  Why aren’t more martyrs of inclusion coming forward?

And how DID some ghastly California “sherry” get into the gathering of a church that practices life long Christian learning and makes itself a safe place?

[28] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 10-14-2011 at 01:30 PM · [top]

As a former member of the Diocese of San Diego—very involved in church affairs and a delegate to at least two diocesan conventions (and having met one-on-one with Bishop Mathes for several hours)—I cannot believe that he received death threats or that colleagues were spit on. If these had happened, believe me, word would have gotten out and everyone would have known about it—San Diego is more like a small town than a big city, and word travels fast.

From some of his first actions as bishop (requesting parish paperwork showing how titles were held, demanding that no vestry discuss the Anglican Communion Network with their pastor, on pain of pastor dismissal), Mathes set out to put the stamp of the national church on the diocese. I don’t think there are any churches left in the diocese that could be considered “traditional”—the last remaining one had its priest driven out last year by Bishop Mathes. So, I agree with Matt—I’m sure Mathes was informed about hell, but I doubt highly any serious death threats (were they reported to the police?) or physical interactions took place.

[29] Posted by Branford on 10-14-2011 at 01:41 PM · [top]

tj-
Me, too, death threats, and this time by actual Episcopalians.  There are some non-Episcopalians out there apparently who have been the death-threat folks against +VGR and +JM.
And this one came my way, too:  to be thrown out into the snow naked until I should repent of any dealings with the former regime. 
Former seems prophetic now.

[30] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 10-14-2011 at 02:17 PM · [top]

I pray for these folks regularly, looking for God’s love to be revealed in them.

[31] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 10-14-2011 at 02:19 PM · [top]

“In these dealings, I was threatened with death and told I will go to hell…Other colleagues have had similar experiences, from death threats to being spit at during church services…”

Why is it, when I hear such hyperbole, I get the impression that the author is a hopeless romantic, pining away for the gravitas, risk, and meaning of a real civil rights struggle, but finding himself stuck with the unbearable bore of the fabulously pink and inane?

rolleyes

[32] Posted by tired on 10-14-2011 at 02:20 PM · [top]

“Threatened with death” in “these meetings.”

Does he mean that someone said, “I am going to kill you,” or was there are charismatic type who said something like “God will strike you down and you will be eaten by worms like Herod”? 

The former is a death threat.  The latter, while one might give it many unflattering adjectives, is not. And it is no worse than being called “phobic,” stupid, a Nazi or any number of other routine convention floor epithets hurled around by TEC insiders.

[33] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 10-14-2011 at 02:29 PM · [top]

Sorry for the typos in #33.  “or were there charismatic types who said…”

[34] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 10-14-2011 at 02:30 PM · [top]

The unfortunate reality is that whenever you have a dispute that arouses passions, you almost certainly will have some fringe nuts who will make death threats against one side or another.

Liberals, however, don’t look at things equally.  Rather, for the liberal perspective is this:

Death threats uttered by liberals are either fully justified due to the oppressive nature of the conservative side; or else, the threat-makers are just fringe individuals who should be ignored.  In either case, for conservatives to raise concerns about the liberal death threats means that they are ratcheting up the conversation with violent images and it is therefore the fault of conservatives if further death threats emerge.

Death threats uttered by conservatives always represent the essence of the conservative movement, no matter who uttered them, or even if they were ever uttered at all.

Thus regardless of who utters death threats, or even if they were never uttered at all, death threats are the fault of conservatives.

[35] Posted by jamesw on 10-14-2011 at 02:47 PM · [top]

LOL! jamesw. You got it ! When in doubt blame all nastiness on the conservatives!

[36] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 10-14-2011 at 04:18 PM · [top]

I’m just now working on a little note to Met. Jonah of the OCA regarding you people calling yourself “orthodox.” Yes, I know it’s an adjective and not a trademark, but we’re going to own it from now on, since the TEC folks can own “Anglican” (also an adjective and not a trademark, but hey). Anyway, expect to hear from us shortly. And from the Serbian Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox, the Bulgarian Orthodox, et. al.  Once we deal with you lot, we intend to do something about all these different kinds of Orthodox churches existing side by side in the same cities, getting together for Sunday of Orthodoxy, and similar helpfulness.  With TEC as our guide, we too can stamp out any differentiation and make everyone toe the line!  Thank you for the great inspiration, TEC! In return, we’ll be happy to take a few more unruly members off your hands, although we seem to have a lot lately . . . .

[37] Posted by Miss Sippi on 10-14-2011 at 05:15 PM · [top]

FYI - WSJ has begun removing very critical comments, even if factual.

[38] Posted by Festivus on 10-14-2011 at 06:23 PM · [top]

#35 jamesw
You get it. It is variation of the blame game, and it is disgraceful coming from a grown man.

[39] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 10-14-2011 at 07:47 PM · [top]

RE: “If these had happened, believe me, word would have gotten out and everyone would have known about it—San Diego is more like a small town than a big city, and word travels fast.”

[sputter sputter] Well . . . word *did* get out, didn’t it?  Right here in my sterling response to that hateful Wall Street Journal article—and . . . and . . . that’s why you know about it, because word does travel fast.

And we can’t trust anything you say anyway because you left.

And quite frankly, we can’t trust anything that Bishop Lawrence says because he’s either planning to leave or he’s leaving inadvertently, if you know what I mean. 

Regardless, you just can’t trust people who are leaving.  Or staying.

[40] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 08:25 PM · [top]

Yea, Sarah (#40), and it only took three years for Mathes to reveal all this—it’s been at least that long since the last quasi-traditional church left the Diocese of San Diego. It’s been mighty quiet since then, but I guess Mathes was just living into the tension of those threats. What caused him to come clean now? Why, the *inaccurate* and *egregious* article in the WSJ—he just couldn’t keep it in any more, it was time for the world to know the burden he’s been under. /sarc

[41] Posted by Branford on 10-14-2011 at 09:03 PM · [top]

Hey Branford—could you remind us all of how many parishes left the diocese under the strong and steady leadership of Bishop Mathes?

[42] Posted by Sarah on 10-14-2011 at 09:08 PM · [top]

Why, I’d be happy to! The following San Diego county churches had either all or a large majority of the congregation and clergy leave from 2005 on (Mathes was consecrated in the spring of 2005):

Christ the King, Alpine
St. John’s, Fallbrook
St. Anne’s, Oceanside
Holy Trinity, Ocean Beach
Grace Episcopal, San Marcos
St. Paul’s, Yuma (yes, the Diocese of San Diego includes southwestern Arizona)
All Saints, Vista
Holy Cross, Carlsbad
St. Timothy and Titus, Rancho Penasquitos

You will, however, find most of these still listed on the diocesan website since none (except Holy Trinity) were ultimately able to keep their buildings. The remaining congregations are quite small and I’m not sure how long some of them will survive.
In addition, St. Luke’s, North Park, which is a mission church and ministers to a large Sudanese population in San Diego, had its traditional priest removed (since its mission status allowed the bishop to do so—and the church is a money loser) and St. Michael’s, Carlsbad, one of the diocese’s largest churches and the last Anglo-Catholic church, had its priest inhibited, even though no wrong-doing was found, as a way for the bishop to force him out. A large portion of the congregation left but Mathes allowed the assistant rector (a Nashotah House graduate) to remain as priest-in-charge. I don’t know what the status is there as far as calling a new rector.

[43] Posted by Branford on 10-14-2011 at 09:37 PM · [top]

I haven’t heard anything about TEC liberals receiving or giving death threats, except through Gene Robinson’s unreliable imagination, but one well-known Anglican reporter told me about being spat upon and shoved by them when they learned she did not subscribe to the new thang and approve pansexuality.  They didn’t even offer her some of the Kool-aid!  (This happened at one of the General Conventions of the Episcopal Heresy and Apostasy Promotion Society.)

[44] Posted by St. Nikao on 10-15-2011 at 04:56 AM · [top]

I suppose we can be thankful the pansex and abortion promoters in TEC haven’t resorted to THIS...yet.

[45] Posted by St. Nikao on 10-15-2011 at 05:14 AM · [top]

[comment deleted—off topic; let’s stay off secular politics]

[46] Posted by St. Nikao on 10-15-2011 at 05:23 AM · [top]

[comment deleted—off topic]

[47] Posted by St. Nikao on 10-15-2011 at 05:28 AM · [top]

If Bp. Mathes is in Christ, he need not fear death threats. We’re all going to pass on sooner or later. However, reading the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus might give him cause for concern.

#21, the article says, regarding WO:

“But as a long as (the Episcopal Church of the U.S.) said we could do it, I felt I could not impose my own feeling,” he said. “And so I did it.”

It would seem that he felt that TEC is hierarchical, even way back then. That makes his WSJ letter a bit more understandable.

[48] Posted by Ralph on 10-15-2011 at 06:29 AM · [top]

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