"Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong.
Be loving in everything you do." - I Corinthians 16:13-14
Earlier this week, Bishop Stacy Sauls of the Diocese of Lexington, who has been pursuing the inhibition of 4 priests, sent out the following email to his clergy:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I want you to be aware that additional press coverage is likely over the weekend or next week. The likely subject is disciplinary steps involving Martin Gornick, Anna Gulick, Alice Linsley, and David Brannen. There has already been attention to this by David Virtue and the American Anglican Council weekly newsletter. For your informaiton, I did a little research and discovered that since General Convention, 27 other priests in 16 other dioceses have been inhibited for abandonment of the communion, the course of action I have followed here.
It is also possible that there will be coverage regarding Tory Baucum, a priest licensed in the Diocese of Lexington, who was transferred to the Diocese of London last year by his former bishop (West Missouri) but without consulting me. Believing this to be contrary to the intention of a Mind of the House Resolution of our House of Bishops forbidding transfers of American priests to foreign jurisdictions who do not actually intend to move to the foreign jurisdiciton (for example, as in David Brannen's case) passed last September (altholugh Tory's transfer was actually during the summer), I have declined to renew his license unless he transfers back to an American jurisdiciton that will cooperate with me in keeping Tory accountable to our church. I believe Tory's transfer, as well as David's, was exactly what the resoultuion was intended to prevent.
This action on my part was taken with the full knowledge of Bob Sessum, for whom Tory works at Good Shepherd. It is also the case that Tory was informed by me that I did not intend to renew his license in August of last year, although at his request, I agreed to take the matter under further consideration, and that on December 13 I informed Tory that I remained convinced that his license should not be renewed unless he transferred back to an American jurisdiction. I agreed to give him time to consider what he wished to do and that he could continue to function in the diocese in the meantime. On January 20, I informed Tory that eight weeks seemed an adequate time for him to decide what to do and therefore I would not continue to permit his functioning here beyond February 7. Finally, you should be aware that Tory has offered to transfer to the Diocese of Albany, which I have told him would require further conversation between Bob, the Bishop of Albany, Tory, and me. My reasons is that it has been reported to me that the Bishop of Albany has apparently been unwilling to cooperate in stopping priests of his diocese from functioning in other dioceses contrary to our canons. I do not know if these reports are accurate, but I know that licensing a priest from his diocese would require me to inquire further about that situation.
As always, please let me know if you need additional information.
Thank you. All of you are in my prayers, as I hope I am in yours.
I was surprised to read about myself in a memo you widely distributed this past week, especially since you never bothered to call me. All bishops have each other's office and home telephone numbers. So much for collegiality.
You took it upon yourself to describe me as "apparently been unwilling to cooperate in stopping priests of his Diocese from functioning in other dioceses contrary to our canons." Really?
How many dioceses? Please enumerate them. And your sources?
Leading a church on the basis of geography and canons instead of the gospel and mission has brought our beloved Church to further lows. The most recent interim report of our Standing Commission on Evangelism and Domestic Mission (January 2005) reports that our church is indeed doubling - but doubling in the rate of decline. Do you think we should drive out more people? Or just godly priests like Tory?
Behavior like this contributes to a climate fostering decline.
Father Baucum just complete three weekends of teaching and preaching in the Diocese of Albany. He was well received by laity and clergy of all viewpoints. He never uttered any criticism of you. In fact he praised the good will of his rector and his congregation. It must have been a cruel insult to this man of God who has spent his ministry building up the Church, its leaders and members.
Maybe you think that if you just knock off enough orthodox clergy that you will triumph. In the short run you probably will. In the long run what it will do is contribute to further decline and marginalization of what once was a great church.
The next time you choose to draw me into your media wars, give me a call. First.