Monday, June 15, 2015

N O    P E A C E  !

Aggressors Shoot the Messengers

The independent diocese announced this afternoon it had completely spurned the offer of negotiation for a peace deal made by the Episcopal Church side.

On June 1, Thomas Tisdale, chancellor of the Episcopal Church diocese, sent a letter to a lawyer on the Lawrence side offering to negotiate a peace settlement between the two sides. Tisdale suggested the Church would surrender its claim to all of the properties of the 35 parishes that had broken away from the Episcopal Church. In return, the Church requested the return of the legal rights, property, and assets of the pre-schism diocese. He said Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop had agreed to this offer. If a settlement were made, it would immediately end all litigation between the two sides. Tisdale stressed this was an offer to negotiate, not a demand.

The independent diocese, the Church diocese, and the Post and Courier all issued reports on the rejection today. You can find them on their websites.

The independent diocese is composed of two groups: a ruling clique and the parishioners. Over the years the clique has developed a highly authoritarian system where power flows from the top. There is an inner core of no more than two dozen people and a larger core of about 100 clergy. Since the clergy have been released from the Episcopal Church they have no where to go. They are dependent on Lawrence for their livelihoods. The ruling clique is a solid block. It also tightly controls the message in its diocese. 

Tisdale's suggestion was an offer to recognize that the 35 parishes own their properties. It was not a suggestion they return to the Episcopal Church. Quite the contrary, it recognized the independence of the 35 parishes. This would mean the Episcopal Church would suspend the Dennis Canon in this case. This was a historic and astonishing offer. The parishes, however, were bound to the ruling clique from the very start. When Lawrence brought suit in court against the Episcopal Church on Jan. 4, 2013, he bound the 35 parishes into the suit shortly thereafter, something that none of the other four seceding dioceses had done. Today's rejection proves the ruling clique still has iron control of the parishes. Apparently, they would not allow the parishes even to talk with the Church side about a peace deal. 

The ruling clique of the independent diocese led the majority of the old diocese out of Episcopal Church in 2012 declaring the Church to be hopelessly in error, mainly because of its support of the rights of homosexuals and transgendered persons. Since then Lawrence has refused to join any larger institution. The ruling clique sees itself on a special mission to save the Anglican world from the evils of the corrupt old Episcopal Church. Therefore, their rejection press release of today only continues the venom of the past. One has only to read it to see the thorough going hostility toward the side that was only offering to talk about a negotiated settlement. Not only would the ruling clique not talk to the messengers, they shot them. 

War continues and does so on two fronts, one in federal court and one in the state supreme court. Apparently, the Lawrence diocese thinks it is going to win in court and the parishioners are going to keep pouring money into their lawyers'  pockets. They are wrong. Their effort is wrong. In the long run this schism is bound to run to exhaustion. There will be a reconciliation down the road. I think it will occur when the parishioners regain control of their own diocese that they have in good faith handed over to their present misguided leaders.
In time they will realize they have been misled.

Time and history are on the side of the Episcopal Church. In fact, the culture war the ruling clique is still fighting is all but over. Their side lost. They seem to be the only ones who do not know it. America is moving on.