Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pillagers in Purple

We occasionally hear of some Episcopal parish that is upset with the Episcopal Church over one thing or another deciding to break with the Church. These sad stories are nothing new. There's never been a time in the history of the Church when one group or another didn't attempt to sever the ties that bound the body together. So it goes when frail and flawed humans seek purity. As we all know, the Church could be a wonderful and holy place, if it wasn't for all those damn people! The only pure Church would be an empty one; but of course then it wouldn't be the Church, would it?

The latest form of this quest for purity has a new twist to it. Churches are leaving the Episcopal Church, but attempting to remain Anglican by affiliating themselves with a foreign Anglican bishop.

Some might suggest that they have every right to do this. No, they don't. The smallest division within the Church is the Diocese. There's a name for the perspective of my parish being the only thing that matters; it's called congregationalism, and is quite dominant among Protestant denominations in the U.S., a nation that places high value on individualism. But it has never been considered a vision of the Church that is acceptable within Anglicanism.

Simply put, one cannot just abandon their diocese and pick a new bishop. There cannot be more than one bishop with jurisdiction in a diocese, for valid practical as well as theological reasons.

There's an invasion of pastoral boundaries going on in these situations as well. Proposed plans for alternative oversight in situations in which the relationship between the bishop and a congregation becomes strained always includes in their goals some form of reconciliation. With most of the congregations that have recently left, there was no opportunity given for such reconciliation to occur. Why? Because a foreign bishop was waiting in the wings, promising them the moon.

It is towards these bishops, who show a blatant disregard for Anglican polity, the Windsor Report, The Episcopal Church, or the well-being of those who they gobble up, that I direct my outrage. They claim they are doing it "to protect the Orthodox." When I hear such pronouncements, I start pulling on my boots, as the smell of bull is getting strong. Every one of these foreign bishops comes from a diocese that is struggling financially. They are scooping up American churches so they can gain nice, fat annual assessments.

This is theft; specifically grand larceny. Here are the names of some of the suspects that should be charged with this crime:

WANTED FOR GRAND LARCENY -

The Rt. Rev. Frank Lyon, Bishop of Bolivia, for the theft of St. Luke's, Fairlawn, Ohio; Holy Spirit, Akron, Ohio; and St. Barnabas in Bay Village and St. Anne's in the Fields, Madison, Ohio.

The Rt. Rev. Benezeri Kisembo, Bishop of Ruwenzori, for the theft of South Riding, Virginia and Holy Spirit, Ashburn, Virginia.

Mr. Robinson Cavalcanti, former Bishop of Recife, for the theft of St. Stephen’s, Oak Harbor, Washington and St. Charles', Poulsbo, Washington.

The Rt. Rev. Evans Mukasa Kisekka, Bishop of Luweero, for the theft of All Saints, Long Beach, California, St. James, Newport Beach, California and St. David's, North Hollywood, California.

The Rt. Rev. Joel Obetia, Bishop of Madi/West Nile, for the theft of All Souls, Jacksonville and Redeemer, Jacksonville.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda, for the theft of Christ Church, Overland Park, Kansas, and as an accomplice in the thefts carried out by Bps. Obieta, Kisekka and Kisembo listed above.
There's more, but that's a start. What other Pillagers in Purple need to be added to this Wanted List?

J.

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