Posted by: JennyRain | April 6, 2010

Morning Rant-o-rama

I received a really disturbing email from a friend yesterday.

It was the story of the unconscionable acts that the Diocese of NY (Episcopal) took against a community of faith…

For some 130 years, the city was the home to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. But recently, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York sold the …church…to the Islamic Awareness Center.

Why did the diocese do this?

In 2007, Good Shepherd made the difficult decision to join the dozens of congregations that were leaving the Episcopal Church while remaining in the wider Anglican Communion of which the Episcopal Church is a part.

Ok, so the breakaway churches and the Episcopal dioceses across are nation are at war. There are bound to be a few casualties. Yet despite that, this teensy little church grew! (I love that!)

Despite that departure and the ensuing lawsuit from the NY Diocese, in 2008…the “Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd grew and expanded significantly,” states Pastor Kennedy. The church was impacting the neighborhood through a soup kitchen that served the homeless and through block parties. Good Shepherd’s “weekly bible studies were packed with new people” and an increasing number of students from Binghamton University were coming to the church

But this is what sent me over the edge with this story. This is absolutely disgusting…

On January 8, 2009, the lawsuit was decided in the diocese’s favor. The diocese was “entitled to immediate possession” of the church building … The Kennedys and all of the people of Good Shepherd hurriedly removed their property from the church building as they were warned that the diocese did indeed intend to take immediate possession. At the same time, the church was trying to find another place to worship and to host their soup kitchen for the homeless, the Shepherd’s Bowl. The monsignor of the nearby St. John’s and Andrew’s Catholic Church opened his parish kitchen to the feeding program so that the meals for the homeless would not be interrupted. But for the first week, attendance was scant. Signs on the old building directing the homeless to the new soup kitchen had been taken down, apparently, by the Diocese when they were padlocking the church to keep out the Anglicans.

So, as a result of this battle… there were a whole bunch of people that went without food.

WENT without FOOD people, so some big hats could on principle alone, “be right.”

Was the diocese within their rights? Yup.

Morally and ethically did they do the right thing? NO. N-O. Absolutely not.

It is sickening what this diocese did. It is unjust. It is unfair. It is just plain wrong.

Oh, but the story gets worse…

Although the Diocese of Central New York refused to sell the Church of the Good Shepherd to the Anglicans for whom it had been home, they were happy to sell it to a Muslim group for $50,000, a third of the amount that Good Shepherd had offered. According to the Rev. Tony Seel, the Diocese even added a legal caveat to the sale stating that the new owners of the property could never re-sell the building to the original congregation.

Sickening.

Episcopal churches all over our nation are fighting battles like these. Most of the dioceses are well within their rights to retain these properties… but at what cost?

At this point, it goes beyond the “issues” to the people and congregations affected by then.

People in need all around  these churches are DYING and you are more concerned with buildings than these folks in need!

Gentlemen, put down your weapons before you lose an entire generation of Episcopals!

We here in Virginia are not immune either from this battle. Though Fairfax courts ruled in favor of the breakaway churches retaining their worship spaces,

New Bishop Shannon S. Johnston says he will continue the legal fight for as long as it takes. It will continue, he says, because freedom is under attack,” I wonder what he is willing to sacrifice for what he refers to as “freedom”?

Does he know that in this ugly, very public fight, those people he is fighting FOR do not even want to come to his churches because the churches have created SUCH an unsafe environment? I mean – if we are chopping up and eating our own priests and churches – doesn’t logic follow that soon the diocese will eat their own young too?

Would YOU go to a church with this much strife?

It is insanity. Arrogance. It demonstrates a complete lack of humility on the part of the big-hatted-collared priests.

At what point did Jesus demand his rights? Did He not descend to serve us and give up his rights?
At what point do we learn in the scriptures that fighting with our brothers and sisters is ok?
When have we ever been taught that a building is more important than feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and serving those in need?

My heart breaks over this. Over the people who are suffering because needed services are no longer offered (the money is going to pay for the lawsuits). It breaks over the ministry that is not happening.

It breaks.

…they deal falsely; the theif enters in…Ephraim has become like a silly dove without sense…woe to them for they have strayed from Me! (Hoseah 7:1, 11, 13)

Hear this O Priests!…for you have become a SNARE at Mizpah. Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God for a spirit of harlotry is within them and they do not know the Lord. (Hosea 5.1, 4)

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Responses

  1. Jenny,
    I could not help but think of these scriptures which are very relevant.

    1 Corinthians 6
    Lawsuits Among Believers
    1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church![a] 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
    7The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

    • Thanks Jim …

      “the very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already”

      that is so true… and my heart literally grieves in me to see all of this going on, not just in the Episcopal church, but the methodist, lutheran, you name it… its happening.

      and we wonder why folks are reluctant to follow Christ when the existing Christ followers can’t get their act together.

  2. In the Diocese of Virginia, a property lawsuit is ongoing. The Presiding Bishop of TEC testified in that case, saying on camera that she would rather the buildings at issue be torn down for condominiums than allow the diocese to sell them to the breakaway groups.

    My theory is that they are afraid that if it were that easy to simply separate from the Diocese and buy your property out from them, then more congregations would do so. They are trying to hold a splintering church together.

    • …yup… and it is that fact that breaks my heart. Thanks for sharing more of the detail. I’ve run across articles here and there, but some i’ve had to weigh very carefully the truth from the exaggerations. Thanks for weighing in…

  3. Hi Jenny,

    My heart aches as I read such stories. Yet…I see a truth that is written in the word concerning such things. In the last days…the love of many shall turn cold. So when I read this…I am not surprised. But all the same…my heart aches for the body of Christ. For those who want God and want Him so bad…yet they cannot find Him in the very place where He should be dwelling. I will be praying!

    Blessings and thank you for posting this.

    Gladwell


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