Tuesday, May 29, 2012

VirtueOnline - News - Exclusives - The Episcopal Church's Persuasive Monetary Power

Bishop Budde, Washington DC, is busy quoting her favorite atheist author
and wrecking what is left of the diocese.

VirtueOnline - News - Exclusives - The Episcopal Church's Persuasive Monetary Power:

The Episcopal Church's Persuasive Monetary Power
Church of England takes cue from The Episcopal Church in Culture Wars

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
May 25, 2012

The Episcopal Church is doing its best to export the church's Culture Wars around the world. Its best hope for total success is the Mother Church - The Church of England.

TEC is also driving wedges, as best it can, into Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Africa, the Anglican Province of Southern Africa has been TEC's biggest and best success story to date with everything from the acceptance and push for pansexual behavior to TEC's new gospel of inclusion and diversity and socio-political salvation. Archbishop Thabo Magkoba is little more than a clone of TEC's Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. TEC has staff appointments, in orthodox provinces like the Congo and Sudan, who are working as "missionaries."

The Covenant might be dead, but making alliances and friends has not abated one bit. TEC's Presiding Bishop is making sure that all Global South doors remain open in her attempt to persuade, cajole and get poor African provinces to buy into Western panAnglican liberalism with a little help from TEC's Bank of Bottomless Financial Persuasion. (TECBBFP)

A good example of TEC's power of positive financial inducement is the much-ballyhooed "Listening Process" designed to "listen" to the voices of a small but aggrieved group of gays, lesbians and transgendered types. The Listening Process had its genesis in the person of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and is funded wholly by The Episcopal Church. The few voices of ex-gays are politely "listened" to, but not seriously taken into account. If they were, funding for the office for "listening" would quickly dry up.

One need only think historically what the enormous persuasive power of the almighty TEC dollar has done over the years to the Anglican Church of Mexico, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, (ACSA) the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, a number of Central American dioceses still under TEC's grip, The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, The Anglican Church of Canada, the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council. TEC has poured millions of dollars over the years into these provinces and organizations, along with significant help from Trinity Wall Street, the richest church in the world, to persuade them that TEC's "gospel" will enlighten them and get them a free ride to glory.

Only a few short years ago, the Episcopal Archbishop of Mexico and a fellow Mexican bishop absconded with $1.5 million dollars of TEC's "mission" dollars. TEC did nothing about it. It is not without significance that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and The Rev. James Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, New York, where Beauvoir once worked were present at the recent ordination of the Rev. Ogé Beauvoir who became Haiti's newest bishop suffragan at Ascension Church in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Reportedly, a high-ranking Voodoo priestess was also present, which should also tell you a lot.

The new truth emerging is that the gravy train might be over. The largess once distributed so liberally to simpatico provinces and to leverage simpatico provinces might be coming to an end or at the least seriously diminished. Bishop Stacy Sauls, the Episcopal Church's new CEO, talks of TEC being in a state of "crisis".

There are broad hints coming from him that the largess pot will no longer be filled to overflowing with greenbacks for these provinces. He talks openly about the church's very survival. "I find myself wondering if the basic survival instinct that the Gospel threatens is the survival of power structures as they are," he recently said. In short, no structure, no money. Consider the latest budget figures put out by the Episcopal Church, which are sure to be argued over at the next General Convention.

Totals for the Anglican Communion show a serious reduction in grants from TEC to the Anglican Communion Office. In 2011-2012 TEC gave some $3.2 million, but in 2013-2015 it will drop to $2.15 million, down over $1 million. That's not small change. TEC Diocesan Grants (offshore) to non-US mainland dioceses - these are TEC controlled dioceses - got $4,931,269 in 2013-2015. In 2013-2015 they will get a boost to $5,952,229, an increase of over $1 million. Haiti alone will get over $1 million. (See above) Common sense demands that you cover your own bases before trying to help (read manipulate) others.

The Inter-Anglican Budget/Secretariat of $1,160,000 will drop to $850,000, a loss of $310,000. This represents approximately 50% of asking from the Anglican Communion Office. Does this indicate displeasure with the leadership of Rowan Williams or Kenneth Kearon of the Anglican Consultative Council? Not necessarily, but Rowan failed to deliver the goods and he is out the door. ACC leader Canon Kearon is still a player. Whoever sits next on Canterbury's throne will need to play ball with TEC if the Anglican Communion Office and the Lambeth Conference are to continue to receive TEC's largesse. For the moment, it does indicate that less money flowing to the Secretariat means less influence.

TEC budgeted nearly half a million ($487,753) in 2010-2012 for Africa with the Middle East getting a paltry $11,817. Giving much-needed dollars to the riot-torn but thoroughly orthodox diocese of Egypt was not on TEC's horizon. For 2013-2015 there is a cryptic line saying, "Amounts in this section not allocated."

(Ironically TEC spent $18 million on property litigation in 2010-2012, but expects to spend only $15.2 million in 2013-2015. This will depend, of course, if a property dispute doesn't make its way up the ladder to the US Supreme Count. Don't count out that possibility if the Diocese of Ft. Worth, with millions of dollars worth of properties at stake, doesn't do just that. If so, that would push that budget figure considerably higher. Furthermore, there is no saying when or where litigation will end.)


The cultural and ecclesiastical wars currently on fire in the Church of England simply replicate what took place in The Episcopal Church 30 years ago and continue to this day. TEC liberals can rightly claim victory on two hot button issues - women's ordination and pansexuality.

The issue of women bishops will shortly be answered in the Church of England. In a meeting behind closed doors in York, the Church's House of Bishops gave its approval to legislation to admit women to the episcopacy and rejected a series of attempts to significantly water down the powers of future female bishops.

They also agreed to two ambiguous amendments to the proposed legislation as a sop for conservative evangelicals and Anglo Catholics who object to women bishops on theological grounds. Whether in the long run this will satisfy either party remains to be seen. The vote does clear the way for the church's General Synod to have a final vote on the issue in July.

A second Culture Wars issue will be if the CofE officially recognizes homosexuality as a legitimate behavior for clergy (and not just for laity). The Church of England has not formally debated the issue of homosexuality through its governing body, the General Synod, since 1987, when it voted by a large majority to declare that it considered "homosexual genital acts" to be sinful:

"That Synod affirms that the biblical and traditional teaching on chastity and fidelity in personal relationships in a response to, and expression of, God's love for each one of us, and in particular affirms:

that sexual intercourse is an act of total commitment that belongs properly within a permanent married relationship;
that fornication and adultery are sins against this ideal, and are to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;

that homosexual genital acts also fall short of this ideal, and are likewise to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion;

and that all Christians are called to be exemplary in all spheres of morality, including sexual morality; and that holiness of life is particularly required of Christian leaders."

Since then, there have been a number of discussions within the Synod on the issue, which have not been permitted to conclude with any decisions. The House of Bishops has issued several statements in response to the growing clamor from liberal Anglicans within the Church of England to adopt a more gay-friendly approach to teaching and discipline, particularly in relation to the clergy.

No evidence has emerged of any bishop attempting to enforce discipline of any kind, even in the few cases where such interviews have actually taken place. The Bishops have been told to "mind their own business" and have largely done so. What is more, any further attempt to hold to a biblical discipline among the clergy has been greatly undermined by the decision of the General Synod to allow the civil partners of clergy full access to the clergy pension funds as if they were the spouses in marriage of such clerics.

Should TEC's worldview on women and sexuality prevail in the Mother Church, it is hard to imagine how the Global South will have anything more to do with Lambeth Palace especially if a "moderate", affirming catholic type should prevail as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. There would be no more Lambeth Conferences. Who would turn up apart from panAnglican liberals and revisionists? The treachery of doctrinal abandonment is all too plain to see. The Global South will take its Jerusalem Declaration and its own offshore holdings like CANA and the ACNA and quietly slink off into the Anglican night leaving the West to continue its gadarene slide into oblivion.

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