"Scorched Earth" Talk from National Headquarters
Dioceses and congregations, however, do not officially "leave" the Episcopal Church simply because leaders or any number of members depart, said the Rev. Jan Nunley, deputy for Communication at the Episcopal Church Center in New York. "Parishes are created by dioceses and dioceses are created by action of the General Convention," she said. "People are free to leave," but congregations and dioceses continue within church structures. Nunley confirmed that the Episcopal Church's elected leadership may, if necessary, declare a diocese vacant, and that in such a case the Presiding Bishop would call for the election of a new diocesan bishop, among other actions.
In recent weeks we are hearing talk of an "amicable divorce" from the orthodox side in the present dispute. And it is increasingly difficult to see how a single body can long endure. But national headquarters apparently will not countenance a friendly parting. In a diocese like mine, I doubt that half a dozen parishes would chose to remain in communion with Presiding Bishop-elect Schori rather than Bishop Iker and our Standing Comittee (if push comes to shove in the future), but according to Rev. Nunley that tiny minority would be entitled to every Prayer Book, parish building and bank account between Arlington and Brownwood! Lord, have mercy.And in case you doubt the venom this business will engender, check out the intemperate version of 815's "scorched earth" scheme quoted from the bishops and deputies listserv by Ruth Gledhill of The Times of London here. There the unnamed writer is quoted as saying, "I certainly hope that in San Joachin, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and Fort Worth people are preparing Diocesan Conventions to replace those who are leaving. Whomever has the authority should declare those Sees vacant and support local folks as they re-organize. This same organizing should begin now in every other Diocese that has withdrawn it's accession to the Canons and Constitution."
Let us hope Christian charity prevails in the end. How can anyone on either side believe that the Kingdom will be built up by a series of bitter lawsuits over property?