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The Fictional World of Anglican Reconciliation: Truro and Diocese of VA vs. Mid-Atlantic Diocese and ACNA

The Fictional World of Anglican Reconciliation: Truro and Diocese of VA vs. Mid-Atlantic Diocese and ACNA
The Rev. Tory Baucum's attempt at reconciliation is a dagger pointed at the heart of the ACNA.
Compromise will be seen as a victory for TEC & ABC and a slap in the face at ACNA


By David W. Virtue, DD
May 6, 2017

The compromise attempt by ACNA priest, Tory Baucum of Truro Anglican Church, VA and TEC Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston, to reach an agreement through something called Peace and Reconciliation is nothing more than a dagger pointed at the heart of the ACNA.

If it should succeed, it will make a mockery of the very existence of the ACNA, which fought a long and bitter spiritual and property battle involving millions of dollars, tens of thousands of former Episcopalians, hundreds of priests and dozens of bishops. It will say to the Anglican world that breaking away from TEC was wrong and it can all now be patched up with a new-fangled peace and reconciliation agreement.

As part of the P & R, it stipulates that from now on, while Bishop John Guernsey has access to the congregation, ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach must obtain permission of TEC Virginia Bishop Shannon Johnston to officiate at Truro Anglican Church.

"That is not going to happen," Archbishop Beach told VOL in an email. "I would not seek permission, but I would not want to put the congregation's legal status in jeopardy. I assume that if I was ever invited by bishop Guernsey to a parish in his diocese, that he and the congregation would have whatever needed to be worked out taken care of."

Posters at VOL's previous stories on this ongoing drama said that Bishop Guernsey was privy to the Truro leases in 2012 and 2017 and approved of them.

Not true, a spokesperson told VOL. "Bishop Guernsey was not shown the lease of 2012 or the lease of 2017. Other than agreeing to the 2012 provision about his visits to the property, he was not asked to approve the terms of either lease and did not do so."

However, sources close to the situation, told VOL that Guernsey has known for over five years that Baucum could be a problem and should have been disciplined back then but did not. "He was a friend of Baucum and not his bishop. A bishop must act differently and Guernsey dropped the ball."

Now it is all going to blow up in his face. If Guernsey inhibits and deposes Baucum (and he has no option but to do that) a third of the parish will up and leave, they will not stay with Baucum if he agrees to go back to, and come under, VA Bishop Johnston and TEC.

There is absolutely nothing in this P & R agreement that is a win-win for Bishop Guernsey. Nothing.

1. Guernsey will have his authority compromised (and thus compromise the ACNA) if accedes anything to Virginia TEC Bishop Johnston, a man who invited John Shelby Spong to preach an Easter sermon denying the resurrection of our Lord at the cathedral in Richmond.

2. It nullifies the belief by ACNA bishops that a bishop like Johnston is not an apostate bishop who has torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. By accepting this agreement, it would effectively say he is not. Archbishop Foley Beach is on record arguing that nothing has changed and TEC has not repented or changed its position on human sexuality and that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

3. Any signal of acceptance sends a compromise message that the Rev. John Yates blew off his $40 million property at Falls Church, (just down the road,) unnecessarily, when he could have a cut a deal with Johnston to stay and keep his property. He chose not to. Truth is way too important to compromise.

4. This agreement says that (homo)sexual sin is now okay (a second order issue) and we should not make a big deal out of it. Really. Scripture says that the eternal destiny of souls is at stake for those who practice sodomy. Can that now be brushed off, downplayed or ignored?

5. Such an agreement like this P & R is the thin end of the wedge for Archbishop Justin Welby to exploit. He will announce to the world that his ideas of reconciliation have taken hold in the US and folk should either return or engage in "good disagreement", but above all stay together. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will also exploit this.

6. If that is the case, GAFCON should withdraw its offer to place a bishop in England; ACNA should say it was wrong to leave TEC and crawl back and ask for forgiveness.

7. Where and when has compromise ever worked? Is TEC now prepared to end its property battles with the Dioceses of Ft. Worth and South Carolina? Don't hold your breath. It won't happen.

8. Bishop Guernsey has only one option. He must inhibit and depose Tory Baucom immediately. To delay is to lead people to believe that compromises are somehow being worked out, when they cannot be. If he does not, the dagger pointed at the heart of the ACNA will ultimately destroy the Mid-Atlantic diocese and the ACNA itself will be deeply compromised.

The whole notion of reconciliation which came from the ABC and mediated through his "Adviser for Reconciliation," Canon David Porter, is little more than a political attempt to patch over deep theological issues that won't go away regardless of how many theologians like Bishop Graham Kings, Welby hires to try and make it work.

It is not going to happen. All the money in the world scrapped together with the Lambeth Partners, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and Compass Rose to make reconciliation possible, will not work.

Welby is hoping for a miracle to bring the GAFCON primates to Lambeth in 2020, but that is not going to happen. Meantime an ecclesiastical mess in Truro, VA, awaits fixing, and anyway it goes, it will not go well for the parish, Tory Baucum and Bishop John Guernsey who himself must answer to ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach.


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