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Truro parish to form School of Peace and Reconciliation in defiance of bishop and ACNA Archbishop

Truro parish to form School of Peace and Reconciliation in defiance of bishop and ACNA Archbishop
Rev. Tory Baucom's peripatetic wanderings gave hint of settlement with liberal bishop of Virginia

By David W. Virtue, DD
April 26, 2017

Following a property settlement with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and its ultra-liberal bishop, Shannon Johnston, Truro Parish and its Anglican priest, Tory Baucom, issued a statement which you can read in full here. This action brought swift reaction by his Anglican Bishop, John Guernsey, and ACNA Archbishop, Foley Beach, prompting this from Primate Beach; "They have entered into a legal relationship with the Episcopal Church that makes them unequally yoked. It requires the permission of the Episcopal bishop for me to visit, and it creates an Episcopal Diocese of Virginia center of ministry with a required on-campus presence of one of their bishops. The decision to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in this way is not in harmony with the Bible's instruction in dealing with false teachers, and it denigrates the costly sacrifice of the many congregations who had their buildings and assets taken by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia."

That apparently did not bother Baucom and his parish, who wrote this:

"In this Easter season of rebirth and renewal, Truro Anglican Church is pleased to announce a new ministry of peace making and reconciliation called the Truro Institute: A School of Peace and Reconciliation. The Institute represents the continued fulfillment of God's work at Truro over many decades and is consistent with our congregational history and DNA. It is also the culmination of our outreach to and discussions with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, with whom we are joining in this exciting initiative. Years after the costly litigation and sometimes on-going animosity with the EDV, we have arrived at a new era of community building and peacemaking.

"This new ministry, formed by Truro Anglican, will have equal representation on its board from EDV and Truro, along with representation from the Dean of Coventry Cathedral and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The following is a quote from Archbishop Justin Welby, regarding this ministry:

"I am deeply moved by the establishment of the Peace Centre at Truro, not least because I have looked more closely at it in the days following the terrorism in Westminster, merely 400 yards from Lambeth Palace. The kingdom of God is proclaimed in practices that develop virtues. The Peace Centre will proclaim that reconciliation is the gospel, with God through Christ, but like the Temple in Ezekiel 47, releasing a flood of water that as a mighty river becomes the place of fruitfulness and healing for the nations. Thank you for your step of faith. We too will work with you as best we can."

"The ministry will work with seminarians and other young people to seed our respective denominations with a new generation of peace makers, by teaching them and letting them live into the challenging work of reconciliation. Just the fact of the joint involvement of EDV and Truro Anglican is a living testament to the work the Institute hopes to accomplish.

"Along with the founding of this ministry, EDV has signed a long-term lease with Truro Anglican. The initial term is twenty years. There is an initial test period of three years where both parties will discern and evaluate the work of the Institute. This will allow us to determine if the Holy Spirit is truly present in this ministry. If it is determined by both parties that the ministry should continue, our twenty year lease becomes a fifty year lease (for a total of fifty-three years). If it is determined that the ministry should not continue, Truro has the remaining seventeen years under its lease to determine its future home.

"There may be some who are not comfortable about engaging in ministry with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, but Truro has a long history of joint ministries involving EDV, including Five Talents and the Lamb Center. While we recognize our deep differences on some issues, we have chosen to focus on what unites us as people who believe in the resurrected Lord, rather than on what divides us. With this ministry, Truro is following a long heritage. We also take comfort in the three-year test period which will let all parties determine if we are truly following God's calling. We have discerned that this ministry is indeed a calling from God, and events have lined up to reinforce that discernment. But if it is not of God, not infused with the Holy Spirit, then it will not produce Godly fruit. Both parties are happy to submit to this testing/discernment period to be sure we are following God's plan for us."

VOL readers will be interested to learn of the peripatetic wanderings of the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucom, the rector of Truro Anglican Church.

Baucum was at one time licensed in the Diocese of Lexington. In 2005, Bishop Stacy Sauls, then Bishop of Lexington, revoked his license; Bishop William Love in the Diocese of Albany took him in. The next thing anyone knew, Dr. Baucum transferred to the Diocese of London, England.

In a 2005 statement regarding these developments, Bishop Stacy Sauls, former Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, stated that the transfer to London was done without his consultation or consent. Bishop Sauls added that he would not re-license Baucum, "unless he transfers back to an American jurisdiction that will cooperate with me in keeping Tory accountable to our church."

From there, Baucum wound up in the Diocese of Virginia, following in the footsteps of the Rev. Martin Minns at Truro Episcopal Church, a high profile evangelical parish in the northern part of the liberal Virginia diocese now under Bishop Shannon Johnston.

In 2014, I wrote this http://tinyurl.com/ltxk4un just prior to the property wars that broke out that saw the end of niceness and the fall of Falls Church, VA, and its $40 million property to the Diocese of Virginia. This also saw the deposition of the Rev. John Yates and his congregation forced out of the building and to a restart elsewhere.

Baucum played a different game. He decided to make nice with the liberal bishop and agreed not to go to court to fight for the building. They cut a deal and Baucum stayed for two more years, but with a view to getting an extension if he continued to play ball with the diocese and not upset the parish or diocesan applecart. He was later rewarded for his ecumenical niceness and appointed to the position of preacher at Canterbury Cathedral by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Now he and Bishop Johnston have come up with an idea that looks remarkably like compromise that might work for Johnston, who would only find himself with yet another empty church if he threw them out, and keeps Baucum in the parish and paying money to the diocese while keeping the property in trust for the diocese and his people who are too blind to see what he has done.


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