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PHOTO: The above is a Steinway piano being returned to the parish of All Saints' Ft. Worth after it was removed by the departing congregation.

By David W. Virtue, DD
May 3, 2021

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's "beloved community" followers need to act as beloved community believers when they leave their parishes behind in lost court fights.

They don't.

In truth they behave like pagans, non-Christians. They act spitefully out of anger, trashing and plundering whatever they can, ere they leave, stripping churches to the bare walls, hoping perhaps that no one will notice, or that orthodox folk out of their niceness and loving kindness, which they themselves do not exhibit, will give them a pass.

Following a court determination that Bishop Ryan S. Reed and the Diocese of Ft. Worth, who held the majority of the parishes, (55 vs 15) were the legitimate heirs of the diocese, one of the parishes - All Saints Episcopal Church - went on a rampage and stripped the building of literally everything.

Shortly before the Episcopalians had to vacate the church buildings, its members and contractors began stripping, packing, and moving out all the personal property they could. They removed altars, crosses, communion vessels, vestments, office furnishings, Bibles, library books, church music, software for the HVAC system, and every knife, fork, and spatula in the kitchen.

The plundering was so bad, a trial court judge ordered them "immediately" to return all the personal property that had been part of these parish buildings when Relator walked out of the Diocese and sued the Real Parties in April of 2009, that included the funds, accounts, records, and other financial assets on hand at that time that are needed to support the parish's ministries and operations.

Bishop Ryan told VOL that St Luke's, St Christopher's and St Stephen's Wichita Falls were also stripped. "Only St Stephen's has returned everything. All Saints has returned most but not all items," he said.

Here are a few stories VOL has received from Episcopalians and Anglicans across the country who have experienced the anger and spitefulness of departing Episcopalians.

Michael Giere, a conservative politico, columnist and a member of The Falls Church, Virginia, tells the story of what happened to this $20 million property. "I belonged to The Falls Church Anglican for 32 years, including the Virginia battles after we voted to leave TEC. After many court battles, we finally were ordered by the Supreme Court of Virginia to turn over the property to the TCE in 2012. This included a nearly 1,000 seat sanctuary we built in 1992, as well as the "old church."

The congregation provided every single cent for the new sanctuary, nothing came from the TEC. When we left there was $3 million in the bank, as I recall, and we left every single thing in its place, down to the garments, cushions, and communion hardware, and the silverware and pots and pans in the kitchen. We left a beautiful hand-made Cross that hung directly over the Communion table that a member had commissioned and paid for, as well as hand-embroidered cushions at the rails that took many hundreds of hours to create. Everything was left down to stationery. I think the contrast with what this church did when they left tells you all you need to know about why we had to leave the TEC."

"Not only did we leave them cash and everything in the church down to the vestments and bibles in the pews we cleaned the whole church and vacuumed every space. When their representative (one of the tiny handful who voted against leaving) came to pick up the keys at the appointed time he brought a locksmith who started to work immediately. He acted like they had vanquished the enemy instead of rejecting God's Word. Sad."

The revisionist Episcopal Virginia diocese could not sustain it as an Episcopal parish, as there were not enough Episcopalians to keep it going, so they rented it out to small ethnic Baptist congregations, who just happened to be evangelicals like the original Falls Church Episcopalians. Oh, the irony.

Another layman, a long time ARDF Trustee who also served as a trustee on the American Anglican Council, wrote this to VOL; "Your article on the TEC antics in Fort Worth reminded me of the way John Yates behaved when the Falls Church was taken over by TEC. It was just the opposite of what you've just reported."

"The day before the church changed hands, John's wife Susan went to check on him and found him back in his "inner sanctum"- the office behind his office where he did private study and prepared sermons. He was in that office vacuuming in order to leave everything in perfect order. One of his daughters even baked a coffee cake and left it in the staff kitchen for the new inhabitants."

The Rev Canon Dr. David Wilson, Anglican Church in North America, resident in what was once the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh tells his story. "We left St. David's in Peters Township, PA (Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh) in 2012. We had expanded our buildings in 2001 with a new $3 million sanctuary tripling our capacity and gave it all to TEC rather than be held hostage by them and pay a $10k mortgage each month on a building we would never own. We chose to walk away from the property and relinquish every piece of real property down to the crayons in the pre-school. The TEC diocese would not even let us take a memorial pulpit Bible which one of our members had given in memory of his mother and father. It was never a negotiation with them -- it was a Diktat. But leaving it behind was the best thing our parish ever did."

"They accused us of taking disposable plastic cups from the kitchen? After our last service in that church building, we walked out and those that had keys to the building placed them in a basket in the back of the church. The symbolism was unmistakable. We were leaving a building. The next Sunday, Pentecost, we worshiped in our "new" building, a redundant traditional church in a nearby community that the Roman Catholic Diocese was no longer using. It was virtually in "walk-in" condition. The worship service that Pentecost was the most Spirit filled gathering imaginable. We left a building to come home. God always provides."

The source then told this about how TEC's current presiding bishop, Michael Curry, then Bishop of the Diocese of NC, left their headquarters when it was sold. "We were part of a group that left TEC in 2003 and started an ACNA church. The Diocese of NC was forced to sell because their income was diminishing and my husband, a real estate developer, purchased the property. After the closing, we found conditions so wretched that it seemed an intentional message: trash cans emptied on floors-not ones that had been vacuumed; spoiled-not freshly baked food; anything they didn't want just left behind. Every time I hear Curry intone that "love is the way", I think back on that tragic display of hatred toward us because we chose a different way.

"To quote Curry, "Imagine our neighborhoods and communities where love is the way. Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way...When love is the way, there is plenty of room for all of God's children."

"After all these years, it is very sad to see that in reality, love is not the way that was chosen in Ft. Worth. Don't we all look for the day when the love of Christ really rules and reigns in all our hearts."


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