"A Reflection on San Joaquin and Pittsburgh
--The Rev. Bruce Robison, Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park
This article is located at Father James Simon’s blog entitled Three Rivers Episcopal, a blog that James (The Three Legged Stool) called our attention to a few weeks ago. The quote I would like to call your attention to is:
“More pertinently, though, I have continued to follow the San Joaquin situation, and I’m writing this commentary, because I and many others have wondered if there might be a few clues there about what might lie ahead for us here, in Pittsburgh, with our “realignment vote” at diocesan convention now only a bit more than a month away. After all, of the four dioceses of the Episcopal Church that seem on the course for “realignment” (San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy, and Fort Worth), San Joaquin went first.”
This is, for the Pittsburgh Across the Aisle folks of some genuine import. There is at least one theory that says you know where you are going by following where you have been. The Pittsburgh folks have extrapolated this theory just a tad and said, "We know where we are going by using the Diocese of San Joaquin as an example and by that example we can, to a large extent, plot our course for where we want to go.
But, what if this is all a smokescreen? What if there is a larger plan? What if the answer to the proverbial question, “How does one eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.”, really apply to the TEC?
If we take every “realignment” as an isolated event then yes, the Pittsburgh approach makes sense. But what if each realignment is but one more step in an overall plan to takeover the entire Episcopal Church? Then we (TEC) are always one step behind and getting further behind with every realignment. And each time the next diocese moves to the Southern Cone or the AMiA or CANA and TEC is forced to pick up the pieces TEC gets further and further behind.
Ahhh, but there is one thing we may need to consider: “tipping point”.
These seemingly related only in concept "takeovers" are in fact a larger and more direct attack on the Episcopal Church. That yes, Pittsburgh can learn from what happened in San Joaquin but that will quite easily play into the hands of the “Primates Council”. The current strategy TEC is following will eventually give up the Episcopal Church. What we need, really need, is a strategy that will stop these thugs in their tracks.
My first suggestion, after much thought, is that the primate involved, in this instance, Greg Venables, the Province and every bishop in that province be named personally and individually liable for these incursions. Certainly they are the direct as well as indrect beneficiaries of the "realignment". They benefit immediately with the illegal transfer of property and cash to the various entities within the new province. In addition, we test out some new legislation that perhaps attacks these individuals, perhaps under the Alien and Sedition Acts or perhaps under some IRS or INS code that gives these Primates the opportunity to expend their resources and their time and their attorneys in court. Perhaps were Mr. Venables named in suits in Fort Worth and San Joaquin and Pittsburgh and forced to appear any number of times – or better yet, when here arrested as a flight risk and held here until these suits were over the other Primates may begin to think twice about these stupid, mean-spirited and ugly forays into the Episcopal Church.
Now, we will hear one more time about how awful we are that we are "suing" and we my stand to lose more laity but hey, in about 5 years we are all going to be "Southern Conaliones" otherwise so what's to lose?
If we want to avoid the inevitable then we will need to create a much broader strategy that includes some form of offense. A defensive strategy will only postpone the inevitable.