So there is the subtext for why some of the vestry had been so upset by the new priest—he’s gay.
As I said last year or the year before, I don’t think anyone could properly minister to that parish unless they were, in some measure, open to gay community issues. I’m sure the rector (Canon Gordon Reid) also saw it that way, and so he invited in a new curate who can relate.
I appreciate David Virtue’s reporting on the story; he, essentially, is chronicling the slow decline of a denomination that used to really have its act together. I am more to the left of Dr. Virtue, but to the right of the 1990’s incarnation of leftie political correctness on the issue. The “orthodox” within the Episcopal Church, who now basically call themselves the “Anglican Church” here, are always shocked! shocked! that these parishes aren’t like they were in 1959 anymore. But I see it, and have seen it, that these people should have sought out an amicable divorce a long time ago. (I know there was a Flying Bishops deal between Bishop Bartlett and the Seven Sisters parishes of the Pennsylvania diocese, which Bennison breached, but I guess I meant it more like they really needed to focus on the “divorce” aspect.)
There is nothing wrong with having gay priests down there. If it’s true about the curate, I’m sure he isn’t the first. It’s probably a lot better for the parish, so people don’t have to pretend. It’s better for people who are attracted to the high church ritual, which you can catch online nowadays, but don’t like the fact that it’s 2012 and things changed.
I noticed that the suers are all up in knots because the progressives got the better of them. I highly doubt that they’d do any litigation in Philadelphia’s Orphans’ Court, because the cases 20 years ago, where they had their attorney say whatever to win, now block them from making the arguments that I hear they want to make! Had they not screwed around back then about what rights you get as a member of the denomination, they wouldn’t find themselves as ex-Vestry members. (Not all of them did, but some names are from then and now.)
Karma is a bitch, you know.
[Update 4/4/12: The rector of St. Clement’s fills us in on what more had transpired with the old vestry majority.
- the old vestry’s legal spending went to $53,000 when all was said and done
- they had cut the rector’s salary, which was probably a breach of contract or a canon violation
- they let the tax-exemption for the Anchor Foundation lapse, which means that any contributions to it last year were not tax deductible
- they had some unrecorded assets (commonly known as a slush fund) kept secret from the accountants and auditors
- they had checks being paid on one signature, which is a big control no-no.
- in short, they were running St. Clement’s as if it were their own private thing—not something that they held collectively in trust.]
[Update 4/18/12: David Virtue is really going to town, in fact. And I’m not so sure it’s fair to Father Reid.]