815 Goes for the Kill

What happens when someone is the lead blogger at the most widely read Conservative Anglican website in the world, and you don’t like it? Do you take the Christian attitude and try to engage in dialogue? Do you wrestle with the theological issues at stake online, publicly engaging in a process of discernment? Do you seek to bless their ministry in a parish church where the membership has doubled in no time at all?

No, if you’re 815 you sue the hell out of him.

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York filed a lawsuit today against Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, New York seeking the seizure of the church building, the parish hall, and the rectory. This is the third church which Episcopal Bishop Gladstone "Skip" Adams of Syracuse has moved against to seize since 2006, and the second church he has actually sued. The priest at Good Shepherd is Fr. Matt Kennedy who is a commentator on the internationally known Stand Firm website.

The Church of the Good Shepherd was a small struggling congregation when Bishop Adams took over the diocese as its new bishop. One of the first priests he ordained was Fr. Kennedy, who then went to Good Shepherd and raised it to be a vibrant congregation doubling its Sunday morning attendance. Since taking the church in Binghamton, Fr. Kennedy has acquired a reputation as one of the most widely read and respected commentators of church news in the Anglican Communion. Today, however, that same bishop who ordained him has sued his church, and refuses to even to acknowledge that Fr. Kennedy is a priest, referring to him as "Mr. Kennedy" in correspondence. In a cover letter to the summons, the lawyer for Bishop Adams likewise followed suit, and addressed the priest as "Matt Kennedy" and "Mr. Kennedy.

Can you feel the love? The Church of the Good Shepherd left for Uganda a while back, the Bishop said something on the lines of "We can sort something out" as regards the parish getting the property, and then does a complete U-Turn by bringing in the heavies.

Why? Is it because there’s a group of loyal liberal Anglicans just waiting to fill the pews and the evil Matt Kennedy is refusing to let them use the building? Er no. In fact, the Diocese of Central New York did this to another church only a few months ago, and that building is now standing empty.

One of the other churches which surrendered its property to the bishop rather than face a lawsuit was St. Andrew’s Church in nearby Vestal, New York. That church building was taken over by the Episcopal diocese shortly before Christmas of 2007 and is now vacant and for sale, while the congregation is worshipping elsewhere and thriving.

Marvellous! So what can be the reason for trying to take the buildings away (including the rectory, home to Matt and Anne and their kids)? Well it must be one of the following:

  • Greed – The Bishop, the Diocese and 815 are simply greedy. They MUST have the building, not for the purposes of providing a place of worship but simply for its capital value.
  • Spite – They want the building simply to stop it being used by conservative Anglicans. They actually want to prevent Christians worshipping and ministering in their community, because those specific Christians don’t support the Diocese’s and 815’s revisionist agenda.

Can you think of another reason? I can’t, but by all means comment below if you want to present a more plausible explanation.

Anyhows, here’s how the folks at Stand Firm took the news:

Uh . . .

Matt?

Couldn’t you have, you know . . . thrown a little love our way?

Rather than allow another blog to scoop us about your lawsuit???

We finally get one of our own to be shot at — after a lot of effort, toil, and bother — and we don’t even get to break the story?

All I know is somebody oughta slap a monitor on our traitorous blogger, ex-friend and make sure that said monitor sends an electronic signal directly to our emails the moment Matt gets hauled away in chains to wrack and ruin, or some other Big Blogging News befalls him. ‘Cause it really is an insult when another blog scoops the story about an SF blogger.

There really is no point in having adventurous bloggers who have things happen to them, when we don’t actually get the story!!!! Why have adventurous bloggers around at all, if they don’t let us have the story, give us a little wink and a nudge, the high sign, or sompin’.

I dunno how Matt’s going to make this up to all of us . . . but it better be good. I personally don’t see his getting Blogger of the Year at this point.

In fact, frankly — I don’t see any of us getting Blogger of the Year, at this rate, seeing as how our own don’t give us heads-up when they themselves make news.

I’m so ashamed. This has got to be the most Tragic News Ever.

And here’s the moment of the revelation of crisis in the Keneddy household:

And today, the Rector, Warden’s and Vestry of Church of the Good Shepherd were served notice that we are being sued (is that even how you say it? This has never happened to me before). Here is the Press Release.
Emma giggled delightedly at the news, ‘Sued, that’s silly.’
Me: I guess.
Emma: Are they going to squash the house?
Me: I don’t think so. (Embarked and a long and complicated explanation of what it means to be sued and what a judge is and what a lawyer is using the possibility of Aedan breaking a toy but not telling and Matt having to figure out who is telling the truth and Rowan and Gwendolyn being the Lawyers.)
Emma (very confused): Let’s read the Bible to find out what happens.
Me: Ok. Let’s have tea and cake. What do you want to read?
Emma: Lets’ read about the law.
Me: The 10 commandments? or Jesus?
Emma: The 10 commandments.
Aedan: I wouldn’t break a doll. But Rowan will break something.
Me: Probably.

What gets me though, is that the fact that they (the Diocese and 815) thought it would be a sensible idea to do this to one of the leading Anglican bloggers in the whole world. That’s a plan to keep everything private and under-wraps isn’t it? There definitely won’t be a blow for blow account on Stand Firm will there? That won’t be bad for publicity will it?

And imagine if ALL the correspondence up to this point got onto the web, because of course the Bishop of Central New York hasn’t been engaged in duplicitously promising one thing to the Church of the Good Shepherd and in reality doing another. I mean, Bishops don’t lie do they?

What happens to lying bishops?

Stay tuned I say, stay tuned. Methinks 815 have picked the wrong target.

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