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Conflict conference: Bishop and ex-rector in litigation dispute speak of growing friendship

01 March 2013

TIM ECCLESTON

Mediation: left to right: Bill Marsh, the Revd Tory Baucum, and the Rt Revd Shannon Johnston 

Mediation: left to right: Bill Marsh, the Revd Tory Baucum, and the Rt Revd Shannon Johnston 

A BISHOP and priest, whose diocese and congregation were opposing parties in extensive property-rights litigation, have spoken of their experience of meeting together regularly for discussion and prayer.

Truro Church in Fairfax seceded from the diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in the United States in 2006 ( News, 22 December 2006, 29 December, 2006). It is now part of the Anglican Church in North America. The church and diocese were involved in extensive litigation over property rights which finally came to an end in April last year when the two reached a settlement agreement following a final judgment that "all real and personal property held by the parishes at the time they left the denomination belongs to the diocese." (News, 13 April 2012).

"I didn't become the Rector of Truro to fight the Episcopal Church. . . I went to pastor and lead Truro through this crisis," the Revd Tory Baucum said, "I've grown to love Shannon, I consider him a friend . . . a brother; but a brother who I think has taken a wrong turn. It's not the same thing as ceasing to be a Christian."

Bishop Shannon Johnston said: "I disagree in some very fundamental things that people care passionately about, and I disagree with the way our position in the Episcopal Church has been characterized; but at the same time . . . agreement is overrated."

Tory Baucum wrote on his blog on Wednesday that the participants were surprised at the end of the discussion by the unscheduled appearance of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

An audio recording of the Revd Tory Baucum and Bishop Shannon Johnston's session at the Faith in Conflict conference is available here

Tory Baucum's blog is here

 

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