Religion and Ethics Weekly Interviews Peter Lee

Q: And how does that get resolved, given the situation or position of some in the church?

A: I think it’s resolved by patience and time, that as people — I know anecdotally of African clergy who have been guests at American churches where one of the clergy, say, in a multi-staff church was gay and had adopted children, and it was a brand new experience for the African priest to experience that reality, and so getting to know people like that on a personal level has been very helpful.

Q: There’s been a lot of hoopla leading up to this meeting, saying this is a make or break time for the communion, that the ultimate relationship between the Episcopal Church and the worldwide communion could be at stake. How do you assess where the relationship is?

A: I don’t see this as a deadline or breakthrough meeting. It’s an important meeting, but it seems to me that the relationships that we have worldwide, with dozens, hundreds of Anglicans worldwide are going to be intact. A very important meeting prior to this one occurred in July ’07 outside of Madrid, where a group of about 25 American bishops, including me, met with about 30 African bishops, and the press was not invited, and it was very clear that the great majority of them wanted to continue in relationship. The Anglican Communion is not a juridical group where there is a clear method of kicking someone out, to put it bluntly. So if we are — if our relationship is stressed with the rest of the communion to the breaking point, the break will come from others, not from us.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

22 comments on “Religion and Ethics Weekly Interviews Peter Lee

  1. Dee in Iowa says:

    “I know anecdotally of African clergy who have been guests at American churches where one of the clergy, say, in a multi-staff church was gay and had adopted children, and it was a brand new experience for the African priest to experience that reality, and so getting to know people like that on a personal level has been very helpful.”

    I do appreciate the support of the African bishops and priests, but I didn’t leave TEC because of their support. Their experience would have nothing to do with my decision. My decision came down to direction and leadership, i.e. PB, Spong, and the rest who believe they can change the Gospel. So I really do wish the liberals would quit trying to blame the Africans for all this……

  2. Jeremy Bonner says:

    “Q: How big of a point of contention is having US priests becoming bishops under the auspices of bishops in other parts of the world?

    A: I think it’s discouraging and confusing. I have two such bishops now in my geographical diocese. Both were formerly priests of my diocese; they are both friends of mine. [b] But I think their consecration as bishop is very confusing for the people that they’re supposed to serve[/b], and it does not help in trying to work out these differences in a long-term way.”

    A (tongue in cheek) question to members of the CANA churches: Are you confused?

  3. William P. Sulik says:

    So Africans who come to American experience reality?

    I think it’s time for Peter James Lee and the other TEC bishops to experience reality…

  4. Rolling Eyes says:

    “if our relationship is stressed with the rest of the communion to the breaking point, the break will come from others, not from us.”

    Is this statement a lie, or a sign of crippling stupidity?

  5. libraryjim says:

    Let’s change it:

    “I know anecdotally of African clergy who have been guests at American churches where one of the clergy, say, in a multi-staff church was [b]an adulterer[/b] and had [b]a mistress attending services regularly with his wife and family[/b], and it was a brand new experience for the African priest to experience that reality, and so getting to know people like that on a personal level has been very helpful.”

    Sin is sin, and no amount of couching it in nice phrases or meeting sinners is going to change Scrpiture or the teaching of 2000 years of the Church. What’s needed is a call to repentance and evangelistic ministry (“One hungry beggar telling another where to find the soup kitchen”).

    Jim Elliott <><

  6. Fisherman says:

    Nope. I’m not the least bit confused about +Minns and +Bena 🙂

    Also note the condescending comment ‘the people that they’re [b] supposed [/b] to serve’. I’ve never felt better served than by these two fine bishops, soon to be joined by 4 more to serve a growing Christiann community.

  7. palagious says:

    The lawsuits were started by the churches that voted to leave DioVA, that is an interesting and deceptive take. If by going to court to register the results of the vote IAW VA law constitutes lawsuit, I guess so. So, who were named the defendants in the lawsuits and who are the plaintiffs? In the cases at issue I believe the departing parishes are defendants and DioVa and TEC are the plaintiffs. Lee is playing more than a little fast and loose with the facts. Why didn’t anyone call him on it?

  8. usma87 says:

    How many of the 30 African bishops depend on the American $$ for their basic operations? I would want to continue that relationship also. In light of that argument, the African churches that want nothing to do with TEC are truly walking in the light. They are making that leap of faith.

  9. libraryjim says:

    For those who don’t know, many of the African Bishops began refusing to take ECUSA/TEC monies some time ago, stating that to take that money would be to give an implicit approval to their theology.

    There were those in ECUSA who said that it was hypocracy for the African Bishops to accept the money while condemning the theology. When the African Bishops stopped taking money, ECUSA then came out with statements about “how insensitive the Bishops are by letting their own people die or live in poverty rather than take the much needed money over a trifling matter like theology”.

    From TEC viewpoint, it was presented in “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” language.

    Jim Elliott <><

  10. libraryjim says:

    PS, many of the parishes that went under African Bishops for oversight now give directly to those provinces, bypassing TEC altogether.

    I think I read that they are now getting more money than they were before, since there is no 815 hierarchy to take processing fees!

  11. justice1 says:

    I like his logic on lawsuits. Lee said, “We feel, though, that we have an obligation, to the people of the past who built those churches and to the people of the future who expect to have an Episcopal church in their community, to see that those churches belong to the Episcopal Church…” I see. Lee’s diocese is suing current congregations and their living members on behalf of the dead, and those yet to be born or who are not yet parishorners but could possibly be in the future. Very nice. Only in America.

  12. Dee in Iowa says:

    And the old line – remember – those Africans will fall into line cause they need our money….haha-haha…..

  13. samh says:


    I think libraryjim’s point (if not, then it is my question) is how representative of African bishops that the select 30 are. Are they 30 who continue to take American $??

  14. RalphM says:

    Tell the big lie long enough and many will believe it:

    “Q: Are there any discussions about trying to find some kind of settlement outside of court?

    A: Not at this point, but I would dearly love to see if we could do that. We did that with Bishop John Guernsey’s church, far prior to the initiation of law suits. ”

    The Virginia churches that are now part of CANA were in negotiations with the DoV using the protocol for departing churches that +Lee had personally endorsed. The DoV broke off the negotiations and filed suit. The CANA churches have repeatedly (and as recently as August) offered to negotiate, but have been rebuffed by the DoV and TEC lawyers.

    If +Lee “would dearly love to see if we could do that” he knows who to call. I suspect he would first have to call the puppet masters to get permission…

  15. Petra says:

    1. It is my understanding as mentioined above that the votes for separation (b)had(/b) to be registered in accordance with Virginia law. Furthermore, +Lee’s team was going forward with negotiations before 815 stepped in.
    2. I am a member of Cana along with several thousand other folks and experience absolutely no confusion as to who my bishops are and why they are my bishops. Come on…..92.1% of my parish voted to leave Tec and we all knew what we were doing.
    3. What inhibits these people from knowing and telling the recorded truth? (Such as the numerous documents passed between +Lee and the parishes during this entire process.)

  16. Rick D says:

    Bishop Lee claimed:

    [blockquote]The churches that voted to leave our diocese, the next day after their vote they went to court, asking the courts to declare that the property belonged to them, so our response in the courts is a defensive measure. [/blockquote]

    That’s not playing fast and loose with the facts. It actually sounds more evenhanded than most of the commentary here. If you wish to associate with an invader bishop, that’s your prerogative…but leave the keys.

  17. BabyBlue says:

    Rick D – that is incorrect. We filed our VOTE with the Court. We did not take the next step because we thought we were going into negotiations by joining Bishop Lee’s short-lived “Property Committee.” The vote and the filing of the vote was part of the Virginia Protocol process which we followed. We have not sued anyone – even now we have not sued anyone. In fact, we continue to try to bring the Diocese back to the negotiating table so that we can continue Bishop Lee’s vision to try to find a way to live in as closest communion as possible. Some of the ideas that were being discussed were very innovative and I could wholeheartedly support them. It was 815’s intervention that shut down the Virginia Protocol and then pressured Bishop Lee to sue us all. In fact, I think 815 still worries about Virginia because it wasn’t enough for Virginia to sue us, 815 REFUSED to join Virginia’s suit and sued us all as well. So we were actually sued twice, by Bishop Lee and then by Katharine Jefferts Schori and they sued each of the churches separately – that’s a lot of lawsuits coming from Episcopal bishops. It was the Court that combined the suits, but 815 and the Diocese countinue to have separate counsel. What’s up with that?

    We have sued no one. We filed our votes. That’s it.

    And another thing, it is patronizing to think that the laity of Virginia are so stupid that we don’t know who are bishops are. Over and over again it appears that Episcopal bishops think that the laity are a bunch of stupid sheep being led astray. Perhaps that is how they opperate in their own dioceses (wake up, laity) but that’s not what happens in Virginia. The laity in Virginia have a long history of making it very clear to bishops where they stand and why. George Mason and George Washington were only the first.


  18. taz says:

    It is more of the same warmed-over hash. I am getting so weary of this duplicity, disingenuousness, and dissembling. The bishops of TEC make me ill.

  19. BabyBlue says:

    I’ve written more about this interview [url=””]here[/url] at [url=””]BabyBlueOnline[/url].


  20. palagious says:

    I say again. Who are named the defendants and who are named the plaintiffs in the lawsuits? The TEC and DioVa are the plaintiffs and the “eleven” are the defendants in the lawsuits. It is a fact and not subject to any interpretation. Peter Lee is more than playing fast and loose with the facts…he is prevaricating.
    While I agree with most all of BB’s response to Rick D. I must mildly disagree with the characterization of the laity in DioVa. As BB probably knows there are perhaps a hundred parishes in DioVa that are generational Anglican that predate the Episcopal church. Most of the laity in these parishes are not concerned in the least about any theological issues. They primarily are concerned about the perpetuation of the familial worship location and the cemetery plots where literally generations of their descendants are buried. They are really not for one side or another so long as their interests are not disturbed — if their interests are disturbed, Lord help DioVa.

  21. GrandpaDino says:

    Dear Mr. Lee:

    My family and I are NOT AT ALL confused about our CANA bishops and the pastoral care we enjoy at Truro.


    Grandpa Dino

  22. William P. Sulik says:

    So Rick D, #16, when the TEC is booted out of the Anglican Communion, they should mail their keys and deeds to the ABC?

    BTW, if you check, with the Clerk’s office (703-691-7320), you will find that there we a number of cases filed by the DioVa and TEC. These parties are the plaintiffs. It means they filed the lawsuit and they can dismiss the law suit.

    Or you can go here:
    4110 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, VA 22030
    Clerks Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday