Bishop Shannon Johnston–Virginia Episcopalians ready for a ”˜new dawn’ after prolonged Battle

Stewards are bound to preserve gifts for future generations. The leaders of the departed congregations have asserted that this case was never about buildings or money but about larger principles. On that we agree.

The matter of biblical interpretation is at the heart of the issues, and there are real differences. Differences over biblical interpretation, not authority, remain unsettled. Even so, the common, ancient tradition as to authority, polity and property stands with the diocese and its bishop.

To be absolutely clear, as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, I do not want merely an outcome from the court; I seek a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray blessings upon those congregations who have made the painful decision to leave the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

11 comments on “Bishop Shannon Johnston–Virginia Episcopalians ready for a ”˜new dawn’ after prolonged Battle

  1. Ralph says:

    “In our tradition, it is the diocese, not the congregation, that is the basic unit of the Church.”

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers who visit here to opine whether this statement might affect the legal cases against the dioceses that have left TEC.

  2. driver8 says:

    He wants a witness to Jesus Christ from a secular court? Is that what he says?

  3. StayinAnglican says:


    That is true until a dio leaves TEC, then it isnt. Install a new bishop over the rump and claim that those other people are trying to steal diocesan property. See?

  4. Cennydd13 says:

    “Painful decision?” Perhaps…….but it was the proper decision.

  5. Undergroundpewster says:

    [blockquote] “Without question, the members of these congregations were free to leave this authority, but according to the ancient polity to which they themselves subscribed, the diocese retains its right, and its generational responsibility, of oversight for the ministry of the local church.”[/blockquote]

    And I thought he was arguing about the property…

    [blockquote] “We have a defining commitment to this ancient theology and tradition.”[/blockquote]

    But not to the rest of ancient theology and tradition because that is something over which we can have differences in interpretation.

  6. Richard A. Menees says:

    I am not sure about the bishop’s meaning when he calls leaving TEC a “painful decision” either. For me the real pain came from staying in TEC. Leaving brought relief. Of course the change in relationships with some who remain brought pain. But I experience continuity of relationship with true brothers and sisters in TEC where ever they may be. They and I have not ceased to have communion or respect or to share in mission tasks. These relationships still bring the same deep satisfaction.

  7. Saltmarsh Gal says:

    A point to Bishop Johnston for the sprinkle of conciliatory language in this article. Following #5 (Underground Pewster), it strikes me as odd that he should express a passionate commitment to a theological justification for keeping the property while rushing past any obligation to do the same for our current issues. This is precisely why we are where we are — the refusal to do the hard work of locating theological warrant for TEC’s innovations except as an afterthought- preferring instead to characterize these as “justice” issues and, my goodness, that should just settle it (“It’s not fair” does not constitute theological warrant, IMHO). I have yet to find a biblical warrant for fighting to the death over property although I do see one for guarding apostolic teaching. Nope Bishop, you can call it a theology of stewardship all you want but I suspect stewardship refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not parking lots.

  8. MichaelA says:

    Very amusing to see +Shannon trying to find a justification for his position in “2,000 years of church history”.
    [blockquote] “I have every confidence that our congregations will thrive.” [/blockquote]
    That is the crux of the matter. We have seen time and again that those who remain behind when their congregations vote to leave TEC are incapable of growing new congregations. They just wither and die. If +Johnston can turn that around, then that will be his true victory.

    We shall see.

  9. A Senior Priest says:

    Ancient tradition is absolutely clear. The Ancient and Great Councils repeatedly decreed that when a bishop falls into grave heresy his clergy and people are absolved of their loyalty to him. That goes for jurisdictions which are captured by heretical leadership. It is a virtue for clergy and congregations to do all they can to prevent their buildings from becoming preaching stations for heresy.

  10. Todd Granger says:

    [blockquote]The congregations that separated from the Episcopal Church always existed within the authority of this tradition and polity.[/blockquote]

    Which is why all the property of the soi-disant Diocese of Virginia and its parishes and missions in actuality belongs to the Diocese of London.

  11. William Witt says:

    I cannot now remember how years it has been since I became jaded by TEC”s regularly trotted out appeals to apostolic order and polity.

    Just for reminders. Any office is defined by its teleological end or purpose. What were the historic reasons for the significance of the episcopate in the second century struggle between Catholic Christianity and gnostic heresy? 1) Tradition: To preserve historic continuity not only with a physical succession from the apostles, but with the teaching of the apostles. 2) Universality: one could not claim to be in succession from the apostles unless one taught that which was taught by all catholic bishops everywhere. The bishop did not appeal to his own authority because he did not represent his own authority. His office was a focus of unity because each local bishop represented the faith of the universal (catholic) church. 3) canonicity: All catholic bishops recognized and submitted to the authority of those scriptures that were either authentic prophetic writings of the OT or the inspired apostolic writings of those who were companions of Jesus.

    In what way is the blessing of same-sex unions in accord with 1) the historic tradition of the church or in continuity with the teaching of the apostles? 2) embraced by the universal catholic church, a position that has been taught “always, everywhere, and by everyone”? 3) in conformity to the plain teaching of those canonical Scriptures in obedience to which bishops claim to exercise their own authority?