Thursday, March 7, 2013

Joyous Tidings, Huh? Why No Announcement?

Late last month, the Rt Rev John Vaughan was elected ACA diocesan Bishop of the Eastern US at its diocesan synod. He'd been suffragan bishop in the same diocese for about a year; I reviewed his bio in this post. His career in The Episcopal Church was undistinguished, guiding a failing mission in the Orlando area most of the way into its grave; he then moved to the ACA, where as priest-in-charge he's guided a couple of missions there on a course that appears to be at best uncertain.

The DEUS main web page hasn't been updated in more than a year -- wouldn't you expect the joyous news of Bp Vaughan's election as diocesan to be made known to the faithful? On the other hand, there are likely so few people in the diocese that a phone tree might have worked better, for all I know. The diocesan web site lists 15 parishes, although I strongly suspect that, like the Diocese of the West, this overstates the number. For instance, the note for St Peter's Anglican Mission in Waynesville, NC says, "As of January 1, 2011, Saint Peter's comes under the pastoral care of All Saints Anglican Church in Mills River." I simply don't know what that means; a hyperlink to the All Saints Anglican Church site comes up empty.

Might Bishop Vaughan in his time as suffragan perhaps have been moved to clean this stuff up? For that matter, his home parish (i.e., the "cathedral" of the whole blinkin' diocese) doesn't have a website. All this suggests that, whatever the possibilities of growing an Anglo-Catholic splinter group, they aren't being even minimally exploited. How hard would it be to write a press release about Vaughan's election and send it on to David Virtue? Hasn't happened. How hard would it be to clean up the list of parishes from 2011? Hasn't happened. Even if Vaughan could make the excuse that he doesn't have a staff, etc etc, wouldn't you expect someone who actually wanted to grow his diocese beyond a dozen sorry little missions to take a little bit of initiative and write the flippin' press release himself?

By the same token, wouldn't you expect The Most Rev Brian Marsh to note the joyous event of Bp Vaughan's election as diocesan on the ACA home page? I've got to say that this is telling me what these guys think is important, which is something other than running a church. You could argue that Marsh is so busy with St Mary of the Angels and the Diocese of the West, down two priests and Holy Week on the horizon, that he doesn't have time for Vaughan's election, except I see no sign that anything's being done about the DOW, either.

This raises another question: the ACA has expressed a desire to merge with the Anglican Province of America. The APA also has a Diocese of the Eastern United States, and its diocesan bishop is Walter Grundorf, assisted by a suffragan, Chandler H. Jones. This means that if-when the two merge, there will be two competing dioceses. (It goes farther than that; the APA DEUS also covers territory in the ACA Diocese of the Northeast, headed, of course, by Brian Marsh.)

How are all these bishops going to divide the spoils, especially considering how small the spoils are to divide? If the ACA is serious about merging with the APA, why go ahead and elect a diocesan bishop for the same measly territory already covered by an APA diocese?

This, by the way, is the kind of question that Anglo-Catholic or "Continuing" bloggers like David Virtue or Stephen Smuts ought to be asking. It's also the sort of question the APA should be asking. If the ACA is courting them to the degree that it is, why are they setting up circumstances that will be that much more difficult to resolve once a merger takes place? Isn't this one more instance of Lucy telling Charlie Brown she's going to hold the football properly this time?