Thursday, January 14, 2016

What Now For The Parish?

The indications I've had over the past several weeks have been that my wife and I are correct in estimating that the Bush-ACA squatters can delay things a few days here, a week or two there, but the case is reaching its end stages. I've had some inquiries from visitors about what can happen now.

There's a great deal we don't know about parish finances. Daren Williams, the last ACA Bishop of the West (who had earlier made an astute call in inhibiting Andrew Bartus when he was an ACA deacon) also raised concerns about the individual who had been the longtime St Mary's parish treasurer as of 2010. Apparently the treasurer was elderly and in poor health, unwilling to learn to use a computer, and the bishop was concerned about some other irregularity and ordered that Fr Kelley replace him. The replacement lasted only a few months and does not appear to have been up to the job.

I was brought in after that and began to clean things up, paying bills that had gone unpaid for many months. However, the Bush insurgents forced me out after a couple of months, deciding that the parish didn't need a treasurer after all(!). This appears to have been related to the scheme not to remit quarterly withholding payments to the IRS -- the last straw for them was when, worried about where the IRS payments had gone, I proposed the parish hire a payroll firm that would make sure this was properly handled.

Once the Bush-ACA group took over, they put the nonagenarian former longtime treasurer back in that position. If ACA Bishop Daren Williams had had concerns about this gentleman in 2010, I've got to think there may be reason for continued concern now. The squatters lost nearly all parish income in October 2015, yet somehow they're still paying utilities, presumably paying Lancaster & Anastasia LLP, and presumably keeping Bishop Owen Williams in his apartment. A major task that will face the vestry will be finding out what the parish's financial situation is, and frankly, I'd be looking for irregularities.

The other matter visitors ask me about is what the parish's future is with the US-Canadian Ordinariate. A week or so ago, I speculated that we don't know the atmosphere in Houston regarding the parish's possible admission. Since then, I'm informed that Fr Kelley has received a warning that can only be characterized as dire -- the atmosphere in Houston is not currently favorable to anything connected with St Mary of the Angels.

One reason I began this blog -- which is certainly not popular in official circles, either with the ACA or the US-Canadian Ordinariate -- was to bear witness to the truth and bear witness to an injustice, both of which are part of Christians' responsibility. I believe Fr Kelley, the parish vestry, and the loyal parishioners have been systematically defamed, in part by individuals currently in good favor with Houston.

My own feeling is that Bp-Elect Lopes will probably need to conduct his own very thorough review of the stewardship by the existing OCSP in-group, and a serious part of that review should include the circumstances surrounding the St Mary of the Angels parish in 2011-12. If he doesn't do this, I don't believe he will be doing his duty as bishop -- but in recent decades, we've had no shortage of bishops who've fallen short of their duty. We'll have to see how things play out.

Please continue to pray for Fr Kelley, the vestry, and the parish.