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Friday, October 24, 2014

BETRAYED BY A KISS:THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN KILLS CHRIST THE KING PARISH IN RIVERBANK, CA

It is true and the saga is quite sad.  Christ the King Episcopal Church has been betrayed, perhaps by the National Church,  but surely by the Diocese of San Joaquin, the Bishop David Rice and the Rector, Father Glenn Kanestrom, as well as the vestry of Christ the King. 

In the interest of transparency, Christ the King has struggled with finances almost since its inception but the fact is we as a parish have always pulled together to make it through the rough spots.  We have always made it through, with God's help.

In December of 2007 John David Schofield split the diocese and took about 3/4s of it to the Southern Cone.  Lo and behold, there were about five parishes that fought tooth and nail and we stayed with the Episcopal Church.  Those of us in those five parishes waited for what seemed about ever -- actually it was about 3 months -- to await someone or something that would help us.  While parishes throughout the country came to our aid we received no word from the National Church.  Finally, the National Church decided we in the San Joaquin Diocese were worth saving.  They came to our rescue with promises of a brighter day! Kathrine Jeffers Schori visited us as well as many clergy from everywhere and the President of the House of Deputies.  All the  big wigs showed up! Euphoria was the general feel of the day as promises of a more supportive Episcopal Church! A more open church that welcomed everybody.  We were all joyous!  Though we were few we had fought a good fight and for that God rewarded us with an "angel".

From 2008 until last week I personally asked for a facilities plan and a mission plan both of which would be diocesan wide and hold funds in reserve for contingencies. I asked the Chancellor, I asked two Bishops, I asked the Rector of Christ the King.  Never saw one, no one ever did one. How are we going to determine what to do with our property when each church is returned to the diocese?  What are we going to be about without a diocesan wide plan to point us in the direction.  I was also told (on more than one occasion) We could not possibly share "that information" audits for fear that it would be turned against us. Huh?  I was told there was a sustainability plan.  I asked the vestry, I asked the Bishop (4 times) I asked Fr. Kanestrom about 4 times.  The Bishop finally relented and told me that Fr. Kanestrom will ask the Chair of the Standing Committee, whoever that is.  See, the Standing Committee and the Diocesan Council do not have the members names listed on the website (or as far as I know nowhere else), but they have a sustainability plan.  Really? Well to this date I have never seen one or had one put in my hands. Do we dare make the assumption that we don't have any of those because they would be turned against us in our lawsuits.  Did I mention that our lawsuits on the issue of returning our lost property to our diocese has taken over  years and we are still not done!  What fun this is.    When the Standing Committee submitted the Anglican Bishop from New Zealand's name for approval most of us had no idea that the search process was that far along. Now we have an Anglican bishop (at least he is real) and by his own admission has no idea what had happened in our diocese under the care of John David Schofield (bless his soul but here he is making decisions for all of the parishes.

Christ the King Parish, suffering from low pledges, over the last few years had entered into a verbal contract with the owner of a pre-K/daycare center for the use of our classroom.  They fixed it up to the tune of $40,000.00 +/-.  The day of reckoning comes and the full lease goes to our new Anglican Bishop and it appears he has refused to sign the lease. Why, well wait for this one -- it is a doosey!

Christ the King was to be closed and merged with one of the parishes that had left to go south and had been recovered through "negotiations".  Yes, that is right, the Episcopal presence was being removed from Riverbank in favor of a breakaway parish that had to be sued before they would come home.  Christ the King, one of only 4 or 5 parishes that stayed the course when everyone else was running around wondering what to do! And we did it by use of an Anglican Bishop and the help of a vestry that has absolutely no imagination, and a rector who seems to be weary of the struggle. And what are we to do about the Daycare Center.

Let me say, the vestry did no study, we do not know which of the facilities Saint Paul, Modesto or Christ The King, Riverbank has the greater cost/value (one has a mortgage payment but one has an incredible amount of repair work that needs to be done). The vestry could only offer two plans: 1, close our doors and move to St. Paul Modesto or not?  Those were our two choices!  Can you imagine that 8-12 people could not come up with one realistic second plan?  Really, given our choices I can say that God must have missed a bunch of folks when she was passing out imagination.  The two plans are presented by the vestry and the vestry told the parishioners that all the options had been compared against the "sustainability plan".  Yep, you guessed it, the plan no one has a copy.  No research and built on pure fabrication the issue went to a vote today. We had no formal meeting and no formal discussion prior to the vote.

Now, let's see what has changed since January 2008.  The diocese has had three bishops (now on our third) and Bishop Rice admits that he had no idea of the history of any of the parishes as regards the the 6 or so years pre-split and no information regarding the experiences after the split.  The diocese is quite frankly a million dollars in debt (2-3 conservatively) and while the national church has helped us a great deal it came with more strings attached that any one was ever initially told (at least out loud).  We have a complete gag order on virtually everything that comes from the diocese as the Chancellor (the guy doing the lawsuits for the National Church) says if someone says something then the bad guys will leverage the information against us. The diocese has had secret meetings with the National Church Standing Committee and a main topic of discussion has been sustainability (whatever that means).  If there was a discussion of what church was going to be shuttered, then under the promise of complete transparency the members of the diocese most affected by that should have input not just inside the diocese but at the National level.

Would it be too bold to suggest that nothing has changed but the names since December of 2007. The actions of the elite are the same as before 2008 however those who wanted to have power now have power.  Now, as a point of information I came from another denomination over 40 years ago so that I would no longer subject myself or family to this type of "crap". 

For those in Texas, and Pittsburgh and Quincy and wherever else, it is never to early to ask for financials, audits and plans early and apparently often.

We at Christ the King have been rewarded with "close the place". A place God brought us for the purpose of letting his light shine through us in Riverbank.  A place where, those who are feeling disabled emotionally, physically, spiritually, could gather and be healed.  My cheek feels slightly moist, wait, was that a kiss I just received?

Friday, August 22, 2014

If this is Friday then we must be in the Southern Code

Yes, you read the lead in to this edition correctly.  Much of the results (of the tactics currently being used) remind me of the shift south to the Southern Cone.  Life is tough, then you get out of bed.

There is a move afoot to merge Christ the King (Riverbank) with Saint Paul's Modesto.  Here are at least some questions that have not been answered sufficiently.
     1, Which of the two (CTK and SP) is worse off financially?
     2, How will the diocese help the merger financially?
     3, What are the long term goals and objectives of the Diocese?
     4, Where are the long term financial plans that this merger will further?
     5, Where are the long term plans for returning property to the diocese and how is the diocese
         going to merge, keep open, close, and or sell property to further to goals and objectives of the
         diocese?
         a) long term plan for the large amount of cash that will be returned to the diocese?
         b) long term plan for the ECCO conference Center that will be returned shortly?
     6, the long range plan for clergy training, staffing and working.
     7, long range plan for outreach to grow the San Joaquin diocese?

These are the issues I can think of prior to any merger or anything else in the diocese.  Can you, the readers think of any more?  Just enter it in the comments section..

Saturday will be our day of rest and Sunday is the target date for a whole lot of movin' and shakin'.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

Things are beginning to heat up here at Christ the King in the diocese of San Joaquin.  It is the summer and the temperatures have hovered around 95 - 102 degrees over the last few weeks.  Once in a while in cools off to 91 or so.  But for the parish of Christ the King I am reminder of a song verse/line, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

So, we begin with a little cartoon from the San Francisco Chronicle

Please see COMICS on Page U4 of Sunday, August 17, 2014 issue of San Francisco Chronicle

I suspect because of copyright issues you will have to go the the sfgate.com website and view the Sunday paper, the comic this refers to is titled Non Sequiter

Now, Bishop David Rice, our Bishop from New Zealand is coming to Christ the King to celebrate the Eucharist this Sunday, August 24, 2014. After the celebration, Bishop Lewis will address the parish and then we will "dialogue".  I suspect the Chancellor will accompany Bishop Rice (ugh, oh!).  Here is some of the information that has been gathered.  Deacon Steve Bentley, has been reassigned to another parish within the diocese as of September 1.  That leaves us with our longstanding but retired Deacon, George Cano;  Rector Glenn Kanestrom, and Associate Rector Stan Collins.  By the way, as most of you know, deacons serve strictly at the pleasure of the Bishop.  The vestry of Christ the King has already discussed the issue of returning to St. Paul's in Modesto and approved of the idea.  Bishop Rice has served for many years as an Anglican in New Zealand and as such is not used to the democratic process/convention system we Episcopalians guard so jealously.  The decision comes at a time when   Christ the King is having financial difficulty (as are almost all the other parishes in the diocese).  I believe that the diocese has decided to cut their losses and we are the first pilot project.
The rector/priest in charge at St. Paul's will be taking a disability retirement and by naming our rector as the new rector for the newly combined parishes the diocese saves on at least the benefits from reducing by one the total number of clergy.  Did I mention the diocese is in financial straits with a debt equity ratio that would collapse even Apple computers.  This is a way of demonstrating to the National Church their desire to stay in existence.

Tomorrow, I will set out the negative side of this question. Until then, this is Fred signing off and saying, "Good night and good news."

Monday, August 18, 2014

THE VACATION HAS COME TO AN ABRUPT END


Welcome to the re-opening of Real Anglicans.  It has been enough time and as you might suspect, I am Real Anglican "upset".  Here is a quote from my very first post in Sept. 2009:

A personal note in closing. We are madly, wildly and passionately in love with our Lord, Jesus Christ. We came to this conclusion through our beloved Episcopal Church. Truly we struggle from time to time but scripture, reason and tradition bring us through every time. Our God is madly, wildly passionately in love with us and sent Jesus to make sure we knew that. Trust us when we say we will no longer stand idly by and allow some group of thugs parading around as God's chosen stealing from us God's poem of love to us. Forewarned is forearmed

This blog was open from then until about two years ago when I discovered (among other things) I was writing to much about political things and too little about the diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal issues in general.

Since our diocese began anew in March of 2008 money (yep the root of all evil) has plagued us like the frogs in Egypt.  Since 2008 this diocese has had no real set of plans, for recovery of the property or for our renewed spiritual journey.  I have called  publicly for diocesan plans from this blog and our sister blog, Off-topic at least 14 different times from 2009 through 2014.  I have had a number of opportunities to speak with diocesan administrators and given outlines of how to begin a collaboration with representatives from all our parishes and one of two things have happened.  First, and is usual, I have been patted on my head, told that "sure, we will start that soon", and never again does that topic come up in Diocesan dialogue.  Second, I have been told that the "outline is too radical" for a loving, welcoming church.  (this loving welcoming church on a macro level has kicked the crap out of any and every parish that went "South".  Seems talk is cheap.

I have been told there is a sustainability committee but our parish has not seen any sustainability plans.  We have been told, it was offered in Deanery meetings.  Oh really, where are the CTK updates? 

Recently, in April of 2014 I asked for an official audit at both the Diocesan level and the Christ the King Parish level.  See, issues with cash accounting, separation of duties, gifts to restricted funds, large loans and large accounts recovered from the old diocese and who the heck knows where we are?  For example, the parish was told that the vestry had brought funds in from our restricted bell tower fund to augment an anemic operating budget.  When asked about who drafted the due to and due from entries and who had approved the actual transfer of funds the person who had been asked the question was hung up at "due...".  Did not understand a word and yet this is good financial leadership.  It was then that I called for an audit.  Once again, patted on the head and told to press on.
Our financial accounting is rife with  not bad accounting but inept accounting. 

Now, with no better idea of where we or the diocese are the diocese has decided to "discuss" with Christ the King the OPPORTUNITIES that would be presented if we only merged back with St. Paul Episcopal Church in Modesto.  St. Paul's Church, one of the leading parishes to not only break away from the Episcopal Church but then breakaway from the Anglican doctrine.  St. Paul Church whose parishioners were arrogant and nasty as they went out the door.  St. Paul's Episcopal Church who has a more spacious facility and the Bishop has setup a Cathedral there (instead of Fresno).  Can you, our Episcopal readers fathom a more spiteful gesture than having a stalwart leading parish in the fight to remain Episcopal, a parish that was out on a limb for three months while everyone in New York debated in what appeared to be a cold and calculating manner what to do for three months. 

Now, because the diocese has been so wrapped up in a singular quest to merely "recover property" Christ the King is faced with paying for mistakes that we never committed.  Where are the diocesan plans drafted by a collaborative body from the diocese and approved by the convention?  Where is all the money?  How much did we/have we/ will we spend on property recovery and how on God's green earth is this diocese going to repay all those loans? (Remember if the National Church refers to these as loans the National Church is carrying these loans as due to/due from and as a result there is no paper loss since there is a loan.  However, to forgive a loan, all at once or over a period of time will ultimately reduce the assets of the church by the amount loaned.  If you just sucked in a whole lot of air you would have read that last line correctly.

And finally, in an ironic conclusion to all this happy news - The Bishop has decided he needs a new car.  And, he has asked us (in addition to every other parish in the diocese to kick in some buks to buy him a new car.  I have but one word for that : BRASSY.

If you can help by spreading the news around, especially to see if other "jacked up" diocese are feeling the same way help us out.

Stay tuned.  Fred is once again open for business!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss (For the Archbishop of Canterbury)

"All that is necessary for the forces of evil to take over is that enough good men to do nothing"  Edmund Burke


The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has unilaterally, and with no factual information decided that countries in Africa kill Christians because of the Episcopal Church's position of allowing the same rights to  LGBT Anglicans as it does to all who worship in our fashion.  The archbishop has determined, upon opening a grave of 369 "Christians" that they died because of LGBT rights. 

In the archbishop's own words,  "Why can’t we just do it now? (the question pertains to including LGBT fully in the rights and privileges
‘Because the impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic and we have to love them as much as the people who are here.
‘I’ve stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who’d been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America. And they were attacked by other people because of that.
‘The mass grave had 369 bodies in it and I was standing with the relatives. That burns itself into your soul, as does the suffering of gay people in this country.’"


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Right Reverend David Rice - Provisional Bishop San Joaquin Diocese

Here is some additional information on our newest bishop - David Rice.  As you may recall, while Bishop David Rice is clearly a well qualified candidate there were some process issues I had some difficulty.  The Standing Committee did not create, with the various parishes in the diocese, a profile of the needs of the diocese, as should be the case.  The Standing Committee took only one recommendation from the Presiding Bishop. Under normal circumstances Several clergy would apply for the position and the Standing Committee would act as the search committee and review and process the candidates.  As a bonus, for both Bishop Talton and Bishop Lamb, each toured the diocese and visited with most , if not all, parishes before the election process took place. Bishop David was brought into the diocese as an Assisting Bishop even though he had not taken the vows of an Episcopal Bishop, and before a vote had been taken for Bishop Rice to assume the position of Bishop of  the diocese of San Joaquin.  And the appearance of even one Anglican (because he had not taken the vows ascribed to a Bishop in the Episcopal diocese creates interesting grist for the Stand Firm crowd's mill.

This type of process looks very much like the process for clergy in the San Joaquin Diocese when John David Schofield.  No transparency, no openness, no easy going anything.  Gives the impression that new names, same game. 

Here is the link to a newspaper article as the Bishop was in transition.

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2013/09/bishop-david-rice-returning-to-us.aspx

here is the link to Bishop David Rice.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=13&ved=0CDgQFjACOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ndp-agency.com%2Fresumes%2FRice_resume_2012.pdf&ei=IH84U_i4DanlyQHXs4CgAQ&usg=AFQjCNEG5T9dxwtZUp-ZSVq3yBVRWpHbsQ&sig2=o-Mq0acvmEeBp5lNwstZUg&bvm=bv.63808443,d.aWc

In reinforcing one point I do not know Bishop David Rice and his resume is indeed impressive and with lay persons who have talked with him he is friendly, outgoing, and very spiritual. 

What is not the case is one of process.  Process is currently in vogue since JDS stacked the proverbial deck with his "yes men".  We asked for transparency, open dialogue, and to see the checks and balances work for the diocese.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saint Barrack Obama

Wow! We need to get in front of this one.  We may have beat even Fox news  on this one.
President Barrack Obama, in a private audience with Pope Francis was canonized by the new pope.  The Pope said the quickest way to sainthood is right thru the Islamist Socialist ideologies.  And by crackers, President Obama meets all those critera.  At one point the pope was asked why he did not take into consideration the fact that President Obama was not left out because of his birth certificate coming from Kenya.  The Pope said that he was in meditation just yesterday and had a meeting with Jomo Kenyatta and President Kenyatta said, "I once knew some Obamas but they were from Zaire."

President/Saint Obama said that he has received renewed energy to bring back to the United States, part 2 of his great socialist plan.  Saint Obama said that when he and the pope were in private they meditated and St. Obama had a vision of Mary who told him to make sure that everyone in the United States has broccoli at least one time a weak.  She also said that not to worry about gun control because if criminals are the only one with guns then we can just stab anyone who gets out of line. 

Saint Obama said that after such a long meditation that it was time to come down off the mountain (not the ones in Kenya) and try to find his way back home.  He also said that Mary had told him to place a bet on the Stanford Cardinal for her.  She said that she will be back in touch with him about the time he goes to the Grotto of St. Bernadette.

St. Obama is due back in the US on Saturday and everyone at that time will see that the entire hair on his head has turned sparkly silver.

We will report more on this as the Saint returns from England.

(Hope everyone knows I have my tongue planted firmly in my cheek! :-)