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The Delicate Ecclesiastical Balancing Act of the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum

The Delicate Ecclesiastical Balancing Act of the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum

By David W. Virtue
March 18, 2104

You may have heard that the Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum of Truro Episcopal Church was recently appointed to the position of preacher at Canterbury Cathedral by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Baucum, formerly an Episcopal priest, is now the rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, an ACNA parish. He is jointly under Bishop John Guernsey (ACNA) and Bishop Julian Dobbs of CANA. He is remembered in the Diocese of Albany as a candidate for bishop in 2006 at the convention that ultimately elected Bishop, William Love.

Baucum was at one time licensed in the Diocese of Lexington. In 2005, Bishop Stacy Sauls, then Bishop of Lexington, revoked his license; Bishop Love and the Diocese of Albany took him in. The next thing anyone knew, Dr. Baucum transferred to the Diocese of London, England.

In a 2005 statement regarding these developments, Bishop Stacy Sauls, now Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, stated that the transfer to London was done without his consultation or consent. Bishop Sauls added that he would not re-license Baucum "unless he transfers back to an American jurisdiction that will cooperate with me in keeping Tory accountable to our church."

From there, Baucum wound up in the Diocese of Virginia following in the footsteps of the Rev. Martin Minns at Truro Episcopal Church, a high profile evangelical parish in the northern part of the liberal Virginia diocese now under Bishop Shannon Johnston.

Enter the church property wars of the 21st Century.

The Rev. John Yates over at Falls Church, Virginia, takes on the liberal bishop Johnston and the diocese and ultimately loses his $40 million property, but Baucum plays a different game. He decides to make nice with the liberal bishop and agrees not to go to court to fight for the building. They cut a deal and Baucum stays for two more years, but, I am told he can get that extended if he continues to play ball with the diocese and not upset the parish or diocesan applecart.

Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury who invites both Baucum and the bishop to Coventry Cathedral and preaches up both men as signs of "reconciliation and unity". Meanwhile, while all this chumminess and clubbiness is going on, Bishop Johnston is spending millions of dollars suing the Falls Church parish for their property because the Rev. John Yates refuses to compromise the gospel and believes that souls are at stake if he doesn't separate himself and his parish from the diocese and the Episcopal Church.

Baucum is clearly the darling of the new North American Anglican order, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and, in some bizarre fantasy, The Episcopal Church. For his faithfulness to both TEC and the ACNA, he gets a promotion and is appointed to the position of preacher at Canterbury Cathedral. Compromise has its rewards.

Enter ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan. Now it gets awkward. The ACNA is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Anglican Communion Office, only by GAFCON primates which includes The Anglican Church in Nigeria the second largest Anglican Province and the vast majority of Anglicans in the Anglican Communion, a thought that probably has crossed Welby's mind.

When Welby was in Nairobi at GAFCON II en passant to a meeting of ecumenists in Iceland, he preached and took communion from none other than Archbishop Duncan, which must have been a tad embarrassing bearing in mind that he doesn't recognize the ACNA, especially because Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz raced across the Atlantic soon after Welby was consecrated and told him not to recognize the ACNA -- a redux play of what Frank Griswold did when the AMIA came into existence when he raced across the Atlantic and pled with then Archbishop George Carey not to recognize them. Carey obliged. Welby repeated the obligation to Hiltz and hence by osmosis to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

Duncan, by invitation of Archbishop Welby shows up in Canterbury for Baucum's installation as "Preacher at Canterbury Cathedral". What is the message being conveyed here to TEC? One would like to know.

What does all this say? I suppose Duncan might be trying to say, "Look we are Anglicans and we want to be a part of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion so please recognize us, or he could be saying, Justin ol sausage can't we all just get along and please recognize us. Mrs. Jefferts Schori is as heretical as Arius and the gnostic Nicolaitanes put together. We will be your evangelical spear carriers if you just give us a chance. Think Jesuits and the Pope."

Apparently Welby didn't take the bait and the ACNA still stands outside Lambeth Palace knocking at the door, like Jesus knocking at the door of the Laodiceans looking for admittance. (See Rev. 3: 20.)

Everyone knows that if the ACNA applied for admittance through the recognized channel of the Anglican Communion Office aka the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), the "No." answer would come so fast, it would make your head spin.

Since The Episcopal Church feeds the coffers of the ACC (they recently raised their love offering to over $1 million), you know that the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, would sooner recognize cockroaches in Lambeth Palace than he would Duncan and the ACNA.

So the stand-off continues.

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