$1 billion White House: 2008 race to set records
The chairman of the Federal Election Commission on Dec. 19 predicted that 2008 will produce the first $1 billion presidential race and that the $500 million that each party’s candidate will need to compete will severely limit the field of contenders.
“The 2008 presidential election will be the longest and most expensive in United States history,” FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner told The Washington Times.
“The nominee of each major party is likely to opt out of the public-financing system for the first time ever for the general election,” Mr. Toner said.
Officials told The Times that in 2004, both Sen. John Kerry and President Bush considered not accepting public financing for the general election. But they decided to accept the $75 million and the consequent spending cap out of
A ninth parish, St. Paul’s in Haymarket, also voted to leave the diocese but did not report the results until the following day.
The departing congregations comprise about 10 percent of the diocese’s 90,000 members and about 17 percent of the 32,000 people in the pew on an average Sunday. Virginia Episcopalians have been in an ecclesiastical civil war since the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual, with the support of Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee.
“I wasn’t at all surprised,” said Kim Cooke, a former vestry member. “This church has always made a point of being faithful to the Scriptures and God. When faced with a choice between man and God, it was an easy choice.”
“I am thrilled at the results,” longtime member Judy Thomsen said. “I think we need to move on.”
Most of the departing churches will affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a Fairfax-based organization under the Anglican Diocese of Nigeria, headed up by Archbishop Peter J. Akinola. Martyn Minns, the rector at Truro Church in Fairfax, was appointed its bishop and will head its approximately 25 U.S. congregations.
Bishop Minns said the total of his congregations’ average Sunday attendance will outstrip the same figure in 50 Episcopal dioceses.
A 10th church, All Saints in Dale City, which announced its results Dec. 10, will affiliate with the Anglican Diocese of North Kigezi, Uganda.
Bishop Lee said he was “saddened” by the votes and used battle imagery to describe the departing churches — “Nigerian congregations occupying Episcopal churches.”
The vote in the eight parishes that reported results was overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the Episcopal Church, with the closest vote coming at St. Stephen’s Church in Heathsville, 75 percent of whose members voted to leave. A lot of cradle Episcopalians were loath to cut ties, reported its senior warden, Ward LeHardy.
“Some have been in this church all their lives,” he said. “For those in the old, established church, it’s hard to let go.”
Truro Church, which lost several dozen families after the Robinson consecration, delivered an overwhelming mandate to leave. Its members voted 1,010 to 85 to leave and 1,034 to 55 percent to fight for its property.
“A new day has begun,” Jim Oakes, senior warden of Truro Church’s vestry, or governing board, announced at a crowded morning service. Several of Truro’s members appeared stunned and sad, including Carolyn Crocker, who brushed away tears.
“Oh, I’m just like this,” she said after adding she had voted to leave. “There are 85 people hurting here,” referring to those who had voted “no” on the first ballot.
“Actually,” said J.T. Griffith, another member, “I’m delighted. But we’re being studiously restrained here as we don’t want to put on a triumphalist display.”
The lopsided results were no accident, said Tom Wilson, senior warden at the Falls Church.
“This was the fruit of those two rectors tending their vineyards,” he said of Mr. Yates and Bishop Minns. “By standing in their pulpits for many years, teaching the Bible to their congregants, when it came to this crisis, their congregants responded with an overwhelming vote.”
Bishop Martyn Minns, center, rector at Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., announced the parishioners’ decision to leave the Episcopal Church on Dec. 17.