This evening’s interview was in an informal style by Bill Marsh, an attorney specializing in conflict mediation in wide variety of settings including commercial, ethnic, religious and political situations. The best way to characterize the exchange is that it was one of truth and charity. Neither Tory nor Bishop Shannon retreated from their views on the issues that led to the split between the departing congregations and Diocese of Virginia but both spoke with respect and affection for the each other.
We were surprised at the end of the discussion by the appearance of the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Baucum and Archbishop Justin Welby became friends through their involvement in Holy Trinity Brompton and the Alpha Course. The archbishop invited Baucum and Johnston to address the conference about their friendship, which defied the odds in an atmosphere thick with legal battles.
In late January Bishop Johnston spoke about the friendship in his pastoral address to the Diocese of Virginia’s annual council:
I have found a true brother in Christ in the Rev. Tory Baucum, who is now Rector of Truro Church, a congregation that left the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in 2006 under the leadership of its former Rector. An American, Tory was serving as a priest in the Diocese of London when he accepted the call to Truro Church at just about the same time that I came to the Diocese of Virginia in mid-2007 to be bishop coadjutor.
… What grounded our relationship was this: we did not paper over our differences, but neither did we exaggerate them or allow them to divide us any more than the ecclesial realties and politics dictated. And ‘Grace Happened.’ We found that we had become fast friends, bound together in relationship through our mutual discipleship of Christ and our conviction that our time together is what our Lord wanted of us.
Image of Fr. Tory Baucum, Archbishop Justin Welby, and Bishop Shannon Johnston from Rector’s Rough Draft