Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wellspring Anglican Church was birthed during the pangs of dissension between the theologically liberal Episcopal Church and its dioceses and parishes whose members held more conservative views. The first and only local congregation to voluntarily leave its former property at the beginning of the conflict, the Wellspring group walked away from a multimillion-dollar campus at St. Paul’s on Oakdale Road in 2009 and has spent the past five years meeting in rented space in downtown Modesto.

Parking has been tight, trains rumbling next to the sanctuary have disrupted worship services, and having people in the area who were vagrants or addicted to drugs posed challenges, but the congregation persevered.

Members finally will have their own home again. The congregation bought a building near the Modesto Junior College West Campus in 2013 and is remodeling the former food-testing laboratory space to make it suitable for a church. Work is expected to be complete in early 2015.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Theology

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Posted August 4, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Michael Carreker was rector of Saint John's, Savannah Georgia at the time this was written--KSH).

The workings of God’s good providence are never failing and always glorious, but none more so than the events of these last two weeks. This past weekend we hosted a conference of the Georgia Chapter of the American Anglican Council, followed by the southeastern convocation of the Anglican Communion Network, and this coming weekend is the dedication of our newly refurbished building for Christian education, Cranmer Hall.

In the first instance, it was a joy to sponsor these conferences along with Christ Church. An enormous amount of good will was shared between our parishes: extensive preparation and flawless execution. Mostly responsible for this were Patti Victor of St. John’s and Carol Rodgers Smith of Christ Church. While significant differences distinguish our churches - in a very inadequate way we might refer to us as Anglo-Catholic and to them as Evangelical - we stand together now in solidarity with those who claim the essentials of what it means to be within the Anglican Communion and the Church Catholic.

All of this might not have been possible for our churches, if by God’s good providence, Dr. [Marcus] Robertson [of Christ Church, Savannah at the time] and I had not shared in a theological seminar for a year before the chaos of General Convention 2003. That seminar, as does all proper theological thinking, helped to establish trust, charity, and mutual joy.

The meeting of the Georgia Chapter of the American Anglican Council was very encouraging. There were a number of parishes represented from the Diocese of Georgia, and a few from the Diocese of Atlanta, as well as some from outside Georgia. We also heard from a young, courageous priest (an old friend from North Fulton High School in Atlanta), Dr. Foley Beach. His story of the gradual decline in the Diocese of Atlanta away from the Catholic faith was sobering indeed. But the story of how his faithful parish has come under the pastoral oversight of an orthodox bishop, the Rt. Rev. Frank Lyon of the Diocese of Bolivia, was inspiring and hopeful.

On Monday, at the meeting of the Anglican Communion Network, Dr. Beach’s story was put in a much broader context when the Rt. Rev. Alex Dickson, retired bishop of West Tennessee, recalled for us the history of the past forty years and the gradual doctrinal decline of the Episcopal Church, something we have all come to recognize has come full force with ECUSA’s action in New Hampshire.

But what was most gratifying to me was the evidence of providence again, when we had the Rev’d Canon Michael Green, Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, preach for us

at Evensong. Lynne and I attended St. Aldate’s Church at Oxford in the late seventies when Canon Green was the rector there. It was the time of Professor Maurice Wiles and the infamous publication of his The Myth of God Incarnate, to which, in a miraculous six weeks, a volume was published refuting Wiles’ book, entitled The Truth of God Incarnate, edited by Michael Green. He was a defender of the faith then and he is now. His sermon and the most exquisite Evensong of the Choir was another glistening of our Lord’s providence.

The rest of the Anglican Communion Network meeting saw a resolve for us to embrace the recommendations of the Windsor Report. The ACN has as its primary goal to be an orthodox Christian fellowship which holds to the supremacy of Holy Scripture, the historic formularies of the Anglican Church, and is in communion with the worldwide Anglican Church.

As for this coming Sunday, we dedicate our newly refurbished Christian education building, Cranmer Hall. I believe this must be seen within the larger context of what St. John’s has been, is, and shall be.

Our church has been devoted first of all to the worship of Almighty God. It is wonderful when you hear, as I did the other night, people speaking of Bible studies and study groups in which they have discerned through the Bible and elsewhere that the first need that they have is the worship of God. That is why St. John’s has not given herself over entirely to practical concerns, but keeps the focus of worship primary.

Cranmer Hall represents now the commitment to educate ourselves and our children more completely in the orthodox Christen faith. Its Rose window is s symbol of what such teaching means.

At its center is the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, enveloped by the Triune God. From this center, the window moves outward through the symbols of the twelve Apostles to twelve saints and worthies who made a profound influence on the development of Anglican spirituality. It is our intention to live into that heritage more fully and to share and teach it as well.

But more is required. We as a parish must prepare ourselves for greater mission work than in the recent past. We sometimes forget that St. John’s was a mission of Christ Church, and that St. Paul’s (originally St. Matthew’s and later renamed) was a mission undertaken by St. John’s. It is time now for other mission churches to be founded and for greater cooperation with Anglican Churches throughout the wider Communion. The ministry of Elliott House is set and on its way with our fourth theological seminar coming up in January. But now it is important for us to reach out in other ways to establish Christian mission in the Anglican Way. That will not happen unless we live into the theme of the Rose Window, and cultivate our heritage as orthodox Anglican Christians with missionary fervor.

Finally, the work of the Building Committee has now come to a very happy end. We should all be grateful for the many gifts and hours of labor, a labor of love, that the members of the committee have offered to the Lord and to their Church. Our Senior Warden and I have asked George Fawcett to oversee the final interior details of the building, and Martha has graciously consented for him to do so. As George represents a long family history at St. John’s, this too is a remarkable testimony to the good providence of God. And so with our profound thanksgiving, Soli Deo Gloria.

(My emphasis--KSH)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing ParishesTEC ParishesInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process* Theology

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Posted June 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The denomination’s path has not been without conflict: in 2010, the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA), a founding organization of ACNA and part of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, announced it was transitioning to “missionary partner” – a lower level of affiliation with ACNA. Eighteen months later, the AMIA experienced a crisis when its officials unilaterally severed their connection with the Rwandan church, forfeiting ACNA missionary partner status. The dispute was partly resolved when two-thirds of AMIA congregations opted to affiliate with ACNA by directly joining its dioceses or through a new Rwandan-sponsored missionary jurisdiction. The remaining third of AMIA congregations recast themselves as a mission society with connections to the Anglican Church of Congo.

Many ACNA congregations that departed the Episcopal Church have also endured litigation over disputed church properties with their former denomination. While Duncan has acknowledged the pain of the past split for many congregations and the difficulty of contentious litigation, he has encouraged congregations to prioritize evangelism and not to dwell on past disputes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Theology

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Posted June 20, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A property rights battle over the historic St. John's Parish has ended years after a schism erupted within the Episcopal Church when part of the congregation opposed the church's acceptance of gay pastors.

Superior Court Judge Roger Ross on April 4 awarded the parish in downtown Stockton to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The group that had broken away from the diocese - most of them with a history of multiple past generations in the Episcopal Church - and became aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church of North America was ordered out of the building in the ruling.

Read it all.

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The congregation of about 100, led by the Rev. Paul Cooper, took up residence in the former Crossroads Community Church at the intersection of Rochester and Haine School roads in January, ending its three-and-a-half year journey to find a permanent home.

Formerly St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Marshall, the congregation was one of 41 to leave the Episcopal diocese in 2008 over theological differences. The congregation joined the more conservative, biblically oriented Anglican Diocese of North America, but legal differences with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh over property left the parish without a house of worship in spring 2010.

“We just laid down our labors and said, ‘OK we're leaving,'” said Cooper, 41.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

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Posted February 10, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A scorched earth policy. That’s how Anglicans who have left The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its endorsement of unbiblical beliefs and actions often describe TEC’s response. From depressed Binghamton, N.Y., to affluent Newport Beach, Calif., TEC leaders have fought dozens of court battles to force congregations leaving the denomination to forfeit the buildings they, their parents, and their grandparents paid for.

[This policy]... is evident...at St. James Anglican Church, which for more than half a century owned property in Newport Beach: The 300-member congregation now meets in a fluorescent-lit room with exposed pipes and concrete walls. It’s a humble setting for an affluent congregation accustomed to soft lighting and stained glass, but a fitting one this month for celebrating the birth of a Savior in a barnyard stable—and that’s one of the providential results of the scorched earth policy.

St. James lost its building even though the church had a written agreement with its diocese that seemed to ensure the congregation’s ownership of the building—but when it was time to part, the diocese and TEC sued the congregation, and a judge cited an Episcopal Church canon declaring that all church property belongs to the diocese and the denomination.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central FloridaTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

--Milwaukee, WI, October 21, 2013

Over the last decade there has been a steady exodus of the faithful out of The Episcopal Church, USA. One congregation, Holy Cross Anglican Church, was one of those. And, after two years of meeting in a classroom for Sunday Worship, Holy Cross is now meeting at 550 N 95th St. Milwaukee 53226.
Holy Cross is growing and helping other grow as followers of Christ as well.

From one of the newer families that have joined us since Spring, 2013 says this about Holy Cross,


Holy Cross is a great place for families to worship together. When our family visited Holy Cross for the first time, we were delighted with how welcoming the congregation is. They didn’t mind that we had our baby with us, or even that she wasn’t perfectly quiet the whole time. In fact, having small children participating in worship is regarded as a blessing by the congregation. At Holy Cross, you will find generations of families worshiping together, being fed by the faithful preaching of the gospel and by the sacraments. For this reason, and for many others, I really believe that the spiritual life of our family is greatly nourished by our involvement at Holy Cross and that it is a great place for our little one to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord. – Caleb Evans
Holy Cross Anglican Church
Exists to
Make disciples of Jesus Christ,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,
And teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded us. Matthew 28:19-20

If you would like more information about this church, please contact Fr. Patrick Malone at (262) 207-4113 or email at HolyCrossAnglicanWI [at] gmail[dot] com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: MilwaukeeTEC Departing Parishes

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Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Parishioners from St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach wiped tears from their eyes as they left the church after its final service, leaving a house of worship filled with memories.

Jim Dale, 63, said he had been attending church at St. James since he was a boy.

"Being in there today, all the memories came flooding back," he said after services Sunday. "There are so many memories: my Communion, meeting my wife, marrying my wife.

"It all happened here," he added.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Theology

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Posted September 17, 2013 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About 80 people Sunday attended the last Mass that will be celebrated at St. James Anglican Church. It was a bittersweet service that brought some parishioners to tears.

The Anglican parish, which has been feuding with its parent affiliation for nearly a decade, was ordered by an Orange County Superior Court judge in May to surrender the property to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

“We're obviously disappointed,” the Rev. Richard Crocker said....

Read it all.

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Posted September 17, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Dude, I preached from an iPad the week the first iPad came out," [Quigg] Lawrence said. "I wasn't trying to be showy with it, but a lot of times my printer is down or I don't have ink. So it's just easier to put it on the iPad."

Church of the Holy Spirit, the Anglican ministry in southwest Roanoke County where Lawrence preaches, is one of the only churches in the area with its own smartphone app designed to serve its members.

The app has been downloaded 880 times in the year it has been available — not bad considering the congregation consists of less than 1,500 members.

Read it all and the church website is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Anglican ProvincesChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology

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Posted August 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In its passion to pursue a progressive theological paradigm embracing cultural sensitivity (inclusiveness) and intellectual freedom, TEC cast aside fundamental Christian doctrines, professing, among other things:

* Jesus was not born of a virgin, was not God incarnate, and his resurrection is questionable at best;

* Man needs enlightenment, not salvation; we are to reconcile ourselves with one another, not with God;

* Scripture is not authoritative nor the revealed word of God, but rather metaphorical.

Simply put, Anglicans left TEC because of their faithfulness to the fundamental and historical Christian foundation that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority of its faith.

The tragic fallout of this split is multifaceted. A lady I have known and worshipped with for 30 years approached me, saying homosexuals were not welcome at St. Paul's. I was taken aback by her misconception. I reminded her that on every Sunday, the priest who is celebrating Holy Communion invites "all baptized Christians as being welcome here at the Lord's table." Not blessing same sex unions is an unrelated issue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 9, 2013 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Father Chris Rodriguez brought his family here from New Jersey last September becoming Trinity Episcopal Church’s new rector, he discovered a congregation that was hurting and needed help.

A little over two years ago, a doctrinal split within the congregation prompted approximately three-fourths of its members to leave. Most followed the former Reverend Loren Coyle, the church’s rector at the time, creating the breakaway, Christ Church at K-Mart Plaza. Soon after, Coyle left the ministry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central FloridaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

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Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Westerville congregation that lost about two-thirds of its members in 2007 after a rift within the Episcopal Church is selling its building and worshipping in a temporary space as it tries to redefine itself as “a church without walls,” its presiding priest said this week.

A “For Sale” is posted in front of the 23,995-square-foot St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church at 233 S. State St., where congregants held their final service on July 7. Their first service in borrowed space at a respite-care center drew about 100 people the following week, said the Rev. Joseph Kovitch, who oversees the congregation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes

2 Comments
Posted August 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska has settled a dispute with a local parish over whether the congregation could remain in its church building.

In an out-of-court settlement, St. Barnabas parish made a cash payment to the diocese. The settlement enables the congregation to permanently remain on the church property at 129 N. 40th St. Both sides are keeping the amount of the payment confidential.

In 2007, members of St. Barnabas voted to leave the Episcopal Church. The parish disagreed with the Episcopal Church over issues of church doctrine.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

9 Comments
Posted July 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Once home to St. Edmond's Episcopal Church, an empty building at 14625 Watertown Plank Road in Elm Grove serves as a reminder of an emotional church split that ended in a lawsuit over property disagreements.

The 125-member congregation was the first in the state to announce its split with the Episcopal Church in the United States in 2008 and joined the Convocation of Anglicans of North America, part of the more conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.

The split was prompted by theological differences, including the Diocese of New Hampshire's consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: MilwaukeeTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

7 Comments
Posted June 12, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now comes a task I would rather not face, given that I count many non-canon lawyers who are bloggers on Episcopal matters at least as colleagues, if not as personal friends. But in the wake of my commentary on the recent St. James ruling, a host of lay would-be canonists have rushed in to assure everyone that the ruling is not as bad as it is, or that it does not really say what it says. The latest comes from the estimable Father Haller, but he and others have also been contributing to the comments on other blogs. (Note that no one has seen fit to come here and question me directly.)

Let's clear up one simple matter first: the ruling is not yet precedent for California courts, because it is only the decision of a single trial judge in Orange County, California. As I pointed out in my original post, it will become problematic only if it is affirmed upon appeal. (But as I also pointed out in my post, all of the appeals taken thus far by St. James in this case were decided against them initially by the Court of Appeals.)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

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Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sign outside St. Francis Anglican Church reads “think FORGIVE act.” Action and forgiveness were the themes of the day, as the parishioners gathered Sunday for one last time at their church on Main Street before walking several blocks away to begin a new church in rented facilities.

The congregation opened its closing service with "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," which includes the words, "Thou art giving and forgiving ... teach us how to love each other."

It was especially poignant because the St. Francis facility has been in a tug-of-war since 2007, when 40 of the 47 parishes in the San Joaquin Diocese voted to leave the national Episcopal church over theological differences. The departing parishes, including St. Francis, and the diocese were sued by the Episcopal church in 2008 and 2009 in a bid to regain those properties.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Paul's Anglican Parish in Bakersfield is looking for a new home following a courtroom decision that hands control of its church property back to the Episcopal Church.

The Anglicans are on the move following a little-noticed ruling in February that parishioners in two of several breakaway Kern churches lacked the authority to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church.

Even though Anglicans at St. Paul's and St. Michael's Anglican Church in Ridgecrest both held their own titles to church property, Kern County Superior Court Judge Sidney P. Chapin ruled that they had to vacate.

Read it all.

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Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The court order, which comes at what could be the end of a series of court battles over three church properties on 32nd Street, was reaffirmed Monday by Judge Kim G. Dunning.

"I give thanks for the culmination of this marathon litigation, and I pray this action will settle the fact that people can disagree but cannot take property that has been entrusted to the Episcopal Church for ministry," Right Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the six-county diocese, said in a statement. "I give thanks to God that, after these cases spanning more than eight years, we now can proceed with the continuing ministry of the Episcopal Church in Newport Beach."

St. James leaders said they were "obviously disappointed by this ruling."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted May 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christ Our King Anglican Church will dedicate a 16,000-square-foot multipurpose building at 10 a.m. today at its campus in New Braunfels.

In addition, the event will include the ordination of Issac Rehberg and Rodney Wood as transitional deacons by Bishop Bill Atwood of the International Diocese [of the] Anglican Church in North America....

Read it all and the parish website is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

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Posted October 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has reached a settlement with Shepherd's Heart Fellowship in Uptown, giving that ministry to the homeless clear title to all of its property and assets despite its affiliation with the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A joint statement from the Episcopal Diocese and Shepherd's Heart stressed that its ministry to the poor was unique and "this agreement should not be interpreted as a model for resolving other property disputes."

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh split in 2008, with the majority of its parishes leaving the Episcopal Church for the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America. The Episcopal Diocese won a court battle awarding it all centrally held diocesan assets, but parish property is to be settled on a case-by-case basis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted October 13, 2012 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In November 2007, St. Andrew’s vestry relinquished the keys to its church and community center on Mirador Drive after withdrawing from the Episcopal denomination.

The decision — which [Tony] Seel called galvanizing in terms of what congregants believed — drew national attention in a denominational dispute over the consecration of a homosexual bishop in New Hampshire.

Seel said the opening worship service will mark a new chapter in the congregational life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central New YorkTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

1 Comments
Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of the Connecticut Episcopal Diocese said Tuesday he would meet with area clergy next week to discuss the future of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton.

The building has functioned as a church since it as built more than 30 years ago, and was the subject of a lengthy court battle.

The congregation of 750 members, called Bishop Seabury Anglican Church, split with the Episcopal Church in 2007, then wound up in court over whether it could continue to use the building.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* Theology

7 Comments
Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Ron] Gauss' parish parted ways with the Episcopal Church of the United States in 2007 after the church ordained an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire and then chose a woman as presiding bishop. The state Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that Bishop Seabury Church was to return everything — the 6.5-acre church site, the sanctuary and its contents — to the Episcopal diocese. The church appealed the decision to theU.S. Supreme Court, which in June declined to hear the case.

Gauss described the mixed feelings among the parishioners – confusion, anger and sadness – but he was planning to express a different and greater understanding on Sunday.

"I don't have any animosity," Gauss said. "I don't have time to be angry. I have too many people to take care of."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted August 8, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a statement to his congregation on Sunday, July 29, Fr. McQueen stated that he can no longer remain in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia due to serious theological differences with the diocese and national Episcopal Church. He invited all who were “willing to make a stand for the historic Christian faith” to join him in stepping out in faith to form a new church, St. Mark’s Anglican Church.

“It had reached a point for me personally where I believed that my adherence to the traditional, historic, catholic faith in a number of matters had been so compromised that I could not stay in the Episcopal Church. Though it is painful to leave the denomination in which I was baptized, confirmed, married, and ordained, I have no reservations about leaving. I firmly believe that God has been preparing me for this very day for a long time,” said Fr. McQueen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Theology

3 Comments
Posted August 6, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

6 Comments
Posted June 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Towson area church will make a faithful transition this weekend as its rector is ordained — and its congregation confirmed — into the Catholic Church.

Anglican priest Father Edward Meeks — of the Christ the King Anglican Parish in Towson — will be ordained a Catholic priest by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, on June 23, during a ceremony in Washington D.C.

The next day, Sunday, June 24, some 120 of Meek's parishioners are expected to be received into the Catholic Church during a Mass of Confirmation and Reception at Christ the King, located at 1102 Hart Road.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

7 Comments
Posted June 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Virginia must be the only State (of which I am aware) in which there is no automatic right to appeal a judgment in a civil case. Its Courts of Appeal deal exclusively with criminal cases, and that structure leaves only its Supreme Court to deal with civil appeals. The latter court, however, does not have to accept any civil appeal. Instead, the procedure is to file a petition with the Court, which briefly addresses each point of error in the trial court’s decision which the petitioner would like the Supreme Court to agree to hear and resolve. In explaining the points of error, the petitioner must set forth reasons why they are worthy of attention by the State’s highest court.

[On Friday]...came word that one of Virginia’s largest and oldest churches, The Falls Church, which lost its case to be declared the owner, free and clear, of its long-held real and personal property (worth tens of millions of dollars), had filed a petition for review of that decision with the Virginia Supreme Court. Their petition raises six assignments of error.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted June 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted June 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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Posted June 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Sunday, May 13, Yates preached through Romans 8 during The Falls Church congregation's last service, urging his congregation to be patient during the coming period of inconvenience. "Some of you will find this inconvenience annoying, upsetting, and you just don't want to mess with it," Yates told the congregation. "We have to ask the question, 'Will we be committed to Christ and committed to our church?'" He read Thomas Paine's famous passage on "sunshine patriots" written during the Revolutionary War. "I don't want to be a sunshine Christian," Yates said. "Will you commit yourself now to no complaining? No grumbling? ... If we're going to navigate truly big challenges that we may face one day, let's face this one without complaint."

At the service, five babies and one father were baptized. The congregation sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," belting the line, "Let goods and kindred go ..." One of the clergy prayed for the Episcopal congregation, that it care for "this consecrated place" and preach the gospel. Grown men cried during the last song, "In Christ Alone," as everyone lifted their arms in the air.

Jim Long, who has attended The Falls Church since 1988, stacked chairs at the end of the service and shrugged when I asked whether he was sad about leaving. One difference he saw was that in these new rotating meeting places, he would have more chairs to set up for the service, and then take down at the end of the service. "Life will go on, we'll just be in a different building," he assessed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted June 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the last few weeks you have received word of a cascade of settlements the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church have made with six of the seven CANA congregations that remained in the property litigation. In each case, the CANA congregation agreed to return the church property, including personal property and Episcopal funds due the Diocese of Virginia, and to withdraw their appeals. We have sought to be as generous as we can be with these congregations, particularly with regard to items necessary in the very short-term for them to continue in their ministries.

With disappointment, I report to you that we have been unable to reach a final settlement with the CANA congregation now known as the Falls Church Anglican. Their leadership has made it clear that they plan to pursue their appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia unless the Diocese (with the Episcopal Church’s approval) pays them a significant sum of money; we both are unwilling to do so. As a result, we expect the Falls Church Anglican to file their petition for appeal at the end of this month, asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to hear their case. We must file a responsive brief three weeks later, and the Court will issue its decision on whether to take the case at some point this fall. We remain strongly confident in our legal position.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

28 Comments
Posted May 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans say the Episcopal Church has drifted from the historic Christian faith.

"It's an outcome of our desire to be faithful to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ," John Yates, rector of The Falls Church Anglican, told CBN News.

On Tuesday, Yates held a final staff meeting full of memories and hope for the future.

"The church is people, not buildings," he said. "We knew that -- but didn't know it as well as we thought we knew it."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

13 Comments
Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The departure of the Anglican congregation by close of business May 15 from The Falls Church leaves Bill Deiss with mixed feelings.

In 1985 Deiss, parish administrator for the last 16 years, wed his second wife in the church. His son also married there. He watched the baptism of his grandchildren inside the church.

Now the Anglican congregation has been asked to leave the premises.

"It was always a possibility but we didn't think it would actually happen," Deiss said Friday. "It's sad but exciting as well."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes

8 Comments
Posted May 14, 2012 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2006, The Falls Church and six sister congregations in Northern Virginia voted (overwhelmingly) to pull out of the Episcopal Church because, in our view, it had drifted so far from orthodox Christianity that we could not remain in good conscience.

Reasons for the division have been mainly theological, particularly focused on how we interpret the Bible, and what doctrines of the Christian faith are essential for leaders to maintain. The doctrinal divides have been widening for several decades, and in 2003 when a practicing homosexual was consecrated as Episcopal bishop, many realized that the divisions in the church were unresolvable.

We will stay in the Anglican Communion under the Archbishop of Canterbury, but through a different branch.

Read it all.

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Posted May 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (May 10, 2012) - As the result of recent court action, The Falls Church Anglican, a congregation of 4,000 worshippers in Falls Church, Va., will soon move out of its historic home as it continues its ministry. Some in the congregation have worshipped on the church campus for more than 60 years, with the original property dating back almost 300 years. While the cost of leaving the property is great, members of The Falls Church Anglican are celebrating as they stand on their orthodox faith and continue to spread the transforming love of Jesus Christ beyond the church walls.

The Falls Church Anglican is being forced to leave its long-time home on May 15 as the result of a judicial ruling rejecting its request for a suspension (authorization to remain on its property during an appeal) of the January 2012 decision and March 2012 Final Order.

“While we are saddened by leaving this Christ-centered place of worship, we rejoice at the outpouring of encouragement and offers of assistance, including furnishings and building space from Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics and other friends. Through these many blessings, we are equipped with the knowledge that God has great plans in store for our congregation. Ultimately, our passion for spreading the Gospel and reaching the lost will not wane,” said the Rev. Dr. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church Anglican.

According to the Rev.Yates, the challenge has not hindered the congregation in its ministries and missions. “In spite of the litigation since 2006, we have established thriving, independent ‘daughter’ churches in Alexandria, Arlington, Vienna and beyond. We hope to plant our seventh daughter church this year in the District of Colombia. Meanwhile, we have more than 2,000 people in worship and fellowship each Sunday. Also, more than 450 teenagers participate in one of the largest youth programs on the East Coast.”

Junior Warden Carol Jackson added, “For several years we have been experiencing the power of healing prayer in our own congregation and recently began a partnership to extend that ministry in the Baileys Crossroads area, with Columbia Baptist Church and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Together, we minister to the poor and the immigrants among us in the Culmore Clinic. People from all walks of life, all faiths, and all economic situations, now have a safe place to ask for and receive prayer and excellent medical treatment.”

Between 2005 and 2007, The Falls Church Anglican and 14 sister Virginia congregations voted by overwhelming majorities to separate from The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The move was taken because the congregations determined that The Episcopal Church had drifted so far from orthodox Christianity that they could not in good conscience remain under its spiritual authority.

“The cost to the congregation has been and will be huge. Locating available worship space for a church of our size and office space for over 100 staff and volunteer ministry leaders remains extremely challenging. In spite of this adversity, we remain steadfast in our decision to take a bold stand for the authority of Scripture,” said Senior Warden Sam Thomsen.

The Falls Church Anglican has remained at the forefront in the formation of orthodox Anglican institutions in North America. Members of the parish have been leaders in the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the fast growing (nearly 1,000 congregations and 100,000 worshippers) national organization, and the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (38 congregations and nearly 6,000 worshippers each Sunday), in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.

“We leave without resentment or acrimony; we pray only the best for those who will follow us in our historic church, that the transforming Good News of Christ will always be proclaimed in this place,” the Rev. Yates concluded.

On Sunday, May 13, The Falls Church Anglican will hold services at its current location, 115 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church, Va. Services of praise and thanksgiving will also be held later that evening. All are welcome to attend and are invited to future worship services as well. Please check the church website (http://www.TFCAnglican.org) for service times and locations.

[The Falls Church Anglican is a member congregation of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a regional and growing diocese of the Anglican Church in North America dedicated to reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. The Diocese consists of 38 member congregations.]

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes

1 Comments
Posted May 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Scranton Roman Catholic priest who was previously an ordained Episcopalian has been named the first priest in a new national Catholic jurisdiction that incorporates elements of the Anglican faith.

The Rev. Eric Bergman was incardinated on Tuesday into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a jurisdiction of U.S. Catholics established by the Pope at the start of the year that welcomes Anglicans and some of their traditions into the Catholic Church.

The U.S. ordinariate is just the second such group established by the pope. The first, for England and Wales, was created in 2011.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

4 Comments
Posted May 10, 2012 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
"There's lots of work for all of us,"... [Martyn Minns] said. "This is not just one province sticking its nose in. It's the Global South collectively saying 'We've got to do something' because of the crisis in the U.S. church."

But a spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, James Naughton, said the proliferation of "offshore" churches "makes it clear how difficult it is going to be for the conservatives to unite, because each of these primates wants a piece of the action, and none is willing to subjugate himself to another."

Rwanda's Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini and the archbishop of Southeast Asia, Moses Tay, were the first to establish a missionary branch in the United States. In 2000, they jointly consecrated two former Episcopal priests as bishops and formed the Anglican Mission in the Americas, or AMIA. It has grown at the rate of one church every three weeks and now numbers about 120 congregations, with five bishops.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesAnglican Continuum* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted May 10, 2012 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all--note there are many links to be explored.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

8 Comments
Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Via email--KSH):
Christ Church Anglican (CCA) in Savannah, GA has agreed to settle a 4 ½ year legal battle with The Episcopal Church (TEC), and The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. At the heart of the dispute was a lawsuit against CCA, the Senior Pastor and fourteen members of the 2007 Vestry (Board) including money damage claims by the Diocese against these individuals in excess of $1million. “While we never agreed that our people had any personal liability, we are pleased to see these claims dropped as this threat of personal financial loss has hung over our people for more than four years. These parishioners served as volunteer directors on a non-profit 501-C3 board and made decisions to try to stand for their beliefs and fulfill their duty to protect the non-profit corporation they served,” said John Albert, CCA Senior Warden.

In 2007, Christ Church Anglican, established in 1733 and predating the formation of TEC by 56 years and the TEC Diocese of Georgia by 90 years, conducted a congregational vote by which 87% of the congregation supported the Vestry’s decision to disaffiliate from TEC over core theological differences. Subsequently, TEC sued Christ Church Anglican, its pastor, and the 14 individual members of the 2007 board. After the Georgia Supreme Court ruling on November 21, 2011, CCA turned over possession of its three buildings (including the church building on Johnson Square) and the parking lot, all worth in excess of $6 million.

As set forth in the settlement agreement, the Church will adopt the title “Christ Church Anglican.” “We see the addition of ‘Anglican’ to our name as a way of identifying our roots going back to our beginnings in Savannah as a Mission of the Church of England in 1733. God has given us the privilege of living out a truth we have always believed, that the Church is not the building but the people of God. God has blessed us in this struggle, as we have maintained the vast majority of our congregation while adding new members who are excited to be part of a church that seeks to live out its beliefs. Orthodox Anglicanism is alive and well in Savannah and we look forward to a bright future,” commented The Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, Christ Church Anglican’s senior pastor.

Also included in the agreement, is a requirement that all litigation be dropped including CCA’s appeal to the US Supreme Court which asked the Court to decide whether the “neutral principles”doctrine embodied in the First Amendment permits imposition of a trust on church property when the creation of that trust contradicts the state’s property and trust laws. “It was a hard decision to give up our appeal as we are aware of the pain many other Anglican Churches which are being sued by TEC are experiencing, but we are encouraged by the fact that two other strong cases, (Timberridge Presbyterian Church, McDonough, GA and Bishop Seabury, an Anglican parish in Groton, Conn.) are going forward and feel we have supported their effort with our appeal. However, at this time we feel our primary call is to build a stronger Anglican presence in Savannah,” stated Albert.

Judge Michael Karp’s 2008 decision declared that all church property “was held in trust for the Diocese and the national church”, so other aspects of the settlement provide that CCA will relinquish any claim to the Endowment Funds worth some $2.3 million and return $33,000 of operating funds pursuant to an accounting of funds at the time of disaffiliation. The Diocese however agreed to assume a $33,000 debt obligation from CCA. “We have left all our material possessions on Johnson Square, but that which we have taken with us is far more valuable: our people, the historic faith and the Holy Spirit. We have no regrets,” said CCA senior pastor, Marc Robertson.

On December 11, 2011, two weeks before they were required to vacate, Christ Church held its final service in its historic building on Johnson Square. Following that service, the entire congregation of more than 400 people processed down Bull Street to Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC), where they were welcomed by 500 IPC members and Pastor Terry Johnson who stated “our faith is your faith and our buildings are your buildings.” Christ Church now holds Sunday services at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 9 p.m. at IPC and Wednesday and Friday noon services at St. Andrew’s Reformed Episcopal Church.



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6 Comments
Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
And, if you’re following what’s happening, what you’re seeing is the conservatives who have left, now that they’re out, and their identity was defined in part by what they were against as well as the Gospel they were for, trying to figure out how to live together, and how they should live, has actually been harder than they thought, and they’ve actually started to divide among themselves. And so, one of the current tragedies is the group that has left looks very American and very Protestant and very chaotic. And that just has to owned on the front end. I wish it were different, but they are having a hard time cohering and working together. And that is a problem not simply for them, but also for the other conservatives in the Episcopal Church, because they have said, essentially, “this is the faithful way to do this and you need to come join us.” And I just need to tell you that, in all sorts of ways, and I say this with a very sad heart, it’s not attractive. They’re really struggling. So that’s one side.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

28 Comments
Posted May 2, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Truro Anglican Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today a settlement that concludes five years of litigation that arose after Truro Anglican and other parishes left the Episcopal Church in 2006 to become part of what is now the Anglican Church in North America.

The settlement follows a January ruling in which the Circuit Court of Fairfax County held that all real and personal property held by the parishes at the time they left the denomination belongs to the Diocese.

Read it all.

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14 Comments
Posted April 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Please note this older article predates the news about the Congo and AMIA which broke late this week; it nevertheless has important details not found elsewhere--KSH.

The split has fractured the AMiA’s 150 congregations. While no numbers have been released by the AMiA, a majority of its congregations appear to have left Bishop Murphy’s oversight—including Bishop Murphy’s former parish and the AMiA’s headquarters, All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

One faction appears set to join the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a second group has pledged its loyalty to the Church of Rwanda but will seek to operate under the oversight of the ACNA, while a third remains with Bishop Murphy and his bishops. Negotiations to find an accommodation are currently underway between the Murphy faction and the ACNA, however the terms publicly set by Archbishop Duncan include reconciliation between Rwanda and the [Chuck] Murphy group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEcclesiology

3 Comments
Posted April 15, 2012 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Special Message from the Chairman, Chuck Murphy:

At the close of this year's Winter Conference, we issued a Communiqué expressing the mind of the gathering. One of the key components and goals of that Communiqué, as well as subsequent communications from our Council of Bishops, was to "diligently seek appropriate jurisdictional connections" with an authentic and orthodox Anglican Communion province. As we continue to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection during this Easter season, it is a particular joy to report the good news that our goal has now been realized. This week, I received an official letter from Archbishop Henri Isingoma of the Anglican Church of the Congo, receiving me as a Bishop of the House of Bishops in his Province and offering us a new canonical residence. In response to a recent letter from Archbishop Rwaje asking our bishops to translate to another Anglican jurisdiction by the end of this month, I had earlier requested that he send my letters dimissory to the Province of the Congo.

This transfer follows a process of relational reconciliation with Rwanda facilitated by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala. These conversations culminated in our meeting in Johannesburg and the Communiqué in which Archbishop Rwaje agreed to release theAM to develop other jurisdictional relationships. Under our accord with the Province of the Congo, we are now secure and validly attached to the global Anglican Communion. Rooted in the East African Revival, the Province of the Congo [formerly Zaire] was originally joined together as one larger province, which also included Rwanda and Burundi. In 1992, all three were subsequently established as separate provinces. The Anglican Mission's connection with the Congo began at Winter Conference 2012 when Bishop William Bahemuka Mugenyi generously made provision for scheduled ordinations to go forward.

We are very grateful to Archbishop Henri for his warm welcome to the Province. As we continue to transition toward a Mission Society with oversight provided by a College of Consultors, we remain committed to the multi-jurisdictional model that launched the Anglican Mission in Singapore (the Provinces of Southeast Asia and Rwanda). Toward that end, conversations with other jurisdictions including the Anglican Church in North America will continue.

Now that a new canonical residence provides for our bishops and clergy to transfer from Rwanda to the Congo, I have been asked to facilitate the transition and therefore, requests for transfers should be sent to the Mission Center.

We look forward with great anticipation to the multi-layered process of developing a Mission Society designed to encase our values and facilitate our desire to be a mission, nothing more and nothing less. While we continue our consistent focus on planting churches in North America, our process will include careful consideration of our present structures including the roles of bishops, the Mission Center and its staff, and our Networks as we prepare to develop the constitution and statutes that will ultimately order our common life. We are scheduling several meetings in which we will discuss and seek input from clergy and leaders throughout the Mission to assist us in designing and vetting the shape and specific details of our proposed Mission Society. We expect to complete these conversations by mid-October.

The Council of Bishops and our leadership team are united in a vision to further develop and carry forth an Apostolic/missionary (sodality) call to reach those outside the faith in effective, creative and entrepreneurial ways. This journey is well underway, and we invite and encourage you to celebrate and press on with us.

In Christ,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Charles Murphy is Chairman, AMIA



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du CongoChurch of RwandaThe Anglican Church in South East AsiaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesAnglican Continuum* TheologyEcclesiology

7 Comments
Posted April 14, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Virginia is the epicenter of the Episcopal schism. Heathsville is one of seven churches — including two of the largest and most historic in the country — that broke away from the denomination in 2006. Now that they've lost their lawsuit, they all have to find new homes.

Church of the Apostles is one of the seven breakaway churches. At its home in Fairfax, a half-dozen men wrestle with a 360-pound cross, panting as they remove it from its moorings in the sanctuary. Parishioner Wayne Marsh says the cross is going into storage and the church is being shuttered.

"It's sad and heartbreaking, and it's a tremendous loss," he says, "but God has just given me a peace to understand this is his will and we're going forward with it, not knowing exactly where we're going."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

5 Comments
Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Four of the Episcopal Church’s key property dispute cases have moved to the state and U.S. Supreme Courts for review.

Briefings have been filed in the Episcopal v. Anglican Dioceses of Fort Worth cases in the Texas Supreme Court, while the breakaway congregations in Northern Virginia have asked the Virginia Supreme Court to review the lower court’s ruling giving the diocese custody of the parish properties.

The breakaway congregations in Christ Church v. Diocese of Georgia and Bishop Seabury Church v. Diocese of Connecticut have filed writs of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has also been asked to review a third property dispute, Timberridge Presbyterian Church v. the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, that addresses the same legal issues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

2 Comments
Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because of the uncertainty, Bishop Seabury Church claims local churches cannot predict whether courts will recognize them as property owners, and that no local church can affiliate with a denomination without risking the loss of its property.
The church also claims in its petition that the uncertainty forces both churches and denominations to wage costly legal battles over property, and discourages local churches from expanding their buildings. The ruling, the church claims, also discourages local churches from acting in accordance with conscience on whether to remain affiliated with their current denominations.

"God is faithful, and we know the Lord will lead and guide us regardless of where we worship," said Gauss in a statement. "But we also believe it's time for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether the state courts have to enforce church canons or can decide these cases based on ordinary property and trust law. We believe the First Amendment is on our side."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

3 Comments
Posted March 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Attorneys for Christ Church Savannah have filed documents asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in litigation they contend deprived them of the Johnson Square church property.

The 45-page document filed Thursday afternoon asks the high court to determine the law on local church property, which it contends has been inconsistently treated in five different jurisdictions considering the issue.

The supreme court may accept or reject the request for review.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

6 Comments
Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Not everyone had the capacity of the willingness to suffer through the audio, and now through the kindness of some very hard working individuals you can read a transcript if you are interested.

You may find part one there and part two is here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 20, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note two things. First, I realize this article is dated but it was only yesterday working on something that I realized it had not yet been posted and it remains relevant. Second, make sure to note that it should not be confused with the earlier article on the AMIA by this same writer which was posted on the blog there.. Blog readers should make sure to digest both pieces--KSH.)

Bishop Terrell Glen, a former AMIA leader who remains part of the Church of Rwanda, said [Chuck] Murphy and other American bishops did the wrong thing by bolting. They had taken a vow of obedience to their bishop, he said, and broke it by quitting.

"I don't believe the archbishop was requiring anything of anyone that we could not submit to," he said.

For years, leaders of the Anglican Mission and other breakaway Episcopal groups have tried to get the Anglican Communion to recognize them as a legitimate alternative to the Episcopal Church. This latest split shows how difficult that will be, said Jim Naughton, editor of Episcopalcafe.com and a former spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.

"We don't know how much staying power they have," said Naughton.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Anglican ProvincesChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesAnglican Continuum* TheologyEcclesiology

1 Comments
Posted March 14, 2012 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Virginia judge has ordered seven congregations that broke from the Episcopal Church to return all property to the local diocese -- from valuable land to sacred chalices -- by April 30.

The Diocese of Virginia had wanted the properties returned by March 30, a week before Easter. But Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows agreed to give the breakaway congregations more time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)CANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

10 Comments
Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

AMiA was founded in 2000. Initially the relationship between the American congregations that joined the Rwanda Province went well due to the lax control the Rwandan Church exercised over AMiA congregations. In return for being part of the Rwandan Church, AMiA freely gave 10 percent of its revenue to the province.

Problems began after Emmanuel Kolini, the archbishop of Rwanda, retired in 2010. His successor, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, desired more oversight of AMiA, which led to tensions between Rwaje and American Bishop Charles Murphy, a missionary bishop ordained to head AMiA.

This led to the decision by some bishops including Murphy to resign in December of last year and leave the AMiA.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesGlobal South Churches & Primates* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesAnglican Continuum* TheologyEcclesiology

6 Comments
Posted March 1, 2012 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is one immediately perceivable flaw in the Diocese's argument, and it also casts doubt on the legitimacy of Judge Bellows' characterization of the evidence as "compelling" and "clear." For at the time of his first ruling in this matter in 2008, which told the CANA congregations that they could keep their properties under the terms of Virginia's Division Statute (§ 57-9), it was then "clear" to Judge Bellows that the Diocese did not have any entitlement to the parish properties or bank accounts.

The only thing that changed the Judge's view was the Virginia Supreme Court's quixotical decision, two years later, to read the statute in such a way that it could never apply to that sacred category of religious institutions defined as "hierarchical" by the courts. From that date on, perhaps, it was now "clear" in Virginia that the Diocese would prevail -- or was it? At any rate, the point is that all of the evidence which the Diocese (leaning on Judge Bellows, to be sure) now characterizes as "compelling" did not amount to anything approaching that description in 2008, and could have become so only after June 2010.

But the principal point here is that with this motion, the Diocese has revealed its truly impecunious state, and hence its inability to maintain and operate all of the properties it has won in the judicial jackpot. Moving for an award of prejudgment interest in these unique circumstances -- secular lawsuits between thousands and thousands of Christians on each side, contrary to the tenets of the Christian religion -- is to rub salt into a gaping wound in the body of Christ.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

15 Comments
Posted February 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all noting especially the eleven page pdf at the bottom which quotes the Motion documents in full.

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7 Comments
Posted February 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christ Church Episcopal may be back home in its Johnson Square building, but squabbling over church property continues.

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and Christ Church Episcopal on Monday asked Chatham County Superior Court Chief Judge Michael Karpf to hold the Rev. Marcus Robertson and Christ Church Savannah in contempt of court.

They argue Robertson and Christ Church Savannah have failed to comply with a court order to return a $2 million endowment fund and other property after the two congregations agreed to the return of the historic Johnson Square property in December.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

14 Comments
Posted February 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following on the recent court ruling remanding all properties currently occupied by breakaway congregations from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia back to the diocese, Virginia Episcopal Bishop Shannon Johnston called the current time "one of the most defining moments in all of our 400 year history" in a pastoral address given to the 217th annual Virginia Diocese Council meeting in Reston yesterday....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

11 Comments
Posted January 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the second time in a decade, the Rev. Thomas McKenzie has found himself in an ugly church fight.

Back in 2004, it was over sexuality and salvation in the Episcopal Church.

Now it’s over power and money, the spat between leaders of the Anglican Mission in the Americas — made up mostly of former Episcopalians like McKenzie — and the overseas Anglican group that adopted them.

“It’s sinful, it’s ugly, it’s wrong,” said McKenzie, pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville and a former Episcopal priest. “And it doesn’t bring honor to the name of Christ.”

Read it all.

Update: Please note--this link no longer works for me but I found it over here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesAnglican Continuum* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 28, 2012 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland met for mediation on Nov. 17 with representatives from Mount Calvary and the Joseph Richey House hospice. Joseph H. H. Kaplan, a retired judge, served as mediator. Though a settlement was not reached that day, significant progress was made and negotiations continued. The agreement states that the property currently occupied by Joseph Richey House, a hospice that started as a joint ministry by Mount Calvary and the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, will be permanently deeded to Joseph Richey House along with the parking lot shared by the congregation and Joseph Richey House. The Anglican Use Congregation will be deeded the church building, adjacent offices, and rectory, will keep all furnishings and personal property, and will retain the right to use the parking lot shared with Joseph Richey House. The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland will receive a monetary sum as part of the settlement, and will retain first right of refusal if the congregation vacates the property.

The Rev. Canon Scott Slater, on the bishops’ staff and part of the mediation team representing the Episcopal diocese, said, “This has been a thoughtful, prayerful, and respectful process by all three entities, and I am pleased that we have reached a solution that meets the needs of all three groups.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

5 Comments
Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But who has abandoned the Episcopal Church? I would argue that the real abandoners of the Episcopal Church more rightly include those who have kept the miters and want to keep the property but have ditched all semblance of doctrine.

Of course, the Episcopal Church always had a certain latitude regarding faith and morals (good taste, not so much), but sadly it has become in many ways a post-Christian institution. This was most recently and outlandishly manifested in the first sermon given by the Rt. Rev. Marianne Budde in her capacity as spiritual leader of Episcopalians in the nation’s capitol. The bishop took as her text a poem by New Age poet David Whyte and referred to “Jesus and all of the great spiritual masters before and after him.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Theology

33 Comments
Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The years-long litigation has been expensive for all involved. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has lost congregations that collectively contributed $10.4 million directly to the diocese in the 20-year period before the dispute erupted.

And the breakaway congregations have spent millions of dollars in legal fees. Warren Thrasher, executive director at Truro, said the 1,200 members of that church alone have spent roughly $2 million on legal bills, raised through a legal defense fund kept separate from the rest of the church’s ministry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

14 Comments
Posted January 12, 2012 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The opinion is remarkable for its exhaustive consideration of every possible Virginia statute and previous case (including an unreported one) that could bear on the issues at stake. Along the way, it notably holds that the Dennis Canon (and its local diocesan equivalent) were ineffective per se to create a trust interest in favor of the diocese or national Church. But the bulk of the opinion appears (on a very quick first read) to be devoted to arriving at the same result (i.e., as if the Dennis Canon and its local equivalent had established a trust) by other means. It reaches its conclusion in favor of ECUSA and its diocese by drawing upon a minutely detailed analysis of the course of conduct between the parishes in question and the former entities over more than a hundred years (and in the case of Falls Church and a few others, for many more years than that -- but in the case of the Church of the Epiphany, on a course of conduct extending for just the first twenty of the last twenty-four years).

In doing so, however, the court ends up equating what it terms a "proprietary and contractual interest" of the diocese in individual parish property to the functional legal equivalent of an express or implied trust in favor of the diocese (and the national Church). And since it recognizes that Virginia law does not allow express or implied trusts in favor of denominations, the marvel is that Judge Bellows can still conclude, by drawing heavily upon his interpretation of a Virginia statute (§ 57-16.1), that the parishes effectively controlled their own properties only for so long as they remained constituent member of the Episcopal Church (USA) -- which is exactly what the Dennis Canon states, in haec verba.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
Tonight, the Fairfax Circuit Court issued its ruling in favor of the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in litigation seeking to recover Episcopal church property. “Our goal throughout this litigation has been to return faithful Episcopalians to their church homes and Episcopal properties to the mission of the Church,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of Virginia.

The court ruled that the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have “a contractual and proprietary interest” in each of the properties subject to the litigation. The court ordered that all property subject to its ruling be turned over to the Diocese.

“We hope that this ruling will lead to our congregations returning to worship in their church homes in the near future, while finding a way to support the CANA congregations as they plan their transition,” said Henry D.W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese and chief of staff.

Bishop Johnston added, “While we are grateful for the decision in our favor, we remain mindful of the toll this litigation has taken on all parties involved, and we continue to pray for all affected by the litigation.”



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

7 Comments
Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seven Anglican congregations in Virginia that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are reviewing today's ruling by the Fairfax County Circuit Court that the property should be turned over to the Episcopal Diocese.

The Circuit Court heard the case last spring after the Virginia Supreme Court remanded it in June 2010. The congregations previously had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.

"Although we are profoundly disappointed by today's decision, we offer our gratitude to Judge Bellows for his review of this case. As we prayerfully consider our legal options, we above all remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith. Regardless of today's ruling, we are confident that God is in control, and that He will continue to guide our path," said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven Anglican congregations.

The Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, a historic property involved in the case, stated, "The core issue for us is not physical property, but theological and moral truth and the intellectual integrity of faith in the modern world. Wherever we worship, we remain Anglicans because we cannot compromise our historic faith. Like our spiritual forebears in the Reformation, 'Here we stand. So help us God. We can do no other.'"

The seven Anglican congregations are members of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a member diocese within the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop John Guernsey of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic has expressed to leaders of the seven congregations, "Our trust is in the Lord who is ever faithful. He is in control and He will enable you to carry forward your mission for the glory of Jesus Christ and the extension of His Kingdom. Know that your brothers and sisters in Christ continue to stand with you and pray for you."

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

19 Comments
Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
[Yesterday]...in Austin the Texas Supreme Court...announced that it will hear oral arguments on Feb. 29, 2012, concerning the appellate court's decision in a case between the parish of Good Shepherd, San Angelo, and the Episcopal Church Diocese of Northwest Texas. This follows written briefings the Court requested from each party earlier this year.

According to a statement from the Court's public information officer, the principal issues in the property dispute between the diocese and congregation are “(1) whether in Texas the dispute should be decided by ‘neutral principles’ – using established trust and property law and taking account of deeds, the governing language employed by a local church and the larger denomination – or by ‘compulsory deference’ – determining where church members place ultimate authority over property use; and (2) whether the trial court erred by deciding the diocese owns the property.”

The outcome of this appeal is likely to have significant impact for our own. Early in the new year, our legal team expects to file an amicus brief with the Court, supporting the position of the San Angelo parish.

As you continue to pray for our own legal team through this Advent and Christmas, please include the people of Good Shepherd and their legal team in your prayers.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

9 Comments
Posted December 14, 2011 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“While we were forced to take action when the breakaway congregation deprived the thriving congregation of Christ Church Episcopal of the property we hold in trust for them on Johnson Square, we know that both groups share faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of the world,” [Bishop Scott] Benhase said.

The continuing Christ Church congregation has been worshiping at another location for four years pending a final outcome of the case.

In a statement released Monday, the Rev. Michael White, rector of Christ Church, said the congregation plans to continue to worship at St. Michael and All Angel’s Episcopal Church on Washington Avenue each Sunday at 5 p.m. while it concludes administrative matters necessary in the transition back to the Johnson Square site.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

14 Comments
Posted November 22, 2011 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of The Episcopal Church in its case against a breakaway congregation. The Georgia Supreme Court, which heard the case on May 9, affirmed the Georgia Court of Appeals’ July 2010 in a 6-1 ruling in favor of the Episcopalians. That ruling upheld Superior Court Judge Michael L. Karpf’s October 27, 2009 judgment that the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia is entitled to legal possession of the historic Christ Church building and other Church assets for the benefit of those who remain faithful to the Diocese and The Episcopal Church.

“While we are grateful that a third court has upheld our legal rights to the property held in trust for The Episcopal Church for more than 200 years, whatever satisfaction we feel in prevailing in the courts is muted by the knowledge that this decision is painful for some of our brothers and sisters in Christ,” Bishop Benhase said referring to the congregation that disaffiliated from The Episcopal Church while continuing to occupy church property. He added, “As Christians we know that even those with whom we disagree are also seeking to follow Jesus faithfully. While we were forced to take action when the breakaway congregation deprived the thriving congregation of Christ Church Episcopal of the property we hold in trust for them on Johnson Square, we know that both groups share faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of the world.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

16 Comments
Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christ Church, The Mother Church of Georgia in Savannah, has learned that the Georgia Supreme Court (GSC) has issued a ruling concerning Christ Church’s appeal to that body. On November 21, 2011 the GSC declared that the property of Christ Church is held in trust for the national Episcopal church and its Georgia diocese.

The litigation has been ongoing since 2007 when 87% of the Christ Church (CC) members in good standing voted to uphold the unanimous decision of its board to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church (TEC) because of its revisionist theological trends over the last several decades. In an effort to seize the property TEC subsequently sued Christ Church, its rector and individual board members personally. TEC’s 1979 passage of the Dennis Canon claimed a unilateral trust over all property of Episcopal churches nationwide without regard to title or state property laws. Christ Church has owned the Johnson Square property since the 1700s, first by land grant from the English Royal Council and after the Revolutionary War by a charter of incorporation from the 1789 Georgia state legislature.

“Christ Church has always maintained clear title to the property and has never agreed to hold its property in trust for any entity. We are reviewing the ruling and will meet to determine our next course of action which could include an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if warranted,” stated Jim Gardner, CC legal counsel. “At its core this case is about fundamental property rights of individual congregations in hierarchical churches,” he continued.
In his dissenting opinion, Judge S. Phillip Brown described the majority decision with these words: “Today’s majority opinion effectively eviscerates many of Georgia’s property laws, trust laws, and equity laws…”

“The Episcopal Church has sought to exploit the judicial system in an attempt to coerce local congregations to accept its revisionist theology,” stated David Reeves, Christ Church board chairman. “Our congregation is one of 57 individual congregations and 3 dioceses (groups of congregations) nationwide that have been sued by TEC. The conflict has been about our determination for God’s truth with all of its consequences and TEC’s will to embrace ever-changing interpretations of the historic Christian faith,” Mr. Reeves continued.

“Should Christ Church not have access to its property during any appeal process, Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) in downtown Savannah has graciously offered to allow us to hold services in their building,” said Mr. Reeves.

Marc Robertson, Christ Church Rector said, “We are gratified and encouraged by the outpouring of support from the Christian community here in Savannah, as exemplified by the offer from IPC. As revisionist theology continues to make inroads into other mainstream denominations we foresee more opportunities for joining in fellowship and service with those congregations which adhere to the historic Christian faith. Throughout the last four years Christ Church has refused to allow the litigation to become the sole focus of its mission and ministry. Those efforts will continue even though our congregation may not have access to our property.”

A service of thanksgiving for all of the Lord’s provision for us during these last four years is scheduled for Monday, November 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. at Christ Church on Johnson Square. “It is our sincere hope that all those individuals and congregations who have so graciously supported us through this process will join us,” said Marc Robertson.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

10 Comments
Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is the opinion--read it all if you so desire (warning: long pdf).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

5 Comments
Posted November 21, 2011 at 8:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Mark Lawrence, is cur­rently under investigation by the disciplinary board of the national Church on charges of having “ab­andoned” the Episcopal Church (News, 14 October). He is charged with a variety of omissions and commissions, includ­ing failure to take legal action against a parish in his diocese which had realigned itself...

The Church’s crusade against conservative dis­senters is pointless, wasteful, and self-destructive. And, although Dr Jefferts Schori has defended her actions as necessary to protect the Church’s assets, it is hard to understand what material benefits the Church’s programme could reasonably achieve. If the Episcopal Church retains the properties of departing congregations, it will be stuck with church buildings that the few (if any) remaining loyalists cannot afford to maintain. In the best-case scenario, it may be able to offset the cost of litiga­tion by selling them for use as mosques or saloons.

The Episcopal Church has plunged into a maelstrom of institutional turmoil and litigation, alienating some of its most committed constitu­ents. Representing less than one per cent of the American population, it has not affected the at­titudes of the general public, or benefited gay men and women, who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. And it has not impressed the secular élite, who are as contemptuous of the Episcopal Church, for all its political correctness, as they are of all Christian groups, whose members they regard as superstitious ignoramuses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

16 Comments
Posted November 20, 2011 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On several occasions, I have suggested that the day when we would begin our new life as a Catholic congregation was in sight, only for there to be another delay. And no doubt many of you share my frustration in seeing other groups board the Barque of Peter ahead of us. But I can assure you that at this point, every indication suggests we do not have much longer to wait. As I announced from the pulpit recently, Mount Calvary is about to enter into mediation with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland under the guidance of Judge Joseph Kaplan. This very positive development promises to result in a final property settlement in short order.

Another encouraging sign of progress is that those who attend the... [Episcopal] service in our All Souls Chapel at 9 o’clock Sunday mornings have been informed that this service will be coming to an end this month. They will need to find another church home should they wish to remain Episcopalians. Mount Calvary has permitted this service as a gesture of goodwill, but the Diocese of Maryland has determined that it can no longer be justified for the very small number of people who attend. This, I believe, is a tacit acknowledgement that in the near future, only the Catholic Mass will be celebrated at Mount Calvary…

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

3 Comments
Posted October 26, 2011 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The church is the body of Christ, the beginning of the kingdom, the family of God, and the way to salvation," the cardinal said in his homily. "Today, as part of your faith journey, you come to the church to complete your initiation into the body of Christ."

"The heart of our communion, our bonding, our spiritual life, is this altar," Cardinal Wuerl said, adding, "Today, we will invite everyone (here) to that table of the Lord, to receive that Communion that bonds us with Christ and with one another."

Mark Lewis, the former rector of the St. Luke community, who as an Episcopal priest shepherded his parishioners through the process of joining the Catholic Church, said after the Mass, "I'm so glad to be home."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

2 Comments
Posted October 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As people filed into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception yesterday, Mark Lewis was wearing a layman’s tie rather than the clerical collar he had worn for years.

Accompanied by his wife, daughter and grandson, Lewis was preparing to lead his flock at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in suburban Maryland into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Lewis is the former rector of St. Luke’s, the first Episcopal church in the Washington metropolitan area and the second in Maryland to come into the Church under provisions created for Episcopalians and Anglicans by Pope Benedict XVI.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2011 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Sunday morning, October 9, almost 80 parishioners of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Bladensburg, Maryland were received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington during Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

St. Luke's parish is a small, tight-knit congregation with a majority of their members from Africa and the Caribbean. While enjoying a rich cultural diversity, the church has been unified in it's one dream - becoming a part of the new Anglican Ordinariate as Catholics in full-communion with the Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted October 10, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Jefferts Schori says this new Anglican group is encroaching on her church's jurisdiction, and she has authorized dozens of lawsuits "to protect the assets of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the Episcopal Church." The Episcopal Church has dedicated $22 million to legal actions against departing clergy, congregations and dioceses, according to Allan Haley, a canon lawyer who has represented a diocese in one such case.

Now the Episcopal Church has upped the ante: It has declared that if congregations break away and buy their sanctuaries, they must disaffiliate from any group that professes to be Anglican.

Rather than agree to this demand to disaffiliate from Anglicanism, Pittsburgh's All Saints Episcopal Anglican Church last month walked away from the building it had inhabited since 1928. The congregation called the Episcopal Church's demand "mean-spirited" and an attempt to deny "the freedom of religious affiliation."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central New YorkTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

7 Comments
Posted October 7, 2011 at 9:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From Phil Ashey--

I'd like to share with you a letter from the Bishop and Diocesan Council of The Episcopal Church's (TEC) Diocese of the Rio Grande. But first, a little background so that you can appreciate the letter in all its fullness.

This time two years ago, approximately 80% of the parishioners of St. Mark's on-the-Mesa (TEC) left the parish and formed Christ the King Anglican, Albuquerque, NM (Anglican Church in North America). When those parishioners left the parish, the Diocese of the Rio Grande, and the Episcopal Church, they left everything. They left the property, building, endowments, bank accounts - even paperclips and pencils. They did so in good conscience, with generosity, and with love for those who in good conscience could not leave The Episcopal Church. Based on their reading of scripture, these parishioners did not want to fight over buildings and property in civil courts. Instead, they walked away and began a new life together as Anglican followers of Jesus Christ at Christ the King Anglican Church. Not only did the new parish draw former Episcopalians, but also Christians from other denominations who wanted to worship and serve at Christ the King Anglican.

Fast forward two years to August 31, 2011 (about three weeks ago). The congregation's rector, the Rev. Roger Weber, former priest at St. Mark's, received this letter from TEC Bishop Michael Vono of the Diocese of the Rio Grande...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

34 Comments
Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As readers of this blog are aware, your Curmudgeon is no fan of the Dennis Canon, which I like to call the Episcopal Church (USA)'s Trojan Horse. It has spawned a disproportionate amount of Church property litigation, because it operates by stealth, and springs onto the back of a parish just at the time when it is most vulnerable, having decided to take the final step to disaffiliate from ECUSA. All of a sudden, the Bishop of the Diocese swoops down with his attorneys, and orders the congregation to vacate its building, and leave everything behind, from the altar candlesticks to the bank accounts and pew cushions. "Because you no longer are operating within the Episcopal Church," he says, "Canon I.7.4 [the Dennis Canon] declares that all of your property is now forfeit to the Diocese, since it was always held in trust for this Diocese and the Church."

Such a claimed operation for the Canon comes as a surprise to many congregations who thought that their years of paying for the acquisition, construction and maintenance of their building, plus a deed in their name, meant that they owned it. Furthermore, every State in the United States has a law which says that trusts in real property can be created only by a writing signed by the owner of the property. The Dennis Canon operates in reverse: it purports to create a trust in church property without the owner's signature, and just on the authority of ECUSA's General Convention. As I noted elsewhere, it purports to operate as though, upon you and your spouse's joining the Democratic Party, your house and all your worldly goods become forfeit to the Party should you ever decide to become a Republican.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

3 Comments
Posted September 19, 2011 at 11:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since it severed ties with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina, St. Andrew's Church-Mount Pleasant has grown. And now it has secured a central role in a new diocese in formation, part of the Anglican Church in North America.

The Rev. Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew's, was appointed vicar general of the not-yet-official Diocese of the Carolinas, which includes eight churches in North and South Carolina and one more that's still being established.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted September 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When members of St. Bartholomew’s Church in the Town of Tonawanda decided in 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church, they didn’t know for sure where they fit in the larger structure of Anglicanism.

Less than three years later, the parish has become a pivotal congregation within the Anglican Church in North America, a rival to the Episcopal Church that grew from a rift between theological conservatives and liberal Episcopalians over Bible interpretation and the ordination of a gay bishop.

This week, the congregation served as host for a conference of the International Diocese, the new diocese to which it belongs as part of the Anglican Church in North America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted August 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This Sunday, the local Anglican church, Christ Our Savior, will hold services in its first permanent home in Old Torrance. The Rev. Dale Smith, a former Episcopal priest from South Pasadena, has led the church for more than a year.

"It's been a difficult time for more than 50 years during this gradual split," Smith said.

After 2003, he said, "We knew there were effectively two churches, one that believed the historic faith and one that didn't."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

13 Comments
Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The murders, beatings and state-sanctioned violence suffered by Anglicans in Harare under the Mugabe regime are akin to the discomforts faced by Episcopalians loyal to the national Church who reside in dioceses that have departed for the Anglican Church in North America.

This summary of the situation in Harare from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori came in an August 2 report released by the Episcopal News Service (ENS) summarizing her trip to Central Africa. Her remarks are similar to claims made at the Jamaica meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2009. However, in Kingston delegates from the Global South rejected the Presiding Bishop’s attempt to cloak the Episcopal Church with the victim’s mantle, arguing in the United States it was the Episcopal Church who was the aggressor in its legal battles....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

9 Comments
Posted August 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Mark Lewis is married. He also wants to become a Catholic priest. Lewis is the rector of St. Luke's in Bladensburg, the first [Episcopal]... parish in the U.S. to seek to become Catholic under Anglicanorum coetibus, a process outlined by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 that allows groups of Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church without discarding their liturgical heritage. Raised Episcopalian, the 52-year-old Lewis entered the ministry 10 years ago and has two grown children. He will become Catholic with his parish in October.

Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?

Obviously, I am of the Catholic faith. Even as Episcopalians, we believed we were Catholic Christians. The Episcopal Church is a very broad church. In it you can have very evangelical people, and in it you can also have very high church Anglo-Catholics, of which I was one.

Why did you and your church convert?

I teach Catholic theology to my people. Once the apostolic constitution was announced, it opened a door that had previously been closed to us. I didn't really want to sway them with my excitement, so we looked at it together: "Is this something that is really of interest to us?" We looked at the difference between being a Catholic in the Anglican tradition, and being a Catholic in the Roman tradition. And we realized as a church that we needed to be in communion with the Church of Rome.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

1 Comments
Posted August 1, 2011 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted July 7, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande has agreed to settle a 2008 lawsuit that challenged the ownership of St. Francis on the Hill Church.

The settlement means the conservative breakaway Anglican group now occupying the church has to be out by the end of July.

It also means a smaller group of Episcopalians who felt forced out of the church a few years ago will take control of the property, but not its financial assets.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted July 7, 2011 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Luke’s Church will make a pilgrimage from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism without leaving its historic location at 53rd Street and Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, Md.

The Rev. Mark Lewis, rector of St. Luke’s since 2006, praises the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane, Bishop of Washington, for the arrangement, in which St. Luke’s will lease the facilities from the Diocese of Washington and has an option to buy the property.

“We have a relationship that is mutually respectful,” Lewis said in an interview with The Living Church. He appreciates where I am theologically, and I know he appreciates the parish.”

Read it all.">Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

20 Comments
Posted June 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Flash back a few years and you may remember all of those big headlines about the controversial decision by Pope Benedict XVI to park Vatican tanks on the lawn of Canterbury Cathedral and, thus, begin an ecclesiastical invasion of England....

In reality, Benedict had responded to more than a decade of appeals for help from many, not all, of the long-suffering Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion. The idea of a large group of Anglicans swimming the Tiber has been around for a long time...and everyone involved knew that, other than most of the mainstream journalists who covered the story....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

1 Comments
Posted June 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted June 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the fall of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic constitution called "Anglicanorum coetibus" to provide a means for entire Anglican parishes or groups to become Catholic while retaining some of their Anglican heritage and liturgical practice.

That document "opened up a door that had previously been closed," said the Rev. Mark Lewis, rector of St. Luke Episcopal Parish in Bladensburg. At that same time, he had been studying a book on Catholicism and Anglicanism.

After a long period of discernment, the Maryland congregation announced June 6 that it would seek entry into the Catholic Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

0 Comments
Posted June 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a period of deep discernment, the rector and parishioners of St. Luke’s Episcopal parish in Bladensburg, Maryland have decided to seek entry into the Roman Catholic Church through a new structure approved by Pope Benedict XVI called an ordinariate. Saint Luke’s is the first church in the Washington metropolitan area to take this step.

The transition is being made with the prayerful support of Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington.

“We welcome the St. Luke community warmly into our family of faith. The proposed ordinariate provides a path to unity, one that recognizes our shared beliefs on matters of faith while also recognizing and respecting the liturgical heritage of the Anglican Church,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We also recognize the openness of the community to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their faith journey.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

22 Comments
Posted June 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Episcopal parish in the eastern state of Maryland will be the first in the United States to join the Roman Catholic Church under a new streamlined conversion process created by Pope Benedict XVI, leaders of both church groups said Monday.

St. Luke's Episcopal parish in Bladensburg will come under the care of Washington Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is forming a U.S. ordinariate — effectively a national diocese — for Episcopalians converting under the pope's plan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

2 Comments
Posted June 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A theological disagreement between a local church and its former diocese has become a drawn-out, draining legal quarrel over a church building.

In November 2008, leaders of the now St. Francis on the Hill Anglican Church broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande over a theological dispute over foundational doctrines as salvation through Christ alone and the authority of the Bible. Also highly controversial was the 2003 ordination in New Hampshire of the first openly gay bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson.

It was the second church in El Paso to break away from the diocese over the same issues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Departing ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The California Supreme Court on May 5 returned to a lower court the lawsuit involving a seven-year property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and a breakaway Newport Beach church.

The court, in a 6-1 decision, said that St. James Anglican Church, which disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church in 2003, can present arguments to show that the church and the property are owned by the congregation and not by the Los Angeles diocese and Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted May 11, 2011 at 6:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Historic Christ Church, a prominent Savannah fixture since Georgia's colonial days, now is divided in a bitter legal dispute over its future sparked by an argument about homosexuality that has riven Episcopal churches nationwide.

The congregation, which proudly embraces its nickname, "The Mother Church of Georgia," has been wrangling over the ownership of its property in the heart of downtown Savannah ever since 87 percent of the members voted to split with the Episcopal Church in 2007. They were among dozens of congregations that broke away from the denomination in the years after the national group affirmed its first openly gay bishop.

On Monday the divided church membership battled in Georgia's Supreme Court over who owns the $3 million property and the building. Many legal observers believe the case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted May 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Georgia’s top court is trying to sort out who gets to own Christ Church, the state’s oldest church, in a contest that grew out of conservatives’ disagreement with the national Episcopal denomination’s decision to have an openly gay bishop.

Monday morning, the pews were packed with bishops, clergy and parishioners as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments. The court’s justices peppered lawyers for both sides about which documents to rely on in sorting out ownership of the building.

The church was formed in 1733, and Georgia’s founder, James Oglethorpe, granted the land where it sits, on the edge of one of Savannah’s shaded squares. Among its early priests were John and Charles Wesley, authors of dozens of hymns and the Methodist movement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted May 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lower courts disagreed over whether that opinion constituted a final ruling; the trial court thought it had a trial to hear, the appeals court said no, it was over, and Thursday, the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court.

In its ruling, the high court said that it never meant to establish ownership of the property two years ago.

"Based on the arguments the parties presented, we did conclude 'on this record,' that the general church owns the disputed property."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted May 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new lawsuit involving the parish of St. Francis on the Hill in El Paso, Texas was filed on Tuesday, April 26 in the local district court (34th Judicial District). The suit marks another low point in the desultory annals of litigation brought by dioceses of the Episcopal Church (USA) against their former parishes, vestries and rectors. Coming literally on the heels of a final judgment entered in that same court on March 11, which awarded all of the Anglican parish's real and personal property to the Diocese of Rio Grande, the new lawsuit was filed even though that prior judgment has since been appealed to the Eighth Court of Appeals in El Paso....

What is particularly despicable about this latest lawsuit is not just that it seeks to embroil the parties who are appealing the trial court's judgment in brand-new litigation pending that appeal, but it also seeks punitive damages (in addition to other relief) against them....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2011 at 9:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A years-long fight between The Episcopal Church and several conservative congregations has landed back in a courtroom in Virginia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted April 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Diocese of Virginia and several Anglican District of Virginia congregations approach a new round in court April 25, the diocese has reached a settlement with a second congregation.

Under the settlement, announced April 19 by the diocese and by Church of the Word, Gainesville, the parish keeps the property and the diocese keeps $1.95 million of a payment made by the Virginia Department of Transportation for construction-related damage to the property.

The settlement, like others reached in recent months, requires the parish to cut its ties with the Anglican Church in North America for five years. Church of the Word also must cut its ties to the Anglican District of Virginia, which will vote in May on whether to become a diocese of the ACNA.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

17 Comments
Posted April 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church of the Word (COTW), one of a handful of Northern Virginia churches embroiled in a four-year long lawsuit with The Episcopal Church (TEC), will retain its church property after an out-of-court settlement signed Monday, April 18, released it from the pending litigation.

The leadership of COTW, which is a multiracial congregation made up of predominantly young families, is relieved to have achieved their major goals of separating from TEC, retaining their property, and preserving their tradition of worship and ministry.

Church of the Word is one of a number of formerly Episcopal congregations that had severed ties with the denomination over matters of doctrinal drift and novel pastoral practices. Upon breaking away from the denomination in December 2006, TEC filed a lawsuit against eleven Northern Virginia churches in an attempt to keep them from retaining their property. Currently, the next phase of this litigation will continue for the remaining seven churches with the commencement of a late-April 2011 trial in the Fairfax County, Virginia, Circuit Court.

COTW’s settlement allows it to keep its property, and now free of litigation, may concentrate on its vision, which is to ‘Encounter and Share Jesus Christ’. It does, however, require that COTW sever its affiliation with the newly established Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) for a period of five years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

20 Comments
Posted April 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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