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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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"I think the key is to see this worshipping community come together with such joy and such inspiration ---- the journey they've been on has given them perseverance, a sense of being safe on the road," said the congregation's rector, the Rev. Joe Rees. "This is what it means to overcome.
"It's not so much about the four walls as it is the journey," he added.
Father Rees' congregation left the Episcopal Church USA in 2006, citing numerous theological and practical grievances, and last year lost the subsequent lawsuit with the Diocese of San Diego over the use of the original St. Anne's property at 701 West St., near Coast Highway.
Read it all.
The leaders of two congregations that once made up St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Oceanside said this week that their flocks are looking forward after the split, which saw a majority of parishioners leave the national Episcopal Church in 2006.
Deacon Bob Nelson, the clergy member in charge of the smaller congregation that today meets at the original West Street location, said he has seen membership grow from 18 in September to 50 people today.
A retired city manager, Nelson was appointed by the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego as a temporary administrator and spiritual leader until the church can hire its own priest ---- something Nelson said he expects to happen late next year.
Read it all.
Christ Church is welcoming a new building for a new era.
The Fallbrook congregation, formerly known as St. John's Anglican Church, has been conducting services at Living Waters Christian Fellowship Assembly of God Church for the past two years. The church began sharing space with Living Waters after legal battles over property rights and organizational authority allowed the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego to take over the former church property (which is now operating as St. John's Episcopal).
The members at St. John's Anglican had previously voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which is the North American branch of the global Anglican...[Communion], and reaffiliated with a more theologically traditional conservative archdiocese in Africa. Disagreements regarding homosexuality and biblical authority are at the core of an ongoing dispute between the Episcopal Church and hundreds of its congregations, as well as Anglican bishops in other countries.
Read it all.
The rift has tested personal and professional relationships, spurred protracted court disputes over church property and prompted efforts to create a rival North American province.
“What you are seeing is a division between churches committed to the historical Christian witness and churches committed to the categories of contemporary cultural relevance,” said John Wright, professor of theology and Christian scriptures at Point Loma Nazarene University.
The fissure has played out painstakingly in San Diego County as one congregation after another has decided to break away and commit itself to bishops in Africa and Latin America.
Read it all.
Sunday's sermon at St. Anne's Anglican Church in Oceanside will be about "standing on the authority of God's word" in light of a recent court ruling that could force the congregation to find a new home.
Father Joe Rees, rector of the church at 701 West St. near the former Ditmar Elementary School, said he and his parishioners are still praying about a ruling handed down by San Diego Superior Court Judge Steven Denton on Tuesday.
The tentative ruling found that the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is the true owner of the Oceanside church building and grounds, as well as property inhabited by another Anglican congregation in Ocean Beach. Both congregations left the Episcopal Diocese in 2006 and changed denominations.
It is the latest legal victory for the Episcopal Church, which has seen many individual congregations and four dioceses nationwide break away in disagreement over several decisions made by church leadership, including the ordination of the faith's first openly gay bishop in 2003.
Read it all.
Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.
The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.
On Friday, both sides were back in court.
"We've kind of moved on as a congregation and this is almost looking backwards now. So we were dreading it but here it is," said Father Matthew Kennedy, Good Shepherd's head pastor.
This time, the feud centers around a will by former Good Shepherd member Robert Brannan. He died in 1986 and left behind money in a trust fund for his parish.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Central New York TEC Conflicts: Central Florida TEC Conflicts: Colorado TEC Conflicts: Connecticut TEC Conflicts: Florida TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth TEC Conflicts: Georgia TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles TEC Conflicts: Ohio TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh TEC Conflicts: Rio Grande TEC Conflicts: San Diego TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin TEC Conflicts: Virginia TEC Departing Parishes TEC Data TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils TEC House of Deputies
As legal battles over property rights and organizational authority play out between the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and two breakaway churches in North County, leaders of those two congregations insist the real conflict is over core religious beliefs.
The California Supreme Court recently issued two decisions with implications for St. Anne's in Oceanside and St. John's in Fallbrook, both of which seceded from the Episcopal Church and joined foreign dioceses within the global Anglican Communion three years ago.
A Jan. 5 court ruling in favor of the national Episcopal church in its legal battle against three Los Angeles and Orange County breakaway congregations attempting to keep their properties is being cited by the San Diego diocese as strengthening its case against St. Anne's and St. John's. The two North County churches continue to meet in their existing buildings as Anglican congregations ---- with the San Diego diocese suing to regain control of those properties.
Read it all.
A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal reversed the decision of a lower court, which determined two years ago that the diocese failed to prove its case.
The civil lawsuit claimed that the leaders of what became St. John's Anglican Church are not the legitimate officers because they are no longer Episcopalians. According to the lawsuit, new officers elected by members who did not break away from the congregation should have authority over the property.
Vista Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Stern disagreed in her November 2006 ruling.
Read it all.
I have considerable sympathy with the views on sexual ethics of liberals in the Episcopal Church, including presumably, the Bishop of San Diego: I agree with them that there is nothing morally wrong with homosexual activity. But before you assume that I “don’t have any morals” I should note that I regard the arrogance and hypocrisy of liberal clergy, and their strong-arm tactics as shockingly immoral. They put on the armor of righteousness convinced that they were divinely commissioned not only to enlighten members of the Episcopal Church but to exert prophetic moral leadership in the World, and were cock-sure that they would get their way by “using psychology”—by manipulating laypeople—and by bullying conservative clergy.
Even now as the Church is undergoing meltdown, the Princes of the Church and their courtiers, like their counterparts in the secular regime, are determined to stay the course. The bishop seems convinced that with enough legal firepower he will be able to capture territory from dissident congregations and achieve “mission accomplished” within a year. He also claims to believe that once dissident clergy and laypeople have been forced out of their churches, rebuilding will be relatively unproblematic—or at least feasible:
In each and every case, it is my intention to rebuild vibrant, Christ-centered ministries in congregations that have been seriously affected…
Following current events in the secular world, I’m not so sure about that. Mission accomplished is quick and easy—you can beat up bad guys and level an entire country in three weeks of shock and awe. Rebuilding is quite another thing and I’m not sure how the bishop plans to accomplish this task in those seriously affected congregations.
This bishop’s letter is very light on specifics and on figures. Once conservative dissidents have been forced out of their churches, how big will the righteous remnant in each church be? 100? 50? 10? I rather doubt that there will be a sufficient number to maintain the property. The bishop however seems to believe that once ethnic cleansing is complete local residents who, presumably, had been scared off by the bigots and homophobes occupying the facility would flood into the church to establish vibrant, Christ-centered ministries.
This also seems highly unlikely and I doubt that the bishop or anyone else really believes it. We can make an educated guess about what will happen. The diocese will install part-time, retired or non-stipendiary clergy in these parishes and operate them as missions for a few years, making a show of working to establish vibrant, Christ-centered ministries and then, when they’re sure no one is looking, sell them off. San Diego county real estate still fetches a good price and the Diocese should be able to extract a pretty penny from creative entrepreneurs looking to turn the buildings into church-themed restaurants or nightclubs or to developers who will tear them down to build condos....
Read it all and please note the disclaimer that Dr. Baber asks to be printed:
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED HERE ARE MY OWN AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN TO REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF MY EMPLOYER. IF YOU LINK, QUOTE OR CITE PLEASE INCLUDE THIS DISCLAIMER AND DO NOT INCLUDE MY ACADEMIC AFFILIATION..
(Parish press Release)
Oceanside, Calif. – We are deeply disappointed that the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and its Bishop, James R. Mathes, have been caught up in the national tidal wave of lawsuits being filed by The Episcopal Church against local church congregations that have realigned with other Provinces of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and instead have filed a senseless and intolerant lawsuit against St. Anne’s Anglican Church in an attempt to confiscate all of its church property, including the sanctuary, Bibles, hymnals and office files.
We are amazed at the disregard of the religious and property rights of St. Anne’s church members who overwhelmingly voted their conscience to end their affiliation with The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego over a year ago. Missing from the Diocese’s lawsuit and press release is any confession that the property of St. Anne’s is, and always has been, held in the name of St. Anne’s. Over many decades, St. Anne’s members have given sacrificially to maintain the property and operate the church without any financial support from the Diocese.
Since ending its affiliation with The Episcopal Church in January 2006 to remain steadfast and loyal in their commitment to the Holy Scripture and the historic teachings of Christianity, St. Anne’s membership and ministries have flourished, growing more than 40%, adding new clergy, and spawning two new churches in the San Diego area.
St. Anne’s will continue to worship at its present location and facilities in Oceanside.
Howard Smith, the diocese's chief financial officer and canon for administration, finance and communication, said individual parishes are formed, overseen and dissolved by an Episcopal convention.
"Episcopal churches can't wake up one day and decide that they're going to be Methodist," Smith said. "All of these churches were built when they were part of the Diocese of Los Angeles, so there were contributions from the Episcopal Diocese to build these Episcopal churches."
Officials at the Fallbrook and Oceanside breakaway parishes and the attorney for the parishes said, however, that the deeds to the property are in the names of the local congregations and the property belongs to them.
"Our view is that that is our church," said Rick Crossley, the lay administrator of missions and ministry at St. John's parish. "We're the ones that paid for it and maintained it. It's in our name and always has been, and in our view, they (the diocese) have no claim to the property."
Read it all.
Statement in Response to Second Lawsuit Filed
By The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Against St. John’s Anglican Church
Fallbrook, Calif. – June 19, 2007 – Having lost a lawsuit filed against St. John’s Anglican Church and its volunteer board members last year, we are deeply disappointed that the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and its Bishop, James R. Mathes, have been caught up in the national tidal wave of lawsuits being filed by The Episcopal Church against local church congregations that have realigned with other Provinces of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, and instead have filed another senseless and intolerant lawsuit against St. John’s in an attempt to confiscate all of its church property, including the sanctuary, Bibles, hymnals and office files.
The diocese had filed suit against Father Donald Kroeger, nine church volunteers, and St. John’s in late 2006 in an attempt to wrestle away its property. The San Diego Superior Court rejected this claim, and entered judgment in favor of the St. John’s defendants.
“It is absolutely stunning that the Court ruled in our favor in November 2006, and now James Mathes is leading the charge to sue us again trying to confiscate our property,” said Father Donald Kroeger, head priest and rector of St. John’s Anglican Church. “We had hoped the diocese would respect the decision of the Court and the biblical prohibitions about suing other believers, but apparently we were mistaken.”
Since ending its affiliation with The Episcopal Church in July 2006 to remain steadfast and loyal in their commitment to the Holy Scripture and the historic teachings of Christianity, St. John’s membership and ministries have flourished.
St. John’s will continue to worship at its present location and facilities in Fallbrook.
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