Posted by The_Elves

Yesterday the attorneys for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (of which your Curmudgeon is one) filed a petition with the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Fresno to grant a rehearing (and re-briefing) of the case which that Court decided on April 5, as reported in this earlier post. The link to the Court's April 5 decision is here, and you may download the petition for rehearing here (a 45-page Adobe Acrobat file; nothing about this case is short and sweet).

Based on what the Court wrote in its decision, the petition recites a number of grounds for granting a rehearing (Petition, pp. 6-7). Let me deal with them one-by-one...

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted April 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..The key question in the California case is: which diocese -- the Anglican one that withdrew from ECUSA in December 2007, or the newbie Episcopal one that started up on March 29, 2008 -- has the legal control of the corporation sole under California law?

The decision by the Court of Appeal does not address this key question. Indeed, it barely mentions the Anglican Diocese, and does not acknowledge its separate existence under California law, let alone its connection to the corporation sole. (The Episcopal plaintiffs made a strategic decision not to name the Anglican Diocese in their lawsuit, and to make the corp sole a plaintiff as though they already controlled it, because they wanted to pretend that they were the "only" diocese in San Joaquin. It looks as though the strategy confused the civil courts -- as it was doubtlessly intended to do.)

The case is not over yet -- the Anglican parties can ask the Court for a rehearing based on the factual mistakes it made in its opinion, and if the Court refuses to grant that request, they can ask the California Supreme Court to review the decision, which the Court of Appeal ordered be published in the official reports. (The California Supreme Court tends not to review unpublished opinions.) If such a request is filed, the parties will not know the disposition of the case for another 60 to 120 days.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted April 6, 2016 at 4:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

April 5th, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin:

I am disappointed to announce that today the Fifth District Court of Appeal issued its written opinion affirming the judgment of the Fresno Superior Court. The appellate court summed up its opinion as follows: "Appelants (ADSJ) are correct that the trial court made certain errors. Nevertheless, applying neutral principles of law, the property belongs to respondents (TEC). Therefore, the judgment will be affirmed." (Contents in parenthesis added for clarification)

I am going to the Lord in prayer, seeking legal advice from our chancellors, and soliciting opinions from clergy and lay leaders with regards to possible avenues forward. I will communicate with you as soon as practicable when our lawyers have finished analysing the decision and a path forward is settled on.

Whatever decisions are made, we should have some time, 90-120 days, for things to work through the system.

Continue to pray and remember that God is in control.

Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, we come before you with open hearts and minds, seeking your wisdom and discernment. We pray you to grant us the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of uncertain times. Guide and direct our Bishop, clergy, and lay leaders as we seek a path forward that glorifies you and honors the men and women of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin past, present and future. This we ask in the mighty name of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen

Bishop Eric Menees
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Eric Vawter Menees, Bishop

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted April 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a second filing extension due to unavoidable caseload delays, the Diocese and Corporation filed two response briefs with the Second Court of Appeals, located in Fort Worth.Because the briefs filed in December made differing arguments, two response briefs were necessary. The TEC parties now have the opportunity to make a reply by March 24. These files are large and may require a few moments to load.

You may find the two (big) downloads here and there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 9, 2016 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Proverbs 1:33 (VOICE)

But those who listen to me now will live under divine protection; they can rest knowing they are out of harm’s way.

Our Father in heaven,

We thank You that You are a covenant God, not a capricious God. We thank You for the many promises of Holy Scripture. We claim this promise for the Diocese of South Carolina. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted March 8, 2016 at 11:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under California law, a religious body or organization may create a unique form of corporation, called a corporation sole, whose principal purpose is to allow the parent organization (which may or may not itself be incorporated) to hold title to real property. A corporation sole is different from the usual variety of that entity: it has a single officer, director and shareholder, who are all one and the same person, called "the incumbent of the corp sole." The governing body makes the rules for who can be the incumbent. Typically it is that body's bishop or other spiritual leader.

Bishops may come and go, but corporations sole do not. Under law, their existence is perpetual -- and that is why they are a good vehicle for maintaining ownership of real property. And like any religious organization, they are not-for-profit, and pay no income taxes.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is at odds with his own Diocese over the disclosure of financial information concerning the corporation sole of which he is the incumbent. (In order to avoid a vote on an outside audit of his corp sole at the diocesan convention last December, Bishop Bruno promised to disclose its financial statements.)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted March 3, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Los Angeles has reneged on his promise to the 2015 Diocesan Convention to make public the finances of the diocese’s corporation sole. In a statement released on 28 Feb 2016, the Save the St James the Great Coalition reported the diocese’s chief operating officer had responded to the group’s request for the audited records of the bishop’s finances by saying that disclosure would at this time would harm the bishop in his on-going litigation with the parish and donors of the land. The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, who is facing ecclesiastical charges of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy that include lying to members of the diocese, had faced a public censure at his diocesan convention over his handling of church property, but was able to postpone a showdown after he promised to make public his activities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most significant outcome of that first GAFCON meeting was the invitation extended to conservative Anglicans in North America to form an alternative province: the Anglican Church in North America. The rending of the Communion through the disobedience of Communion liberals had occurred, and the final steps envisioned in To Mend the Net--the suspension of communion and the establishment of a new, alternative province--had become a reality.

In retrospect, the tragedy of this history can more clearly be seen: the painful departure of thousands of North American Anglicans from their church homes, countless millions of dollars spent in litigation. All of this might have been avoided if the three Archbishops of Canterbury under whose watches all this has occurred had provided faithful, godly, unequivocal leadership.

But there is an even greater tragedy: "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1 Corinthians 14:8). Of the three great streams of apostolic Christianity--Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism--two stand unequivocally for historic Christian faith and morals. Only Anglicanism has equivocated at the highest level.

The churches of formerly mainline Protestantism have embraced the zeitgeist. Too many Anglican leaders have chosen the path of mainline Protestantism rather than biblical, apostolic, and catholic faithfulness. And damage has been done to countless souls through the ambiguous or downright immoral witness of these Anglican leaders and church bodies.

Many count it a sign of God's grace that, in this week's meeting of the primates in Canterbury, the GAFCON and Global South primates have finally taken an effective stand to restore godly order and discipline to the Anglican Communion. This is a first step--a baby step--that, though it goes in the right direction, does not go nearly far enough. Will this first step ultimately lead to the restoration of the Anglican Communion to historic Christian faith and morals? For that to happen a lot of hearts will have to be changed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: PrimatesAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby--Rowan WilliamsAnglican PrimatesPrimates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 21, 2016 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pain is palpable at St. Mary's Episcopal Church. The Rev. Ted Berktold doesn't need a tearful 75-year-old woman in his cluttered, book-filled office to tell him that. "This is not personal," she says, "but the Episcopal Church is no longer my church."

"My church is leaving me," another elderly congregant tells someone on the staff....

Other challenges will come first: The Anglican Communion's October 2004 Windsor Report calls on the Episcopal Church USA to halt the blessing of same-sex unions, block the potential consecration of openly gay clergy and express its regret for the pain caused by the Robinson consecration. The report is fueling rumors of an official split between the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church USA.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT)

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love.


Our Father in heaven,

Spread Your protection over the congregations and property of the Diocese of South Carolina. Fill them with joy and bless them. We declare, They are surrounded by Your shield of love. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted January 5, 2016 at 10:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, at a meeting of the Vestry, I tendered my resignation as Priest in Charge of Church of the Ascension, effective immediately. In the following comments, I have attempted to balance speaking the truth in love and telling it "like it is," along with respecting multiple sides of a disagreement and my own sympathies.

It was revealed to me this week that our Special Parish Meeting was orchestrated by members of the "Save Ascension" group, a faction that has existed within the parish since earlier this year. Their goals have changed over the course of this year, but have generally centered around the rehiring of former staff members, defaming previous and prospective clerics, and the restoration of what they call "catholic" liturgical practices. Although the Special Parish meeting did bear some fruit, and gave many a chance to be heard, the facts are that the meeting was approached by a majority present with an agenda to usurp my role as Priest in Charge of the parish, and therefore chair of the meeting.
Read it all (this part is appended at the bottom) and note the parish website is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Parishes* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 23, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About [former TEC Bishop Jeffrey] Steenson, his is an interesting side story because of the politics that got him elected as bishop in October 2004. He was running against five other candidates, one of whom was a northern Virginia cleric called Martyn Minns. Minns pastored the historic –- and sizeable – Truro parish in Fairfax, Va., and looked as though he had the election wrapped up. Then Steenson’s name was put in late in the selection process and a more liberal coalition called Via Media was behind him. Steenson was also a local priest and he ended up winning on the third ballot. Minns was first runner-up.

Minns went in a different direction and got elected an Anglican bishop in the province of Nigeria in mid-2006. That gave him the ammunition to lead 11 Episcopal churches in northern Virginia out of the denomination later that year. His story is too long to go into here but I’ve always wondered what would have happened had Steenson been more honest about his bent towards Rome and refused to run for bishop. Had Minns been a bishop in New Mexico instead of pastoring one of the largest conservative parishes in Virginia, the formation of a powerful counter movement against the Episcopal Church might have gone in a different direction.

I’ve always thought that one reason for the American Anglican split-off from the Episcopal Church nearly a decade ago was not so much the election of a gay man as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 although that was a huge factor. It was also the politicking that went on in numerous dioceses where qualified conservative candidates for bishop were foiled by liberal groups who found less-qualified moderate candidates to beat them. Northern Virginia was full of such conservative leaders whose orthodox theological stances made them unelectable and there were a lot of priests like them around the country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

3 Comments
Posted December 2, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Darcy Corbitt-Hall recently moved...[to North Dakota] from Alabama.

"Coming to North Dakota and then suddenly realizing I don't have that ability in my church is very upsetting,” Corbitt-Hall says. “I can't align myself with organizations that don't treat everyone the same and don't work for full inclusion."

Along with Darcy, other congregants that attend Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, share the same beliefs.

Amy Phillips adds, "Marriage equality is a human right. Our church clearly wants to support that right and be able to celebrate the union of all people, any people that want to marry each other."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 1, 2015 at 8:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For more than a half-century, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Monroeville has played an important, if not unique, role in the life of our diocese as a whole, as I know it has for many of you individually. Its visibility along the Parkway provided the means to proclaim to thousands of drivers every day that Jesus is alive. It was a Spirit-charged community, and members of our clergy and lay leaders alike have been fostered by that charism. And, it was the final resting place for some of our departed sisters and brothers.

As I am sure you are aware, there has not been an active Episcopal Church congregation worshiping at St. Martin’s for several years and the diocese now intends to sell the property.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

3 Comments
Posted November 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After being without a sanctuary of their own for 2 1/2 years, Trinity Anglican Church members will break ground in December on a new $9 million, 27,000-square-foot complex in the southwest that includes worship space and a preschool.

The ceremony, planned for 1 p.m. Dec. 5 at the northwest corner of Buena Vista Road and Campus Park Drive, will feature a brief prayer service and dedication by Father Karl Dietze, rector at Trinity Anglican Church, and Bishop Eric Menees of Fresno.

It’s just the latest milestone for the congregation, which split from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in a microcosm of the nationwide philosophical schism of the mid-2000s that saw congregations in the valley and around the country leave the Episcopal Church and align themselves with the Anglican Church.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted October 28, 2015 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If we needed any further persuading that there is no hope of holding the Church together over this, we need look no further than the history and example of what has happened in the USA, or indeed in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Whatever the scolding of the arrogant, Western, liberal élite, Gafcon and ACNA are simply not going to compromise or go away. It is clear that if the Church of England goes the way of The Episcopal Church and abandons its historic doctrine and discipline regarding marriage and sexuality a number of both clergy and congregations will secede from the Church here as they have done in the US and Canada.

We feel, and I speak as one of them, that the teaching of Jesus, the witness of Scripture throughout the Bible, and the tradition of the church, is unambiguous: marriage is between one man and one woman, and all expressions of sexuality outside that relationship are sinful deviations from the will of God. Of course, in our different ways, we all fall short of that ideal, but that does not change God’s will and purpose, nor our obligation to maintain our witness to it, both by our doctrine and our practice. We also feel that this is not an issue that can be fudged or relegated to a secondary or minor status, but that it is fundamental to our witness, both for the good of men and women and for the good of society, not least of children.

The only question worth discussing then is how a dignified and respectful separation can be achieved, in such a way that neither side is disadvantaged or penalized.The worst case would be that we repeat the quarreling and litigation that have disgraced the name of Jesus in the USA. Neither would it be sufficient simply to pension off the clergy who decided to leave, as happened over the ordination of women. There are important questions about local church property and funds to be addressed. But perhaps more importantly or more basically there is the matter of honouring the integrity of both sides, however much we may feel that the others are seriously wrong, and leave God to be our judge.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesGlobal South Churches & PrimatesFCA Meeting in London April 2012Instruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 14, 2015 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishop-elect of Dallas, George Sumner, observes that comprehensiveness, while often a point of pride for Anglicans, is in fact a difficult achievement, not to be taken for granted (“After Comprehensiveness,” Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2004). He writes:
We see that Episcopalians are fighting over same-sex relationships, and we assume that Anglicanism is comprehensive, and so we ask, what is the intellectual superstructure that allows us now to remain comprehensive? This is surely a mistake; we assume what needs to be shown. Comprehensiveness assumes that common and more central doctrines form a framework, an encompassing context into which lesser disagreements may be placed and so relativized. Such larger, often tacit, agreements keep a tradition in contention from descending into sheer incoherence. Anglicanism shows comprehensiveness when it achieves these goals of showing the more basic agreement, and so of putting disputes in context. Only pride would assume that such success is the essential quality of our tradition.
If what we mean by comprehension is some kind of embrace of a “larger truth” on this issue, Sumner writes, that is the kind of muddled nonsense we must avoid.
Even for Anglicans up is not down, and black is not white; we too should make our yes a yes. We are not exempt from the law of noncontradiction. Either same-sex relationships are a blessing from God, or they are contrary to God’s will. While our tradition may prove comprehensive in many respects, if there is such a disagreement we cannot be comprehensive with respect to it. To deny this is to make of comprehensiveness a kind of transitional object by which we lull ourselves to sleep.Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 14, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It would appear that the Revd Rupert Moreton (Letter, 2nd October) has failed to realise the changing reality of the worldwide Anglican family. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is part of the Anglican family, whether he, or even the Archbishop of Canterbury, approves or not.

I recently had the pleasure of hosting the Revd Ted Wood from ACNA at Holy Trinity, Woodburn, and welcomed the opportunity to fellowship with him and to listen to him preach at our morning service.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted October 12, 2015 at 1:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Despite the tendency of new congregations to grow, the impact of these congregations on the level of attendance in the Episcopal Church is relatively small —simply because there are so few of them."

Take the time to read through it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted October 12, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The misconduct complaint filed against the Bishop of Los Angeles by members of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach has been handed back to the national church’s disciplinary panel for bishops after the parties were unable to reach an amicable resolution.

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno appears to have adopted a scorched earth in dealing with complaints of bullying and dishonesty levelled against him by ignoring a request for the national church that he not prejudice the proceedings. Though all parties had been charged to “enter into this process in good faith,” the bishop’s attorneys have not relented in their legal campaign, and have sought to depose a Girl Scout leader whose troop had planted an herb garden at the parish, and the daughter of a woman whose ashes are interned at the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

5 Comments
Posted September 24, 2015 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Presiding Bishop hired an attorney in the Diocese of South Carolina, who presented himself as ‘Counsel for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina’. I said, wait a minute, according to our polity we are The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. I am the only one that has juridical or jurisdictional authority here. She has not spoken to me. She has not asked for my permission, and there is no constitutional or canonical authority that the Presiding Bishop has to hire an attorney to investigate me and the Diocese or South Carolina. We called a Special Convention; told the Presiding Bishop to remove the attorney. I have never received any notice from her – it is four years later.

That brought us into a cold war with the national church, and in a cold war the difficulty is everything you do to protect yourself in a cold war, can be interpreted by the person on the opposite side of the cold war as an act of aggression. That goes for me towards them and them towards me and so we have lived with that for three years now.

I need to conclude because our time is all but up, mine is already past. In the Fall of last year, I was informed that there were 12 allegations brought against me that I had abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. And after 2 or 3 months, the Disciplinary Board for Bishops came back and said, there is not enough evidence - I think that is the simplest way to put it – that I have abandoned the communion and so I will not be brought up on charges.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)General Convention Presiding Bishop TEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 24, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

That left Chief Justice Toal, who despite all the tortuous arguments stuck to basic legal principles and analysis: a trust needs a settlor to be created, and the beneficiary of a trust is perfectly within his rights to quitclaim back to the settlor all of his supposed interest in the trust. (There was thus no "breach of the Dennnis Canon" when Bishop Lawrence signed individual quitclaim deeds to his parishes, on behalf of the Diocese as beneficiary of any trust interest that arguably may still have existed following the All Saints Waccamaw decision.) And South Carolina religious corporations are free to amend their governing documents -- including a complete change in their charitable purpose -- as long as they comply with the formalities required by South Carolina law.

To this observer, it seemed as though the Justices had not discussed the case with each other beforehand. And it also looked as though the Chief Justice had taken on the responsibility of writing an opinion in the case -- since she was the one most weighed down with case files and briefs. But whether her opinion will be the majority one remains to be seen. I believe she has the confidence of Justice Beatty, who followed her before. And she may have Judge Kittredge in her camp, as well.

But both he and Justice Costa Pleicones seemed to have difficulty following the ins and outs of the arguments -- thanks to the constant interjections by Justice Hearn on behalf of the Church of which she is an active member. She practically monopolized the argument with long speeches (not questions) that would have sounded more appropriate had they come from ECUSA's attorneys. The resulting final impression of Mark Lawrence and his Diocese having had a rough time in the Court is almost entirely, in my estimation, due to the attempts by Justice Hearn to derail the case by returning South Carolina to the days of deference, as ECUSA argued in its briefs.

Whether her unprofessional and entirely partial tactics will succeed is a question that will have to await the Court's opinion, which could be months away. I shall have much more to say about those tactics in my following post.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted September 24, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Diocese argues to South Carolina Supreme Court that a lower court decision dismissing outside claims on local church property is consistent with state law and constitutional precedent.

COLUMBIA, SC (Sept. 23, 2015) – The Diocese of South Carolina today argued to the state Supreme Court that a judge’s February ruling that the Episcopal Church (TEC) has “no legal, equitable or beneficial interest” in the Diocese’s properties was correct and consistent with South Carolina law.

The argument came as the Diocese defended against the latest appeal by TEC, which seeks to seize local property. The denomination’s filings seek control of the Diocese’s 314-acre St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, the Diocese’s historic identity, its accounts and the properties of 50 congregations that joined the Diocese in disassociating from the denomination in 2012.

During today's appeal hearing, the Diocese and TEC would normally have had 20 minutes to present respective arguments, however due to the number of questions, more time was taken because of the vigorous debate.

“We are hopeful the Supreme Court will protect the fundamental constitutional right of South Carolina institutions and residents to choose with whom to associate,” said Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary of the Diocese. “The lower court made clear that the Diocese could leave TEC and take its property. We hope this decision concludes the expensive, distracting efforts by TEC to use what feels like endless appeals to delay the inevitable outcome.”

The History of the Dispute

The dispute began when TEC attempted to remove the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop in the fall of 2012. The Diocese immediately disassociated from TEC, an action affirmed by its Diocesan Convention in November 2012. At that time 50 of the 72 congregations that made up the Diocese at the time and 80 percent of its members supported the disassociation.

TEC immediately attempted to claim the identity of the Diocese, with a rump group calling itself the Steering Committee using the Diocese’s registered service mark and announcing meetings of the diocesan clergy. In response to the attempted identity theft, the Diocese sought legal protection for the Diocese, its property and that of its congregations.

On Jan. 29, 2013, TEC agreed to a court-imposed temporary injunction preventing its further use of the Diocese’s identity. The final ruling by Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein, which supported the Diocese’s request and rejected TEC claims, made that initial injunction permanent and dismissed the TEC arguments "with prejudice".

The Legal Background

TEC’s legal arguments can be distilled down to two related propositions. It claims to be a "hierarchical" church, with complete control of the entire organization located at its very top, much like the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the pope. It claims that, as a "hierarchical" church, the establishment clause of the Constitution prevents any court from challenging its ecclesiastical decisions.

Courts in South Carolina, Illinois, California and Texas have repeatedly found there are multiple and significant problems with these assertions in this case.

The first is the fact that TEC's organizational structure is irrelevant to this case. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled clearly and repeatedly that in property matters like those involved here, courts may decide them using what is known as neutral principles of law, which means the court may not apply special conditions or rules that are different than those it would apply in normal property disputes.

An example of neutral principles was the 2009 decision of the All Saints Parish Waccamaw case by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The court said judges may decide the matter applying the customary laws of property ownership. The same principles were applied in the case of the Diocese.

Under neutral principles of law, several further crucial legal principles apply. First, it does not matter if TEC were hierarchical or not. That should be irrelevant under neutral principles of law. Second, TEC has no interest in the real, personal or intellectual property of the Diocese because no trust interest has been established to give it such a claim. Under South Carolina law, an express trust requires a written declaration signed by the party conveying that interest. No such document was ever executed by the Diocese or any of its parishes to convey anything to The Episcopal Church.

Similarly, though TEC has asserted trademark infringement as an issue in this case, the only infringement considered at trial was the denomination’s unauthorized use of the Diocesan service marks. The real issue was who has the rights to control the Diocese, TEC or those who have continuously been its leadership, in unbroken succession, all the way back to 1785.

About the Diocese of South Carolina

The Diocese was founded in 1785 by the parishes of the former South Carolina colony. Based in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Diocese is one of the oldest religious districts in the United States and counts among its members several of the oldest, operating churches in the nation.

The Diocese of South Carolina is recognized by Anglican Dioceses and Provinces around the world, many of whom have broken fellowship with The Episcopal Church, and in 2013 the Diocese joined the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and entered into a formal relationship of Provisional Primatial Oversight with Global South Primates.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

UPDATE: The Hearing today has ended
You may find the link here if you have the capability and time to try to watch it. Please note that there are three cases, and the third case of the historic Episcopal diocese versus the new Episcopal Church Diocese is the third. This means it will not start before 10:30 a.m. EST but it COULD start later as I understand it--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2015 at 8:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heading up the panel hearing the case will be Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal, who in that same position authored the Court's unanimous 2009 opinion in the case of All Saints Waccamaw v. Episcopal Church, which I quoted and analyzed in this earlier post. Also serving on the panel will be Associate Justice Donald W. Beatty, who joined in the Waccamaw opinion. It is not known yet whether any of the other sitting Justices have recused themselves (two of them did so in the Waccamaw case); the fifth, Justice Kaye Hearn, assumed her seat on the Court after the arguments in the 2009 case.

Chief Justice Toal, whose religion is Roman Catholic, is no stranger to the concept of what makes a church "hierarchical." In her opinion in the Waccamaw case, Justice Toal noted that South Carolina Courts are required to resolve church property disputes using "neutral principles of law" whenever possible. They may defer only to "the highest religious judicatories" when they have properly decided an issue "as to religious law, principle, doctrine, discipline, custom, and administration." It should be noted that in her written opinion filed last January, Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein expressly found that there were no such bodies in the Episcopal Church (USA) that had outside jurisdiction over either the Diocese or any of its parishes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryReligious Freedom / Persecution* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. Judge Delays Hearing on Episcopal Church Appeal Demanding Identity of Diocese of South Carolina, Pending State Court Decision

Judge refuses to confuse the rightful ownership issue as it proceeds to state Supreme Court this week

CHARLESTON, SC (Sept. 21, 2015) – A federal judge handed the Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) a setback today when he refused the request to reconsider a decision about who rightfully owns the Diocese of South Carolina identity, trademarks and other intellectual property.

Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg, who heads TECSC, has repeatedly alleged that the property and identity of the Diocese of South Carolina actually belongs to the Episcopal Church and was wrongfully taken by Bishop Mark Lawrence, who heads the Diocese which left TEC in 2012.

Federal District Judge C. Weston Houck originally dismissed vonRosenberg’s claim in 2013, recognizing that the essential issues of the Diocese’s identity would be resolved by the South Carolina courts. Last February, South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein ruled the Diocese of South Carolina was, in fact, free to leave the denomination and keep its property and assets. TEC appealed that decision and the appeal will be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court on Sept. 23.

Meanwhile, TEC appealed Judge Houck’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appellate panel ordered Judge Houck to reconsider his earlier dismissal of the case using a different legal standard for that decision. The panel decision was largely procedural. It did not issue any opinions about the merits of TEC’s claim.

In today’s decision to delay any further hearings pending the outcome of a South Carolina Supreme Court decision about the case Judge Houck wrote, “Regardless of the [state Supreme Court’s] ultimate decision, Bishop vonRosenberg’s rights will necessarily be addressed and will be adequately protected in the state court action.”

He referred to the Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for Sept. 23, as “the parallel state court action.”

“Basically, the Judge is saying that if the Supreme Court upholds the state ruling the case will be dismissed,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to Bishop Lawrence.

Houck applied the Colorado River Abstention doctrine to conclude that the factors in this case presented the “exceptional circumstances” to warrant abstention.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 21, 2015 at 7:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A circuit judge held a three-week trial last year and earlier this year ruled the diocese owns it name, symbols and property.

But The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina {who formed a new diocese of their own], comprised of parishes in the area remaining with the national church, have appealed.

Read it all.

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Posted September 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gracious Lord, we pray that your will would be done through this trial. May we want what you desire. Speak your words alone through Alan Runyan and the other attorneys who represent us. May the courtroom be filled with the pleasant aroma of Christ, and at the end of the day, protect this Diocese and its parishes that we might bring the redemptive power of the biblical gospel to the South Carolina low country and beyond. Let not our fear of outcomes tarnish our joy or deter us from the mission you have given us. Teach us to bless and never curse those on the other side of this conflict. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And make us victorious over-comers wherever this road leads. For we ask it all in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

It is by God’s grace we have come this far. It is his grace that will bring us home.
On Wednesday, September 23rd, at 10:30 a.m., the Diocese of South Carolina will enter into oral arguments before the South Carolina Supreme Court. The Court has agreed to hear TEC’s appeal of the trial court ruling in our favor that was announced by Judge Goodstein on February 3rd of this year. In that order, Judge Goodstein ruled that the Diocese and its parishes:

• Are the owners of their real, personal and intellectual property.
• TEC has no legal, beneficial or equitable interest in any of those properties.
• TEC and its officers and agents were permanently enjoined from using our names or symbols.
• All the TEC counterclaims in the trial were dismissed with prejudice.

It is our prayerful hope that the state Supreme Court justices will uphold this decision in its entirety....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves



The hearing of the appeal by TEC and its local agents against the Diocese of South Carolina starts today at 10:30 am Eastern Time.
Prayer for the Diocese of South Carolina posted on Wednesday September 23rd

We ponder the mystery that today’s court hearing for the South Carolina dioceses is on Yom Kippur, “the great day of covering over,”
and we honor Jesus, who paid the ransom for our sins with His precious blood.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
We appeal to heaven and humbly ask for an alignment of this court case with Your perfect justice and righteousness.
We bless the South Carolina Court and Justices, the lawyers on both sides of this case, and the churches they represent.
May Your name be honored in all of the proceedings.
Your kingdom come to this hearing, Lord.
Your will be done as it is in heaven. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here



Prayer for the Diocese of South Carolina posted on Monday September 21st

For the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance.
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.
In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory.
He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power.
like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive strength.
The LORD alone led him; no foreign god was with him.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor.
He made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive riches.
He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive wisdom.
with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive blessings.
Deuteronomy 32:9-14, Revelation 4:11, 5:12

Our Father in heaven,
We loose these songs of Moses and the angels over the courtroom hearings in the South Carolina litigation. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here



Prayer for the Diocese of South Carolina posted on Monday September 14th

Ezra 6:22 (ESV)
And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Our Father in heaven,
We humbly request that You turn the heart of the judges to the Diocese of South Carolina in the upcoming litigation and aid the Diocese in the work of the house of God. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here



Prayer for the Diocese of South Carolina posted on Monday September 7th
Psalm 22:3 (ESV)
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.


Revelation 4:6,8 (ESV)
And before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures . . . And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

Our Father in heaven,

Enthroned upon the praises of Israel, enthroned upon the praises of the four living creatures, enthroned upon the praises of those who have been adopted as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ,

Holy is Your name.

We thank You for the blessings that You bestow upon the Diocese of South Carolina each and every day. You are her Provider, her Protector, and her Defender. You are her Good Shepherd.

The Diocese of South Carolina shall not want. You make her lie down in green pastures. You love her with a love that is beyond measure. You know her needs, and You sustain her, even in this season of litigation.

You lead her beside still waters. All of her fountains of joy are in You. You restore her soul.

You lead her in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Your word is a lamp to her feet and a light to her path. Through Your precepts, You give her understanding.

Even though she walks through a valley of litigation, You are with her. She will fear no evil, for You guide her continually and satisfy her desire in scorched places and make her strong. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort her.

You prepare a table before her in the presence of her enemies. She delights in wine and milk without money, without price! She listens diligently to You and eats what is good. She delights herself in Your provision, and You anoint her head with the oil of gladness.

Her cup overflows, and she shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow her, and she shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted September 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The upcoming hearing of the appeal by TEC and its local agents against the first instance decision in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina is due to start on September 23rd. T19 will be posting prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team as well as for the Court, judges and all involved as the hearing date approaches and encourages intercession for the people of God and His mission in South Carolina during this time.
1 Chronicles 27:25 (AMP)
Over the king’s treasuries was Azmaveth son of Adiel; and over the treasuries in the country, cities, villages, and towers or forts was Jonathan son of Uzziah;

Azmaveth–strong as death
Adiel–the witness of the Lord
Jonathan–Yahweh has given
Uzziah–Yahweh has helped


Our Father in heaven,
Your witness, Your help, Your gifts are the treasures of the Diocese of South Carolina.
We thank You for the bounty of Your treasuries.
You are the Lord of life, our Creator, and You overcome death.
Be present to the Diocese of South Carolina during the ongoing litigation, we pray.
Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

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Posted August 31, 2015 at 1:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;

St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Conway; The Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Radcliffeboro; The Church of Our Saviour of the Diocese of South Carolina; The Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal); The Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston, SC; The Church of The Holy Cross; The Church of The Resurrection, Surfside; The Protestant Episcopal Church of The Parish of Saint Philip, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina; The Protestant Episcopal Church, The Parish of Saint Michael, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina and St. Michael's Church Declaration of Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of St. Jude's Church of Walterboro; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of The Parish of Prince George Winyah; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Church of The Parish of St. Helena and The Parish Church of St. Helena Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Parish of St. Matthew; The Vestry and Wardens of St. Paul's Church, Summerville; Trinity Church of Myrtle Beach; Trinity Episcopal Church; Trinity Episcopal Church, Pinopolis; Vestry and Church Wardens of the Episcopal Church of The Parish of Christ Church; Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of the Parish of St. John's, Charleston County, The Vestries and Churchwardens of The Parish of St. Andrews, Respondents. v. The Episcopal Church (a/k/a The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Appellants.
Attorneys: Allan R. Holmes, Sr. and Timothy O. Lewis, both of Gibbs & Holmes, of Charleston, David Booth Beers and Mary E. Kostel, both of Goodwin Procter, LLP, of Washington, DC, Blake A. Hewitt and John S. Nichols, both of Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, of Columbia, Thomas S. Tisdale and Jason S. Smith, both of Hellman Yates & Tisdale, of Charleston and R. Walker Humphrey, II, of Waters & Kraus, of Dallas, Texas, for Appellants. C. Alan Runyan and Andrew S. Platte, both of Speights & Runyan, of Beaufort, Henrietta U. Golding and Amanda Bailey, both of McNair Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, C. Mitchell Brown, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Columbia, Charles H. Williams, of Williams & Williams, of Orangeburg, David Cox, of Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, of Charleston, Thomas C. Davis, of Harvey & Battey, of Beaufort, Harry Easterling, Jr., of Bennettsville, G. Mark Phillips, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Charleston, W. Foster Gaillard and Henry Grimball, both of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, of Charleston, Keith McCarty, of McCarty Law Firm, of Charleston, William A. Scott, of Pedersen & Scott, of Charleston, Mark Evans, of Charleston, David B. Marvel and David L. DeVane, both of Prenner Marvel, of Charleston, John Furman Wall, III, of Mt. Pleasant, Allan P. Sloan, III and Joseph C. Wilson, IV, both of Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, of Charleston, Edward P. Guerard, Jr., of Mt. Pleasant, C. Pierce Campbell, of Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, of Florence, Robert R. Horger, of Horger, Barnwell & Reid, of Orangeburg, Saunders M. Bridges, of Aiken Bridges Elliott Tyler & Saleeby, of Florence, Lawrence B. Orr, of Orr Elmore & Ervin, of Florence, Francis M. Mack, of St. Matthews, Robert S. Shelton, of The Bellamy Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, William A. Bryan, of Bryan & Haar, of Surfside Beach, Harry Oxner, of Oxner & Stacy, of Georgetown, Susan MacDonald and Jim Lehman, both of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Myrtle Beach, Brandt Shelbourne, of Shelbourne Law Firm, of Summerville, Stephen S. McKenzie, of Coffey, Chandler & Kent, of Manning, John B. Williams, of Williams & Hulst, of Moncks Corner, George J. Kefalos and Oana D. Johnson, both of George J. Kefalos, P.A., of Charleston, Stephen Spitz, of Charleston and Thornwell F. Sowell, III and Bess J. Durant, both of Sowell Gray Stepp & Lafitte, LLC, of Columbia, for Respondents.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted August 12, 2015 at 7:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Los Angeles has retaliated against clergy and lay members of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, Cal., for having brought misconduct charges against him under the Episcopal Church’s Title IV disciplinary canons, alleges the Save St James the Great coalition.

According to a supplement filed last week to the complaint, (printed below) attorneys for the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno have harrassed witnesses and members of the parish who had brought charges against him. Bishop Bruno is accused of trying to depose the husband of parish vicar the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees and seeking legal sanctions for his alleged non-cooperation with his attorney's demands, and have threatened to bring civil legal charges against those who signed the complaint, accusing them of “malicious prosecution.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

6 Comments
Posted August 5, 2015 at 11:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The people of St. James the Great Church in Newport Beach, California, thought they had their bishop’s long-term support when they moved into the building in October 2013, after the diocese’s long-term property battle with former members who joined the Anglican Church in North America. He was at the ceremony and offered his blessing.

But now they have no building because the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno signed a deal in May to sell it for $15 million to a luxury housing developer. They feel betrayed, and they are fighting back.

In July church members filed a lengthy complaint, or presentment, against the bishop. It charges Bishop Bruno with 147 violations of church law, ranging from conduct unbecoming a bishop to reckless or intentional misrepresentation, under Title IV of church canons.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Bishop Iker and the people of the diocese of Fort Worth win case.
Today the Hon. John P. Chupp signed his Final Judgment concerning the Motions for Partial Summary Judgment filed last December by the TEC-loyal plaintiffs and the defendant Diocese, Parishes, and Corporation, as well as Motions for Partial Summary Judgment concerning the TEC-loyal All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Fort Worth) filed by these same parties on May 6. In doing so, the 141st District Court affirmed and combined its orders of March 2 and June 10 [see the entries below], which upheld the Diocese’s right to dissociate from TEC and for the Corporation to retain its property – including All Saints' parish property transferred from the Dallas Diocese – and elected leadership.

Today’s judgment brings to a close a process started on Aug. 30, 2013, when the Supreme Court of Texas ordered that the case, initially decided using a “deference” approach, return to the trial court and that the court reconsider the parties' claims, applying the Neutral Principles approach instead.

The trial court’s ruling now becomes appealable, and the TEC-affiliated plaintiffs have indicated their intention to ask the Second Court of Appeals for a review. In early August the court is expected to issue an order stating terms that will allow the TEC-affiliated congregation of All Saints’, Fort Worth, to remain in the property it now occupies during the duration of the appeal.

We give thanks for our many blessings, for God’s work among us, and for the Hope of Salvation that is within us. We are thankful, too, for the patient endurance of all those who have prayed and labored for this day, especially our legal team, their associates, and their families.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

4 Comments
Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Judge Chupp has entered a final judgment against TEC, its rump diocese of Fort Worth and its parishes, thereby ending the lawsuit in which they sought to claim the corporation, property and bank accounts owned and controlled by Bishop Jack L. Iker and his co-trustees. Judge Chupp ordered that the plaintiffs “take nothing” from their complaint. This leaves all real property, corporate control and diocesan bank accounts exactly as they were after Bishop Iker and his Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth voted to leave TEC in November 2008.

The TEC parties have said they plan to appeal the final judgment to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. However, any such appeal will be guided by the “neutral principles of law” announced by the Texas Supreme Court when it reversed Judge Chupp’s original judgment in their favor, based upon his belief that he was required by Texas law to defer to the “hierarchical” Episcopal Church. Under neutral principles, the Texas courts look solely to the documents establishing a party’s title: whose name is on the deeds, what trusts have been recorded, and what (if anything) the Church’s governing documents say about a diocese’s ability to amend its own constitution so as to remove its affiliation with the Episcopal Church.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

When Frances “Rita” Eby died in January 2014 at age 96, her daughter knew where she would inter her mother’s cremated remains – she would bury them in the rose garden at St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach.

“Her church was so close to her heart,” said Eby’s daughter, Trish Norman.

Eby, Norman and St. James had a history. Eby was a congregant and volunteer at the church for 60 years. And Norman, 75, was confirmed at the church and attended Sunday school there.

So last month, when the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles shuttered the church on Via Lido as part of a plan to sell the property, Norman was concerned about what would become of the remains of her mother and 11 others buried in the rose garden.

Norman was further disturbed when she heard that the land could be sold to a developer to build luxury townhouses, a sale that might raise $15 million for the diocese.

“Who does that? You wouldn’t go into Pacific View and build townhomes there,” she said, referring to a local cemetery.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

0 Comments
Posted July 23, 2015 at 10:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 15, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new charges will add to his recent woes. After the news came out that Bishop Bruno purportedly had arranged a "sweetheart" private deal with a developer -- no bids or listing of the property, but just terms worked out with a single buyer who wants to erect a suite of expensive townhomes on the property -- he received a letter from the original developer of Lido Isle (the area of Newport Beach where St. James is located), the Griffith Corporation. That letter informed him something he ought to have known already: that the property on which the church stands was gifted to the Diocese for use only for church purposes. Griffith stated that if he went through with the proposed sale, the property would automatically revert back to it.

The letter caused Bishop Bruno to instruct his attorneys immediately to sue the Griffith Corporation for "slander of title" -- a rather heavy-handed response to the donor of one's most valuable property. You can read the complaint and see the original deed of gift at this link -- the deed restriction is for real, and the courts enforce them as written.

It will be interesting to watch this scenario play out -- whether the Bishop can remain on top of the situation will require that he first rein in his attack dogs, and begin treating donors and parishioners for the valued assets they are. Meanwhile, some useful information is emerging. According to this letter to the Diocesan Standing Committee, Bishop Bruno told the parish that he was trying to recoup the Diocese's litigation expenses (incurred in suing four former parishes, including the previous congregation of St. James) of Nine Million Dollars. That is five million dollars greater than I had estimated in tallying up all the costs of Church litigation, as reported in this post.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2015 at 4:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Los Angeles urged members of St James the Great Episcopal Church to trust him, because he was their bishop and his word was his bond. However, members of the Newport Beach, Cal., parish have now filed a complaint under the Episcopal Church’s disciplinary canons against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno alleging fraud, lying, abuse of authority, corruption and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation, who have been locked out of their church since the beginning of July on the orders of the bishop, filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los Angeles* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 14, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop William White of Pennsylvania, who first expressed the idea of a national association of state churches that later became TEC, outlined a plan "for organizing these Church of England congregations." White was "very sympathetic to the notion that the individual state organizations and dioceses should have the full and open control of their own property and of their own government" (p.27)

Take the time to read through it all (74 page pdf).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And now -- enter God's poetic justice. It seems that Bishop Bruno, who is as quick as any Episcopal Church diocesan to recognize a Dennis Canon interest in property when he comes across one, forgot about an earlier reversionary interest in the St. James parish property. It turns out that the original developer of the area, Griffith Company, donated in 1945 the land on which the beautiful St. James building was erected, to the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, upon "the condition, covenant and restriction" that

The property conveyed shall be used for church purposes exclusively and no building other than a church and appurtenances shall be erected, placed or maintained thereon. The foregoing restriction shall be binding upon the [Bishop], his successors and assigns. Upon the breach of the foregoing condition, the title to said property ... shall become at once divested from the [Bishop], his successors and assigns, and shall revert and revest in the grantor [Griffith Company], its successors or assigns.

Thus if Bishop Bruno carries out his plans to sell the property to the current developer, the only thing that developer could do with the property is maintain the existing church building on it (or build a brand-new one). And thus there is no way a developer would pay $15 million for land that is so encumbered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

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Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

On 26 June 2015 attorneys for the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno filed suit in an Orange County Court claiming the Griffith Company had slandered the title to the property sold for $15 million dollars to a developer who plans to demolish the church and build condominiums.

The suit states that on 10 June 2015, attorneys for the Griffith Corporation wrote to the bishop stating that when they had conveyed the land to the Episcopal Church in 1945, a restriction had been placed on the deed that required the property to be used solely as a church.

The attorney’s letter (pictured below) stated in 1984 the church contacted the Griffith seeking a release from the deed restriction to allow three lots adjacent to the church to be used as a parking lot. The Griffith Corporation agreed to removing the restriction on the three lots, but its attorney stated his client: “never released, nor intended to release the covenant, condition, restriction for “church purposes exclusively’.”

If the property were no longer used as a church, the land would revert under the terms of the deed to the Griffith Corporation, not to the bishop to sell.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

0 Comments
Posted June 30, 2015 at 11:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is a lot of misinformation being published by the Los Angeles diocesan leadership about the status of St. James the Great as recent[ly] as this past week....

On May 17th, Bishop Bruno without warning or discussion told the parish he sold the building. Not only had he sold it, but there was no plan as to where anyone should go or do. The parish was devastated. To some this was the second time they had lost their building; to most, who were just starting to come back to church or who are unchurched, could not understand how one man could unilaterally make this decision, especially on a church with a 70-year legacy and *the* last church near Lido Isle.

The pastoral care I have had to administer as a result of this decision has been exhausting. I have had parishioners fall into my arms with tears of disbelief. One couple told me they waited 53 years to find a church they could both agree on and finally found it at St. James the Great.

When I asked what was to become of the 150 families Bishop Bruno said they could go to other churches in the area. This, after spending 18 months of their time, talent and treasure to rebuild a viable, *growing *church.

Read it all.

Update: Lawsuit filed to block the sale of St James Newport Beach

A California court has been asked to block the sale of St James Newport Beach by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to real estate developers.

On 22 June 2015 a coalition of parishioners called the Save the St James the Great coalition filed suit in the Orange County Superior Court against the Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles and real estate developers Legacy Partners Residential. A hearing has been scheduled before the Hon. David McEachen for 9:00 am on 24 June 2015 in the matter: 30-2015-00794789-CU-OR-CJ

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 24, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

TEC’s essential legal arguments can be distilled down to one proposition: TEC claims to be a "hierarchical" church, with complete, top-down control of the entire organization.

“There are multiple and significant problems with these assertions in this case as detailed in this brief,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary. “First, TEC's organizational structure is irrelevant to this case. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled clearly and repeatedly that in property matters of this sort courts not only can, but should decide them based upon 'neutral principles of law' if that can resolve all the issues. That means questions of ownership can be settled on the same basis as in any secular case.”

An example of this point is the 2009 decision of the All Saints case by the South Carolina Supreme Court. As in any litigation involving churches, doctrinal issues are often involved. However, if the court can decide the matter applying the customary laws of property ownership, it may do so. That occurred in All Saints.

Read it all

and see also Diocese of South Carolina’s PR on TEC’s ‘Spurious’ Offer to Settle

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

4 Comments
Posted June 16, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The offer was made by a local attorney who represents the 20 percent of members who remained with TEC when most of the Diocese disaffiliated in 2012. It promised that TEC would end its multimillion dollar legal campaign to seize local church properties if the parishes agree to hand over the Diocese’s identity, its other assets including the Diocese’s offices on Coming Street in Charleston and the St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, which is prime real estate that could be sold off by the cash-strapped denomination.

“This is not a legitimate offer of good faith negotiation and never was intended to be,” said the Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, Assistant to Bishop Mark Lawrence. “It was a spurious offer chiefly made to disrupt submission of our brief and make them look good in the press.” Lewis said. “As a matter of fact, the Presiding Bishop's chancellor is on record as saying they would never settle. In that, they have been utterly consistent up until now.”

“Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that TEC has ‘no legal, equitable or beneficial interest’ in these properties. TEC appealed the matter and a hearing is scheduled before the South Carolina Supreme Court in September. If TEC were confident of its case, they would be eager for justice to be served and would not attempt to derail the next step in the legal process . Their so-called proposal has been unanimously rejected by all parties.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

3 Comments
Posted June 16, 2015 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A judge has ruled that a diocese in Texas which broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences is the rightful owner of its church property.

Judge John Chupp of Tarrant County ruled Wednesday that All Saints Episcopal Church belongs to the...Diocese of Fort Worth rather than the national denomination.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Early reports coming in
News has just been received that Bishop Iker and his Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth are the victors in the separately-tried lawsuit to determine the ownership of the grounds and property of All Saints, Fort Worth.

Judge John Chupp of the Tarrant County District Court had severed off the All Saints case, because its facts were more dependent on documents and circumstances that were not shared with all the other parishes in dispute...

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

5 Comments
Posted June 10, 2015 at 2:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Update: Video added June 1

Over the years, the Diocese of Los Angeles moved in a more liberal, revisionist direction but some parishes, including St. James, remained faithful. After my father retired in 1985, the vestry of St. James called a young priest from South Dakota to be their new Rector. The Rev. David Anderson and his lovely wife and children came to sunny California from a much different place. However they brought with them the same faith my father and the people of St. James held. Under Father David’s leadership, St. James grew and became an even more vibrant place of ministry and gospel witness. Healing ministries continued to flourish. New ministries were birthed—“Discovery (a kind of in house “Cursillo”) to introduce new members at St. James to discipleship in Christ, outreach to local rescue missions and jails, and a focus on evangelism through pre-marital and baptismal preparation. Many members of St. James were encouraged to participate in the life of the Diocese, to engage different points of view, and to share their Biblical faith in Christ with both truth and grace. As the congregation expanded, so did the building and facilities. Even after Father Anderson retired from St. James in 2004 to lead the American Anglican Council, St. James remained a place of faithful gospel witness in one of the most affluent areas of the country.

It’s with these memories in mind that I was saddened when I heard what The Episcopal Church was planning on doing with St. James. Like hundreds of other parishes, St. James voted to leave The Episcopal Church in the early 2000’s and was subsequently mired in a protracted lawsuit with The Diocese of Los Angeles. After years of fighting in court, the Diocese won the property. At the time, Bishop Jon Bruno said St. James was for those faithful Episcopalians in the Newport Beach area. So it was surprising when I read this Monday that Bishop Bruno and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles had agreed to sell St. James to a real estate developer. It will be bulldozed to the ground to make room for retail boutiques and condominiums, in keeping with the redevelopment of downtown Newport Beach. No provisions have been made for any sacred space for people of faith to replace this sacred space in the heart of the city.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 1, 2015 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is nearing the end of negotiations to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to real estate developers.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced the sale to congregants Sunday, Diocese spokesman Robert Williams said. The sale of the church could bring in roughly $15 million -- twice the appraised value of the site, Williams said.

Services at the church will likely continue into the fall, Williams said. No information on where congregants will be moved or whether the congregation may reopen at a different site was available on Monday, he said.

Read it all.



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

2 Comments
Posted May 18, 2015 at 1:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

"The Diocese of South Carolina has been in the process for some time of discerning what its permanent affiliation should be among the Provinces of the Anglican Communion," the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary and an attendee of the meeting, told The Christian Post.

"We have reached a place where it seemed the next and most appropriate step was to meet with leaders of the ACNA to share our common interests and questions as this diocese continues the work of discernment."

Lewis also told CP that while no date has been set for a convention vote on affiliation, the diocese stands on good terms with ACNA and other conservative Anglican groups.

"Our mutual respect and appreciation for each other is considerable, with many in the room having relationships that go back for years," said Lewis.

"Our conversations were wide ranging and provided much needed clarity for all of us. Those are conversations that will certainly continue in the future."

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, April 29, 2015, the Federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond denied our motion for a rehearing of their decision to return to the District court the case of vonRosenberg vs. Lawrence, which asserted that this was a case of Federal trademark violations. 
The case will now go back to the Charleston court for further action. Several things remain true about this action. While the Fourth Circuit said that Judge Houck used the incorrect procedural standard to grant our Motion for Dismissal, it expressed no opinion on the merits of Bishop vonRosenberg’s claims. It was certainly not a ruling in their favor on the merits. It simply means that the court believes the standard used to make his decision to dismiss was the wrong one and should be reconsidered using the appropriate standard. The question is one of procedure and not the merit of the complaint itself. The judge could in fact reach the same conclusion, using the new standard. To that point, the standard called for by the court, exceptional circumstances, is arguably well met by the facts that we now have both a strong trial court ruling in our favor, as well as a date certain for the case to be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. All the issues at stake in the Federal complaint will be essentially resolved by that decision. 


Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2015 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a complex and diverse denomination. Only last January I had the pleasure of worshipping at two Episcopal churches in Houston, which was a great experience with some wonderful people. In a broad church like TEC there are people to the theological left and right and everything in between. However, TEC as a whole is typified by a radical liberalism and an authoritative leadership that punishes dissent and persecutes conservative believers (I can provide evidence if you wish!). Bishops in TEC have denied every line in the Apostles’ Creed and there is a flagrant rejoicing in apostasy. I have to tell you that the vast majority of world-wide Anglicans look on TEC with a mixture of confusion and disgust and have broken fellowship with TEC. It is because of TEC that the next Lambeth conference has been indefinitely postponed. The African and Global South Anglican bishops have responded with no shortage of rage and rancor at TEC’s actions and attitudes towards Scripture. Now if the TEC presiding bishop asked you, as something of a celebrity recruit to TEC, to go to Africa and get the African bishops to chillax and to receive TEC back into the Anglican fold, what would you say to them? In other words, should the global south Anglican bishops be in fellowship with TEC?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC Polity & Canons--Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012Global South Churches & Primates* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 27, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The highest-profile seminary in the Episcopal Church is still struggling after turmoil between the dean and faculty members temporarily crippled the school early this academic year.

A letter from 20 students, alumni and former trustees to the Attorney General of New York dated April 20 asks for an investigation of the actions of General Theological Seminary Dean and President Kurt Dunkle and the Board of Trustees. The letter, originally made public on Facebook and reprinted on the blog Episcopal Café, charges that Dunkle and the trustees “may have abandoned their fiduciary responsibilities and taken actions which are likely to result in the closing” of the 198-year-old institution and the sale of its remaining real estate in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The letter restates earlier allegations against Dunkle while noting that fallout from the initial turmoil resulted in several students departing midyear, while the board “provisionally” reinstated the faculty only for the rest of the academic year, while canceling their academic tenure.

“No new hires have been announced and several top librarians have left,” the letter reads, claiming that “only one entering student has paid a deposit for admission next fall” and that the seminary’s accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools is under review.

Read it all and follow all the links therein.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted April 22, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the national Presbyterian Lay Committee, said that in the same way the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ became inhospitable environments for evangelicals to serve, the Presbyterian Church is becoming much the same way.

"We are seeing the environment within the PCUSA change following the affirmation of this particular vote," she says. "That environment is changing pretty rapidly. Presbyteries are becoming inhospitable to pastors who hold traditional views not only on this issue but on underlining issues related to the biblical authority of Jesus as the only way to salvation."

While sexuality might be the presenting issue in this case, LaBerge argues that the real division is rooted in a theological cleansing - fueled by a growing intolerance toward traditional, biblical views.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Finally, TEC press releases have included, with some frequency, statements by legal counsel for TECSC claiming its willingness to discuss “settlement options”. This is disingenuous nonsense. We should remember the following at a minimum:

• We were in the middle of what we hoped could be “settlement” discussions when TEC attempted to remove Bp. Lawrence in 2012.

• In the 90+ instances of litigation that TEC has instigated around the country, none has concluded with a settlement -- just the opposite. When parishes in the Diocese of Virginia wishing to leave TEC actually reached an agreement with their bishop, that deal was scuttled by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, who announced there was “a new sheriff in town”. Offers of settlement in other places have been likewise rejected. And even when the case has been definitively settled by the local courts, as in Illinois, TEC has refused to cease litigation, to the point of sanctions being imposed by the courts there.

• The fact is that TEC’s legal counsel was told as far back as 2013 that the Diocese would consider any proposals submitted to our counsel in writing. There have been none.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryMediaReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 6:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Late yesterday the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a brief order transferring to itself the jurisdiction over the appeal filed by ECUSA and its rump group (ECSC) from the February 3, 2015 judgment and order against them entered by Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein. ECUSA and ECSC had themselves requested the transfer of the case in order to expedite a final decision in the case by the State's highest court, without having to wait for any intermediate decision from the Court of Appeals.

The Court's order declined further to expedite the case's briefing schedule, set oral argument in the case for September 23, 2015, and then added: "No further extensions of time will be granted." In view of the great number of parties to the case (Bishop Lawrence's Episcopal Diocese and thirty-six of its member parishes are all respondents in the appeal, represented each by their own attorneys), the Court's order relaxes some of the filing and service requirements, and urges the attorneys to compress the multi-volume record on appeal to just the documents necessary for meaningful review of the decision below.

This order will enable a written, final decision in the case to be rendered before the end of the current calendar year, and should be welcome news to those on both sides who want to put this litigation behind them, and get on with the real work of the Church.

Read it all and do follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Yesterday]... April 15, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed to take the appeal of Judge Goodstein's February 3rd ruling in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. We are grateful that the South Carolina Supreme Court acted so promptly to take jurisdiction of this case, just as it did when requested during the attempted procedural delays prior to the trial. The more quickly the case is resolved, the more beneficial it will be for all parties, allowing us to get about the work of ministry without the incessant distraction of courtroom proceedings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there are now two very good reasons why ECUSA and its rump group should have no cause to celebrate their opportunity to go before Judge Houck once more with their claims of "infringement." The first is that the injunction against Bishop vonRosenberg remains in effect pending their appeal (which they have asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to hear directly, thus bypassing the Court of Appeals if the Supreme Court grants their request). If he is prevented from claiming to be the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, how can he say he owns the trademarks which have been adjudicated to belong to Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese?

Second, if the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina had the right to withdraw from ECUSA, as now finally adjudged in the Illinois courts, then it has the right to keep its marks and trade names -- and ECUSA (and by extension ECSC, since the latter claims to be one of ECUSA's dioceses) are both now barred from arguing to the contrary.

Judge Houck thought he was doing Bishop vonRosenberg a favor by declining to accept jurisdiction of his suit. Now that he is required to revisit that decision, however, he might just proceed (in due course, after appropriate motions and briefing) to the merits, and add his own adverse decision to the ones in the State courts of Illinois, Texas and South Carolina. ECUSA has asked for a decision, and now it will get one (but not for several more months).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 1, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But now add in the EMM figures (bottom of the third page):

(D) 2014 EMM reimbursements received were $ 13,322,419; while

(E) 2014 EMM expenditures amounted to $ 16,811,183; for a net

(F) Annual EMM operating deficit of $ 3,488,763, which more than wipes out (C) above, and leaves

(G) A net operating loss for 2014 of $ 1,092,161 !!

In other words, the Episcopal Church is in the hole to the tune of over a million dollars for calendar 2014.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2015 at 5:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church and its allies in South Carolina have filed an appeal with the state's highest court in its legal battle over a breakaway diocese's $500 million property.

After being denied a motion to rehear by a lower court, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina announced Tuesday that they are filing an appeal against the Diocese of South Carolina....

"Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working," stated [Canon] Lewis.

"It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of The Episcopal Church."

Read it all from the Christian Post.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 26, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 25, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sometimes a news story drags on bit by bit, piece by piece, over the years and becomes so tedious that reporters miss the dramatic cumulative impact. It also doesn't help that long, slow-developing, nuanced religion stories have been known to turn secular editors into pillars of salt.

So it seems with the lawsuits against conservative congregations and regional dioceses that have been quitting the Episcopal Church, mostly to join the Anglican Church in North America, especially since consecration of the first openly partnered gay bishop in 2003.

The Religion Guy confesses he totally missed the eye-popping claim last year that the denomination has spent more than $40 million on lawsuits to win ownership of the dropouts’ buildings, properties, and liquid assets. If that’s anywhere near accurate it surely sets the all-time record for American schisms. And that doesn’t even count the millions come-outers have spent on lawyers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 17, 2015 at 1:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s been one year since Church of the Holy Trinity in Ridgeland made the decision to disassociate from the national Episcopal Church and remain in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

It’s been one year since some lifelong members of the church parted ways, joining other houses of worship and breaking ties with family and friends.

Though the Diocese of South Carolina has commonly been referred to as a “breakaway church,” Holy Trinity’s Rev. James Gibson said, this portrayal is simply inaccurate.

“Our contention is that we have kept the faith, we have stayed within the historic faith of the church and that our diocese, in the decision it has made to disaffiliate with the national church, is not ‘leaving’ the church,” Gibson said. “We have not broken away, we have branched out and sought a greater unity with the worldwide church.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* South Carolina* Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 15, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I still remember a letter I received as a young rector. The letter concluded with, “Always remember, Fr. Mark, the Church primarily exists to serve the needs of its long-time members.” Even in the relatively more churched-culture of the late 1980s it struck me as shocking statement. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, wrote in the 1930s that the Church is the only institution in the world that exists to serve the needs of those who are not yet its members. But there is something more foundational than the recent debates about Missional vs Attractional. The Church by its very nature is missional. It is not that the Church one day decided to have a resolution, brought it forward and voted to be missional. It was the Risen Jesus Christ, whose mission we continue, who commands us—“As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.” The only thing left to ask is to whom, and where, and how He would have us go!

Missionalisation on a diocesan level also means to intentionally create a culture within the diocese that cultivates a missional approach to ministry and life. Cultures, as it has been observed, cultivate. To initiate outward thrust in congregational life and witness; to celebrate that which goes out in creative ways to where people gather rather than hunker down in Christian circles; to interact with the unchurch, unreached, uninterested is the challenge we face in today. It is to recognize that Jesus often crossed boundaries in his ministry and once he crossed boundaries he made contact, cultivated curiosity and then touched the place of need in the other person’s life which they hardly knew they had or could even whisper to others. It is, among other things, to take pre-evangelism, as well as evangelism, seriously. What is pre-evangelism? It is conveyed well by what an agnostic said upon the death of Pope John XXIII: “Pope John has made my unbelief uncomfortable.” Missionalization is to have such an aroma of Christ that when we go into the world meeting others we graciously make the agnostic and religiously unaffiliated uncomfortable in their unbelief.

Missionalisation also means for us to practice Big Picture thinking. As your bishop I have been mindful of the need to look at the big picture within the emerging Anglican world. Through the 2008 Lambeth Conference; the Global South gatherings in Singapore or elsewhere; the various GAFCON conferences; and from bishops or primates who have come to us from abroad to sojourn a few days or weeks in the Diocese of South Carolina the challenges and opportunities have been kept before me. Certainly the Anglican Communion Development Committee (ACD) has been a diocesan committee which has strategically looked at the larger world seeking to address what we could do to help shape the Anglican scene in the 21st Century. I am heartened that some of our larger parishes, such as St. Helena’s, Beaufort and St. Michael’s Charleston (which has a vital missional thrust through its Global Impact Celebration) are now seeking input from the ACD Committee as they rethink their missional relationships around the world.

Nevertheless I am often troubled by a recurring personal concern regarding the Big Picture....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted March 14, 2015 at 8:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Iker's latest request was thus simply an attempt to go back to ground zero, before Mr. Hill started drawing the battle lines, and to take the real pulse of the entire All Saints congregation in order to arrive at an amicable, Paulian-motivated settlement of the dispute. The rump faction at All Saints once again has spurned any such resolution -- acting, no doubt, in unity with ECUSA and its attorneys.

And so we see that little has changed, despite Bishop Iker's success in the underlying lawsuit. The attorneys have agreed on some procedures to expedite the resolution or trial, if necessary, of the All Saints case, and there remain still other matters which the parties can address by means of further partial summary judgment motions. No one seems to think that there are any material disputed facts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 12, 2015 at 1:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a letter dated March 9, attorneys for The Episcopal Church and the TEC-affiliated All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth rejected the Diocese’s offer to resolve the property dispute between the parish and Diocese through the Canon 32 process.

Read it all and follow the link.

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Posted March 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the time of her 2008 visit to Albuquerque, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

headed a congregation torn, both in New Mexico and nationally, over the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande was preparing to select a new bishop to replace former Bishop Jeffrey N. Steenson, who resigned in 2007 to join the Roman Catholic Church over the issue.

Several New Mexico congregations had split from the diocese and others were discussing similar moves....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Rio Grande* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

10 Comments
Posted March 10, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Judge Chupp's ruling is thus significant for a number of reasons:

1. For all practical purposes, it ended the case -- in favor of Bishop Iker and his co-defendants. There are still some claims for damages and trademark infringement, etc., reserved for another day.

2. It agreed with the Texas Supreme Court that "neutral principles of law" were to be used to decide the issues in the case, and that their application was not retroactive, since Texas courts had been applying neutral principles to church property disputes for a number of years already.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 8, 2015 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This reference makes it sound as if the tradition of properties being controlled by the local diocese is a brand new concept, created by Iker and company in the very recent past. Did those ordinances "declare" this fact or affirm older traditions? Stop and think about it: Why was there such a bitter battle in Denver back in 1979 when the national church took the unusual step of creating and passing the Dennis Canon?

As always, I am not saying that journalists need to agree with Iker, or with High for that matter. The key is to understand the arguments being made by experts on both sides.

The bottom line: When dealing with Anglican controversies, it always helps to include specific dates in the timeline, while also remembering that these battles are being fought at the local, regional, national and global levels.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Theology

4 Comments
Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the second time in as many months, a state court has sided with a group of breakaway Episcopalians, ruling that they can keep their property after leaving the national church in 2008 over sharp differences on homosexuality and the authority of Scripture.

Judge John P. Chupp of the 141st District Court in Tarrant County, Texas, ruled Monday (March 2) that more than 60 parishes in greater Fort Worth can retain their property and remain independent of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.


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Posted March 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By my count, 40 of the 91 cases listed resulted in legal victories at the trial or appellate level for ECUSA; just two parish cases (All Saints and the Good Shepherd San Angelo case in Texas) went the other way, but three of the five cases involving Dioceses resulted in rulings against ECUSA. A fourth diocese case (San Joaquin) is on appeal; the fifth one (Pittsburgh) gave a victory to ECUSA on the basis of a very strained reading of the effect of a stipulation between the parties.

It is a legitimate query to ask why the results of the parish cases are so lopsided in favor of ECUSA, while the results of the diocese cases go just the other way.

For the parishes, most of the decisions turned upon explicit language in their own bylaws that made them "perpetually" subject to their Diocese and ECUSA. No such language exists in any of the Dioceses' governing documents, however. For the cases involving them, the explanation lies in the well-established freedom of association, which is a fundamental right enshrined in the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. It holds that just as no one can be prevented by the government from joining a group, so also the group may not go to court to prevent a member from leaving it. "Freedom of association therefore plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate," as the Supreme Court put it in Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 623, 104 S. Ct. 3244, 3252, 82 L. Ed. 2d 462 (1984).

The liberals in ECUSA have a very difficult time trying to understand why their Church should be subject to such a doctrine. For them, the union between a Diocese and General Convention is an ecclesiastical one, and as such, they claim, civil courts should be precluded (by that same First Amendment!) from examining or questioning it in any way.

A moment's reflection will expose the flaws in that argument (not that ecclesiastical liberals ever pay any attention to logic or reason). ECUSA is, ecclesiastically speaking, a denomination -- but that says nothing about what it is in the eyes of the law. In order to sue or be sued in a civil court, for instance, ECUSA has to be a juridical person, not just an ecclesiastical one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Monday, March 2, 2015, the 141st District Court granted our Motion for Partial Summary Judgment regarding all diocesan property, with the exception of All Saints’, Fort Worth, which Judge Chupp severed for a separate trial.

Nearly six years after we were first sued by The Episcopal Church and its local representatives, the court has confirmed the Diocese’s right to dissociate from TEC and for the Corporation to retain its property.

“We are grateful for the ruling in our favor,” said Bishop Iker. “It’s clear that both church laws and Texas laws have been rightly applied to this dispute.”

In granting our motion, the Hon. John Chupp has ruled that Bishop Iker and the duly-elected officials of the Diocese and Corporation control the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, its Corporation, all endowments and funds, and all property that has been disputed in this litigation. The ruling is binding on all parties.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a bitter, seven-year legal dispute, state District Judge John Chupp ruled Monday that the Episcopalians led by Bishop Jack Iker who broke away from the national Episcopal Church are entitled to an estimated $100 million in property in the 24-county Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth-area Episcopalians who remained loyal to the national Episcopal Church and reorganized the diocese under Bishop Rayford High have the right to appeal the decision.

“We are grateful for the ruling in our favor. It is clear that both church laws and Texas laws have been rightly applied in this dispute,” Iker said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take a look.

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Posted March 3, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Found here (right hand side at the top under the "News").

Update--email from the Diocese:
Court rules for Fort Worth Diocese and Corporation...Late this afternoon, Judge Chupp released his ruling in our case. We praise God for His faithfulness. Bishop Iker will have a full statement tomorrow.
Partial Summary granted with exception on claims to do with All Saints Episcopal Fort Worth.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regarding the latest legal victory, [Canon Jim] Lewis told CP that he expects the legal action to continue, as The Episcopal Church will likely appeal the Goodstein decision.

"While it is unfortunate that ministry resources on both sides will continue to be wasted in this fashion, it is entirely in keeping with TEC legal strategy," said Lewis, who drew parallels to a similar property case that took place in Illinois between The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Quincy.

"The court sanctions imposed against TEC in Illinois last week are the perfect illustration of the lengths to which their leadership is prepared to go in pursuit of its scorched earth policy. We have no reason to expect different behavior here in South Carolina."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over at Faith Forward, Paul Holloway responds to my earlier post about his denunciation of Sewanee University for awarding N.T. Wright an honorary doctorate.

Thankfully Holloway’s response attempts some actual reasoning and tries to provide some kind of substance to his criticism of Wright rather than resorting to hyperbolic and vitriolic protest as he did previously. Let me say that there is nothing wrong with robust criticism of Wright, for case in point, see John Barclay’s critique of Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The problem is that Holloway’s initial complaint about Wright was filled with inaccuracies, pejorative anthems, and was transparently tribal.

Let me address some of his recent claims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 25, 2015 at 5:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...ECUSA argued, Bishop Lawrence should have been prevented, by the doctrine of "judicial estoppel," from so changing course and citing All Saints as a precedent to Judge Goodstein. Instead, they contended, he was required to stick to the same old arguments his predecessor had made before the South Carolina Supreme Court's 2009 ruling.

Except -- their argument overlooked one small but highly significant detail: as a decision by the State's highest court, All Saints Waccamaw is binding on all churches similarly situated -- including specifically, the Episcopal Church which had lost its argument to that Court -- and on all lower courts in South Carolina.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The motion had to be filed before an appeal can move forward.

“Their policy of using legal action to drain the finances of dissident congregations is not working. It only deflects denomination resources from projects to promote the faith and speeds the downward spiral of the Episcopal Church,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of South Carolina, whose parishes left the national church in 2012.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An updated list (as of March 1) of all the recent news stories about the South Carolina litigation may be found here.

For the second time in less than a month, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein rejected arguments by The Episcopal Church and its subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, that the two groups are rightful owners of the churches, symbols and other assets of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In her Order denying the motion for reconsideration she stated, “Large portions of the motion are simply the proposed orders previously submitted to the Court or reiterations of the Defendants’ positions at trial.”

The motion had also argued that because the Diocese had argued legal positions in the All Saints case contrary to those now being presented, that Judicial Estoppel should apply. In response, Judge Goodstein sharply noted... “The court finds that the Judicial Estoppel argument is without merit....If the Defendants’ argument in the instant action was correct, no party previously adjudicated to be wrong would be able to correct their conduct in compliance with a court’s holding. Such a result would be contrary to all sense of justice and order... With regards all other matters presented in Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration, they are hereby denied.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

7 Comments
Posted February 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After analyzing the record to find that TEC had waived any right to claim that there were separate funds in the single account, the Court observed:
During the argument on these issues, TEC argued that it did not freeze the account, PNC did. To say this argument lacks merit would be charitable. While TEC, in a very literal sense, is correct on “who” froze the account, the “why” is the more important issue. PNC froze the account because it received a letter from counsel for TEC which threatened to hold PNC liable if funds were disbursed.

The court finds, based upon this record, that the continued threat made to PNC Bank to hold it accountable if funds were disbursed and the continued attempt to collaterally attack the clear order of this court dated October 9, 2013 even after this case had run its course through the appellate process constitutes bad faith, is not grounded in fact or existing law and has resulted in needless, ongoing and expensive litigation.

Accordingly, the court grants the request of the Plaintiffs for fees incurred from December 30, 2014 onward pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 137.
There is much more to savor in the Court’s order. It is gratifying to have a trial judge (not the one who rendered the original Quincy decision) see so clearly through TEC’s bullying tactics, and to deal with them accordingly.

Read it all and make sure to follow the link to the full order.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oral arguments on each side’s motion for partial summary judgement were heard this morning in a two-hour hearing before the Hon. John Chupp, and a ruling is expected from him soon. The judge asked for each side to submit proposed orders to him on Monday, Feb. 23. He will likely select one of them to sign, subject to any alterations he may wish to make.
In the course of the hearing before several dozen clergy and lay people, Judge Chupp asked each side, “What are you asking me for today?” The Plaintiffs argued for a “simple solution” acknowledging that the property is held in trust for the Diocese and Congregations by those individuals recognized by The Episcopal Church.

The Diocese and Corporation countered that, under neutral principles of law as mandated for the trial court to follow, the Dennis Canon has been found by the Texas Supreme Court to have been revoked, leaving the property in trust for the parishes and missions in fellowship with the Diocese, and only those individual defendants before the court are the duly-elected officers of the Diocese and the Corporation.

Judge Chupp posed a number of questions to the Plaintiffs during their presentation, and the discussion was frequently animated. Near the conclusion of the hearing he indicated a philosophical preference for local self-determination, asking, “Why do we need to have a ‘big government’ solution to this where a New York church says [what is best]?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Alfred Pinckney strolls the ancient graveyard at St. Philip’s Church, as he likes to do, he steps over earthen paths traveled by his ancestors who have worshipped here since the 1760s.

Beneath the church’s towering spire and a cluster of massive live oaks, elegant grave markers bear their names. Pinckney clutches to his chest memories of their lives and deaths contained in a family history book.

“All these gravestones, they have a story,” he says, gesturing to an expanse along Church Street where at least 20 of his family members are buried alongside names like John C. Calhoun. The name of another Alfred Pinckney, one of several namesakes, is engraved into a marble dedication near the sanctuary, a forever thanks to young Confederate soldiers from St. Philip’s who died....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina has already announced it will appeal this decision. This was expected.

The court has affirmed what everyone knew from the start was the legal precedent in South Carolina, that congregations and the Diocese have the right to chose their religious association. While we will have more work to do to confirm this, we have every reason to be confident the South Carolina courts will continue to do so through the appeals process. We will pursue that in as speedy fashion as possible and deal with the expected delays we know TEC will attempt. Justice may be delayed by those attempts, but we believe it will come.

Finally, it should be observed that it is God’s grace that has brought us to this day. Legal counsel has affirmed repeatedly that they have experienced God’s grace at work in this litigation from start to finish. To Him be the glory and praise and it is in His Name alone that we trust (Ps. 20:7). By that grace, I trust the Diocese of South Carolina will continue “Making biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” long into the future.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Traditional or conservative Episcopalians living in my part of South Carolina sometimes feel cut off from their brothers in the lower half of the state. News of what our friends are up to is never, I repeat never discussed except perhaps in mocking terms overheard at coffee hour. The last time I heard a high ranking clergy person in Upper South Carolina try to say anything nice about the "lower diocese" it was with a slightly derogatory tone, "I'm from there, but I can't work there."

Unless an Episcopalian reads the blogs, they will remain clueless.

Whatever happened to the idea of engaging in a listening process, or to the idea of sitting down with someone and learning more about them? Isn't that what we have been told to do when faced with people holding different views on human sexuality and how it relates to the Church?

I guess the listening process is unidirectional.

As proof, I offer the following evidence: Each year, lay people, priests, bishops, and archbishops gather in Charleston South Carolina for a conference that goes by the benign sounding name of "Mere Anglicanism." These conferences offer lectures featuring guest speakers from around the world on topics which should be of interest to all concerned Anglicans, and I include all concerned Episcopalians in that group....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read the remarks of Bishop William White, generally recognized as the leading founder of PECUSA, as I reported them in this earlier post (with my bold, again):
. . . And there appeared [at that more general meeting in October 1784] Deputies, not only from the said three States, but also from others, with the view of consulting on the exigency of the Church. The greater number of these Deputies were not vested with powers for the binding of their constituents; and therefore, although they called themselves a Convention . . . yet they were not an organized body. They did not consider themselves as such; and their only act was, the issuing of a recommendation to the churches in the several States, to unite under a few articles to be considered as fundamental.
Moreover, at pages 6-7 the motion again reverses temporal order: "The Diocese [of South Carolina] came into existence as the Diocese when TEC's Constitution was adopted in 1789." This claim is metaphysical, not legal -- if the Diocese did not have any legal existence before its authorized representatives signed ECUSA's Constitution in 1789, then how could their signatures on the Constitution have been authorized? And why did they sign as "Lay Deputies from the State of South Carolina" if the Diocese (i.e., "State") did not yet exist? (The "State of South Carolina" [in the political sense] was not the entity forming PECUSA. The word "State" was also used in an ecclesiastical sense, as the predecessor to the later word "Diocese" -- which began to be used after the State of New York split into two "Dioceses" in 1839.)

The motion goes right on inventing new facts and claiming them to be true....

Read it all.

For more recent stories & commentary on the South Carolina Circuit Court Ruling, see here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted February 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can read the motion here (182 page pdf) and the press release there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a history of sherries at church coffee hour and wine during Holy Communion, Episcopalians have long endured — and shared — jokes about their drinking. (For example: “wherever two or three are gathered, there’s a fifth.”) Yet the relationship is complicated.

The denomination stood out a century ago for saying alcoholism wasn’t an evil. And Episcopal clergy played a significant role in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

So perhaps it was surprising that this week a top church leader said the case of Heather Cook — the Maryland bishop now accused of killing a cyclist while driving drunk — revealed Episcopalians’ “systemic denial about alcohol and other drug abuse.” Leaders will review church policies on drug and alcohol abuse for the first time in 30 years when they have their once-every-three-years meeting this summer.

One bishop is already proposing not drinking at the major gathering, and parishes are launching special worship services for people in recovery. Yet the Episcopal Church’s unusual history regarding drinking adds to the complexity of dealing with the issue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholismReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After 10 days of heated debate about human sexuality, fueled by small group discussions, private conversations and caucuses, the 71st General Convention of the Episcopal Church adjourned having decided the dialogue must continue throughout the wider church. That ongoing conversation will be aided by a new pastoral study document from the House of Bishops, and other materials on sexuality that will be developed for parents and teenagers.

Developed in private meetings over three years and numerous drafts, the pastoral became the focus of both hope and anxiety in the days leading up to the convention. The secrecy of the bishops in preparing the document added to the drama, feeding speculation about its contents. Weeks before the bishops' hoped-for release date on the first day of convention, the conservative group Episcopalians United had leaked the final two drafts, further heightening the tension and earning them a sharp reprimand from Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning.

Called "Continuing the Dialogue: A Pastoral Study Document of the House of Bishops to the Church as the Church Considers Issues of Human Sexuality," or just "the pastoral" for short, the bishops' document served as a touchstone for all other discussions on sexuality. In a surprisingly congenial debate in the convention's opening day, the bishops agreed to commend the document to the wider church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History

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Posted February 12, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear Friends in Christ,

We were all greatly encouraged by the court ruling that came out of South Carolina last week, where the historic Diocese prevailed in its lawsuit against The Episcopal Church. Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein ruled that Bishop Mark Lawrence and his Diocese, under neutral principles of law, had legitimately withdrawn from TEC in 2012 and were entitled to retain all their buildings, assets, and intellectual property (name, identity, seal, etc.)

South Carolina’s Supreme Court had previously ruled that the Dennis Canon (that claims all church property is held in trust for TEC) was invalid in that State, and the Texas Supreme Court has made the same determination here in Texas. Under neutral principles of law governing property, trusts, and corporations in Texas, we believe we should prevail in the hearing before Judge Chupp on Friday, Feb. 20, here in Fort Worth.

The same conclusion was also reached recently in the appellate court system in Illinois, where the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that there is nothing in the Constitution and Canons of TEC that prevents a Diocese from withdrawing, with its property and assets. The right to associate includes the right to dissociate. The Illinois Supreme Court denied an appeal from TEC attempting to reverse that ruling. And though TEC will be making a similar appeal in the South Carolina decision, it is expected that they will reach the same result.

In coming months, we expect TEC will once again be taking their losses in Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas to the United States Supreme Court, seeking reversals. We do not believe such efforts will succeed. Needless to say, all of this is a very expensive undertaking, costing both sides millions of dollars in legal fees and court costs that instead should be going for ministry and outreach in the world.

Continue to pray for our legal team as we prepare for the summary judgment hearing on the 20th and for clarity and insight for Judge Chupp in his ruling.

Thank you all for your continued faithfulness and for your witness to the Truth.

Faithfully in Christ,

--The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth

(Found here).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Updated 2 March 2015
Here are links to entries that were recently featured (stickied at the top of the blog) regarding the Diocese of South Carolina Legal Ruling.

Last two weeks:
South Carolina Dorchester County Judge Diane Goodstein Reaffirms Ruling Against TEC (Feb 23)
A S Haley on TEC reconsideration motion—Judge Goodstein: “We, not You, Get to Say What Is Ours” (Feb 14)

Slightly older entries::
Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein rules in favor of Dio. of South Carolina in case vs TEC/TECSC (Feb 3)
South Carolina Circuit Court Rules Diocese Keeps Historic Property (Feb 3)
A S Haley’s Analysis of the recent South Carolina Legal Ruling—“A Full Vindication…” (Feb 5)
Grateful: Bishop Lawrence Writes the Diocese Following Ruling (Feb 6)


Other related entries:

(CP) SC Judge Rejects Episcopal Church’s Attempt to Take Over one of its Founding Dioceses (Feb 27)

A.S Haley—South Carolina Court Makes Short Shrift of ECUSA’s Motion (Feb 24)

(Local paper) Judge denies motion to reconsider ruling against Episcopal Church (Feb 24)

(Local Paper) Local families worshiped at parishes for centuries, long before Episcopal split (Feb 15)

Jim Lewis—What it Means: Understanding Judge Goodstein’s Ruling in South Carolina (Feb 14)

(Not another Episcopal Blog) On the strange Radio Silence in Upper SC abt the Dio. of SC (Feb 14)

The New Episcopal Church Diocese in S Carolina files a motion for Reconsideration in recent ruling (Feb 14)

Robert Munday, former Dean of Nashotah House-will The Episcopal Church “come to grips with reality”? (Feb 10)

New Episcopal Church Diocese, Original SC Diocese steer ahead into complex legal waters (Feb 8)

A Charleston, S.C. Regional Business Journal Article on this week’s Court Decision (Feb 6)

(Charisma News) Episcopal Church Loses Big in Landmark South Carolina Court Decision (Feb 6)

Rift among S.C. Lowcountry Episcopalians widens as fight continues over properties, name (Feb 6)

New Episcopal Church Diocese in SC’s Decides to Appeal this week’s Court decision against them (Feb 6)

A Pastoral letter from the Bp of the New Episcopal Church Diocese in South Carolina (Feb 5)

Reminder—Timeline of Events in the Diocese of South Carolina leading up to latest legal ruling (Feb 4)

The Local Paper Article on the Ruling in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (Feb 4)

(AP) South Carolina court rules Episcopal diocese, churches can keep property (Feb 4)

You can find all stories related to the TEC legal conflict in SC here.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
One might wish that the leadership of the Episcopal Church would come to grips with reality. The people of the Diocese of South Carolina voted by an overwhelming majority to leave the Episcopal Church. Any church bureaucracy that would try to force its will on a Diocese where the majority of people have said they no longer want to be affiliated is manifestly evil. They are just trying to suck the life out of the Diocese of South Carolina (and the other dioceses they are suing) by bleeding them dry through lawsuits. (That's just my opinion, of course. But this kind of continued pernicious evil from the Episcopal Church's leadership has been going on long enough that it just makes you wonder what it will take to finally drive a stake through the vampire's heart.)


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because after so much legal wrangling, many still wonder: What does it all mean?

For one, the Diocese of South Carolina clearly can operate on its own with Lawrence, who led its departure from the national church, at the helm. Second, his diocese can keep the name and symbols, along with the parishes that left with it and the more than $500 million in church properties they inhabit, including historic colonial buildings.

“It is a judicial finding that we are who we say we are — the Diocese of South Carolina — and our names and symbols are ours alone to use,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, its canon to the ordinary.

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein’s long-awaited ruling last week also could play a key role in similar disputes nationwide and impact other hierarchical churches that face discord in South Carolina. It comes at a time of increasing legal complexity as judges across the country decide similar cases using two very different legal principles, experts said.

And that could push the South Carolina case to the U.S. Supreme Court’s doorstep. Or at least some hope it will.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 8, 2015 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than a year after the suit was filed, Circuit Judge Diane Schafer Goodstein ruled Tuesday in favor of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina and nearly 40 parishes. They were looking to keep the national Episcopal Church and the parishes that remained affiliated with it from taking local church properties, some dating back to 1680, as well as using the diocese’s seal and name.

St. Philip’s Church on Church Street and St. Michael’s Church on Broad Street in downtown Charleston were in question, among other properties.

The group left the national church in October 2012 after it tried to remove the Right Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop. Disagreements about homosexuality and other “moral issues” also divided the church.

The 14-day trial, which took place in July in a St. George courtroom, included 59 witnesses and more than 1,200 pieces of evidence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 6, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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