Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a brief order filed...[yesterday], the Supreme Court of South Carolina has granted the motion filed earlier by Bishop Lawrence, his diocesan trustees and individual parishes to transfer to it jurisdiction of the current appeals brought by ECUSA and its rump group in an attempt to delay the trial of the main action set for next July in front of Judge Goodstein.

The Supreme Court's action came just after ECUSA and its rump group had filed a petition for rehearing with the Court of Appeals, asking a full panel to overrule a single judge's earlier order dismissing that appeal, which seeks review of an order by Judge Goodstein denying the rump group access to attorney-client communications between Bishop Lawrence and his counsel, Alan Runyon.

The appeal raises the question of whether the rump group may be seen in law as the continuing successor to the Episcopal Diocese, or whether it is a new entity that began its legal life with a special convention in January 2013 -- regardless of whether ECUSA treats it for religious purposes as a continuing "diocese" in the Church. The rump group contends that they are the legal successor to the Diocese, and so are entitled to see prior communications between the Episcopal Diocese and its attorneys.

But the Episcopal Diocese is very much alive as a legal entity under South Carolina law, with its same Constitution and Canons (amended so as to remove any affiliations with ECUSA), as the rump group has found out in defeat after defeat these past fifteen months.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 8, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The South Carolina Supreme Court has intervened in a lawsuit and granted the Diocese of South Carolina’s Motion to Transfer jurisdiction from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. This may effectively prevent The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), from using serial appeals to further delay a trial to prevent the two groups from seizing Diocese of South Carolina property.

The Supreme Court decision comes days after TEC and TECSC filed new appeals apparently aimed at delaying the discovery process in advance of the trial that is scheduled to start on July 7. While the Supreme Court ruling does not prevent the denomination from filing appeals, it eliminates the time-consuming step of first going to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.


Read it all.

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

11 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Your Curmudgeon has just received reliable word that ECUSA and its attorneys intend to ask the United States Supreme Court to review the (interlocutory!) decision by the Supreme Court of Texas in Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church (USA), in which the Texas Court recently denied ECUSA's petition for a rehearing. The decision is called "interlocutory" because it is not a final one -- the case still has to go to trial before Judge Chupp in Tarrant County District Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court, as a rule, accepts review of interlocutory decisions only in cases of extreme emergency, where further proceedings in the lower court could wipe out a party's chances ever to take a future appeal from the final decision, when it is eventually entered. (Recall that the Court denied the petition for review ("certiorari") filed by St. James parish, in Newport Beach, following the interlocutory decision by the California Supreme Court in The Episcopal Church Cases -- which returned those cases for trial, just as in Texas....)

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In another recent but unpublished decision, the same [South Carolina] Court of Appeals disposed in one paragraph of an appeal by a Baptist Church Conference from a judgment finding it had no ownership or trust interest in the property of one of its churches (Haselden v. New Hope Church, No. 2012-213355, March 19, 2014) (h/t: commenter "Joe"). The per curiam opinion is self-explanatory:
The General Conference of the Free Will Baptist Church of the Pentecostal Faith ("the Conference") appeals the circuit court's order granting summary judgment in favor of New Hope Church ("New Hope") on the grounds that New Hope owned the property on which it was situated free and clear of any legal interest claimed by the Conference. We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Rule 56(c), SCRCP (stating that summary judgment is proper when no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law); Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595, 603 (1979) (stating that when resolving disputes over the ownership of church property, courts must rely "exclusively on objective, well-established concepts of trust and property law familiar to lawyers and judges."); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7401(a)(2) (Supp. 2013) ("To be valid, a trust of real property, created by transfer in trust or by declaration of trust, must be proved by some writing signed by the party creating the trust."); All Saints Parish Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of S.C., 385 S.C. 428, 449, 685 S.E.2d 163, 174 (2009) ("It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.").

AFFIRMED.
Since it is unpublished, the opinion has no precedential value (i.e., it cannot be cited to any other South Carolina court), but its summary disposition is still a strong indicator of the way the wind blows in South Carolina. The Court found applicable Jones v. Wolf's holding that state courts may apply traditional concepts of trust and property law in resolving church property cases; a South Carolina statute setting out the legal requirements for a valid trust in the State; and the Supreme Court's opinion in the All Saints Waccamaw case, which ruled against a similar argument made by ECUSA and the then-EDSC. Taken together, those three authorities are all a court needs to cite in order to find a Dennis-Canon type of claim invalid and of no consequence under South Carolina law.

Read it all.

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

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today the Texas Supreme Court denied the losing parties' petitions for rehearing in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court had delivered its opinions in the two cases last August 30. In the first case, the Court had sided with Bishop Iker's Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker's Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a "neutral principles of law" analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court's judgment in the case.

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

1 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church and its local supporters in Fort Worth have suffered a second defeat from the Texas Supreme Court. On August 30, 2013, the high court reversed a lower-court decision that favored TEC’s claim to all church property in the Diocese of Fort Worth, which left the denomination in 2008. Today the Court denied TEC’s subsequent motion to rehear the case which now returns to the lower court for a new hearing and summary judgment based on neutral principles of law, not deference to a hierarchical church. We praise God for this very good news.

Some speculate that TEC will now seek a review of the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court as a further delaying tactic, but given past decisions on cases similar to this, it is highly unlikely that such a request would be granted. In recent appeals, the SCOTUS has left church property disputes to each state Supreme Court to decide. Moreover, the Texas Supreme Court will issue its mandate referring the case to the trial court, regardless of any such filing.

Read it all.

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

5 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seven board members, of which I am one, made a request privately to the Chairman of the Board for a special meeting. That request was denied on both procedural and substantive grounds, with a response to the later questions coming from the Chairman alone even though questions were specifically put to the Dean. The seven then made a second request for a meeting, this time appealing to legal arguments to attempt to affect some discussion. That request was denied by the Secretary on legal grounds, with no mention of the merit of the concerns. One bishop then sent a personal request that we have a face-to-face meeting. The result was an invitation to discussion only, about which I shall say more.

Of the Dean’s video defense of the invitation, the obvious logical and theological issues are manifold and have been covered with far more alacrity and in far more depth than I am able. Suffice it to say that the idea that a seminary’s pulpit is somehow more resilient to heresy than a parish’s is indefensible. The idea that seminarians are more immune to heresy than are “ordinary” parishioners is both demeaning and unjustifiable. If the history of our tradition over the last half century has taught us nothing else, it has at least taught us that our seminaries are precisely where erroneous doctrines are incubated. The idea that professional and courteous attention to one known to present a false gospel will somehow be a witness and corrective thereto defies logic and is in violation of the clear injunctions of Holy Writ.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

13 Comments
Posted March 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

3 Comments
Posted March 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout the rest of the book, Robinson seeks to convince the reader of the need for legal gay marriage in all fifty states and at the federal level. Chapters with titles such as “Why Marriage Now?” “Don’t Children Need a Mother and a Father?” and “What Would Jesus Do?” attempt to counter commonly heard objections to homosexual unions. Robinson concludes the book with his final chapter, “God Believes in Love,” where he makes the case that God’s bountiful love puts no restrictions upon the gender of those expressing their love for one another.

God Believes in Love is a deeply personal story told with conviction, but it comes up short in a number of areas. The most glaring is the undercurrent of self-centeredness which arises from time to time in its narrative. As in all divorce stories told by the uninjured party, Robinson’s is one in which everyone concerned has benefitted greatly from the break up. His wife was freed from a relationship with a man who couldn’t love her in a truly marital way. His daughters benefitted from a happier father, and they built a new and wonderful relationship with their new stepdad, Mark. Above all, Robinson was able to be “true to himself,” the highest in our current table of virtues. But one wonders how his ex-wife and daughters remember those difficult years when Robinson decided to disassemble their family (the children were four and eight years old).

While Robinson served as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, he surprisingly uses far more secular arguments than theological ones.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The order list published this morning by the United States Supreme Court shows that, after relisting the case for its conferences four times, it has denied certiorari (review) in No. 13-449, The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al. Under its rules, the Court grants certiorari when at least four of the nine justices are interested in a given case; it takes five justices to make a majority.

Read it all and and there is a Washington Post article there.

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

The order list published this morning by the United States Supreme Court shows that it still has taken no final action on the petition for review in No. 13-449, The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al. Under its rules, the Court grants certiorari when at least four of the nine justices are interested in a given case; it takes five justices to make a majority. The postponement can mean only that either the justices are still discussing what disposition will be made of the case, or that there are one or more dissents from what has been decided (but not yet announced). If the latter is the case, we will eventually learn that less than four justices voted to grant review, and that they were taking the time to write a dissent to be published with the announcement.

As soon as the Court updates the docket sheet, we will have a better idea of which of these alternatives may be the case. The Court's next conference is this Friday, March 7.

Read it all

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

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Charles VonRosenberg]...emphasized, however, the need for Christian unity among different denominations and groups who might not agree on all issues but who can still operate as a family with common roots and missions of faith and service.

"The spirit of God moves through history in the direction of unity among God's people. I believe that principle," vonRosenberg said. "I pray for our unity, and I encourage you to join me in that belief and prayer."

Read it all.

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

4 Comments
Posted March 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The docket sheet in the United States Supreme Court tells the tale. After receiving an extension of time, The Falls Church filed on October 9 in the Supreme Court its petition for writ of certiorari (or review) of the decision rendered by the Virginia Supreme Court last April 18 (and its denial of a rehearing on June 14).

The ever-cocky Episcopal Church (USA) and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, following its lead, declined to file responses to the petition. Four amici curiae ("friends of the court", being organizations interested in the case) filed briefs in support of The Falls Church: ACNA, the Presbyterian Lay Committee, St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, CA, and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The case went to conference last December just on those briefs. And -- lo and behold! -- the Court ordered ECUSA and its Diocese to file a response before it ruled on the petition.

Such a request is noteworthy, because the Court's Rules explain that the Court ordinarily does not grant a pending petition without first calling for a response to it. Had the Court taken no interest in the petition, on the other hand, it could have denied the petition outright at its December 6 conference...
...........
Watch for the Court's release of its "Order List" next Monday -- and pray in the meantime that the Court be guided to grant review at its conference this Friday.

Read it all and see also SCOTUS Blog Petitions to watch - Conference of February 28 and Issue and Case File

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

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 6:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted February 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the past several years, the U.S. Episcopal Church has filed church property lawsuits against churches and dioceses that have chosen to cut ties with the denomination over theological differences. Conservative Episcopalians have left, denouncing what they believe is the denomination's departure from scriptural authority and traditional Anglicanism....

Anglican Church of North America Archbishop Robert Duncan told Institute on Religion and Demography, "This is a tragic and unwise decision that threatens the future of Nashotah House." Duncan also serves on the seminary's Board of Trustees.

The seminary's dean, Salmon, explained that the decision came after Deacon Terry Star of North Dakota, a student at Nashotah and member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, said that Schori had advised him against attending the seminary. Two other female Episcopal students said they were also discouraged from attending the seminary. "All three said she should be invited to come and see ACNA and TEC in harmony," Salmon said, according to IRD. "No one here is fighting with anybody."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologySacramental TheologySeminary / Theological Education

6 Comments
Posted February 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Jervis] Zimmerman paints a compelling portrait of a hard-working but combative parish priest, quick to take offense, and often at the storm center of controversy. Prescott was subjected to four successive heresy trials in Massachusetts between 1850 and 1852. Again, he was put on trial in Pennsylvania for his ritual practices at St. Clement’s in 1880. At the same time, his relations with Fr. Benson, superior of the SSJE, deteriorated; Benson secured Prescott’s resignation from St. Clement’s in 1880 and released him from his life vows in 1882. Prescott served a variety of parishes in his 53 years of ordained ministry, but often stayed no more than two or three years in one place. His longest tenure was as rector of the African-American parish of St. Luke in New Haven, where he served seven years until his retirement in 1900.

Always professing his loyalty to the Episcopal Church, in times of controversy Prescott also insisted on his rights according to the canons. At least twice he resigned as rector because of what he saw as vestry violations of his canonical prerogatives. When bishops tried to suppress his ritual practices, he argued that such practices were nowhere forbidden by the church’s formularies and that his duty was to defend his parish’s rights against infringement by low-church bishops, who tended to argue that what was not explicitly authorized was forbidden. In other words, Prescott consistently resisted rule by the personal whim of those in positions of ecclesiastical authority. Tellingly, his fundamental disagreement with Benson arose from the latter’s refusal to provide a written constitution for the SSJE despite earlier promises to do so.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 19, 2014 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: San Joaquin

0 Comments
Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

(Updated Jan. 2014)
In September 2010, I put up an analysis, based on ECUSA's monthly statements and their annual audited statements through 2009, of how much ECUSA and its major dioceses had spent on attorneys' fees and other costs associated with the (then) 60+ lawsuits as catalogued here (see pgs. 23-26). In order to give as complete a picture as possible, I also included the latest ECUSA budget projection of legal expenses through the triennium 2010-2012.

One has to realize that ECUSA does not make it easy to discover the amounts it spends on litigation -- the leadership at 815 Second Avenue would obviously prefer that those who sit in the pews every Sunday and contribute their pledges not be aware of just how many millions have been squandered on ECUSA's scorched-earth litigation policy.

I am fully aware that those are fighting words to all those who support the current administration at 815 Second Avenue: "Prove it!" they say. Well, in the course of this post, I intend to do just that. So please suspend your judgment until you have digested the entire piece, and checked out all the links to my sources -- which are uniformly from ECUSA's own published financial statements and official minutes. I am a lifelong Episcopalian myself, and I am utterly ashamed and outraged by what the Presiding Bishop and her cohorts are doing in our Church's name.

Read it all and see also Allan Haley: Episcopal Church (USA) Annual Litigation Summary 2014

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

2 Comments
Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

CHARLESTON, SC, February 6, 2014 – The Diocese of South Carolina today asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to intervene in an appeal filed “primarily for the purpose of delay” by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC).

TEC’s appeal challenges a lower court ruling on the process both sides may use in discovery leading up to a trial that will decide whether the denomination may seize South Carolina property, including churches and the diocesan symbols. The diocese argues that TEC is appealing a court order that is “unappealable”.

“[TEC and TECSC] are misusing the judicial system to delay resolution of this case,” says the diocese’s request for Supreme Court action. “Their strategy of appealing an interlocutory order is evidence of that intent. This is the same strategy that caused eight months to be wasted at the start of this case in federal court where they asked the federal court to override the state court injunction.”


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

3 Comments
Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck issued a sharply worded ruling today that rebuffed efforts by The Episcopal Church to sidestep a South Carolina Circuit Court injunction preventing the denomination from seizing the identity and symbols of the Diocese of South Carolina.

In his ruling, Judge Houck said, “It appears Bishop [Charles G.] vonRosenberg is using the motion to express his disagreement with the Court’s ruling and to ‘rehash’ previously presented arguments. … As such, Bishop vonRosenberg’s motion is improper and reconsideration is not justified.”

Bishop vonRosenberg had asked Judge Houck to effectively overturn a state court injunction preventing him and his followers from claiming to be the Diocese of South Carolina.

“We are grateful Judge Houck saw through The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) efforts to distract from the real issues in this case,” said Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. “Their attempt to claim violation of trademark rights was little more than a stalling tactic.

“It’s understandable that TECSC wants to postpone the adjudication of the actual issues involved, but we’re confident the courts will not be distracted,” Lewis said. “Sadly, all the legal shenanigans simply add to the tens of millions of dollars the denomination has spent on legal bills aimed at bullying disaffected members to remain with TEC.”

TEC has historically used the courts to punish parishes and dioceses who disagree with the denomination’s shifting theology. The group has spent more than $22 million on legal efforts to seize individual church property and evict parishioners. At times when judges have ruled against TEC, the denomination has filed time-consuming appeals that have tied up break-away resources and, occasionally, worn down the resolve of individuals seeking religious freedom.

The state court case is scheduled to go to trial in July.

The Diocese of South Carolina disassociated from the Episcopal Church in October 2012 after TEC tried to defrock Bishop Lawrence. Following the Diocese’s decision, 49 churches representing 80 percent of the Diocese’s 30,000 members voted to remain in union with the Diocese and not with TEC.

The Diocese has consistently disagreed with TEC’s embrace of what most members of the global Anglican Communion believe to be a radical fringe scriptural interpretation that makes following Christ’s teachings optional for salvation.

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

19 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 4:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Read it all

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

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a Fresno courtroom Monday, Anglican Bishop John-David Schofield's presence loomed large in the long, legal battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Schofield, who died in October, is a key witness in a Fresno County Superior Court civil trial that will determine who owns dozens of pieces of property -- the Anglican diocese or the national Episcopal Church?

The bishop gave his videotaped deposition in late 2011, long after he led 40 of 47 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin away from the national Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Diocese of the San Joaquin.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Monday of this week, South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein denied the motion by the ECUSA parties to expand their counterclaims against Bishop Mark Lawrence and certain of his clergy -- a motion which I previously predicted would be denied in this earlier post. In ruling from the bench, Judge Goodstein noted that the counterclaimants had failed to show any good reason to single out specific members of the clergy for acting in accordance with the wishes of the Diocese they served -- actions that were ratified and approved by literally thousands of its members.

The Diocese's Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Jim Lewis, responded to the ruling with this statement: "“We are grateful that Judge Goodstein dismissed this most recent effort to harass our people with time-consuming, expensive litigation. Attorneys for both TEC and TECSC have tried to distract attention from the denomination’s efforts to seize our property by suing our clergy and pursuing our lay leadership. The judge’s decision ends the legal fishing expedition and forces all to focus on the only issue that matters: whether our religious freedom is protected.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein today denied efforts by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) to expand its lawsuit by adding claims against four diocesan officials.

The judge, who had only a few months ago rejected efforts by the national Episcopal Church to drag literally all of the diocese’s officers into the suit, said there was no reason to single out the specific members of the clergy for acting consistent with the wishes of the Diocese as approved by literally thousands of members of the diocese.

In November, TECSC had asked the judge to expand its suit to include Bishop Mark Lawrence and three other clerics, alleging that actions they took to withdraw the diocese from the denomination were outside the scope of their legal authority and violated state law. In denying the motion, Judge Goodstein briefly referenced a last minute TECSC affidavit that asserted an early conspiracy to leave TEC. The Very Rev. Paul Fuener, a priest named in the affidavit, observed, “I am confident that his recollection of our interview is seriously in error, if not worse.”

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

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As planned, the Diocese filed a motion today in response to the TEC parties' petition for rehearing before the state Supreme Court. Our response was submitted at the request of the Court. You may read it [at the link provided when you click below].

Read it all.


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

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Written by: The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Friday, November 29th, 2013
An “Ecclesiology Committee” committee advising the House of Bishops has released a “Primer” on polity prepared with the assistance of various consultants identified at the end of the document. The identity of those preparing this document—most have participated as counsel or witnesses or have been listed as potential witnesses in the various lawsuits—makes obvious that the primary purpose of this document is its perceived usefulness in litigation. ACI principals have also appeared as witnesses in this litigation. This is our response to the claims asserted in this Primer.

1. Claim:
“Final authority in matters concerning all was vested in General Convention and, in due course, Executive Council between Conventions [5]…. From the beginning until now, [the General Convention] has limited its decisions with respect to specific local situations, but in making decisions for the whole church, its authority is supreme [9]…. Episcopalians have, since 1785, consistently assigned final authority and function in our church to the General Convention itself [10].”

ACI Response:

It is likely that the sole purpose of this Primer is to make these two (related) claims about final authority and supremacy. We note the following:

• As first written and submitted to the House of Bishops this document read: “‘Metropolitical authority’ (see below) was vested in General Convention and, in due course, Executive Council between Conventions… [5]” and “Episcopalians have, since 1785, consistently assigned the metropolitical authority and function of our church to the General Convention itself [10].” But this language met considerable objection from the bishops who reviewed it in September and it had to be deleted. A vague “final authority in matters concerning all” was subsequently substituted by the drafters of the document, one implication of which is that “final authority” concerning diocesan matters rests with the diocese. And the history of this document and its drafting demonstrate that even the assembled bishops cannot agree with their own “Ecclesiology Committee” as to the nature of TEC polity. In any event, none of the terms “supreme,” “metropolitical authority,” or “final authority” is found in TEC’s Constitution.

• Many in TEC assert and sincerely believe these claims about General Convention’s authority, but others do not. This is not new. The nature of TEC’s polity has been the subject of debate for two centuries. TEC’s own expert witness, Bruce Mullin, testified at the recent trial in Quincy that “the question, of course, is how hierarchical it is, and that's a long-standing debate….”

Read it all.

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

5 Comments
Posted December 3, 2013 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an interview with The Christian Post, the Rev. Lewis said that the motion was "based upon false claims, bordering on the absurd," and represents "a complete reversal of the facts."

"TECSC has accused us of conspiracy to leave TEC. The reality has been our attempt to defend against continued and insidious intrusions by TEC into the life of this Diocese," said Lewis.

"Our resolutions were triggered only by their actions against us. The reality is that it was TEC's attack that brought us to this place. The Diocese wisely prepared for the assaults for which TEC has become known. This current motion is simply a continuation of that pattern."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 29, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few years ago I wrote an article for the Moultrie Observer regarding the purple bows that were on the wreaths on the doors at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 609 South Main Street. In 2012 there were no purple bows or wreaths on the doors, as the church sat empty when the members of St. John’s left The Episcopal Church to form St. Mark’s Anglican Church. However, 2013 will mark the return of the purple bows, and the new spiritual home of St. Mark’s Anglican.

On September 30, 2013, St. Mark’s was able to purchase the building from the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Georgia* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

2 Comments
Posted November 29, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

1 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....in the current litigation in South Carolina, the drive by ECUSA's team to move the ball into federal court has been blocked at every maneuver. They are stuck back on their own 10-yard line, with just a few dozen seconds left on the clock. (The case in South Carolina's Court of Common Pleas for the County of Dorchester is due to go to trial early next summer; all discovery in the case has to be completed by February 7.)

And so what do they decide to do?

The defendant rump group (but not yet ECUSA itself) throws a "Hail Mary" pass -- a motion to add, at this late date, four new defendants and eighteen new claims against those defendants, who are Bishop Mark Lawrence, James Lewis, Jeffrey Miller and Paul Fuener. The Rev. James Lewis serves as Bishop Lawrence's Canon to the Ordinary and Executive Secretary to the Diocesan Convention; the Revs. Miller and Fuener have both served as President of the Standing Committee of Mark Lawrence's Episcopal Diocese.

The very first claim the rump group seeks to assert demonstrates the flaw in the entire motion: it is a claim for alleged breach of "fiduciary duty."

Read it all.


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

16 Comments
Posted November 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The filing lists 18 causes of action including breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, trademark infringement and civil conspiracy....

However, [Diocese of S.C. Canon Jim] Lewis said the allegations “are based upon false claims, bordering on the absurd.”

Lawrence also has maintained that he didn’t want to leave but was driven away by Episcopal Church leaders’ hostile administrative actions against him and the church’s departures from orthodox teachings.

Leaders of The Episcopal Church, or TEC, didn’t seek sincere reconciliation with local clergy and parishioners who disagreed with their views. Instead, they interfered in local diocesan life, Lewis said.

Read it all.


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

0 Comments
Posted November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The individuals named in the motion are:

• Mark Lawrence, who was bishop to local Episcopalians from 2006 until December 2012, when the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church accepted his renunciation as a bishop of TEC. Members of the breakaway group still recognize him as their bishop.

• Jim Lewis, who was Canon to the Ordinary of the diocese, and continues to use that title in the breakaway organization.

• Jeffrey Miller, who has been president of the Standing Committee of the diocese. Miller also is rector of St. Helena’s, Beaufort, one of the congregations that filed suit against TEC.

• Paul Fuener, who has been president of the Standing Committee. Fuener also is rector of Prince George-Winyah in Georgetown, another plaintiff in the suit against TEC.

Read it all.

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

15 Comments
Posted November 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While legal disputes continue over the name and property of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the two competing parties are holding their annual church conventions separately.

In 2008, the leadership of the Texas-based diocese voted to cut its ties with The Episcopal Church over growing theological differences. Since then, dispute over who owns the diocese's property has been debated in court....

Read it all from the Christian Post.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yes, on the site of the Diocese of Chicago and those that reprint its press release, you will read a headline such as: "Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and Episcopal Church File Suit in Peoria", but not at this blog. Here we call them as we see them -- and this latest lawsuit is simply an outrageous attempt to bludgeon the already cash-starved Anglican Diocese of Quincy and its member parishes and missions into submission. Worse, it comes right after the Anglican Diocese prevailed at trial over ECUSA on many of the same issues raised in this new lawsuit.

Take a look at the complaint as filed. The lies in the plaintiffs' press release are evident from the very caption at the start of the complaint. They claim to be suing "to clarify the legal status of the parishes and missions whose leaders left the Episcopal Church in 2008," yet have they named those parishes? No, they have not: instead, in typical blunderbuss fashion, they are going after the individual rectors of those parishes, as well as Bishop Morales and the members of the Diocese's standing committee and corporate board (whom they personally sued in the case they already lost).

Another lie in the press release (emphasis added): "Among the assets are the properties of St. George's Episcopal Church in Macomb, Grace Episcopal Church in Galesburg, Trinity Episcopal Church in Rock Island and Christ Episcopal Church in Moline." That last church, however, is not mentioned in the complaint; nor is its its rector (whom, again, they sued in the suit they lost, but in his capacity as a trustee and member of the Standing Committee).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

15 Comments
Posted November 7, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and The Episcopal Church today filed suit in a circuit court in Peoria asking that clergy and lay members of a faction that broke away from the church in 2008 be ordered to relinquish control of buildings and other assets that belong to the diocese and the church.

Among the assets are the properties of St. George's Episcopal Church in Macomb, Grace Episcopal Church in Galesburg, Trinity Episcopal Church in Rock Island and Christ Episcopal Church in Moline. The congregations in Rock Island and Moline have formed All Saints Episcopal Church in Moline.

“In our society, we invest a great deal of energy in an impartial legal system designed to help parties settle matters about which they cannot agree,” said the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. “Although we are prepared to litigate this matter, ultimately we still hope that God will use even these legal proceedings to bring us to a place of reconciliation and mutual respect in Christ.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 7, 2013 at 10:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture

4 Comments
Posted November 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Actions of General Convention and the presiding bishop have led us to conclude, along with a growing number of other parishes across the nation, that the direction of TEC is incompatible with historic Christian faith and practice. So today we face litigation that could potentially decimate our corporate life and witness. It’s hard to imagine that the body we helped form some 224 years ago would resort to the secular law courts to take all this away from us; but it’s true.

Let’s step up to this challenge together, and by God’s grace see a victory for the things we hold most dear. Ponder these facts:

We are not going against Scripture by using the secular courts. Paul himself appealed to Roman courts when the Gospel he preached was at stake.
Our team of lawyers says that this case is winnable. Recent legal wins in Texas and Illinois encourage us.
Our parish continues to grow, especially in generous giving. This year it will mean a stretch for each of us.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As I explained in this earlier post, the Anglican Diocese of Quincy was successful in obtaining a judgment that it had sole title to its bank accounts and real property. The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy had already merged into the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago by the time the judgment was entered, so the only adverse party left before the court was the Episcopal Church (USA), represented by the Presiding Bishop's Chancellor, David Booth Beers, and by her Special Assistant for Litigation, Mary Kostel, as well as by local counsel Thomas B. Ewing, of Lewistown. They filed a motion to stay the effect of the judgment, i.e., to keep the Diocese of Quincy's funds in National City Bank in Peoria frozen pending appeal.

It should be noted that ECUSA never went through the formal steps to attach the Diocese's funds. It never submitted a motion for prejudgment attachment, or a declaration of hardship and necessity, and it never posted any bond. Mr. Beers simply wrote a letter to National City Bank purporting to advise it of the Church's claim on the funds, and stating that the Church would "hold [National City Bank] accountable for any dispositions made ... of such funds ...". The Bank responded by putting a hold on all of Quincy's accounts pending an order of court.

Thus the Diocese of Quincy was forced to file a lawsuit against ECUSA in order to try to recover the use of its operating and trust funds.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Retired Anglican bishop John-David Schofield, who in 2007 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin led a movement out of the U.S. Episcopal Church over debate about same-sex marriages and the consecration of a partnered gay priest, died early Tuesday. He was 75.

Current Anglican Bishop Eric Menees said on the diocese's website that Schofield died peacefully at home sitting in his favorite green chair and was found Tuesday morning by friends.

Read it all and the message from Bishop Menees.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

4 Comments
Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This brings me to the... more profound... reason for my support of Judge Ortbal’s reasoning: at the root of TEC’s fracture lies our General Convention’s failure to engage our church’s own identity, an identity rooted in the deeper character of unitive mission that ought to inform our life. In brief, the Church’s unity is given in her “apostolicity”, her apostolic mission. When the latter is subverted, unity disintegrates, and this is what we have seen happen in TEC. The result is not a “good” – I continue to believe that the disassociation of dioceses like Quincy, Fort Worth, South Carolina, and San Joaquin constitutes a failure of the Christian life. But the reversion to diocesan “independence” represents the almost natural reassertion of the will to apostolicity that one would expect in a situation of profound ecclesial dysfunction. And that reversion has something to teach us.

The polity question has to do with General Convention in this case. Dioceses, at least in theory, joined the Convention because such joining represented the furtherance of the apostolic ministry of the Church. They have disassociated themselves when that ministry was being impeded by General Convention. Part of the demanded reconsideration of our common life has to do with figuring out why this has been the case, and on what basis.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Polity & Canons* TheologyEcclesiology

13 Comments
Posted October 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

--Milwaukee, WI, October 21, 2013

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

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


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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Vicar of Quincy Keith Ackerman once again lit up smiles of parishioners at Christ Church Limestone where he performed service Sunday morning.

Ackerman, the retired eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy for the Anglican Church in North America, came back to the Hanna City church after current Bishop Juan Alberto Morales of Quincy asked him to return to the area for a diocene convention.

Ackerman spoke about the importance of giving thanks to God, family and friends.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* TheologyPastoral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The majority of local parishes and clergy, including Bishop Mark Lawrence, disassociated from The Episcopal Church last fall over theological and administrative disputes with that national church. Lawrence’s group filed a lawsuit against The Episcopal Church to retain control of property and identifying titles and marks.

“I’m encouraged by this ruling for the clarity it allows us in continuing with the mission and ministry of the diocese,” Lawrence said after Friday’s hearing.

The...[new TEC] diocese is led by Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg who was installed three days after the temporary restraining order was issued.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted October 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On October 9, 2013, Judge Thomas H. Ortbal of the Adams County Circuit Court entered a final judgment against ECUSA and its (no-longer-existent) "Diocese of Quincy". The judgment decrees and declares that the Anglican Diocese of Quincy is the sole owner of its real and personal property, including approximately $4 million in its bank accounts that has been frozen ever since ECUSA first wrote a letter to its bank in January 2009.

In order to keep the funds frozen, ECUSA had filed a motion to stay enforcement of the judgment pending its appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. It also filed a motion to substitute, in place of its former "Diocese of Quincy", the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, into which the former Diocese of Quincy merged ecclesiastically effective September 1.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

2 Comments
Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. George, SC, October 11, 2013 – South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein today ruled in favor of the Diocese of South Carolina’s position that her injunction, which prohibits The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) from using the names and seal of the Diocese of South Carolina, should remain in place.

Judge Goodstein issued the injunction and temporary restraining order in January.

“I’m not going to disturb the injunction,” she said. The judge said it will remain in place to protect the diocese’s duly registered marks. Under South Carolina civil law those are entitled to protection.

Read it all.

South Carolina news and links can be found here

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

6 Comments
Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A hearing is due today in the South Carolina Circuit Court before Judge Diane S. Goodstein. Please pray for the Bishop and Diocese of South Carolina and their attorneys and for the Judge and Court; and that everything said and done will be honoring of the truth and the name of the Lord Jesus and for the purpose of building up the kingdom in South Carolina.

Come, let us bow down in worship
Let us kneel down before the Lord our Maker
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the people under His care
Psalm 96:6-7


South Carolina news and links can be found here

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

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein released her decision yesterday that the Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local remnant, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) cannot expand their counterclaims against the Diocese of South Carolina to include almost two dozen parishioners who voluntarily serve as diocesan Trustees and members of the Diocese’s Standing Committee.

In her decision, Judge Goodstein wrote, “This court finds that the individual leaders whom Defendants seek to join as Counterclaim Plaintiffs are entitled to immunity” under state law. She also wrote that “adding the additional defendants would be futile.”

Read it all.

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

6 Comments
Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The change at St. James Church in Sonora is in some ways a microcosm of messy Anglican realignment and both the stark theological differences and litigation that usually accompany it.

The historic “red church” of St. James in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin was turned over to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in July. Known for bold color and architecture, St. James is also the oldest standing Episcopal Church building in California, constructed in 1859.

The congregation of St. James’ joined the majority of the Episcopal (Now Anglican) Diocese of San Joaquin in departing the Episcopal Church in 2007 over theological differences and the direction of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church. After temporarily coming under the oversight of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone (South America), San Joaquin Anglicans later helped establish the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Presiding Bishop's job -- and future reputation -- is, in effect, on the line. She and her personal Chancellor have been so identified with the litigation agenda of ECUSA (because they run that agenda without interference from anyone else in the entire Church) that they are taking a hit, so to speak, on account of the reversals which that agenda has recently suffered in Texas (Fort Worth), Illinois (Quincy), South Carolina, and yes - let it be said -- in San Joaquin (even though there is as yet no final judgment there, ECUSA faces a decidedly uphill battle to convince the California court that its canons allow it to take the property of the withdrawing diocese).

In a (rather desperate, and, some would say) clumsy attempt to protect her prerogatives on the litigation front, the Presiding Bishop (and, as always, her personal Chancellor, whose law firm earns millions each year from the Presiding Bishop's continuing patronage) asked the "Ecclesiology Committee" to deliver a counter to the "Bishops' Statement on Polity" promulgated by the Anglican Communion Institute and the Communion Partner Bishops within ECUSA....

That Committee (with membership as noted above) obediently came forth with just such a "Statement", and presented it to the assembled bishops in Nashville. Wonder of wonders, however -- what seemed likely as a rubber stamp of 815's current litigation claims devolved into a rejection of the Committee's paper. That rejection was based chiefly on the bishops' reluctance to submit themselves or their dioceses, by a simple resolution, to any claim of metropolitan authority -- but it was also based on their own personal knowledge of the Church's historical polity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 28, 2013 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the two weeks since Judge Ortbal ruled against the Diocese of Chicago and The Episcopal Church, we have been working hard to understand the ruling, assess its implications, and determine our next steps. Last Friday, September 20, we filed a motion for a stay of judgment in the Quincy trial court stating our intention to appeal the judge's ruling. We continue to maintain, despite that ruling, that the assets in dispute rightfully belong to the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, now reunited with the Diocese of Chicago. This will ultimately be decided by the appellate court.

These legal proceedings will continue to unfold and I will keep you updated as they do....

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted September 28, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Philip Richardson, who is the senior bishop of the seven New Zealand dioceses, says the three Primates here have accepted Bishop David’s resignation with regret.

“For the last five and half years, Bishop David has thrown himself, body and soul, into serving the Diocese of Waiapu.

“His people here will miss him. Equally, they will understand, as we do, the responsibilities we all have to care for our extended whanau. He and Tracy will return to the US with our blessing and prayers.”

Bishop David is to become the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, in eastern California, and will take up that role in February next year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and PolynesiaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

1 Comments
Posted September 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

This post is sticky - look below for new entries.

South Carolina links are here

Below are links to some of the recent entries that had been "stickied" at the top of the page:

Judge Denies TEC Request to Expand South Carolina Lawsuit

Diocese of South Carolina—The real story behind our withdrawal from The Episcopal Church

Crucial Documentation available to Readers—TEC’s so called “Expert” under Fire from the Quincy Case

A.S. Haley on the Latest South Carolina TEC Legal Maneuver to Appeal Judge Houck’s Decision

Flashback Bishop Jefferts Schori Supported the Authority of Diocesan Bishop

ACI - Affidavit of Mark McCall on The Episcopal Church’s Polity


A.S. Haley—Decision in Quincy: ECUSA Has no Rule against Dioceses Withdrawing

[Allan Haley] Bishop Iker and Church of the Good Shepherd win in Texas

Federal Judge Dismisses Case Against Bishop Mark Lawrence

You can find other entries related to TEC Conflicts and lawsuits, legal issues and TEC Polity here:

TEC Conflicts
Lawsuits and Legal Issues
TEC Polity & Canons

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

1 Comments
Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[You may find here]....the cross-examination of ECUSA's expert witness on its polity and history, Dr. Robert Bruce Mullin, who testified all day on both April 29 and April 30 of this year. His cross-examination by Alan Runyan, ...[counsel of] the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Lawrence, is a case study in how to break apart a structure into which every effort has been poured to make it appear as solid.

That cross-examination (on behalf of the Anglican Diocese) was followed by a further and well-honed cross-examination by Talmadge G. Brenner, the Chancellor for Quincy, on behalf of its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Alberto Morales, whom ECUSA had named individually as a counter-defendant in its counterclaim in the case. (That is what comes of suing people personally -- they get their own attorneys, who have the right to participate fully in all aspects of the trial.)

Read it all (courtesy of A.S. Haley).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Primary SourceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

31 Comments
Posted September 20, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is the attack made on Judge Houck's factual reasoning in the first seven pages of the Memorandum that I would like to consider. Here the attorneys argue that under an earlier case from the same Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal which would hear any appeal from Judge Houck's decision Bishop vonRosenberg has certain prerogatives of his office with which Bishop Lawrence is allegedly interfering.

The argument is ludicrous on its face. Consider this point: Bishop Lawrence is also a bishop of a diocese -- the one that is paying his salary -- and so under that same precedent, he has certain prerogatives of his office as well. What Bishop vonRosenberg wants is to restrict Bishop Lawrence's prerogatives just so he can exercise the ones he claims are his.

And that is not all. In Dixon v. Edwards (the earlier case in question), Bishop Dixon claimed that it was the vestry and rector of a particular parish in her own diocese that were interfering with her prerogatives as its bishop, and the court decided that her claims warranted relief. But Bishop Lawrence is not in the same diocese as Bishop vonRosenberg, and is not subject to his jurisdiction. If Bishop Lawrence's activities in his own diocese are interfering with Bishop vonRosenberg's activities in his, then can a federal court supply a remedy? To do so would be to wade too far into matters that are "quintessentially ecclesiastical" (to quote the Court of Appeal's decision in the Schofield case), in violation of the First Amendment.

Read it all and please note the link to the South Carolina filing which you can read in full.

More South Carolina Links

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

3 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In other legal matters, the [new diocese of the] Episcopal Church in South Carolina has filed a separate legal action asking the federal court to rule that its liability insurance policy provides coverage for the state lawsuit.

Attorneys for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina contacted the Church Insurance Company of Vermont in writing in August. The company denied coverage, prompting the legal action to clarify the matter, according to Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr., Chancellor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The case also has been assigned to Judge Houck.

Read it all.

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

5 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck has been asked to reconsider his dismissal of a federal lawsuit arising from the Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina.

Houck last month dismissed the action brought by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg and ruled that the legal issues should be settled in state court. The bishop represents parishes remaining with the national Episcopal Church following last year’s schism.

Read it all

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

8 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

"It all happened here," he added.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

From here. The entire affidavit can be read in pdf format here.
In April I submitted an affidavit in federal court in South Carolina on behalf of Bishop Mark Lawrence. It was one of several affidavits submitted by the Diocese of South Carolina in response to litigation filed against Bishop Lawrence by parties supporting the position of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. My affidavit included work on issues relating to TEC polity that I have done over the last three years but had not previously published. This affidavit has been part of the public record for several months. ACI is now posting it online.

My affidavit contains a detailed analysis of the legal structure and history of TEC. The following paragraphs provide an overview of the analysis:

26. In the remainder of my affidavit I will examine the account of TEC’s structure and history presented by Plaintiff’s expert witness, Robert Bruce Mullin. This account is profoundly mistaken and contains numerous errors, misrepresentations and failures to understand relevant legal concepts. But before turning to the detailed analysis it will be useful to present an overview of what that testimony is trying to accomplish.

27. As I will show below, Mullin concedes as he must that TEC’s governing document, its Constitution, contains no explicit language giving any central body hierarchical supremacy over its member dioceses in recognizable legal language. He claims instead that such supremacy was an “assumption” that is only “reflected,” not stated, in the church Constitution. Indeed, he goes so far as to claim that while “explicit language of supremacy was necessary” for other churches, for TEC “language of supremacy in the Constitution was unnecessary and, indeed, inappropriate.”

28. To justify why TEC alone does not need the standard legal language readily found elsewhere Mullin develops an alternative theory of TEC’s structure and legal history that he characterizes at the outset of his testimony as “an extended historical and theological analysis of the development of the Church’s hierarchical structure from its earliest days to the present.”

29. In this section I will consider carefully what Mullin admits about the lack of standard legal language expressing hierarchy. In the next section I will show that his alternative theory cannot withstand scrutiny.

30. Although I challenge in this affidavit Mullin’s interpretations of TEC’s legal history, constitution and canons and 200 years of related documents, it is important to reiterate that Mullin characterizes his testimony as “an extended historical and theological analysis.” When his testimony is understood as he himself describes it, it is clear that the Plaintiff is asking the Court to go far beyond anything the First Amendment permits. Courts cannot sift through 200 years of ecclesiastical history pursuing “assumptions” that were allegedly made in the 1780s and never stated explicitly but were only “reflected” in an ambiguous historical record. Courts cannot constitutionally enter a theological thicket that requires “immersion in doctrinal issues or extensive inquiry into church polity.” Maryland and Va. Churches v. Sharpsburg Church, 396 U.S. 367, 370, n. 4 (1970).

Read it all and follow the link to the affidavit here

[More South Carolina links here]

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

7 Comments
Posted September 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We learned this afternoon that Judge Thomas J. Ortbal of the circuit court in Adams County has ruled against the diocese and the Episcopal Church in our efforts to recover assets that we believe rightfully belong to the church.

This ruling is the most recent action in legal proceedings that began in March 2009. At issue are an endowment fund that has been frozen, the former diocesan office building adjacent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Peoria and the principle that churches such as ours have the right to determine how we organize and govern ourselves....

Read it all.

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

6 Comments
Posted September 13, 2013 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To the clergy and people of the Diocese,

The Texas Supreme Court has granted a TEC request for an extension of 30 days of time to file a motion to rehear the case decided against them on August 30th. TEC attorneys in the other church property dispute decided against them on that same day (Good Shepherd, San Angelo), have done the same thing.

Motions for rehearing are almost always filed following a decision of the Court. But what are their chances of getting one? Clearly the odds against such motions are very steep, and they are almost never granted. In a concurring opinion written by our attorney, Scott Brister, while a member of the Texas Supreme Court in 2009, he discussed the infrequency of parties being successful in pursuing motions for rehearing, quoting the following statistics:
“In the last 10 years, this Court issued more than 1100 majority and per curiam opinions. On rehearing, we changed less than 50 of the opinions, and those almost always in minor respects that had no effect on the judgment. In only four cases did the prevailing party in the judgment change. Thus, the chance that an original judgment will differ from the final judgment is about 1 in 300.” Edwards Aquifer Auth. v. Chemical Lime, Ltd., 291 S.W.3d 392, 412 (Tex. 2009) (Brister, J., concurring). These motions are granted so rarely that the rules do not even require responses to such motions unless the Court asks for one. TRAP 64.3.

So here we go again! This will delay final resolution of this dispute by several months. What do these people have against simply moving forward in the trial court, as directed by the Supreme Court decision? More delays – more expense – more Episcopal arrogance claiming that TEC can’t possibility be wrong!

Patience and prayer must continue. By God’s grace, we will prevail in due course.

So here we go again! This will delay final resolution of this dispute by several months. What do these people have against simply moving forward in the trial court, as directed by the Supreme Court decision? More delays – more expense – more Episcopal arrogance claiming that TEC can’t possibility be wrong!

Patience and prayer must continue. By God’s grace, we will prevail in due course.

--(The Rt. Rev.) Jack Leo Iker is Bishop of Fort Worth
Bishop of Fort Worth

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Polity & Canons* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted September 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and note the wording very carefully.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted September 12, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It happens at St. Paul's, Summerville, S.C., from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00.

Thank you.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 12, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I will have a fuller analysis of the rest of the opinion up later today at StandFirm, and will integrate that analysis with my other Quincy posts at this blog in due course. For now, this represents a great legal victory (albeit at the trial level) for those dioceses of ECUSA who are facing lawsuits over their actions to remove themselves from membership in Quincy. And for that reason, ECUSA will almost certainly appeal the ruling. But as Bishop Iker reminded 815 following the decision in favor of his diocese in Texas, it is never too late for 815 to come to its senses, and stop this endless warfare in which Christians everywhere lose.

Read it all and follow the link and please read the ruling.

Update
Allan Haley's fuller analysis 'The Importance of the Quincy Decision' is now posted on StandFirm here

and watch the interview he has just given to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV below:



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Quincy* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

19 Comments
Posted September 10, 2013 at 11:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted September 9, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Living with litigation has become a way of life for us as members of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. For the past 4 ½ years, we have been under the cloud of a lawsuit brought against us by The Episcopal Church and its local supporters, seeking to deprive us of our buildings and assets. This has been a huge distraction from our focus on spreading the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and making new disciples for the Kingdom of God. What a relief and a blessing it was to have the Texas Supreme Court overturn the trial court judgment against us on August 30. So now we head back to the local court for a reconsideration of the dispute – based this time upon neutral principles of law, and under this methodology we are confident we will prevail. Life goes on – the litigation continues – and we learn again how important it is to trust in the Lord in the midst of distractions and threats to our security.

The national leadership of TEC has misguided and misled local Episcopalians by encouraging them to support its litigation strategy, which sought to undermine the laws of the State of Texas regarding property, trusts and corporations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“It’s much like a divorce,” said the Rev. J.T. Jeffords, minister at St. Paul’s Church in Conway, which was formerly St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. “Everyone is affected.”

“In these situations, even if you win, you lose,” said Dan Ennis, dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and one of the leaders of the group of Episcopalians who left St. Paul’s last year and has now formed the community of St. Anne’s.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted September 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 100 South Carolina clergy received notices this week that they have been formally removed from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 31, 2013 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion released Friday, the Iker group asserted that the canon “does not create a trust under Texas Law, but that even if it does, it was revocable and the Diocese revoked it” when it amended its own canons.

The justices also noted that they addressed similar flaws in an earlier case, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas.

In it, they said the canon, “simply does not contain language making the trust expressly irrevocable. ... Even if the canon could be read to imply the trust was irrevocable, that is not good enough under Texas law.”

Read it all from the Star-Telegram.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 31, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We rejoice in today’s ruling by the Texas Supreme Court overturning the summary judgment in favor of The Episcopal Church. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trial Court erred in deferring to the TEC rather than subjecting TEC’s property claims to the same neutral principles of law that apply to everyone else. The Trial Court must now reconsider the merits of the case based upon neutral principles of law, and we are confident that we will prevail when TEC is subjected to neutral principles of Texas law. In sum, while today’s opinions are not a final victory, they indicate that a final victory is only a matter of time.

The decision in our case must be considered in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in a related case, also announced today – that of the Church of the Good Shepherd, San Angelo. Here too the Court reversed lower court opinions in favor of TEC and directed the trial court to decide that case based upon neutral principles of law, rather than deference to an hierarchical church....

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort Worth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Today the Texas Supreme Court handed down decisions in the two ECUSA cases pending before it: No. 11-0265, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al.; and No. 11-0332, Masterson v. Diocese of Northwest Texas. In the first case, the Court sided with Bishop Iker's Diocese by a closely split vote of 5-4, reversed the summary judgment of Circuit Judge John Chupp which had awarded all of the property and assets of Bishop Iker's Diocese to the Episcopal Church and its rump diocese, and sent the case back to the trial court. The majority held that the trial court had improperly failed to apply a "neutral principles of law" analysis to the issues. The four dissenters did not disagree with that result, but instead believed that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear a direct appeal from the trial court's judgment in the case.

In the second case, the Court by a vote of 7-2 reversed the Court of Appeals' decision requiring the Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo to turn over its building and all other assets to the Diocese of Northwest Texas. The Court definitively ruled that all Texas courts must follow "neutral principles of law" (rather than deferring to an ecclesiastical hierarchy), and that based on such an analysis, the Dennis Canon was not effective under Texas law (or that if it were effective to create a trust, the trust was not expressly irrevocable, and so could be revoked by the parish in question).

Read it all and note you can read the full Supreme Court decision opinion in the Fort Worth case here and in the Good Shepherd case here - other documents and concurring/dissenting opinions may be found here

Update: Pastoral Letter from Bishop Iker is here

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

12 Comments
Posted August 30, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck has ruled for the second time in recent months that legal issues arising from the Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina belong in state court, not federal court.

Houck dismissed a federal lawsuit late Friday brought by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the bishop of parishes remaining with the national Episcopal Church.

The bishop had asked Houck to block Bishop Mark Lawrence, the spiritual head of churches that left the national church, from using the name and symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

But Houck ruled the issues "are more appropriately before, and will more comprehensively be resolved, in South Carolina state court."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a statement released after the decision was handed down, Bishop vonRosenberg said he was “disappointed at the recent legal developments,” but added “we recognized that our journey involves many, many more steps than only this one.”

"We are involved for the long haul,” he said, noting the mission of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina “most definitely will not be defined by court decisions and legal processes but, rather, by the call and direction of our Lord”.

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s team said they were pleased by the ruling and the consolidation of the dispute between the national church and the diocese into a single forum.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2013 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. District Judge Weston C. Houck’s decision effectively combines the two suits into one, acknowledging that authority rests with the state circuit court....

The decision signifies a victory for the independent diocese.

“We are extremely gratified that Judge Houck agrees the entire issue should be decided by a South Carolina state court using South Carolina law under which the Diocese and its parishes are incorporated,” said Jim Lewis, Canon to Bishop Lawrence. “We are only sorry that TEC’s legal action has delayed resolution of this matter and served as a distraction from our real mission of ministering to the needs of the faithful.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 24, 2013 at 7:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. District Court Judge Weston C. Houck today dismissed a federal trademark lawsuit filed by Episcopal Church Bishop Charles vonRosenberg against Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina Mark Lawrence.

The decision acknowledges the authority of the Circuit Court of South Carolina to decide the rightful owner of the names, symbols and property of the Diocese of South Carolina.

“The sum of all disputes and conflicts arising in the wake of the Diocese’s estrangement from [the Episcopal Church] are more appropriately before, and will more comprehensively be resolved, in South Carolina state court,” stated Judge Houck in the order dismissing Bishop vonRosenberg’s lawsuit and denying his motion for an injunction to prohibit Bishop Lawrence from acting as bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Read it all. [more South Carolina Links here]

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

35 Comments
Posted August 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is not enough to claim "We say the Nicene Creed every Sunday" as evidence of Christian belief. One must ask the deeper question, "What exactly do you mean by the words you are reciting?" Episcopalians have embraced the postmodern spirit of the age in an attempt to be relevant to the culture. In doing so they have changed the core beliefs of Christian faith at the very roots. This revision then becomes a pseudo Christianity, which is radically opposed to the original. The two cannot be reconciled by simply saying, "Let's all be friends." We no longer worship the same God.

As Anglicans, we are unwilling to compromise the traditional expression of Christian faith. When we separated from the Episcopal Church, Bishop Schofield freely gave deeds to the properties of all churches which wished to remain Episcopal. Four months later those same churches joined together in a lawsuit to take all the Anglican properties as well. All attempts to find an amicable settlement have been rebuffed by the Episcopal Church.

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

5 Comments
Posted August 23, 2013 at 8:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all and the church website is there.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

{The new TEC Diocese in South Carolina]...announced it will depose over 100 clergy loyal to the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence and the... Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. On 10 July 2013 the faction loyal to the national Episcopal Church published a list of clergy whom it said remained in good standing with the Episcopal Church for having expressed its loyalty to their leadership. Those who had not given their allegiance to the minority faction would be removed from the ordained ministry....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

37 Comments
Posted August 19, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Per the Prayer Book and personally, I accept the Holy Scriptures as the "inerrant Word of God" which "contains all things necessary for salvation," and I also accept (as does The Episcopal Church USA, or ECUSA) the historic Creeds (Apostle's, Nicene and Athanasian) as "a sufficient statement of the faith." All that in turn means I and ECUSA believe in the Virgin Birth, that Christ was the only Son of God and so on, period.

For a non-Episcopalian to state that I believe otherwise is the result of ignorance, arrogance or something worse.

Read it all.

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

9 Comments
Posted August 16, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Virginia Anglican congregation that traces its founding to the colonial era has announced that they will file an appeal over a property case to the United States Supreme Court.

The Falls Church Anglican stated earlier this week their intention to file an appeal over whether they or the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia controls the historic Falls Church property. "Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we achieved a broad degree of unity in our decision to bring these matters forward to the Supreme Court, believing that God has uniquely positioned TFCA to do so," reads an email sent out to parishioners on Monday.

"We are advised that the facts of our case are strong and that we are uniquely placed at this time – and perhaps for many years to come – to raise these issues to the U.S. Supreme Court. And each of us wanted to be good stewards of the resources God has given us."

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted August 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As his counterpart in Texas saw the matter, so might Judge Houck: why bother to get into the messy details of a federal trademark action if the earlier case filed in State court will dispose of the matter? He indicated by a question that he was considering staying the federal action pending the outcome of the proceedings in State court. He said he would have a ruling out in “a week or so.”

Meanwhile, the State court case begun by the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence and his Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is moving forward, now that it has been remanded from Judge Houck’s court. The attorneys for all parties were in court on July 11 to discuss a schedule for the case with First Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein, who issued her order eight days later. The order ensures that the case will not dawdle, but will be ready for trial by the summer of next year.

ECUSA is seeking to add additional defendants to its counterclaim, namely, the individual trustees and members of the diocesan standing committee (as a prelude to naming the rectors and vestry members of 37 individual parishes -- some 500 people in all -- following the same punitive strategy it has tried in other cases). The court ordered that any additional response Bishop Lawrence’s attorneys wanted to make to that motion be filed by July 22, with ECUSA’s reply due 10 days later. Those papers have now been filed, and the parties await Judge Goodstein's ruling on the propriety of trying to add any individual defendants to the case.

Read it all.

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

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Posted August 12, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. vonRosenberg presently heads the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the name given to those Episcopalians in the Diocese who want to remain with the national church. VonRosenberg has sued Lawrence over usage of the title of bishop, arguing that Lawrence renounced this title when he opted to leave The Episcopal Church in January.

After hearing about an hour of arguments, Houck stated that he should have a decision as to the fate of the suit sometime in the next seven to ten days.

Joy Hunter, director of Communications for the Diocese of South Carolina, told The Christian Post that Lawrence argued for the suit to be dismissed. "In his Motion, Bishop Lawrence asked that Judge Houck either dismiss the federal lawsuit, or stay it until the pending state court litigation is resolved," said Hunter.

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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 August 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On August 8, U.S. District Court Judge Weston C. Houck heard arguments on Bishop Lawrence’s motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg....

Judge Houck indicated that he hopes to rule on the motion shortly. He may dismiss the case, stay it or allow it to move forward in federal court.

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

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Posted August 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the second time in recent months, U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck is weighing whether issues arising from the acrimonious Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina belong in federal court.

As two bishops sat with their attorneys on either side of his Charleston courtroom, Houck heard about an hour of arguments Thursday on one bishop's request for an injunction against the other.

Charles vonRosenberg, the bishop of parishes remaining with the national Episcopal Church, wants the court to block Mark Lawrence, the bishop of churches that left last year, from using the name and the symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 9, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Issues arising from the Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina are going back before a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck holds a hearing in Charleston on Thursday on a motion filed by a churches remaining with the national church. It asks that only those churches be allowed to use the name and symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

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

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Posted August 8, 2013 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg was enjoying his retirement, taking some strokes off his golf handicap and spending time with his six grandchildren, when the Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina was rent by schism.

Now, instead of spending carefree days on the state's coast after 37 years of service to the church, the former bishop of east Tennessee finds himself again ministering to individuals and congregations remaining with the national church and dealing with lawsuits resulting from the South Carolina split.

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

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Posted August 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standing at the entrance to St. Paul's Episcopal Church on 17th Street, the Rt. Rev. Chet Talton raised up the blunt end of a 6-foot-tall staff and pounded it against the door.

Again he pounded with his crosier, and again, each time the knock resounding through the 160-strong gathering. From inside, the church warden greeted him, and after a brief exchange, Talton entered.

So began a new era at St. Paul's, itself the subject of a prolonged battle that, though settled at this congregation, continues to ripple through courtrooms across the country.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To compare the mentality of a brother bishop to school shooters (see here), or to call him and presumably those close to him "petty deciders or wolves who masquerade as sheep" is incredibly inappropriate for any Christian, not to mention bizarre. I truly have never before heard or read such a spiteful and hate-fueled speech on either side of our present unpleasantness. This type of hateful and over the top language is even worse coming from a leader who claims to speak for the "national Church" and all Episcopalians. Let me be clear: I am an Episcopal priest and the Presiding Bishop does not speak for me. I have no delusion that I share in any ownership of anything outside of my parish and my diocese. The idea that one person, even if one agrees with the present incumbent, can speak for all Episcopalians is sheer lunacy.

To be fair, this centralization of power and influence certainly did not start with the present Presiding Bishop, but we do well to consider the state in which we find ourselves. Power corrupts, and the Presiding Bishop rightly notes that when one figure assumes the power it often leads to abuse, tyranny and corruption. She apparently fails to see how this truth has been demonstrated in her term as Presiding Bishop. Fast tracking bishops to "renounce their orders" rather than letting the House of Bishops speak, inhibiting without the consent of the three most senior active bishops (which the new Title IV conveniently does not require), and setting up new dioceses (which TEC has every right to do) while violating the canons of TEC all point to an office that has overgrown its canonical bounds and is running unchecked.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons--Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesse Zink’s “Why Provinces Matter” and the responses from William G. Witt and Colin Podmore [TLC, May 26] illustrate the range of opinions on what South Carolina’s ultimate ecclesial structure should be, from standalone province to joining the Anglican Church in North America. One thing in common to all of the initial essays, however, was the recognition that any decision on ultimate structure might still be some time away.

This recognition has also been the starting point of the Anglican Communion Institute in our work on this issue in the last several months. We believe that South Carolina’s current status does not necessarily present a problem in need of immediate resolution, but rather inheres in the nature of this dispute. Taking our cue both from Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Instruments of Communion, we have proposed that the guiding principle of the next season for South Carolina is “provisionality.” During this period ultimate decisions are deferred precisely because they are premature. Bishop Lawrence has stressed this on many occasions. The rupture with the Episcopal Church is too fresh with many unresolved issues; the ensuing litigation is only beginning, not nearing an end. This is not the time to make such a momentous decision as that regarding the ultimate future of this diocese, which predates the formation of the Episcopal Church.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC ParishesTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted July 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Judge Reed explains the importance of Section 20.01(g) of the Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and for this once, turns the tables on ECUSA by saying that it never objected to that Canon:
As to the issue of the parish’s right to disaffiliate from the church, it is undisputed that Canon XX, section 20.01(g) of the Diocese of San Joaquin has been an adopted canon of the diocese for many years, and that the plain language of section 20.01(g) allows for disaffiliation of the parish upon the written approval of the bishop of the diocese.

Plaintiffs argue that section 20.01(g) is invalid because Episcopal Church rules do not allow for a parish to disaffiliate. They base their contention upon church rules that indicate parish canons may not conflict with church rules and that parish property is to be held in trust for the church. However, the evidence before the court does not show that the Episcopal Church has objected to section 20.01(g) in the past, or taken any action to remove it from the diocese’s canons. Moreover, other church rules appear to give broad authority to bishops, such as Episcopal Church Canon II.6 which authorizes a parish to encumber parish property with consent of the bishop.
After years of hearing courts say that dioceses and parishes never objected to the Dennis Canon before the current disputes arose, this opinion comes as a breath of fresh air, by turning the same point against ECUSA.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Polity & Canons* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted June 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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