All Souls Anglican Church in Florida looks for permanent home

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Members of All Souls Anglican Church had to walk away from their home in 2007, after the Episcopal Diocese said they could no longer worship there.

Now the diocese is walking away from the empty 5.3-acre All Souls campus in Mandarin, putting it up for sale for $2.8 million. But the former occupants say "no thanks" to coming back as they hone in on a new, permanent home nearby.

Meeting every Sunday since mid-July 2007 in the Mandarin Middle School auditorium, the congregation uses a storefront at 3750 San Jose Place for office space and a local Baptist church for youth programs. That could change in the next year as the church looks into the purchase of a 5-acre site on Hood Road, said the Rev. Gene Strickland.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: FloridaTEC Departing Parishes

20 Comments
Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Depressing isn’t it to see how the property question works itself out in practice? It looks like this will be Bishop Howard’s legacy to Episcopalians in Florida. Sad end to the labors of his predecessor, though no doubt All Souls feel they are carrying on the work of Stephen Jecko.

January 27, 10:41 am | [comment link]
2. William Witt wrote:

This is how the Episcopal Church “preserves the interests” of Episcopalians for future generations.  This pattern has repeated itself many times, and will continue to do so.  May TEC continue to enjoy paying upkeep on its ever growing number of empty buildings.

January 27, 11:25 am | [comment link]
3. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Now the diocese is walking away from the empty 5.3-acre All Souls campus in Mandarin, putting it up for sale for $2.8 million.

This is what really gets me about all the legal fights over property. This almost always ends up happening when a diocese reclaims a property. They either put it up for sale immediately or try some weird church plant in the building which usually sputters and dies and the property then gets sold anyway.

So either way, the only way I can interpret such actions is either “it’s all about the money” or “cut off your nose to spite your face.” Either way, it saddens the heart.

January 27, 11:27 am | [comment link]
4. chips wrote:

Although TEC’s practices are not what one would call charitable or Christian - it is how one fights a competitor.  $2.8 is a lot of money for an Episcopal Diocese.  Also having fewer not more Anglican parishes is probablly good for the nearby Episcopal Churches.  Those are the reasons that they are fighting for the properties - $2.8 can pay for a battalion of lawyers. So although it is distastful and if I were a Bishop I would be very concerned with how the Almighty would view my behavior (I expect he holds them to a higher standard) - there is a method to the madness folks.  Which is why it is imperative to have a coordinated PR campaign - look at Gandi - he ran the British out of India through non-violent good PR (and of course the Brits were broke).

January 27, 11:43 am | [comment link]
5. palagious wrote:

First and foremost its about intimidation of parishes, secondarily its about enforcing the “legality” of the canons as a secular way of establishing who is in the “right” and who is in the “wrong”, and thirdly, when all else fails its about money (not for future generations of the Church) but to increase the coffers for payroll, pension and litigation to perpetuate the status quo.

January 27, 11:57 am | [comment link]
6. Priest on the Prairie wrote:

Archer,

Good luck trying to get your well-reasoned position across to your own diocesan Standing Committee.  This is exactly what would happen in Omaha should the diocese win their lawsuit.

January 27, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
7. flaanglican wrote:

TEC’s desire for property results in. . . shut doors and a vacant lot.  I don’t blame All Souls one bit for not wanting to return.  TEC had it’s chance at the negotiating table but choose litgation instead.  All Souls walked away and is moving forward. Bp. Howard and company wind up with useless property. Sad.

January 27, 3:25 pm | [comment link]
8. Billy wrote:

What is so sad is to see the weakening of this once stalwart diocese of the Episcopal Church.  This is about pride on both sides - pride on the diocese side in refusing to negotiate and sell the property to the congregation, when it voted to leave, and pride now on All Souls side in its refusal to buy the property, even at the fire sale price for which they can now get it.  I don’t think the Lord is pleased with either side or the way the church’s assets are being squandered.

January 27, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
9. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Priest on the Prairie,
I thoroughly agree. What the Diocese of Nebraska wants with an old church building with structural problems, I have no idea.
Well, I take that back. It would either make a good parking lot or they are going to use it for the weird Tri-Faith Initiative thing they want to create with the Jewish and Muslim communities communities so that all three can sit around and “have dialog.”

January 27, 3:53 pm | [comment link]
10. BrianInDioSpfd wrote:

I don’t suppose one could hope that the property is now on the tax rolls since it is not being used for religious purposes.  If no buyer appears it could become a major financial drain to the owner.

January 27, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
11. Dave B wrote:

2.8 million seems like a lot of money but what was the debt that was secured by the property?  Like a divorcing couple Banks may not want to loan money for church development or expansion in places where TEC demonstates instability!  There are going to be a lot of unseen repercussions from tne fragmentation that is going on in TEC.

January 27, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
12. Milton wrote:

#8 Billy, I will be charitable and assume you are not aware of Katherine Jefferts-Schori’s stated position that church properties could be sold to literally ANYONE (including, theoretically, porn shops, abortion clinics…oops, forgot that TEC considers those a ministry) except a breakaway Anglican congregation.  Still, it is rather presumptious of you to assign All Souls’ motivation for not making an offer on their former building to pride.  Perhaps it is just good stewardship.  Perhaps the building they are now considering buying is a better deal for the money, or a number of other valid considerations could be in play.  OTOH, “+“Howard’s and TE"C”‘s motivations are well-known and repeatedly stated in public.

January 27, 8:02 pm | [comment link]
13. Billy wrote:

#12, Milton, thanks for the charity.  I’m well aware of the PB’s policy and the one church (I think in Philly) that was sold to become a nightclub.  Her policy may not be the policy of Bp Howard, nothing has been written about that.  Hard to believe All Souls is being a good steward when the article said they were buying land, not a new building - i.e., they are going to have to build a new church on new land.  The point is that both sides hardened their hearts, it appears to me.  If All Souls could have taken their property with them, they would have done so; but Bp Howard forced them to leave.  Why now would AS not make an offer on their original property, if they originally wanted to take it with them (which they did)?  Sorry, I see hardened hearts on both sides here.

January 28, 11:28 am | [comment link]
14. JCDuquette wrote:

I noticed that the buildings have been empty for over 18 months (since July 15, 2007) and I have to wonder what deferred maintenance and other potential problems the buildings might have.  I also wonder if the buildings are a good fit for the current and future needs of the congregation.  Many congregations get used to working with space that does not work so well for the needs of the parish but it is where they have always worshiped.  This parish has been forced to reconsider what they need and they may really need something quite different.  The potential site may have better access or better street parking or even be closer to where many of the church members live.  No price tag was given on the new site so it may be substantially cheaper to buy and build than to buy their old church.  This might be good stewardship on the parrish’s part.

January 28, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
15. Sarah1 wrote:

Billy, I’m late to this thread—but why would a congregation wish to help out financially the diocese?

I mean—why would they give a generous donation to Bishop Howard’s coffers, any more than buy a building he needs to sell?

January 29, 9:09 am | [comment link]
16. Billy wrote:

Sarah, because they want their church back.  Their motivation is (or should be) not whether it helps Bp Howard but whether getting their church back is good for them and their ministry.

January 29, 9:15 am | [comment link]
17. flaanglican wrote:

I think leaving their old church (Egypt), worshipping in temporary headquarters while staying faithful to Scripture (wilderness) and purchasing new property with the eventual hope of building a new church (settling in Israel and building a temple) is BETTER for All Souls and their ministry.

January 29, 4:48 pm | [comment link]
18. flaanglican wrote:

By the way, perhaps God hardened Bp. Howard’s heart (see #13) so that All Souls could eventually leave.  Fits with my analogy above, doesn’t it?  Howard = Pharoah.

January 29, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
19. Irenaeus wrote:

  Fits with my analogy above, doesn’t it?  Howard = Pharoah —-FlaAnglican [#18]

Howard = Pharoah:
The moral equivalent of an anagram.

January 29, 5:37 pm | [comment link]
20. Irenaeus wrote:

Anagrams of Howard Is Pharoah:

Hoard Worship Aha
Shariah Whoop Hard
Who Pharoah Raids

January 29, 5:50 pm | [comment link]
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