(RNS) In Cleveland, a Battle over Unwanted Churches

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Transfiguration was built in the early 1900s and sits just north of a Cleveland Clinic parking garage. The Gothic Revival church was home to one of several congregations that broke off from the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.

The breakaway congregation recently moved to another location after a judge later decided the property must stay with the diocese. The building badly needs repairs, and a diocesan official, the Rev. Brad Purdom, said the diocese cannot restore every building.

"It breaks our hearts," Purdom said. "But at the end of the day, you have to make some choices about how you're going to spend the limited resources that you do have."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

Posted January 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Why on earth a Diocese would fight to keep run down property that has little to no resell value I will never understand.

Cut Off Your Nose to Spite-oh, never mind.

January 31, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
2. JustOneVoice wrote:

“But at the end of the day, you have to make some choices about how you’re going to spend the limited resources that you do have.”

And they chose to use their resources to change a building filled with worshipers to a empty shell that they can’t maintain.

January 31, 5:25 pm | [comment link]
3. A Senior Priest wrote:

He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.

-Ps 37:13

January 31, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
4. KevinBabb wrote:

Goode said a complete overhaul would cost $1.5 million. “My building and Transfiguration, they’re not worth crap,” Goode said. “They’re not worth two dead flies smashed.”

Apart from anything having to do with the merits of the article, I’ve got to remember that expression…that’s pretty evocative. I’ll have to try it out during a closing argument in a jury trial, when “squat” and “bupkis” don’t quite cut it.

January 31, 7:10 pm | [comment link]
5. MichaelA wrote:

The same thing is going to happen in Virginia, if the congregations there decide not to appeal the latest single-judge decision.

The harsh truth for these liberal dioceses is that they can’t fill these churches. Nobody wants to join. So they will spend money maintaining them, and then sell to anyone who will offer them a reduced price for them, even non-Christian religions.

January 31, 8:02 pm | [comment link]
6. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Truro Church in Fairfax Virginia has a campus with a large number of square feet of real estate sited in a prime location.  Its located within walking distance of the Fairfax County Courthouse.  The courthouse has a contunuous flow of legal actions and there are lawyers’ offices all around it.  And the law business is a ‘big cash business’ in Fairfax County.

I sense that the Diocese of Virginia will not be able to resist the secular temptation sell the campus to help pay off debt.

Sort of like capturing the temple in Jerusalem and then carrying off its treasures. 

That may have been an element of the the diocese’s plans ‘all along.’

January 31, 8:15 pm | [comment link]
7. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I agree with everyone above.  The whole TEC legal strategy is so idiotic and counter-productive that you have to wonder what was the real driving force behind these senseless and extremely expensive lawsuits.  I don’t know about the Ohio cases, but here in VA where I live, both sides have admitted that they spent over $3 million (each) on legal fees fighting this tragic court battle.  Now granted, when put together, the seven church properties in VA are worth an estimated $30-40 million.  Of course, their symbolic and historic value is literally priceless.

But the public claim that the diocese or national church was merely seeking to recover use of the properties so they could continue to support the mission of TEC is so extremely implausible that we are forced to look deeper for other explanations.  And alternative explanations aren’t hard to find.

In the end, it’s really all about intimidation.  Trying to scare other conservative congregations from following the example of the ones that have already departed.  It’s all about the futile attempt to kill the emerging Anglican competition before we can get firmly rooted and established as serious rivals to TEC.  It’s all about the blatant attempt to protect TEC’s market share, when they have an inferior product.  It’s all about the doomed attempt to foster or preserve a public perception that TEC has a monopoly on the Anglican franchise in America.

Talk about a Pyrrhic victory!  A few more legal victories like the ones in Savannah, GA, Cleveland, OH, or Fairfax, VA, and TEC will be closer to backruptcy and self-destruction than ever.  Lord, have mercy.

David Handy+

February 1, 12:08 pm | [comment link]
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