Judge Evicts Prominent Church In Episcopal Quarrel

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Jerome, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Judge rules rump group's occupation of church property unlawful

    The pastor of The Falls Church serves on The Gospel Coalition board alongside Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Voddie Baucham, etc.

    Besides the devastating loss of its church building, the church must also turn over a sizable endowment account to the Diocese.
     
  2. Walter

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    Appalling and tragic news. But this gives the Anglicans the opportunity to move ahead in faith, and the Episcopalians the opportunity to try to maintain what will be mostly empty churches for a while until they fold.

    BTW, this effects all the churches that withdrew from the Episcopal diocese of Virginia, not just Falls Church and Truro. Some of these churches predate The Episcopal Church. What an outrageous ruling!
     
    #2 Walter, Jan 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2012
  3. billwald

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    Every denomination has different rules about real estate ownership. I would support whatever side had their name on the deed filed with the county.
     
  4. Walter

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    Well, I have read that The Episcopal Church passed a resolution some years back that says that all properties are held in trust by The Episcopal Church and therefore, although individuals may leave, the property must stay with The Episcopal Church. Here an interesting situation, an entire diocese withdrew from TEC in the Central Vallley of California a few years ago. The Episcopal Church considers each diocese to be autonomous and that The Episcopal Church is not an hierchial church (no Archbishop, just a presiding bishop). The Episcopal Church is still suing the dioceses that withdrew and threatening the ones that are considering it. I'm no lawyer, be interesting to hear from one about this mess.

    Perhaps God will force several new congregations to form out of the large older congregations? In the long run, this may be the best thing for the spread of the Gospel and a separation from the apostasy which continues in TEC, but it hurts in the short run. Let the dead bury their dead.
     
  5. Doubting Thomas

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    Indeed. Let the Piskies keep the buildings; we'll keep the faith! :thumbs:
     
  6. Jerome

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  7. Walter

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    I have been following what is happening with the various congregations of the ELCA, PCUSA, and TEC that have left those denominations because of the decisions of those denominations to depart from the authority of the bible. Billwald is right, it is much easier for congregations in the ELCA to leave their denomination and keep their properties because each parish within the ELCA is autonomous and no diocese holds the property in trust for the denomination. It is different for churches within PCUSA and their relationship to their synod and TEC and the relationship of those parishes to the diocese and (apparently more importantly) to the national church body.

    What I see as a wonderful work of God and which has surprised me is the way other denominations have come alongside the congregations that are ejected from their properties. The most recent case I saw was the Presbyterians offering sanctuary to the Christ Church, Savannah congregation. Saddleback Church (Southern Cal.) offered the use of it's facilities to St. James, Newport Beach. Having seen how God has looked after those congregations ejected from their homes, one is now seeing them growing to be even larger than they were originally.

    I am sure the Truro and Falls Church congregations will prosper, and hope the same applies to the smaller ones effected by this court decision.
     
  8. Zenas

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    Of course the property laws vary from state to state but it seems that those churches with a congregational type of church governance always get to keep their property if they pull out of the larger denomination. E.g., Southern Baptists or Freewill Baptists. Those with a governing authority outside the congregation, such as a bishop or a presbytery, will usually lose their property to the denominational entity when they pull out. That is why the newly formed Anglican congregations tend to be homeless until they can relocate.

    It's going to be interesting to see what happens to church property in the coming split in the Presbyterian Church USA.
     
  9. Jerome

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    Elder Nathan Finn (teaches church history at SEBTS) recounts how North Carolina denominational bureaucrats convinced numerous churches to amend their bylaws to ensure that all property would remain with the Southern Baptist partisan minority should a congregation vote to become Independent Baptist.
     
  10. Walter

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    This is the way I see this situation. What The Episcopal Church is doing here is tantamount to the homeowner's association taking away the house you built and paid for on the premise that you wanted to cancel your HOA membership. You wanted to cancel because the HOA is taking postions that you don't agree with, don't want to be assoiciated with, and which the HOA would NEVER have taken when you joined it.
     
  11. drfuss

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    Why are these people loyal to a denomination that has obviously gone against scripture, and have departed from the doctrines these people believe? Why not go to another denomination that they agree with on doctrine?

    It sounds like some Baptists I know who would never go to a church that was not Baptist. Are they loyal to Christ or to a denomination?

    I have been a member of four denominations in my life time, and have been in my current church for the past 19 years. Each change was a good spiritual experience causing me to search for and evaluate the differences in doctrinal beliefs. Perhaps God is trying to move these people to go to another denomination for a deeper walk with Him. Who knows?
     
  12. Walter

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    Who are you saying is 'loyal to a denomination that has obviously gone against scripture'? The departing churches are part of CANA which has no connection to TEC. Not sure who you are talking about. The LCMS, ELCA and WELS are all Lutheran but would not have pulpit fellowship with each other. The relationship between TEC and CANA both profess to be Anglican, but they are not in communion with each other.
     
    #12 Walter, Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2012
  13. drfuss

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    I thought this thread is about the Episcopal church, and the local congregation retaining its property. My comments only apply to the members of the Episcopal church caught in this situation. Anyway, I don't know who the CANA and TEC are.
     
  14. Walter

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    These departing congregations left TEC (The Episcopal Church) for CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) which is under the jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria. These congregations left The Episcopal Church years ago and have tried to keep their properties. Some of these congregations were churches before The Episcopal Church was established in the U.S. (pre-revolution). Hope that helps.
     
  15. Walter

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    I have been reading comments about an article by the 'National Review' by a contributor who is gratified by The Episcopal Church court victory. The comment was made that 'The Episcopal Church must reclaim these properties for the people who financed the building and upkeep of those churches in generations past.'

    But I'd be willing to bet that the people buried in historic cemeteries on Episcopal Church property would hardly recognize what their church has become. They might even hope that those who stand for the Church’s historic character be allowed to have the historic properties.

    Just sayin'
     
  16. Jerome

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    You'd think the congregation would have learned their lesson, but apparently they went from one unbiblical hierarchical scheme to another (this Nigerian Anglican group).
     
  17. Walter

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    IMHO, I believe these congregations are winners, regardless. And I am not focussing on the legal battle, even though it is not over and could very well go on for years yet, if the congregations wish. Doubting Thomas mentioned 'let the 'Piskies keep the buildings', it is about going about the business of spreading the Gospel. They can worship in a cornfield if they have to. They don’t actually need these buildings and they never did. I'm very glad to see them, the departers of the ELCA, and the departers of PCUSA take a stand as a witness. It will be interesting, as Jerome mentioned, to see what happens with the PCUSA departing congregations because of that denominations polity.

    How does losing a judicial decision, even an appelate decision, let alone a single-judge first-instance decision like this one affect their stand on principle, or their witness? I think we all know it does not.
     
  18. Michael Wrenn

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    Yes indeed! Excellent!
     

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