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Property of Grace Church & St. Stephen’s to be seized by the Diocese of Colorado

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 • 2:10 pm


from here

A Fourth Judicial District Court judge ruled today that a majestic $17 million stone church and other property at 631 N. Tejon Street belongs to the Episcopal Church and Colorado Diocese.

It’s a defeat for Grace Church & St. Stephen’s, a congregation that broke from the Episcopal Church in 2007 but continued to worship at the property.

Judge Larry Schwartz issued a 28-page ruling that concluded, among other things: “The Diocese over most of its 135 years existence demonstrates a unity of purpose on the part of the parish and general church. ... The trust created through past generations of members of Grace Church & St. Stephen’s prohibits the departing parish members from taking the property with them.”

...more


UPDATE: CANA responds:

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) issued a statement in response to the ruling issued today by the El Paso County District Court in Colorado Springs, CO, concerning the ownership of Grace Church & St. Stephen’s.  Judge Larry Schwartz ruled that title to the property of Grace Church & St. Stephen’s is vested in the Episcopal Church of the United States and in the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado.

“While we are of course disappointed with today’s ruling, we will continue with our ministry and mission work in Colorado Springs and around the nation,” said CANA Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns.  “The Gospel is not spread by church buildings or church property.  It is the living Christ that works in people, and we are praying for the orthodox Anglicans in Colorado Springs that the work of the Lord will continue.”

“We remain steadfast in our effort to defend the historic Christian faith across the country.  There is clearly a division within The Episcopal Church which broke its relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion and fell out of step with much of Christendom by choosing to redefine and reinterpret Scripture,” Minns concluded.


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Comments:

The first thing that the court found was that the ECUSA is hierarchial. What was that Judges name? Schwartz?

[1] Posted by ctowles on 03-24-2009 at 02:38 PM • top

Secular world where God is forbidden…the courts where deeds are worthless and TEC where Christ is disgraced.
In fifty years TEC will be but a post office box.
Intercessor

[2] Posted by Intercessor on 03-24-2009 at 02:43 PM • top
[3] Posted by ctowles on 03-24-2009 at 02:44 PM • top

This is a sad day.  It is a beautiful building and O’Neal will not be able to keep it open for long.  More fancy down-town lofts.

Fr Armstrong will also loose people who will not leave the building they love.  Colorado deserved better.  I hear Cursillo is hurting since O’Neal kicked out the Anglicans.

Anyone know how the AMiA group is doing?  Or the Continuing group from Christ the King Provence?

[4] Posted by Elizabeth on 03-24-2009 at 02:49 PM • top

TEC successfully evicts another thriving ministry bringing people to salvation in Jesus Christ alone.  Another church building emptied, soon to be sold to prop up a dying club a little longer.

I hope Armstrong+ and flock have prepared for this possibility.  Wait for the dead tree to fall, for all the parasites to leave the host they are killing.  Then buy the facilities back for a song when KJS is a quickly-forgotten footnote.  May God increase their tribe and their borders.

[5] Posted by Milton on 03-24-2009 at 02:52 PM • top

Any idea of the relative percentage of the original congregation of those who “went Anglican” with Armstrong, and who “remained Episcopal”?  The diocese of Colorado may have won, but I doubt that those who are left in the congregation will be able to support that building, let alone anything in the way of program.  The Anglican congregation may have a hard row to hoe for a while, but they should be able to flourish: having the Biblical Gospel makes a critical difference.

[6] Posted by AnglicanXn on 03-24-2009 at 02:52 PM • top

“In fifty years TEC will be but a post office box.”

Well, lots of post office boxes attached to buildings with huge endowments and many “members” who never actually show up to church.

[7] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-24-2009 at 02:54 PM • top

There are some things money just can’t buy.  This is a loss, and I feel for the membership of the church.  But, just like Matt said, “every time we’ve lost, we’ve won.” 

That has stuck with me.

[8] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-24-2009 at 03:04 PM • top

Fr Armstrong will also loose people who will not leave the building they love.

If they love the building more than God, they are lost already.

[9] Posted by Harry Edmon on 03-24-2009 at 03:08 PM • top

The Church sure is hierarchical, Jesus is the head and middle management seems to lost it’s way pretty badly.

Yet as Matt+ reminded us, “every time we’ve lost, we’ve won,” this no less true today than it was with St. Stephen was stoned. May the Lord redeem in ways that Satan or 815 never could guess, for in the Lord’s hand, the cutting in my life actually has ended up the most prosperous time.

[10] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-24-2009 at 03:12 PM • top

Olney said it’s imperative that the Episcopal church get back on the Tejon Street property quickly. “We don’t want a wholesale looting of the building,” Olney said.

It appears Senior Warden Olney may not be dealing with some anger issues.

[11] Posted by David Wilson on 03-24-2009 at 03:43 PM • top

Skimming through the opinion, it seems well-reasoned although I disagree with the outcome.  The court applied neutral principles, although TEC canons were examined and deemed instructive to the outcome.  Reading between the lines, it suspect that the judge did not like the fact that the parish vestry voted to depart after the Diocese made the financial impropriety allegations against Armstrong+.  This seems to be the flip of the Virginia litigation, where TEC, especially Schori, came across badly.  This is one of the +/- factors that colors a trial, and which no amount of eloquent litigating can get around.

[12] Posted by Steven in Falls Church on 03-24-2009 at 03:55 PM • top

We were studying Hebrews this past weekend.  Certainly an encouragement during these trying times.

10:32-34 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.

[13] Posted by Scout on 03-24-2009 at 04:24 PM • top

This is the end of the grand old Episcopal Establishment in Colorado Springs. Holy Spirit and St Francis are both gone and now Grace Church is a broken body. TEC will manage to hold on to the property but the parish will never recover its past greatness. I sincerely hope that the CANA group is strong and viable and becomes a flagship parish for ACNA. I am grateful that the Rev. Lindsey Patton (of blessed memory) is not there to witness this tragic end to his great career of building the Episcopal Establishment in Colorado Springs.  Statmann

[14] Posted by Statmann on 03-24-2009 at 04:41 PM • top

Folks, there were a good number of orthodox Anglicans who left the building to go worship in the “Continuing TEC” church.  I expect them to be able to maintain the physical plant.

I don’t know if the courts were right or wrong—there was a key document in which the parish did imply a diocesan trust, as I recall.  But I could be thinking of another lawsuit—there are so many.

There will be many more of these.  Thank God we live in the USA with the rule of law and a valid and decent court system.

[15] Posted by Sarah on 03-24-2009 at 04:49 PM • top

Clearly a loss for the CANA congregation but not surprising given Colorado precedent and the recent rulings in Calif & NY.  Not an iron clad ruling, but well reasoned and quite defensible on appeal. 

On reaching into the canons:
- ‘non-doctrinal sections of the canons are to be given close consideration under neutral principles’.  Brings the Dennis Canon in hook, line & sinker.

Other items of note:
- ‘Doctrinal disagreements do not constitue independence or open defiance’. 
- The counterclaim ruling states the CANA congregation was not trespassing because it had a reasonable belief that it held title to the property ‘up until I entered this order to the contrary’.
- I don’t see anything in the ruling that speaks to the April 1st exit date mentioned in the news story.  The order states: ‘This order is effective as of today’s date.  . .  The plaintiffs [see it really doesn’t matter if you are captioned as P or D] stall immediately cease all use and relinquish all possession dominion and control over the disputed property.’

Lenten blessings for ALL,
- miserable sinner

[16] Posted by miserable sinner on 03-24-2009 at 05:05 PM • top

spelling error: stall = shall

[17] Posted by miserable sinner on 03-24-2009 at 05:07 PM • top

I have 93% of the congregation left the Diocese and stayed with Fr. Armstrong. Hard to know how many will stay with the building after this.

[18] Posted by martin5 on 03-24-2009 at 05:52 PM • top

In 2005 TEC Chart listed about 2,550 Members for Grace Church. In 2007 TEC Chart listed about 575 Members for Grace Church.      Statmann

[19] Posted by Statmann on 03-24-2009 at 06:19 PM • top

[1] ctowles

What was that Judges name? Schwartz?

I have to ask.  What exactly are you implying with this question?  What difference does it make what his name is?

carl

[20] Posted by carl on 03-24-2009 at 06:20 PM • top

So, as things are shaping up, unless you’re in Virginia, you’re going to lose the physical church property if the parish leaves the diocese.  The case of dioceses leaving General Convention is yet to be tried in court, a coming attraction.

It remains to be seen how long “orthodox” folks who will stay with the TEC Grace & St. Stephens will be allowed to remain orthodox.  The revisionist tide is pulling against them.

[21] Posted by Katherine on 03-24-2009 at 06:21 PM • top

I am saddened by this news. Fr. Armstrong, who has posted here, seems quite bright, and I’m sure that the CANA congregation’s Plan B is solid.

If:
1. a substantial number of orthodox persons stayed with TEC and will be coming back to the main campus, and
2. some number of the CANA congregation decide to remain with the building

Then:
1. the TEC rector’s life will be a living hell even if he/she can stack the vestry with progressives (Episcopalians know how to do this)
2. those disenfranchised by a liberal vestry can retaliate by not pledging (Episcopalians also know how to do this)

The only winners here - you guessed it - are the lawyers.

[22] Posted by Ralph on 03-24-2009 at 06:46 PM • top

carl, what ctowles meant was that the Judge has a Jewish name. apparently an antisemitic remark…really not surprising to find that on this site.

[23] Posted by inmiami on 03-24-2009 at 07:02 PM • top

Well, though I fervently disagree, the law is the law and must be obeyed. It won’t help the Diocese of Colorado, of course, since they in the end will not be able to fill the buildings and have to sell the plant. It’s just stuff. Material things don’t really matter, though it’s sad that they get a preaching station for heresy. But then, they DID buy it through legal fees, so it wasn’t so bad of a loss for the orthodox.

[24] Posted by A Senior Priest on 03-24-2009 at 07:29 PM • top

Looks to me like a win-win-win situation: The diocese gets the building, the “real” Grace St. Stephen’s gets the use of the building (so long as they stay in the bishop’s good graces) and the CANA Grace & St. Stephen’s
gets out from under the lawsuit and gets to move on to bigger and better things. God is the ruler yet! As for me, I’m glad it is over.  Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels.  Frances Scott

[25] Posted by Frances S Scott on 03-24-2009 at 07:34 PM • top

#23, inmiami, we’re used to people dropping in and calling religious conservatives ugly names.  Can you cite some justification for what you said: “apparently an antisemitic remark…really not surprising to find that on this site”?

[26] Posted by Katherine on 03-24-2009 at 07:40 PM • top

[23] inmiami

Well, ya know, inmiami, the remark certainly could be construed that way.  And that’s why I asked.  (How that fits into your stereotyped and bigoted opinion of this site I am not sure, but we will let that pass.)  Did you consider that perhaps it was just an unfortunate arrangement of words?  There isn’t one of us who hasn’t made a post, and then regretted an inadvertent implication.  You see, normally people get to explain themselves before they get shot in the head.  Or were you just so anxious to lay out an accusation that you didn’t bother to consider any possible alternatives? 

carl

[27] Posted by carl on 03-24-2009 at 07:40 PM • top

by the way, Senior Priest, one of the priests who preaches there is absolutely and positively orthodox and, no matter what readings the lectionary hands him for a given Sunday morning, he finds the Gospel of Jesus in it and that is what he preaches.  The other priest and deacon I do not know.  The whole sadness of this situation is that BOTH groups of people are basicly conservative and could not find a way forward without involving the bishop.  Frances Scott

[28] Posted by Frances S Scott on 03-24-2009 at 07:42 PM • top

The conservative rector of the continuing TEClub church was dismissed a couple of months ago. Haven’t heard about a replacement. The diocese will put on airs of a viable parish and it will suck away even more funds from the diocese till they finally try to put the property up for sale.

[29] Posted by robroy on 03-24-2009 at 07:46 PM • top

Well Frances, I shall earnestly pray for the utter complete, but excruciatingly slow failure of WHOEVER takes over at the physical plant of the TEC place in Colorado Springs, even if they be called “orthodox” since they are in essence utilizing property which was unjustly taken under color of law, and anyone can see it. If an “orthodox” cleric wants to do such a thing, well more failure to ‘em, I say.

[30] Posted by A Senior Priest on 03-24-2009 at 07:56 PM • top

RE: “apparently an antisemitic remark . . . really not surprising to find that on this site.”

Yawn.

How fortunate, though, that I couldn’t care less what inmiami thinks of us.

; > )

[31] Posted by Sarah on 03-24-2009 at 08:28 PM • top

ctowles, 3, disgruntled litigants offering unsupported diatribes on the Internet.  Definitely the source I’d use to evaluate judges.

[32] Posted by DavidH on 03-24-2009 at 08:31 PM • top

I can’t wait to hear Fr. Armstrong’s Plan B.  Once the General Convention separates completely from the Anglican Communion, it will be interesting to watch the appellate cases that seem inevitable, with different outcomes in different states.  When TEC is shown in courts not to follow its own canons and constition vis-a-vis the AC, it will be interesting to see what happens as the appeals make their way to the Supreme Court.  In the meantime, we will also see what happens from the conservative bishops within TEC, like those that signed the ACI statement about the lawsuit the national church is bringing against the Diocese of Pgh.

[33] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-24-2009 at 08:32 PM • top

Mad Potter, the schism between TEC and the rest of the Canterbury-based AC is greater than any imagined or potential schism between Canterbury and the global south.  It had such a great head start, after all, and is so determined to finish its “autonomy”.  Have you forgotten the ABC’s commitment to communion over federation?  Don’t think TEC will get him to move on that;  its a religious issue they care little for, if they even understand it.

I don’t know what Fr. Armstrong will do next;  I think I have a better idea what the AC will do after the next General Convention, however.

[34] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-24-2009 at 09:21 PM • top

For those who are curious about the size, activities and response of the loyalist congregation, here is their statement:  http://www.graceststephensepiscopal.org/Legal/20090324—-Grace_and_St._Stephens_Local_Perspective.pdf

Blessings on all those who seek reconciliation.

[35] Posted by hopingforbetter on 03-24-2009 at 09:25 PM • top

Boy.

RE: “. . . reconciliation”

Cluelessness continues.

[36] Posted by Sarah on 03-24-2009 at 09:51 PM • top

Oh and PS:

Blessings on all those who can comprehend why two different gospels which are antithetical to one another cannot be “reconciled”—and those who are congenitally unable.

; > )

[37] Posted by Sarah on 03-24-2009 at 09:55 PM • top

#36…you mean, company loyalists.  Just what does “reconciliation” mean to TEC???  Their track record is as follows:

It means “Welcome back to the table of conversational dialogue…indaba…ubuntu…or by any name that adds to the vision of ‘diversity’ we have.  Sit down and listen to what we tell you.  You may speak, but only when invited to speak…and only until we tell you to shut up.  We will wear you down until you agree to our enlightened big tent of ideas…or until you promise to remain silent and continue giving your assessments.”

[38] Posted by TXThurifer on 03-24-2009 at 10:07 PM • top

Continuing with #39 ...and never ever question us ...

[39] Posted by martin5 on 03-24-2009 at 10:18 PM • top

Mad Potter, The Episcopal Church should be honest enough to admit that they are now a separate communion, so why not make it official and move on to organize The Episcopal Communion?  They might just as well, because they have….let’s see….ten, or is it fourteen….overseas jurisdictions which answer to General Convention.  Just go in peace.

[40] Posted by Cennydd on 03-25-2009 at 12:02 AM • top

TXThurifer, you forgot to say this:  “You may speak at convention until you say something we don’t like, and then we’ll shout you down and ignore you…..as usual.”

[41] Posted by Cennydd on 03-25-2009 at 12:08 AM • top

let it the stuff go.  we aren’t judged by the stuff.  i truly wish the remaining TECers peace and hope.  maybe they’ll hear the Gospel one day and follow a different path. let your light so shine before men that they shall see your good works, and glorify your Father, which are in Heaven.

[42] Posted by trooper on 03-25-2009 at 12:11 AM • top

Appeals on the way? Hope so. A positive result is that O’Neil has rightly incurred the loathing and disgust of the Christians in Colorado. His character has been fully exposed in this sorry charade.

What is left of the Diocese in terms of adherents is less than the ASA of Armstrong’s parish. TEC has actually dissapeared from the entire Western half of the state with the exception of Aspen. In my boyhood, there was an Episcopal Church in every town in the state. The only denomination with a larger following was the RCs. Now look at what’s left.  Literally empty buildings in town after town. What a testament to the attraction of the revisionist outreach and the power of its charming proponent, O’Neil.

[43] Posted by teddy mak on 03-25-2009 at 03:38 AM • top

“In fifty years TEC will be but a post office box.”

In fifty years they’ll be able to have GenCon in a phone booth.

[44] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 03-25-2009 at 07:04 AM • top

RE:

Any idea of the relative percentage of the original congregation of those who “went Anglican” with Armstrong, and who “remained Episcopal”?

Yes, following the link to the <A >Charts*</A>, we see that in 2006, G/StS had a Bapt. of 2500 and an ASA of just over 800.  This dropped off in 2007 (after the conservatives split off) to a Bapt. of about 600 and an ASA of about 200.  P&P;plummeted from $1.3MM to about $3,500 also.

So it seems that about 75% of the parish went, but they took almost all the money with them.  Correct?

*Links to individual charts don’t usually work, so go to the site, and select Colorado, then Grace/St.Stephen’s.

[45] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 03-25-2009 at 07:23 AM • top

There was supposed to be a link in the above to http://12.0.101.92/

[46] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 03-25-2009 at 07:24 AM • top

The revisionist on the HOB/d list are positive gleeful. One this morning refers Cana and those who left as “a crumbling house of cards”. They seem to think that with each court case going for TEC that people will flock back.  Or maybe it’s they don’t care if the people come back as much as it is all about earthly things.


Colossians 3:1-4
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
NIV

[47] Posted by bob+ on 03-25-2009 at 07:41 AM • top

They win, they get the property. Unless they repent and return to the Lord, the building and lands will do them no good. In the end the victory is ours.

I will continue to pray for both sides. I pray the Anglican Church transitions well. I pray that the Episcopalian Church returns to God. I pray that both will be reconciled in the true Faith.

I continue to pray that the next movement of the spirit in the Episcopal Church will not be a false spirit but a working of the Spirit of Contrition that comes from a real understanding of our proper relation with our Creator.

[48] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 03-25-2009 at 08:04 AM • top

The orthodox churches may not win the lawsuits brought by TEC, but TEC will never understand that a new evangelical and orthodox province is not going to go away just because it loses a building.  That is just property.  We are to be good stewards of it, but we don’t need it, or if we do, God will provide.

Anyway, here is the sort of reaction on the Episcopal House of Bishops and Deputies listserve, from a TEC rector in California.  I hope the Anglican world notices that this kind of hate is the bedrock of the Episcopal Church in the US these days and asks itself who TEC is following and whether they want to go with them, too. 

It is a delight to watch the schismatic’s house of cards crumble all the
more.  The Supreme Court decision in California and now the decision in
Colorado are two nails in their coffins.  San Diego is expected to shortly
recover the first of it properties from the squatters based on an entirely
different legal approach.  The momentum of generated by these three
decisions will begin to reverberate among judicial districts.  And no matter
what Virginia does, should those cases go to Federal Court the schismatics
will lose.

  But there are some consequences that the remaining folks might want to
consider and some fresh avenues for TEC to take.  In California and Colorado
courts have now determined that these groups have been engaged in the
illegal usurpation of property and assets.  They may well be criminally
culpable if they play further games with records, accounts of other assets.
The individual groups that seized property will also likely become
responsible for the legal costs of the Dioceses and TEC.  And what I suspect
is that, having been engaged in criminal activity,  their officer and
director’s insurance may well refuse to cover their liability, leaving the
individual members of their boards personally responsible for TEC’s legal
costs.

  I am wondering if these “vestries” were ever told by their legal counsel
and their clergy that one possible outcome was that they could become
individually liable for the litigation costs of their opponent if they
lost?  Whatever bravura they began with, did they truly inform their boards
that they might be adjudicated as engaged in criminal activity and liable
for all the costs?  I sure hope so, because then TEC can recover its
expenses from them with no loss of sleep.  If they were not informed, they
have my sympathy.

  Now that CANA has been adjudicated as engaged in illegal activity, might
not TEC be well advised to alert the State Department of the engagement of
foreign nationals in the misappropriation of American Church assets?  There
are other reasons to ask for Akinola’s visa to be revoked, but surely a
decision like this is as good a reason as any.  Indeed as the cases continue
to fall our way I believe we should seek to have the visa’s of all the
primates who have suborned these illegal activities revoked because of their
collusion in these illicit enterprises.  Let them understand that colluding
to defraud an American Church of its assets has serious and dire
consequences for them.  I would suggest that CANA’s US held assets and the
US held assets of any other foreign province engaged in the illegal
alienation of US assets become targets for seeking restitution of our costs.

  An additional benefit of this is that it answers +BEN’s worries about our
litigation costs. +BEN we will get all the money back from the pockets of
misled vestry persons and foreign provinces who have illegally helped them!
It is truly divine justice heaped upon earthly justice.

  So the future gets brighter for TEC and dimmer for the schismatics.  You
guys better get crackin’ hiding your personal assets.  If you are smart you
will all get out of the buildings now, turn over all the bank accounts and
begin to ask sweetly for reasonable terms for repaying TEC.

[49] Posted by pendennis88 on 03-25-2009 at 08:20 AM • top

bob+‘s comment about the HOB/d sounds familiar to statements I have heard from other Episcopalians - that is if people in ACNA are removed from their buildings and property, this whole thing is over. 

It’s an odd kind of thought.  As if Fr. Matt Kennedy is going to quit the whole church thing and start selling lawn equipment or something.  I think for people with universalist theology, doing anything painful or difficult out of true spiritual conviction is insane - which is the logical conclusion of universalism (all the martyrs and Christ Himself, in the end were suckers).

The vast majority of churches in the AMiA branch of ACNA have grown their ministry without buildings.  Episcopalians need buildings more than Anglicans because if they didn’t have a pretty place to sit in on Sunday morning they could get a more enlightening experience sitting at home with a cup of coffee and NPR on in the background.  Better coffee, better sermons.

DoW

[50] Posted by DietofWorms on 03-25-2009 at 08:23 AM • top

They seem to think that with each court case going for TEC that people will flock back.

Yeah, once upon a time, the high priest of the Temple of Jupiter in Rome thought that too.

[51] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-25-2009 at 08:40 AM • top

What does it profit a man if he gains a church building but forfeits his soul?

This is not a time for rejoicing or sorrow on either side.  The Body of Christ is further fractured and our witness to the love of God is diminished.  Weep for the Church and the fact that we have all been defeated by the powers of this world (as evidenced by the fact that lawsuits even exist between Church members).  Pray that these court cases will drive us into the arms of our Lord where we are more than conquerors.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[52] Posted by Philip Snyder on 03-25-2009 at 09:02 AM • top

52 Tjmcmahon, just ask Vickie Gene for proof of that!

[53] Posted by Cennydd on 03-25-2009 at 09:11 AM • top

50 Pendennis, I assume that by the tone of this rector’s missive that he is either an attorney or a former attorney who is keeping his identity secret.  Personally, I believe that this is mere bluster on his part, and is intended to sow fear in the hearts of non-Episcopal vestrypersons.  If that’s the case, he’s barking up the wrong tree!  He can come after me if he wants to, but he’d better be ready to face one of the best legal teams in the state:  My attorneys!

[54] Posted by Cennydd on 03-25-2009 at 09:23 AM • top

Carl, inmiami, and David H,
  Why are you projecting antisemitism on me? On post #1 I ask a question and in post #3 I reveal the context of that post which is an internet link to judical decisions of the judge. David H suggests it is a cheap shot as he takes a cheap shot on me revealing his context. inmiami’s antisemitism remark is political correctness run amuck. Go chase a windmill inmiami. You know what you are doing in that type of activity. Carl, thank you in for you reasoning, open mind. I was somewhat disappointed that no one else took the lead in Googling Judge Schwartz for feedback on his opinions. Reaching the conclusion that TEC was hiearchical which was his first finding is mentally unbalanced reasoning or very bad lawyering. Finding that he had significant real estate ties in the community is also quite revealing, and possibly a motive. David H. the internet is a wonderful tool. Learn how to use it, before it learns how to use you. Go back to your seat in the nave.

[55] Posted by ctowles on 03-25-2009 at 09:24 AM • top

1. The curmudgeon has some interesting observations, including some illogical or unsupported conclusions that may offer grounds for appeal.  Notably, however, this case differs from others in that there may have been an actual, historic trust document for some of the property - this should be a definite consideration in planning:

“3. The owners, however, did consent to the imposition of a trust in favor of the Church when they signed an Instrument of Donation dedicating the property to the Church in 1929.”

 
http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2009/03/one-more-such-victory.html

This was not a slam dunk for TEC, in that the opinion noted a variety of problems with application of the Dennis Cannon on its own.

2.  The legal prognostications of BOB in [50] are so extensive and conclusory as to convince me that if he was a lawyer in a previous occupation, he was probably not a very good one.  On what possible legal theory could Bp. Akinola be implicated? 

But then again, this person’s own words paint a sad picture of TEC.  I concur with [49].

:-|

[56] Posted by tired on 03-25-2009 at 09:46 AM • top

“The Supreme Court decision in California and now the decision in Colorado are two nails in their coffins.  San Diego is expected to shortly recover the first of it properties from the squatters based on an entirely
different legal approach.  The momentum of generated by these three decisions will begin to reverberate among judicial districts.”

Yes, an accurate display of TEC’s enmity, pendenniss88 [#50]. (“Brood of vipers” comes to mind, though I pity the lowly creatures so maligned in the comparison.  Christ’s passion for humanity may yet reconsider his other creatures, so lovingly fashioned, when they themselves elicit human gratitude and wonder for them, his entire creation and unabashed love in gifting it to us.) I am virtually certain that the US Supreme Court will follow CA precedent in just about anything, aren’t you? (NOT) Its Roman Catholic justices, after all, really are quite clueless about what canon law and an hierarchical church are; they are, moreover, so inarticulate, they will be dumbfounded to explain them to their fellow justices.  Even their ordained and embarred(?) family members will not be able to enlighten them.  Just as I am certain that the President in the midst of extreme, world-wide economic duress will allow the State Dept. to be used for partisan squabbles that will alienate a good part of the country he needs to hang together, introducing in the process a racial and psychological divide he is just dying to exploit.  (As many have observed, TEC is overrun by a good number who just seem unable to grasp the obvious.)

As for more interesting questions, is it possible that the COE’s system of canon law could instruct the bereft state of canon law in North American (or American?) Anglicanism, however and wherever it survives?  Wouldn’t that be a benefit of a true Anglican Communion, that members could learn from one another and benefit from the strength of constituent members?  What’s become of that good fellow the ABC appointed to an advisory committee on Communion canon law, Norman Doe?  Someone said he was about to publish a book about the time of the last Lambeth Conference.  Does anyone know anything about any of this?  Please let us know, if so.  (PM?  Others?)

[57] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 03-25-2009 at 10:03 AM • top

After reading #50’s quoted text, I am led to believe that the person who wrote it knows nothing of the law.  This is civil and not criminal law that is in question;  if you loose in civil court you are not a criminal but have lost at a question of law and owe something to the prevailing party(ies) in the lawsuit be it monetary or otherwise.  The person that wrote that quote is just a “fanboy” of the reapraisers going off the deep-end with his fantasies of what should happen. 

BTW, IANAL, I didn’t sleep at Holiday Inn Express, but I have been a reader/member of Groklaw which has left me with a knowledge and appreciation of some parts of the law.

[58] Posted by BillB on 03-25-2009 at 10:41 AM • top

O’Neal has invested more than just money is this battle, but also his ego.  This was and is personal.  He will own Grace Church or he will sell it.  It will not be orthodox.

IMHO.  Time will tell

[59] Posted by Elizabeth on 03-25-2009 at 10:45 AM • top

If we know anything about the law, we know that appeals are frequent in these types of decisions. Appeals overturn verdicts and are then appealed again. The answers to these trials lie in Justice Kennedy’s lap for he is the swing vote these days. Appeal is likely if for no other reason because the trial Judge relied on a case (California Supremes) that will be appealed to the Supreme court. The Opera ain’t over until the .....

[60] Posted by ctowles on 03-25-2009 at 11:44 AM • top

#59   Yeah, Mad Potter….you sure do, and it’s called The Episcopal Communion!

[61] Posted by Cennydd on 03-25-2009 at 11:58 AM • top

Its spiritual worth, however, is highly debatable.

[62] Posted by Cennydd on 03-25-2009 at 11:59 AM • top

I wish the people of this church God’s blessings.  Very soon you will see that by going forward with your church life, you will find unimagined blessings as we have at Good Shepherd, Bing.  The burdon has been lifted for you even if you don’t quite see it yet.  You have been released.  Go forward with Christ.

[63] Posted by Just a Parishioner on 03-25-2009 at 12:52 PM • top

The nasty HOB/D listserv comment is probably referencing a potential claim by TEC under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which is both a criminal prohibition and provides a right of action for civil litigants.  RICO is the “nuclear” option outlined in a litigation strategy memo prepared a few years ago by +Sauls, which would be used personally against departing clergy and vestries attempting to keep their property.  The theory is that the attempt to keep the properties amounts to an illegal conspiracy to deprive TEC of its properties, leading to a cause of action and perhaps criminal charges under RICO.  A stretch to say the least, given that the departing parishes have made good faith arguments to keep their property, and an attempt to press RICO claims would put TEC clearly on the side of the devil in these disputes.  I am glad I am no longer in a church that raises up as clergy the kind of person who is the author of the above comment.

[64] Posted by Steven in Falls Church on 03-25-2009 at 05:38 PM • top

This Colorado decision was disappointing but expected. As for the rejoicing moonbats (‘Akinola’s visa should be revoked,’ etc. ad nauseum) consider these facts, which are as accurate as my limited knowledge will permit:

    1. ACNA churches and the older continuing Anglican churches are (by and large) growing. 700 congregations and 100,000 members at the start are not small potatoes, anyway. Any of the older continuing churches which were going to fail mostly already have. Sure, our churches have grown faster if TEC had not fought for nearly every building, but the Orthodox churches ARE growing.
    2. When TEC ‘wins’ a property, they often have trouble filling it with parishioners. These newly-acquired buildings may well become a financial burden to their new owners. Perhaps they are already.
    3. Lawsuits and personal ugliness of behavior do not attract Christians; they may (or may not) attract like-minded folk with a strong political agenda.
    4. While TEC has in recent years ‘clarified its brand’ as a very liberal, gay-friendly politically activist denomination, there has been NO flocking of like-minded folk to this banner. TEC is shrinking daily.
    5. Although there are certainly exceptions, left-liberal activists are not, in general, as likely to be deeply-committed churchgoers as people who are more apolitical (i.e. religion comes first in their lives) or who are center-right (ie. religion is an important part of an examined and broadly orthodox lifestyle which includes, within that perspective, politics). Voting patterns show this.

Well, enough said. Just sayin’. If there are Worthy Opponents out there who disagree, let ‘em join the fray. But vague psuedo-legal threats of criminal prosecution of losers of civil suits is just obnoxious. Pax.

[65] Posted by richard reed on 03-25-2009 at 05:42 PM • top

Mad Potter wrote:

...TEC is not the only Global North province. No point to start a new communion, we have a perfectly good one in place now.

ROTFLMAO!  “perfectly good”  LOL.  Lawsuits galore.  Rather the properties be saloons rather than churches.  Declining membership.

Yep, that perfectly good communion seems to really be working out well for you, MP.  As for those of us who’d rather follow Christ’s teachings…not so perfect.  But even worse is it doesn’t want to follow God’s will, but its own.  Good luck with that.

[66] Posted by Lakeland 2 on 03-25-2009 at 06:09 PM • top

ctowles, thanks for the link.  I didn’t think about an anti-semitic remark because you followed up quickly with the link.  While some would be shocked at the slow justice referenced in that article, we’ve seen too much self-serving “justice” over the years in the good-ol’ boy networks.

We need to research what we’re hearing - it’s accountability.  Following the link would have answered several of the comments before they were posted.

[67] Posted by Lakeland 2 on 03-25-2009 at 06:15 PM • top

Not to put too fine a point on it Potter, but since there is a “bishop with jurisdiction” in TEC who is not recognized as such by any of the instruments of unity of the Communion, TEC is already not a “full member” of the Communion.  And since KJS deposed a member of the English episcopacy, TEC is therefore not even in full communion with the Church of England (since there is clearly one bishop the English recognize and 815 does not).  We could argue about whether Rowan as head of the CoE recognizes VGR while Rowan as head of the Communion does not (and I would not be surprised if he makes such distinctions himself), but given KJS deposition of +Scriven, the status of VGR becomes a moot point. So I am left wondering what Communion you think TEC is a full member of?

[68] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-25-2009 at 07:50 PM • top

62 Towles.  Your comment that the trial judge relied on the Ca Episcopal cases confused me.  From my reading of the opinion I understood him to be saying he considered it based on 1.the Colorado church case precedent and 2.  that the argument that the incorporation had changed didn’t fly when the name changed from the word “and” to an ampersand.  But it’s late and I read the case yesterday and I’m tired and my memory is open to correction?

[69] Posted by EmilyH on 03-25-2009 at 08:51 PM • top

My family visited Grace and St Stephens a year and a half ago, and while the building is lovely, what impressed us most was the warm welcome we received, the kindness extended towards our very active son, and the solid biblical preaching.  Our children decided that if they became Air Force Academy cadets, that’s where they’d go to church.  How’s that for an endorsement?

A disappointing court decision, but the parish hasn’t lost what matters most.

[70] Posted by Ralinda on 03-25-2009 at 09:25 PM • top

EmilyH,
  I made a connection in my mind when I read an article about it. At the moment I can’t remember the source. The best source is The Anglican Curmudgeon. The basis of what I said is gleaned from what is said there, probably. The California decision is flawed and must still be settled either through the lower courts adjusting their rulings or appeals further up the food chain either of which will set precedent or stare decisis for the Colorado case. Justice is a moving target in this case.

[71] Posted by ctowles on 03-26-2009 at 11:11 AM • top
[72] Posted by martin5 on 03-27-2009 at 08:54 AM • top

And the new website for the CANA congregation, now St. George’s Anglican:

http://www.saintgeorgesanglicanchurch.org/index.html

(For some reason my html link isn’t working…)

[73] Posted by Jeff in VA on 03-27-2009 at 09:27 AM • top

Oh…because it’s automatic now?  Sweet.

[74] Posted by Jeff in VA on 03-27-2009 at 09:28 AM • top

Just checked out the new St. George’s Anglican Web site:
WOW! What a location!  Grace Church it isn’t, but the building is attractive and spcaious, the architectual style fits with the background, there should be ample parking and plenty of classrooms for the school. Colorado Springs has seen a bit of growth in that area and it is easy to get there.  I’d send my congratulations, if I knew where to send the message.  The “contact us” part of their web site is not up yet.
Frances Scott

[75] Posted by Frances S Scott on 03-27-2009 at 12:08 PM • top

In response to post 49: No body who has a fiduciary responsibility should ever take that responsibility lightly because it is the highest form of responsibility that the law imposes. Not only did the members of the various “vestries” have a duty to inform themselves about their legal liability, the Bishop of Colorado warned them in writing about what they were doing in illegally converting church property (personal and real) to their own use. He also ordered Donald Armstrong to safeguard the assets of the diocese.

It is a sad day when people steal from the Church. But when they do, there are remedies in civil law and they are being applied.

[76] Posted by oldverger on 03-27-2009 at 02:56 PM • top

Yep, and the only thing things that TEC and the dioceses care about these days are the enforcement of civil law against faithful Anglican Christians, and the demands of special interest groups at the expense of those same faithful Christians.

[77] Posted by Cennydd on 03-27-2009 at 03:24 PM • top

Cennydid:
Supposing I joined your “Anglican” parish, formed a dissident group that wanted to affiliate with TEC, drove you and your friends away, and then said that the property and other assets belonged to me and my followers.

I assume you would just walk away? Hardly.

[78] Posted by oldverger on 03-27-2009 at 03:40 PM • top

PS -

What part of “thou shalt not steal” don’t you undertand?

[79] Posted by oldverger on 03-27-2009 at 03:47 PM • top

It was indeed a sad day when leadership of TEC decided to steal the deposit of faith from the church, leaving it an institution of members bereft of the good news.

The rest is just <strike>the property</strike> <u>dust</u>. 

The property may merit some effort in a <u>civil</u> lawsuit, but it certainly pales in contrast to the important thing. 

; - )

[80] Posted by tired on 03-27-2009 at 04:07 PM • top

I am unaware that either I, as a faithful Christian and Episcopalian, or the leadership of our Church, have stolen “the deposit of faith.” The TEC remains a faithful adherent to the creeds and the sacraments as a means of grace. I know that because I am faithful in worship and in the building up of the Church.

The phrase, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” still applies, but not at the cost of demonizing or exiling others, even though there are those whose own “deposit of faith” is dependent upon the exclusion of other Christians. And, a we all know, there are surfeit of those.

Their desire to have a denomination of their own does not set aside the fact that they may not steal to obtain it. I wish them well on their journey, but not at the cost of allowing them to steal the church building, the linens and the silver. After all, faithful Episcopalians, often for generations, have given to build up and maintain Episcopal Churches, not Methodist or Baptist or Presbyterian or other ones.

Even so, criminals often attempt to justify their own criminal conduct in order to excuse it. While we may, and should, forgive the these sinners, we must still hate the sin. Nor it is possible to deliver them from the consequences of that sin, particularly when it transgresses the law.

To be clear: In England, the courts of equity began as Church courts. An example is, “if I run over your pig with my wagon, I owe you a pig” and the Bishop’s court would have ordered me to give you one. In America, the courts can be either courts of equity or criminal courts. Most function as both.

In the present case, which is a civil matter, the court has determined who owns Grace and St. Stephens. The findings of fact and the reasoning behind the decision are set out in the judge’s decision. It it tedious reading, but I recommend it to everyone on this list, because it should also be quite enlightening.

Back to the pig: If I hand over the pig I owe you, you are made whole and that’s the end of it. But, if I had run over your pig under the cover of darkness, denied I had killed your pig, and had taken the carcass home, butchered it, smoked it, and enjoyed the meat, I would have not only killed your pig, but I would have stolen it as well. And that is a criminal act.

If the purported “vestries” and others hand over the metaphorical pig, that should be an end to it. In other words, they must make the Church whole, so that the Church loses nothing by their bad conduct. The court has urged them and the Diocese of Colorado to work something out before these individuals come up for trial before a jury in a few weeks. I pray that these individuals will be wise enough to do what is equitable.

The matter of Donald Armstrong is something else again. A grand jury is sitting on embezzlement charges brought by the Colorado Springs police, based upon their search of the files and computers the Rectory and Grace and St. Stephens. It appears that an indictment is probable. And, I have been told, the IRS is investigating whether Armstrong owes taxes, interest and penalties on any of the funds that he is alleged to have embezzled. These are, of course, criminal charges at both the State and Federal level and are very serious indeed.

All faithful Christians are commanded to render unto God that which is God’s; and to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

The Commandment is clear: Thou shalt not steal. Nor will Caesar deliver people from the consequences of their sin when that sin transgresses either the laws of equity or the civil law.

[81] Posted by oldverger on 03-27-2009 at 05:18 PM • top

Rant on ...
And what if the church decides that there are more than one way to the Father? What if the church decides anyone can be ordained, regardless of lifestyle? What if the church questions whether Jesus is the Son of God? I could go on but I think your get my point. TEC is slowly drifting towards unitarianism. So, I would think that those Commandments that are before Thou shalt not Steal are also more important. TEC’s new thing contradicts scripture but I guess that is not important anymore. In the end, TEC will have lots of empty/near empty buildings ... because people are walking away. I don’t agree with lawsuits and I think TEC could have negotiated with these congregations but they didn’t. You have to ask youreself why? And it has nothing to do with the Ten Commandments, nor Scripture.
Rant off ...

[82] Posted by martin5 on 03-27-2009 at 05:40 PM • top

Dear martin5:

We each have our own theological views of the issues that you raise. As did Elizabeth Tudor, who, when confronted by the question of the Real Presence, wrote:

“He was the Word who spake it,
and what that Word doth make it,
I do believe and take it.”

Her ambiguity was politically expedient, but it also laid the foundation for the “big tent” of Anglican thought, which searches for the truth whilst understanding that we, like St. Paul, only see through a glass darkly, and will never “get it” completely.

Or, as one prayer has it: “Oh, Lord keep me steadfast in the company of those who seek the Truth, and far away from those who have found it.”

You are, I think, probably more literal in your interpretation of Scripture than I am. That makes both of us right (in that we each understand Scripture as revealed to us) and both of us wrong (in that neither of us can know the whole mind of God.)

But we also exist in a real, civil world that cannot be completely set apart from our theology and worship. It might be nice if there was such a never-never land, but there isn’t. We may, in hindsight, debate how these civil disputes might have been handled. But the reality is what it is.

The question, then, is where do things go from here?

In the main, like it or not, TEC will prevail in the secular courts.

As to things theological: If one looks carefully at the earliest Old Testament stories, they paint a picture of a tribal God with limited powers. Remember that He had to send angels to find out what was happening at Sodom, so God wasn’t seen as omniscient. But our perception of God has grown through the ages. He’s certainly omniscient now! God hasn’t changed, of course, but our perception of Him has grown.

Remember, too, that black people used to be theologically inferior because they were the sons of Ham. It was Martin King, I think, who first said that “the bow of the future is bent toward justice.” And he was right about that. Somehow black people aren’t inferior anymore! Did God change? Or did the Church? Did we?

Christianity is changing more rapidly than ever before in this first world-wide Renaissance, and that change will continue to involve all of us wrestling with a new interpretation of the Gospel for this challenging new age. I firmly believe that TEC’s current teachings and policies are prophetic. I think that TEC foreshadows what Christianity is new being called by God to grow into.

Living with ambiguity and change is not easy. I pray that your faith is up to that challenge.  Please pray that mine is too.

[83] Posted by oldverger on 03-27-2009 at 06:32 PM • top

#84—-Martin…no need to rant. OV is a Seer of Santa Fe clone. As for you OV and Micky Russell..I serve on a vestry under GCC suit…Bring it jawflappers.
Intercessor

[84] Posted by Intercessor on 03-27-2009 at 06:34 PM • top

Opportunity. Thats what this is.

Christians in Colorodo Springs, if you are committed shake this off, rent space and build a space where folks are likely to attend for years to come.

[85] Posted by Going Home on 03-27-2009 at 06:46 PM • top

Yes Going Home,
Just don’t accuse us of stealing the crayons.

[86] Posted by martin5 on 03-27-2009 at 06:52 PM • top

OldVerger, call Katharine Jefferts Schori and remind her that Jesus Christ said these words:  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  No man cometh unto the Father except he come through Me.”  And “He who hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” 

If you’re the Christian that you say you are, do you believe that he uttered those words?  Evidently Katharine Jefferts Schori doesn’t….but you mind want to remind her anyway.

[87] Posted by Cennydd on 03-27-2009 at 07:11 PM • top

Mr./Ms.Oldverger-

You sound like a nice person who is thoughtful about your faith and lives “in the questions”. I don’t care for much of the theology of John Shelby Spong, but I do like the title of the Christian discipleship Progam, “Living the Questions” which is the liberal Christian response to the Alpha Course. My questions are just not the same as those of JSS. :^)


My question to you is this; At what point is there so much ambiguity that a Christian religious tradition ceases to be a part of the historic faith and has esentially become Unitarianism with Christ as a powerless figuhead in name only? For me if Jesus is just a “good guy” essentially no different than Buddha or Mohammed who are also considered great teachers and, that God may or may not exist but it really doesn’t matter there is no point to me to claim Christianity, since “great teachers” if that’s all that they-are are simply that-a dime a dozen, as it were.  I know some great teachers and some great people. I don’t consider them divine as I do Christ.

I don’t see anything really new about the drift of the Christian faith within TEC and other Mainline Christian organizations . It’s simply a social justice/gnosticism called a
“prophetic new thing”.

I wish you well and I bid you peace.

[88] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 03-27-2009 at 07:11 PM • top

OldVerger #80 writes

Supposing I joined your “Anglican” parish, formed a dissident group that wanted to affiliate with TEC, drove you and your friends away, and then said that the property and other assets belonged to me and my followers.

I assume you would just walk away? Hardly.

Umm, oldverger, that’s exactly what the people you are upholding have been doing except we didn’t leave the facilities which we have donated our time and money to continue in the historic Faith as it was received for 2000 years—NOT for what your cohorts have tried to twist the Faith into.  As far as your charge of stealing, that too is what your cohorts are doing. KJS would rather a holy space be a saloon in punishment for us not going along with the new thing.  How Christian is that?

May God bless you. We pray that God would give you His answers, His thoughts.  And that you will hear Him.  Something we pray for ourselves and others.

[89] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 03-27-2009 at 07:28 PM • top

“If one looks carefully at the earliest Old Testament stories, they paint a picture of a tribal God with limited powers. Remember that He had to send angels to find out what was happening at Sodom, so God wasn’t seen as omniscient.”

Or… http://graceandknowledge.faithweb.com/gen18.html

[90] Posted by GSP98 on 03-27-2009 at 07:37 PM • top

#75 Well I am glad to hear that this church has managed to find a future and a home.  May all blessings come to them as they continue to witness to Him who is our rock and our guide.

[91] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 03-27-2009 at 07:39 PM • top

Old verger, lay off the hateful claims of theft.  There was a dispute over who had legal right to the building.  Each side had reasons to think they had the best claim.  A judge was necessary to resolve the dispute. 

See the judge’s own comments on the matter.

My concerns regarding the remaining claims are as follows: Claims of trespass, theft, conspiracy and the like all revolve around the notion that the offending party had no authority to use the property of another. For instance, to prove civil trespass, the Bishop would have to prove 1. property ownership by the Bishop and 2. intentional trespass. Permission or consent is an affirmative defense. Havlng now heard five weeks of testimony and reviewed in excess of 3,000 documents I am at somewhat of a loss to understand how those claims can be maintained. The parish held legal title to all of the property subject to the Bishop’s “equitable” claim of trust. <b>The counterclaim defendants represented the majority of the parish and had a reasonable basis to conclude that they had the absolute right to use the property. That reasonable belief extended up until I entered this order to the contrary</bl>

[92] Posted by AndrewA on 03-27-2009 at 07:52 PM • top

The phrase, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” still applies, but not at the cost of demonizing or exiling others, even though there are those whose own “deposit of faith” is dependent upon the exclusion of other Christians. And, a we all know, there are surfeit of those.

Given that your definition of exclusion seems to be labeling certain actions a sin and then saying that we are called to hate the sin but love the sinner, I don’t see how your sentiments square with the statement below.

Even so, criminals often attempt to justify their own criminal conduct in order to excuse it. While we may, and should, forgive the these sinners, we must still hate the sin. Nor it is possible to deliver them from the consequences of that sin, particularly when it transgresses the law.

Of course, what you refuse to see is that this conflict has been created by TEC not only making excuses for sinful conduct but affirming, celebrating and encouraging sinful conduct.

Remember, too, that black people used to be theologically inferior because they were the sons of Ham.

Have you ever actually cracked open a Bible?  The Bible says black people are inferior right next to where it says that David and Jonathan were in a sexual relationship.  In other words, the distortions that you speak of are not to be found in the Bible, were not taught by the Apostles and were not taught by the Church Fathers, and have never been the teaching of the Church Catholic. 

Living with ambiguity and change is not easy

Then why don’t you live with the legal ambiguity of property law instead of demonizing those that, even according to the judge who ruled against them, had every reason to think that they had the right to use the property to which they held the title?

[93] Posted by AndrewA on 03-27-2009 at 08:25 PM • top

OldVerger, when TEC organizes any new parishes and buys more property, I suggest that they incorporate each one and establish a trust deed benefitting the parish, and the parish only for it so as to prove that they actually own it outright.  After that, they’ll actually have written proof that they own the property.  But then again, if any parish then tries to leave TEC with the property that they paid for, TEC will still try to claim that it is held in trust for the national Church….even if the founding members of the parish specifically wrote to the contrary in their articles of incorporation….won’t they?

[94] Posted by Cennydd on 03-27-2009 at 09:41 PM • top

The last three paragraphs of Old Vergers rant (#85) illustrate perfectly his flawed theology. It is also typical of the thinking of a great number of the “continuing” congregation who will now have the property thanks to errors in legal interpretation.
The newly founded parish of St. George Anglican Church was formed by a full house of parishioners in attendance at a parish meeting last Tuesday (MAR 24) evening led by Fr. Armstrong and the same vestry.  The vote was unanimous, loud and followed by a standing ovation. The new location for worship is a former private school on the N.W. side of town near the foothills. There is great enthusiasm for this new start.  It will take a while to get over some of the viciousness that was exhibited by the diocese both openly and behind the scenes. Unfortunately, that is not over yet. There is still the matter of individual lawsuits against the vestry and the head of St. Stephens Academy who is a dedicated, Christian Educator and leader in her own right.
Fr. Artmstrong, his wife Jessie, Bear the dog and the kitty cat will be evicted from their home which now belongs to O’Neil and company - furniture and all. They will leave with the clothes on their backs. Not even the vehicle. Where oh where are those embezzled millions Fr. Armstrong? Tsk Tsk.
Will O’Neil throw Christina, the Academy head, in jail for trespassing. Will O’Neil send in a security team to confiscate Armstrong’s family photos? Will O’Neil allow Fr. Eric to keep the vestments that Fr. Eric paid for out of his own pocket? Stay tuned.

[95] Posted by athan-asi-us on 03-27-2009 at 11:59 PM • top

You know, if Christina and Fr Armstrong were trespassing, then so were all the parishioners and schoolchildren.  We should stop letting them “make excuses” for “criminal conduct” and throw the whole lot in jail, or juvenile detention, as the case may be.

Or we can be merciful, loving, and kind, which are the characteristics that would be required for true “reconciliation” to begin.

[96] Posted by AndrewA on 03-28-2009 at 05:03 AM • top

We are lucky that Bp. O’Neil didn’t call for Sharia law in this case. Or, am I being too optimistic?

[97] Posted by athan-asi-us on 03-28-2009 at 01:47 PM • top

In an earlier post, concern has been expressed about the theft of the deposit of faith. I, too, became concerned have checked very carefully into that possibility. I am sure you all will be pleased to hear that the deposit of faith is safe.

It is a little known fact, but under 815 Second Avenue in the City of New York, about 200 feet down in the Manhattan schist, is a super-secret vault guarded 24/7 by twelve retired bishops on rotating shifts and two cheribim and two seraphim, each forty feet high and with eight wings and seven eyes, where the faith of the church is safely deposited in bags whose fabric can not be torn.

In former years, there was a great key to this vault, which was passed down from PB to PB. It has now been retired to the Primate’s coat of arms. The codes for opening the vault are now on a laptop PC that is handed on from one presiding bishop to the next and never leaves the primate’s side to whom it attached by a rope of gold.

In this vault the deposit of faith delivered once to all the saints is kept safe from revisionists, heretics, agnostics, pansexualists, cultural relativists, ethical culturists, rabid purists, schismatics, broad churchmen and cultural Episcopalians.

Some argue it is time for withdrawals to save those who have squandered their heritage. But Executive Council, convinced times will get worse before they get better, stands firm in resisting such bailouts.

[98] Posted by oldverger on 03-28-2009 at 04:48 PM • top

I am not sure of the point of your sarcastic humor. What do you think the people should do who are concerned that their clergy are denying the divinity of Christ and rejecting the creeds? Grin and bear it? Say “Whatever goes is o.k.?”

[99] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 03-28-2009 at 05:05 PM • top

One hopes that they might lighten up a bit, understanding that one’s faith is one’s own. One’s faith is not subject to being stolen, locked up, or controlled by others. Nor can one legitimately judge the faith of another.

[100] Posted by oldverger on 03-28-2009 at 07:07 PM • top

What we have here is a failure to communicate. :^) I guess the two sides cannot come to a consensus. If I cared very deeply about the historic Christian faith as a conservative member of TEC, and I saw what I felt was the church moving towards Unitarianism by it’s selection of Bishops and potential Bishops, yes I would feel like someone was trying to cut away the foundations of what was important to me. I assume you don’t like being called names anymore than the conservative Episcopalians do by some of the liberals. I assume it wouldn’t be a matter of “lightening up” for you if the changes reflected a deep core about what you stand firm in. Perhaps you are the poster who referred to the changes as a “prophetic witness” Not everyone feels that way.

[101] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 03-28-2009 at 07:16 PM • top

Meant-It wouldn’t be a matter of lightening up if the changes reflected a change in the core of what you believed in.

[102] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 03-28-2009 at 07:17 PM • top

Yes, I think they can “judge” . I also think the comment “judge not” is frequently taken out of context. I don’t go flinging around comments like “You’re damned to hell” (That has never been my style and I’m not God) but I think Jesus was clear that some actions are just wrong, although it takes some compassion and Christian discernment to confront people. I also think that one can judge or discern whether a church is departing from the historic creeds.

[103] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 03-28-2009 at 07:22 PM • top

Here is an article about the cost of upkeep for the church:

http://www.gazette.com/articles/church_50747___article.html/grace_cost.html

[104] Posted by martin5 on 03-28-2009 at 07:34 PM • top

And just FTR, and then I’ll leave this,I think when Jesus said “Judge not” and he was talking about the woman caught in adultery his comment was meant to say look at your own sin before you act as a judge and decide on level of punishment of another. I actually think TEC church would be a lot better off if people were asked what they really do believe and encourage them to join the Unitarisn church if that is more in line with their theology than the historic faith of TEC or any other mainline Christian church. So, yes, churches can be judged and people can be asked as to what the implications mean by the statement, “Jesus is Lord.”

[105] Posted by FenelonSpoke on 03-28-2009 at 07:39 PM • top

99   Puhleeeeze, athan-as-sius…..don’t give him any ideas!  He’s done more than enough damage as it is!

[106] Posted by Cennydd on 03-28-2009 at 09:49 PM • top

cennydd:  Sigh - you are right. Bad me.

[107] Posted by athan-asi-us on 03-28-2009 at 10:02 PM • top

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