Skip to comments.Virginia Episcopal Bishop Sues Exiting Churches
Posted on 02/10/2007 11:58:58 AM PST by XR7
A split within the Episcopal Church has begun and is on its way to court -- something akin to "divorce court," it seems.
More than 100 Episcopal parishes -- and some dioceses -- have either left the denomination or requested alternative oversight within the worldwide Anglican Communion. One of them is St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, Va.
"We left the Episcopal Church because we could no longer be under the leadership of people who have the attitude that they did about the authority of Scripture," said the Rev. Jeffrey Cerar, rector of St. Stephen's. "Starting several years ago, the Episcopal Church elected and put in place a homosexual bishop and did so in disregard of the Scriptures. It was just a symptom of a much larger problem, which is that the leadership of the Episcopal Church does not regard Scripture as authoritative in the same sense that Christians always have before."
He added: "One of the symptoms of the church now is that the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, (Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schorri) is saying that Christ is not the only way to salvation -- just a way."
Cerar's church is one of 11 that recently left the Virginia diocese. Bishop Peter Lee, in return, filed suit against each of the 11, seeking to confiscate the church properties -- and has taken steps to defrock 27 clergy associated with those churches.
Cerar said his congregation is now Anglican -- not Episcopalian -- and there's no going back.
"(Bishop Lee) has taken the position that congregations cannot leave the Episcopal Church -- only individuals can," the Rev. Jeffrey Cerar told CitizenLink, "(but) our congregation, as a congregation, took a vote, and by a three-fourths majority, decided in a duly constituted meeting to sever our ties -- and we also voted to keep our property."
The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, president and CEO of the American Anglican Council, accused Bishop Lee of "betraying" and "deceiving" the churches by leading them to believe that they could leave without retribution.
Anderson said the Virginia diocese had been in negotiations with the 11 churches until the bishop suddenly broke off the talks and reneged upon a process Lee had established to reach an amicable separation.
"These actions (by the diocese of Virginia) are shameful and un-Christian," he said. "The bishop's refusal to consider further negotiation appears to be intentionally punitive."
Cerar, by the way, is one of the 21 priests who Bishop Lee declared to be "inhibited." Six others had their credentials revoked.
" 'Inhibited' means that the bishop has said that we have 'abandoned' our communion -- or participation -- with the Episcopal Church," Cerar said. "Therefore, we are prohibited from functioning as ordained clergy for the next six months."
The move hasn't stopped Cerar -- or the others.
"All 21 of us have gotten ourselves recognized by either the Church of Uganda or the Church of Nigeria," he said, "so we are priests of those churches and no longer as priests in the Episcopal Church. It's a very significant thing from the perspective of the Virginia diocese, but it hasn't put me out of business. I'm still functioning as the spiritual leader of this congregation."
The Virginia diocese did not return CitizenLink's phone calls.
Next week, the heads of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces, known as "Primates," will meet in Tanzania to discuss the possibility of breaking off relations with the American church.
Because they have committed the unpardonable sine: not being in favor of turning the church over to drunken homosexual activists and radical feminists.
How do you distinguish the two?
I guess in a sense the Africans are sending Christian missionaries to a de-Christianized America.
How do you distinguish the two?
Some homosexual activists are male.
I see more and more evidence that Africa is the best hope for Christianity in the world despite or, perhaps, because of the tremendous persecution, poverty, and other difficulties Christianity faces there.
The enemy from within comes to mind. I am glad to see these people not putting up with the bullsh*t from these radical leftist loons.God Speed.
The theology is irrelevant. This is a property dispute... if the Episcopal Church Diocese owns the church (and that's the way they're structured), and the congregation joins some other organization, then the Episcopal Bishop is right to want his stuff back. This is like an Elk Club deciding to become the Knights of Columbus. Fine... but they'll have to meet somewhere else, if the Elks own the Lodge
For better or for worse, the Episcopal Church structure is such that each diocese essentially owns the churches within that diocese, not the congregations. The same is true for the Methodist and I believe the Roman Catholic Churches. There are several other denominations where the real property is owned by a large, regional, or statewide body rather than the local congregations.
Some Dioceses have let departing congregations purchase the relevant church building, particularly where the building is heavily encumbered with mortgages. I believe this happened recently in Raleigh, NC.
On the other hand, the congregations of the Baptists and the Churches of Christ and other denominations own their own church buildings.
If you are thinking of making a substantial contribution towards church improvements, you might want to take a look at what body actually owns it if these types of issues concern you.
I was delighted to learn that our local Episcopal parish, St. Andrew's-in-the-Pines in Peachtree City, is leaving TEC. They have a beautiful church facility. I wonder if the leftist bishop here will let them keep it.
How do they expect to keep these churches when the parisioners stop giving their donations?
It seems that the African Churches maintain the traditional Christian doctrines, whereas the western churches have succumbed to the "Church of What's Happening Now" religious philosophy.
I wonder what Jesus thinks about all of this, property, lawsuits, and all?
Turn 'em into gay brothels.
Once the freaks have anointed themselves as leaders, then they can auction off the property and pocket millions. I personally know of an Episcopal property that sold for $45 million - and was donated to the church in the 1930's.
The money can then be used to supercharge the Queer agenda, as well as using church pronouncements to legitimize their behavior as "normal" and "part of God's plan".
That is all that is happening here. The congregations should fight tooth and nail to keep their churches and property away from the Vicky Gene Robinson's of the Episcopal "leadership".
There was discussion a while back on Brit Hume's program on FNC about one of these parishes in Northern Virginia, which Fred Barnes is a member of...apparently the local parish paid for everything they have, but it's probably one the diocese is trying to confiscate.
Your parish might want to study up on this story and it's eventual outcome:
The Church is to be built on the rock. And if the Episcopal church manages to confiscate the property it is of no great loss. The Christians who had met there will build new buildings. The defrocking carries nothing with it since those who have left have been recognized as Anglicans. There are far more Anglicans in the world than Episcopals. So you will have a bunch of empty former church buildings and new life in those congregations that have left the apostacy headed by the likes of Bishop Lee.
The Church is universal and triumphant and the likes of Bishop Lee are but a speck in time.
Some of the churches/parishes in question predate the formation of the denomination which is now called the TEC. The other parishes are generally daughter churches of these early parishes. TEC can claim it owns the church properties outright, but it is no foregone conclusion.
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