Skip to comments.Diocese sues former rector, congregation members [All Saints, Irondequoit]
Posted on 03/18/2006 9:48:46 AM PST by sionnsar
[SOURCE: Diocese of Rochester] The Diocese of Rochester filed a civil lawsuit March 6 "to redress the wrongful conduct of former colleagues and church members."
The suit names the Rev. David Harnish, former rector of the parish known as All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church in Irondequoit, New York, and the former wardens and members of the vestry of that church, according to a statement released by the diocese.
The diocesan convention in November 2005 dissolved All Saints' "because of its refusal to live by the norms, or canons, of this diocese," the statement said.
"We had hoped to come to an arrangement for receiving keys to the property and the records of people lives - baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, and financial records - without taking the action we have today. But after repeated requests, the former rector and leadership continue to deny us access to both property and records, while continuing to meet in the space without our permission," the statement said.
Harnish and the former lay leadership of All Saints' now claim allegiance to the Church of the Province of Uganda.
The civil action seeks a court order requiring Harnish and the others to immediately return all of the property because they hold it in trust for the Episcopal diocese and the national Episcopal Church as spelled out in national and diocesan canons, and New York law. The action also requests an order dissolving the legal entity known as All Saints' Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.
The diocese also sent a letter to Harnish and the former wardens and vestry members of All Saints' asking that they turn over the property and records, and that they take responsibility for dissolving the secular corporation. If they do this, the civil complaint will be withdrawn, the statement said.
"For the last four years I and other leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester have worked hard to reconcile and resolve the concerns of the former All Saints' Protestant Episcopal Church leaders and members," Rochester Bishop Jack McKelvey said in the statement.
"I have spoken of the Episcopal Church as a very large tent that embraces a wide range of viewpoints on a wide range of subjects. Regrettably, the Rev. David Harnish and his followers have chosen to chart a different path, one that is entirely outside the Episcopal Church.
The Diocese of Rochester holds no ill will to wards the people of the former All Saints' Protestant Episcopal Church. However, they must abide by the law and return property that does not belong to them. And once again, we urge them to honor the legal obligations that flow from their voluntary decisions."
I am continuing to tag these stories of property fights from the ECUSA, UMC and PCUSA with a 'churchproperty' keyword.
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