Skip to comments.Dennis Canon [a] Diocesan Issue, Presiding Bishop Says
Posted on 05/16/2006 7:39:08 PM PDT by sionnsar
Virtually all legal disputes over the ownership of parish property are internal diocesan matters and there is nothing in the so-called Dennis Canon that prevents a diocesan bishop from reaching an amicable settlement with a congregation that wants to leave the Episcopal Church and retain its building, according to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, who led separate question-and-answer forums for clergy and laity in the Diocese of Western Louisiana May 11 at St. James Church, Alexandria.
Basically he said it was up to the individual diocese, said the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana. It [the Dennis Canon] provides room for the bishop, standing committee and the local congregations to decide what they think is best. It leaves room for conversation.
Bishop Griswold told the Western Louisiana clergy gathering that bishops and other diocesan leaders are primarily responsible for deciding how to respond to disputes over property ownership, and that there have been instances in which such disputes have been resolved amicably. The Episcopal Church Center in New York City becomes involved in a legal dispute only after it has been invited by the diocese, Bishop Griswold said.
During the morning session with the clergy, the Rev. Paul Martin, assistant at St. Pauls, Shreveport, asked Bishop Griswold the question about the Dennis Canon. Fr. Martin said there was several seconds of silence after Bishop Griswold finished giving his answer. Bishop Griswold responded affirmatively when asked a second time if the Dennis Canon is a diocesan issue.
I told him that there was currently a lot of acrimony in the Church and I asked him if he would support repeal of the Dennis Canon, Fr. Martin told The Living Church when asked to repeat the question he had asked.
An aide to Bishop Griswold declined to elaborate on the Presiding Bishops response when questioned by a reporter during the meeting.
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