Skip to comments.Bishop Sauls: Not All APO Requests Violate Canons
Posted on 11/20/2006 5:51:42 PM PST by sionnsar
The members of the House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes have come to no conclusions as to impermissible dissent from General Convention by diocesan leadership, but the acting chair said the six official and four informal members have been asking that question.
Lexington Bishop Stacy Sauls has been asked by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to serve as acting chair. Bishop Sauls distributed an eight-page report to his colleagues on executive council Nov. 15 during a regularly scheduled meeting in Chicago. The report identified problem dioceses that it said merit special observation: Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin and Springfield. An earlier report had erroneously also included San Diego on the list.
The task force is continuing to build its contacts within problem dioceses of those wishing to remain loyal to The Episcopal Church and who are opposed to separation from TEC in any manner.
Despite the fact that both Central Florida and South Carolina have appealed for alternative oversight, Bishop Sauls said neither diocese is under scrutiny.
Appeals for alternative primatial oversight are not in and of themselves a problematic action, Bishop Sauls said, It doesnt rise to the same level. We see no evidence that the leadership in either diocese is attempting to change its name or take property held in trust for the national church.
The task force has not solicited loyalist members from the dioceses, according to Bishop Sauls.
People have gotten in touch with us, he said. We havent asked anyone. We have asked them to keep us informed about developments on the ground.
Bishop Sauls said that the task force is concerned with more than just property disputes.
The name is a tad misleading, he said. We are also interested in polity. We are not involved in the doctrinal dispute. We are of different opinions on certain issues, but we support the polity of The Episcopal Church.
The task force would like to see The Episcopal Church be a place where people of many theological positions feel safe. We feel the polity we have is the best way to ensure that. We are also investigating ways we can reassure our ethnic and theological minorities that this Church is a safe place for them.
Have we seen overt use of this particular phrase before now?
Except, of course for that theological minority known as Christians.
Property has never "been held in trust" for the so called "national church". Heretofore, parish property was always owned by the local parish from the beginning of the church's formation in the US. Diocesan canons codified this legal/canonical right as did the so called national church canons.
In 1979, the property canon was supposedly changed by action of the church's General Convention. This change, called the Dennis canon, removed property ownership from the local parish vestry and required parish vestries to cede ownership to the diocese. Vestries were to turn over their property deeds to the diocesan office which meant that property was "held in trust for the diocese". There is still dispute over whether or not this canonical change was legally ratified at the 1979 convention.
The "national church" is essentially an administrative creature and there has never been any requirement for a local parish to give title to its property to the New York admin headquarters. Apparently, Bp. Sauls must think this is a solution to keep local parishes toeing the apostate party line.
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