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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: "A Church Divided": Aftermath of Virginia Anglican/Episcopal Battle
Augustine the Aleut
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I'm sorry, Mockingale; I was not referring to this or to a specific incident. There is a very obvious canonical riposte, but I'm afraid this leads into dead horse land.
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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Contrary to what some would have you believe, the gospel is still preached in TEC.

Never doubted it for a second. My argument is that TEC changed a teaching, rightly or wrongly, and that this changed teaching has caused a schism. Whether you were right to change it or not isn't my point and I'm sympathetic to your position if the truth be known. My point is rather that you can't essentially just say (as some seem to be here) to people who don't accept the change, you knew the powers that be in the TEC had the authority to change what they wanted and you still signed up so stop whining. Faith in the infallibility of the decision-making structures of the Church isn't the primary characteristic of Anglican Christianity.

quote:
Huh? And the rest of us are up in the air?
I thought we were talking about situations where whole congregations had... what's the word? Schismated? Schizzed? Buggered off without moving? Help me out here.

quote:
If I get fed up and leave the parish I've been contributing to for almost two decades, how much of the property do I get to take with me?
I don't know, would you be seriously claiming that you getting fed up constituted a schism?
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Greyface wrote:-
quote:
My point is rather that you can't essentially just say (as some seem to be here) to people who don't accept the change, you knew the powers that be in the TEC had the authority to change what they wanted and you still signed up so stop whining.
Perhaps I have misread the contributions so far, but I understood that was exactly what could be and had been done. (I didn't think it was appearing to be said - it actually was being asserted).

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Fr Weber
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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
I agree with the final paragraph, but as someone who had flirtations with the early Continuers of the late 1970s/early 1980s, I would guess that the latest vintage of secessionists have been mindful of how unsuccessful many of the early leave-takers were, in significant measure because they left without buildings or much property of any kind. Many of the little Continuing start-ups in people's living rooms, in the chapels of existing churches, in motel spaces or in the rented halls of the ladies auxillary of the Masons disappeared in a relatively short amount of time. Even some of the Continuing congos who managed to get some sort of unattractive building didn't make it. Unless you have rich, generous benefactors, the fact is that you are likely screwed if you march out into the wilderness with no building.

On the other hand, there were also several high-profile cases where litigation went on for a decade or so, leaving everyone involved broke and exhausted at the end of the fight. That's not good for anyone, spiritually or materially.

All that I said above is contingent on commitment and perseverance from the people doing the leaving. If the church represents nothing to them but a pleasant and nostalgic way to spend an hour and a quarter on Sunday mornings, they won't stay long with a church meeting in a private home, or motel room, or chapel of an existing church. But in general, these are the sorts of people who will not tithe, who will never show up for a weekday service, and whose interest in the BCP 1928 is primarily aesthetic anyway.

[ 17. April 2012, 22:05: Message edited by: Fr Weber ]

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CorgiGreta
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:


[QUOTE]Huh? And the rest of us are up in the air?

I thought we were talking about situations where whole congregations had... what's the word? Schismated? Schizzed? Buggered off without moving? Help me out here.


It's very,very seldom the whole congregation. The faithful remnant (usually 10% to 15%) is definitely left up in the air. After my formerly beloved parish broke away (by way of help, that's my preferred description), it took years of wandering for me to find one I valued as highly, and it happened only because a formerly snake belly parish went rocketing up the candle.
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CorgiGreta
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
Are parishioners entitled to take back contributions to the Church?

Perhaps it's that I'm more interested in church history than civil law but it seemeth to me that those former-Episcopalians could make a credible argument that they have not changed their faith, TEC has (I make no comment on the substance of the dead horse but this would be undeniably a credible claim)...
That's a claim that no court in the US would accept. From the start, courts here have adamantly and wisely refused to adjudicate doctrinal issues.
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gorpo
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
[qb]Contrary to what some would have you believe, the gospel is still preached in TEC.

Never doubted it for a second. My argument is that TEC changed a teaching, rightly or wrongly, and that this changed teaching has caused a schism. Whether you were right to change it or not isn't my point and I'm sympathetic to your position if the truth be known. My point is rather that you can't essentially just say (as some seem to be here) to people who don't accept the change, you knew the powers that be in the TEC had the authority to change what they wanted and you still signed up so stop whining. Faith in the infallibility of the decision-making structures of the Church isn't the primary characteristic of Anglican Christianity.
~
This. When someone is baptzied and confirmed in a church, its main compromise is with the christian faith, not with whatever the next generation of bishops believe. Otherwise, this church would look much more like the Jeovah Witness´ Watchtower or the Latter-Day Saints Church.

The reason why the christian church has creeds, and most protestant churches have their confessions, is exactly to avoid the church beliefs to swim acording to the preferences of the current authorities. If there are bishops in a certain denomination that don´t subscribe to the church articles of faith, they should leave and create their own denominations. But if they remain there, members who remain faithful to what they promissed on baptism or confirmation have no obligation to remain there and pay the stipends of people who seek to destroy their faith. Schism is justifiable when the mother church commits apostasy. That´s what Martin Luther did in the 16th century. I´m not sayng this is the case with TEC/ACNA, cause I would have preferred the schism not to happen. But I do understand those who don´t want to remain payng the stipends of bishops who preach a faith completely different then theirs. If I was one of the members or clergymen of TEC, I´d rather join one of the other existing protestant denominations instead of creating a new one.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:

The reason why the christian church has creeds, and most protestant churches have their confessions, is exactly to avoid the church beliefs to swim acording to the preferences of the current authorities.

I challenge you to identify any sentence of any of the Apostle's, Nicene, or Athanasian Creeds which the Episcopal Church contravened by installing Gene Robinson as a bishop.
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Augustine the Aleut
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I do not know if a Canadian theological study applies south of the world's longest undefended border, but the Saint Michael's Report indicates that it would be indicative of a doctrinal change, albeit not of a "core doctrine" nature.

Then again, as a retired clerical acquaintance noted, a core doctrinal change means that one is "no longer Xn and has become a Muslim or a Mormon or something like that."

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut: I would not characterize their efforts as attempted theft (in Canada, the in-trust-for-the-national-church doctrine is not pertinent, either in canon or civil law). Their intent is not criminal, but rather contrary to legal provisions for ownership.
I still don't understand your assertion that the in-trust-for-the-national-church doctrine doesn't apply in Canada. It is a standard feature of Canadian church private parliamentary acts. I found that the Diocese of Ontario states that Churchwardens are Trustees under the Anglican Church Act, 1979. Walks like a duck.

Canadian legal history has been very clear that when a church is organized with a reversionary interest a congregation can't secede without permission.

The United Church's property is locked up tighter than a drum (by design) but still.

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Augustine the Aleut
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Equity isn't sufficient. That's why we have the acts. That's why they're necessary.
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Wilfried
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This news just broke today:

Truro Anglican Church, Virginia diocese reach property settlement

The Episcopal diocese will allow the departing Truro congregation to stay in the church until June of next year rent free, and they're working out other terms of the separation. As I recall, this was one of the more vitriolic conflicts. It seems even in this case, it seems some rapprochement is possible, and the Episcopal Church can be gracious in victory.

quote:
An important feature of this settlement is that both sides have agreed to enter into a covenant of mutual charity and respect. This document will frame the way the Diocese and Truro Anglican will deal with one another and speak of one another. The covenant is being drafted by the Rev. Baucum and Bishop Johnston.

“This is an important step for the Diocese of Virginia and Truro Anglican,” said Bishop Johnston. “What the Diocese has sought since the court’s ruling has been a ‘witness’ and not merely an ‘outcome.’ The parties have carried on a public dispute for five years and it is important that we publicly begin to make peace.” As I recall, this was one of the more vitriolic conflicts, and even in this case, it seems some rapprochement is possible, and the Episcopal Church can be gracious in victory.

Bishop Johnston and the Rev. Baucum have been meeting together for prayer and conversation for over a year. “Bishop Johnston and I have become friends,” said the Rev. Baucum. “In spite of our significant theological differences, we care for and are committed to each other as brothers in Christ.”


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Augustine the Aleut
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Apologies for the double-post but there is another reason for serious obscure legality geeks to take ecstatitic pleasure. Establishment and semi-establishment of the RCC, ACC & Presbyterians, according to at least one constitutional prof at the U of Ottawa Law School, may not have been entirely quenched by secularization laws over the years, and trust theory is irrelevant for state churches. The various private and public acts (to which both SPK & I have referred) are necessary to avoid competing claims by the Crown and ecclesiastical corporations (this latter bunch mainly under the French Crown-- see the mess of the Jesuit Estates legislation of the 1800s as well as the mysterious and phantom-like peculiar status of the Ursulines in Québec City).
*end of Canadian ecclesiastical law hyper-geek tangent*

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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But the Acts explicitly state that the in-trust-for the-national-church doctrine is the one to be used. You Anglicans may have it stated that it is in-trust for the diocese, but it still comes to the same thing. And the courts will treat it the same way.

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Augustine the Aleut
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What will the poor US folk think as we ramble into an area only 9 human beings care about?

According to Doe's commentaries and as debated at a Canadian history conference I attended three years ago, the situation before the acts were not subject to any notion of trust beyond that of the rector and wardens of legal parishes for the fabric and limitations on their right to dispose of it-- and with secularization of Upper and Lower Canada, bishops were unable to discipline annoying, misbehaving, or heretical clergy.

(important bit follows) The acts created corporations and obligations of trust, certainly for the individual RC and Anglican dioceses-- I do not know the UCC or Presbyterian legislation. Aside from the fabric of the parish, it was not clear if obligations of trust survived distestablishment. Therefore, we needed the acts. The acts also resolved several anomalies stemming from the erection of Anglican dioceses by letters patent and the decrees both of the Sovereign Council of New France as well as of the Parlements of Paris and Rouen which registered the papal erection of Québec. I mentioned the Jesuits and Ursulines as further anomalies, the latter of which apparently has never been thoroughly resolved. Lucien Lemieux' L'établissement de la première province ecclésiastique au Canada, 1783-1844 can provide you with many happy hours on these topics.

Pre-legislation, the Anglican situation was quite close to that of the CoE, but possibly not in some provinces; and that of the RCC was either of pre-revolutionary Franch in Lower Canada, and the same as Methodist conventicles elsewhere.

(seoond really important bit) What is relevant for this discussion is that they were not denominational in nature. Whether or not the Diocese of Moose Falls is true to its Anglicanism is neither here nor there (I am leaving out the Solemn Declaration of 1893 on this because it has canonical but not civil status) so nobody can legally secede or separate on any grounds at all. Doctrine and doctrinal changes are totally irrelevant under the legislation. The building of the altar of Baal is entirely appropriate under the Diocese of Ottawa Act. I am reliably informed that this was one of the bases of a certain diocese's position: we've got the title papers and everything else is impertinent.

I have a feeling that this entire tangent may be irrelevant to the thread.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
What will the poor US folk think as we ramble into an area only 9 human beings care about?

Canada's got their own deal. I'm sure it matters to some people, and I wouldn't call it unimportant, but I have been to Canada for a grand total (total grande?) of 9 hours. I'd love to visit our neighbors to the North.

Is the church-stealing as much of an issue up there as it is in the States? That new group is called the Anglican Church in North America, but I wonder if that's not like naming baseball's championship "The World Series" because there are a couple of teams in Canada.

I know little about Canadian law and even less about Canadian churches. Does Canadian statute address church politics? The courts here are hesitant to even wade ankle deep into church doctrine.

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CorgiGreta
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I may not be one of the 9, but I am aware of this Canadian property dispute.
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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
That's a claim that no court in the US would accept. From the start, courts here have adamantly and wisely refused to adjudicate doctrinal issues.

But isn't it the case that the court's refusal to accept the claim would be based entirely on the wisdom of keeping the secular courts out of doctrinal disputes, and not on the credibility of the claim were it to be made in an appropriate context?

Your point about the proportion of the congregation schizzing (I invented that word so I'm going to use it) is well taken. My only experience with this kind of thing round these parts is of a place that jumped to the Ordinariate leaving behind maybe 20% of the congregation. I don't think there was ever any question of them taking the building but then again, the realities in England of thousand year-old stonework, leaky roofs, damaged pipe organs, listed building legislation and so on might mean the priorities are a lot different from those in the US and Canada.

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CorgiGreta
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
That's a claim that no court in the US would accept. From the start, courts here have adamantly and wisely refused to adjudicate doctrinal issues.

But isn't it the case that the court's refusal to accept the claim would be based entirely on the wisdom of keeping the secular courts out of doctrinal disputes, and not on the credibility of the claim were it to be made in an appropriate context?

Your point about the proportion of the congregation schizzing (I invented that word so I'm going to use it) is well taken. My only experience with this kind of thing round these parts is of a place that jumped to the Ordinariate leaving behind maybe 20% of the congregation. I don't think there was ever any question of them taking the building but then again, the realities in England of thousand year-old stonework, leaky roofs, damaged pipe organs, listed building legislation and so on might mean the priorities are a lot different from those in the US and Canada.

Yes to both points.

Also,I like the word 'schizzing'.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by CorgiGreta:
That's a claim that no court in the US would accept. From the start, courts here have adamantly and wisely refused to adjudicate doctrinal issues.

But isn't it the case that the court's refusal to accept the claim would be based entirely on the wisdom of keeping the secular courts out of doctrinal disputes, and not on the credibility of the claim were it to be made in an appropriate context?
No. The property that the parish used over the years are deemed to be contributions by members to the organization of the church.

The law views the church no differently from any other non-profit organization. Imagine if a 10% contingent of the lifetime members of the World Wildlife Federation, or Amnesty International, or Oxfam were disgruntled at what they perceived as an intolerable shift of mission or policy, and those members decide to break off and form a new parallel organization that they claim represents the values of the original before they were corrupted.

No court anywhere is going to say that the new non-profit has a right to take 10% of the operating funds and real estate, or that they have a right to sublease space from the old organization, or that the old organization will have to liquidate its property to satisfy the percentage representing the contributions of the old members.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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There is some indication that TEC policy will treat the Ordinariate differently than "Continuing" Anglican schismatics. Mount Calvary, Baltimore is apparently being permitted to leave with their building and other property, going to the Roman Catholic Church/Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. I assume that all or virtually all of their congregation decided to depart for the Ordinariate along with their clergy. IIRC, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has first right of refusal in any future sale of Mount Calvary's property -- IOW the TEC diocese would be able to buy the property back on favourable terms. As I understand, the thought is that the Ordinariate is not in competition with TEC or actively trying to subvert TEC, whereas the Anglican schismatics are seen as taking that course. However, I must disagree with that assessment. IME there are some Anglo-Papalists who would be disposed to foment a sort of coup in their parishes, aimed at taking the parish into the Ordinariate and retaining its property. This will fail, of course, as long as such elites are strongly opposed by a majority of the congregation, but where they are able to sew confusion, demoralisation, and general discord - driving TEC loyalists out - such efforts at a grab-and-run might well succeed. Thus, I think TEC ought to investigate the membership roles and transfers-out of parishes seeking to leave for the Ordinariate with their property, and only settle on generous terms with any such parish if it is reasonably clear that there has been near-complete unanimity of sentiment amongst parishioners and parish clergy for a move to the Ordinariate.
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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
The law views the church no differently from any other non-profit organization.

You're making my case for me. The reason that the law does this is that it (wisely, as has been said) keeps out of doctrinal arguments. If on the other hand, we as Christians consider doctrinal issues to be pertinent and the Church to be something more than other non-profit organisations, even determined by faith (such that possibly heresy* and certainly apostasy* would cause the organisation to cease in fact to be the Church whatever its legal status) then the law will not necessarily give us a just outcome.

* I'm not claiming this is the case here and I don't in fact think it's so, but it seems indisputable that the schizzers™ are actually following the doctrine taught by the vast majority of the wider One Church across the globe and through the centuries and therefore my humble opinion is that it would be fair to cut them some slack.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
Imagine if a 10% contingent of the lifetime members of the World Wildlife Federation, or Amnesty International, or Oxfam were disgruntled at what they perceived as an intolerable shift of mission or policy, and those members decide to break off and form a new parallel organization that they claim represents the values of the original before they were corrupted.

No court anywhere is going to say that the new non-profit has a right to take 10% of the operating funds and real estate, or that they have a right to sublease space from the old organization, or that the old organization will have to liquidate its property to satisfy the percentage representing the contributions of the old members.

On considering this again, maybe I can extend the analogy. What would the legal position be if, for example, the trustees or executive or whoever they are of the WWF decided their charity is now in favour of the extermination of pests like lions and tigers, publicly supported the ivory trade and began to advocate the destruction systematic destruction of animal habitats across the world? What if Amnesty's leadership one day turned round and said actually we've changed our minds, sod those political prisoners, they should have known better and kept their mouths shut, we're using what we have in the bank to fund internment camps for big-mouthed idealists? What if Oxfam's bosses had a rethink and began redirecting its efforts away from disaster relief and sustainable development programmes into, I don't know, you get the point.

Now clearly these are ridiculous examples and I'd have to ask somebody who actually had a clue with legal matters but I'm reasonably certain the bodies which oversee charities in this country would have a few words to say if something like this happened and I don't think people who'd given donations to these organisations would simply shrug their shoulders and say "Oh well, I gave a donation to the structure of the organisation, what they do with it is up to them." Where you draw the line between a shift of tactics and a large change of purpose I can't say and I've made my personal opinion of TEC's changes clear I think, but some acknowledgement that there is a line to be drawn would be welcome.

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Greyface wrote:-
quote:
My point is rather that you can't essentially just say (as some seem to be here) to people who don't accept the change, you knew the powers that be in the TEC had the authority to change what they wanted and you still signed up so stop whining.
Perhaps I have misread the contributions so far, but I understood that was exactly what could be and had been done. (I didn't think it was appearing to be said - it actually was being asserted).
Well yes, this is how Anglican polity works. You can send your representatives to Synod but in the end the denomination makes the decisions. Theologically I would be far more with the conservatives, but I don't get on with them bleating about the denomination not respecting their congregation's dissent etc. You sign up for Episcopal church government and you abide by the structures of your church or you leave, and don't expect the denomination to share the assets. One of the reasons I'm a convinced congregationalist.

Mind you, what TEC has to gain by selling the building to Baptists or Muslims rather than the congregation is also a mystery to me. It seems silly to sell to those groups because the Schizzers (good word Greyface) will say bad things about you. What do you think that the average Baptist (or Muslim!?) is going to be saying about TEC in the building? That it IS the one true church? Hardly!

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:

Mind you, what TEC has to gain by selling the building to Baptists or Muslims rather than the congregation is also a mystery to me. It seems silly to sell to those groups because the Schizzers (good word Greyface) will say bad things about you. What do you think that the average Baptist (or Muslim!?) is going to be saying about TEC in the building? That it IS the one true church? Hardly!

The difference is that the Anglicans portray themselves as the true expression of what the Episcopal Church supposedly use to be. To the extent that they have any unifying doctrine, it's that the Episcopal Church is apostate and they are the true proprietors of "orthodox" "Bible-believing" "traditional" Anglican Christianity in the United States and Canada, and that TEC and ACC are illegitimate imposters. The Baptists and the Muslims make no such claim, and although they have their own interests and compete with us in a way, they are not seeking to attempt a coup.

Letting the "Anglicans" use centuries-old church properties only serves to further their claims and allows them to appropriate the "brand," if you will. It gives them the appearance of being a legitimate remnant of the true faithful in the Episcopal Church, rather than a ragtag group of homophobes that have conspired with GAFCON to destroy The Episcopal Church and remake it in their own image.

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aumbry
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:

Mind you, what TEC has to gain by selling the building to Baptists or Muslims rather than the congregation is also a mystery to me. It seems silly to sell to those groups because the Schizzers (good word Greyface) will say bad things about you. What do you think that the average Baptist (or Muslim!?) is going to be saying about TEC in the building? That it IS the one true church? Hardly!

The difference is that the Anglicans portray themselves as the true expression of what the Episcopal Church supposedly use to be. To the extent that they have any unifying doctrine, it's that the Episcopal Church is apostate and they are the true proprietors of "orthodox" "Bible-believing" "traditional" Anglican Christianity in the United States and Canada, and that TEC and ACC are illegitimate imposters. The Baptists and the Muslims make no such claim, and although they have their own interests and compete with us in a way, they are not seeking to attempt a coup.

Letting the "Anglicans" use centuries-old church properties only serves to further their claims and allows them to appropriate the "brand," if you will. It gives them the appearance of being a legitimate remnant of the true faithful in the Episcopal Church, rather than a ragtag group of homophobes that have conspired with GAFCON to destroy The Episcopal Church and remake it in their own image.

That will be the gay-friendly mosques TEC will be flogging (oops!) their churches to?
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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
On considering this again, maybe I can extend the analogy. What would the legal position be if, for example, the trustees or executive or whoever they are of the WWF decided their charity is now in favour of the extermination of pests like lions and tigers, publicly supported the ivory trade and began to advocate the destruction systematic destruction of animal habitats across the world? What if Amnesty's leadership one day turned round and said actually we've changed our minds, sod those political prisoners, they should have known better and kept their mouths shut, we're using what we have in the bank to fund internment camps for big-mouthed idealists? What if Oxfam's bosses had a rethink and began redirecting its efforts away from disaster relief and sustainable development programmes into, I don't know, you get the point.

Now clearly these are ridiculous examples and I'd have to ask somebody who actually had a clue with legal matters but I'm reasonably certain the bodies which oversee charities in this country would have a few words to say if something like this happened and I don't think people who'd given donations to these organisations would simply shrug their shoulders and say "Oh well, I gave a donation to the structure of the organisation, what they do with it is up to them."

Some would have a say by means of a vote in the internal affairs of the organization. These organizations have bylaws for voting or removing officers and boards of directors, and for passing certain amendments. If you have a vote in this mechanism, then you are free to have your say there. If the majority vote the other way, well, that's democracy.

The same applies with the Episcopal Church. I understand that the Church of England is not organized in this way, but the Episcopal Church is mostly democratic, with a General Convention (one chamber is made up of bishops, and one chamber of laity, priests and deacons) and a local convention for each diocese. Each parish sends delegates to the diocesan convention, usually by a vote of the parish at their annual meeting. So the laity and nonepiscopal clergy do get a voice in church governance. The conservatives can and did vote against the ordination of Gene Robinson, and against further recognition of same-sex relationships, and did move for resolutions to adopt the more traditional view of homosexuality as official church doctrine. They made these motions in a democratic body, were heard, and their arguments rejected by a majority of the body. You don't get to scream "It's not fair!" when you lose a vote. Well, technically, you could, but everyone else will look at you like you're a five-year-old.

Any assets contributed to such an organization belongs irrevocably to the organization. There was no fraud. There were no assurances by the organization that the money or property would be returned if the church changed its position on certain controversial issues.

It's similar with profit companies, as well. Most corporations or limited companies do not have publicly traded stock, and there are not ready buyers for minority shares in such businesses. Let's say that you and three of your friends each contribute 1/4 to start a company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning products. But one day, the chairman of the board decides that the company needs to change its focus to coal mining, and the other three owners agree. They hold a vote according to the bylaws and change the purpose and structure of the business to coal mining. You vociferously object, because you wanted to start a green business and think coal is evil. Unless there's something in the by-laws to the contrary, you can't just pull out and demand that they give 1/4 of the company's assets to you. You can't claim one quarter of the office space or one quarter of the company's operating account. You're stuck with skin in the game until someone decides to buy you out or it goes bust. You bought into the company understanding that there was a risk that the majority might want to take the company in a direction you don't approve of.

If they wanted a church body where the conservatives get a special veto, that's too bad. They joined the Episcopal Church, and we have never done that. Maybe they'll be better off with the Catholics. The Catholics might even set them up with shiny new churches.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
That will be the gay-friendly mosques TEC will be flogging (oops!) their churches to?

I've ceased trying to decipher your nonsense.
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aumbry
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
That will be the gay-friendly mosques TEC will be flogging (oops!) their churches to?

I've ceased trying to decipher your nonsense.
I've ceased to be interested in your turgid efforts - Yah Boo!
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Matt Black

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
That will be the gay-friendly mosques TEC will be flogging (oops!) their churches to?

I've ceased trying to decipher your nonsense.
It's called irony, I believe. I got it.

--------------------
"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:

Mind you, what TEC has to gain by selling the building to Baptists or Muslims rather than the congregation is also a mystery to me. It seems silly to sell to those groups because the Schizzers (good word Greyface) will say bad things about you. What do you think that the average Baptist (or Muslim!?) is going to be saying about TEC in the building? That it IS the one true church? Hardly!

The difference is that the Anglicans portray themselves as the true expression of what the Episcopal Church supposedly use to be.
If it's about how you are portrayed, I'd have thought TEC have much more to lose by being portrayed as materialistic property grabbers via the courts and the media. A nice quiet friendly settlement might even mean that the leavers say relatively nice things about you in the building as per the Truro example above. The person on the street doesn't give a fig who is the authentic Anglican, but is very likely to be put off your church by a very public legal battle.
What's more, ISTM one of Anglicanism's great selling points to the non-Christian is that they often seem to avoid the public spats and splintering of independent churches. It has (until recently) been the calm stable and moderate religion lots of people are looking for. Pique that the people might say nasty things about you in a building you used to own but have now sold seems to me to be a very weak reason to give up that very important USP.

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GreyFace
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I understand all this Mockingale, I really do. But with respect you're not answering the point I'm raising. Or are you saying that there are no possible doctrinal changes whatsoever that would legitimise a schism in your eyes?
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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Leprechaun, you seem to imagine that very many people pay attention to the TEC-Schimatic Anglicans stuff, know about or care about it at all. It ain't the CofE: there's little media attention. The conflicts are relatively invisible even to the vast majority of people within TEC.
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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Leprechaun, you seem to imagine that very many people pay attention to the TEC-Schimatic Anglicans stuff, know about or care about it at all. It ain't the CofE: there's little media attention. The conflicts are relatively invisible even to the vast majority of people within TEC.

The thread began with someone saying they heard it being discussed on NPR.

Anyway, if what you say is true, then it really isn't important at all who is "portrayed" as the real Anglican, as no one will notice.

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He hath loved us, He hath loved us, because he would love

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Organ Builder
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
If it's about how you are portrayed, I'd have thought TEC have much more to lose by being portrayed as materialistic property grabbers via the courts and the media. A nice quiet friendly settlement might even mean that the leavers say relatively nice things about you in the building as per the Truro example above.

As I recall, though, the court cases in Virginia were first filed by the breakaway churches--I suppose as a strategic pre-emptive strike. While the agreement means they are saying relatively nice things now, it certainly has NOT been that way over the past few years.

I've always suspected the presence of another 800 pound gorilla in the room that no one seems to acknowledge. If I were a long-time parishioner with no really strong feeling about the gay issue, my resolve would be to come to my church every Sunday and listen to whomever happened to be in control, whether that was TEC or ACNA. There seems to be a perception among a significant portion of the laity that much of the controversy is clergy-driven and clergy-perpetuated. Is that fair? I don't really know, but people base their actions on their perceptions.

So it is possible no one really knows or trusts where the true loyalties of the laity lie. This makes holding the property more important. Naturally, when properties are returned to TEC, TEC will hope that this is a sizable portion of the congregation while ACNA will hope it is a negligible portion... It probably won't be the same in every church, but it will be interesting to see if this is really a factor.

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
So it is possible no one really knows or trusts where the true loyalties of the laity lie. This makes holding the property more important. Naturally, when properties are returned to TEC, TEC will hope that this is a sizable portion of the congregation while ACNA will hope it is a negligible portion... It probably won't be the same in every church, but it will be interesting to see if this is really a factor.

If the building is pretty, it will be a factor. The experience of communal worship is the main draw of the Episcopal Church and the appearance of the building contributes to that for a lot of people, so that's not all idolatrous building-worship. It's easy to pooh-pooh the faith of those who dropped out of splitter groups because they ended up worshipping in unattractive spaces, but we're physical beings, worship is something we do with our whole selves, including our bodies, and appearances matter. Claiming otherwise is Manicheistic dualism and contrary to incarnational theology.
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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
I understand all this Mockingale, I really do. But with respect you're not answering the point I'm raising. Or are you saying that there are no possible doctrinal changes whatsoever that would legitimise a schism in your eyes?

That's not what you were asking, or if that was what you intended to ask, you asked in a roundabout way. You were asking if a schism, under certain circumstances, entitles the spinoff church to a share of the parent church's property (i.e. Does a breakaway parish have a viable legal argument for terminating the Episcopal Church's beneficial interest in parish property in circumstances where the Episcopal Church has materially departed from church doctrine?) That's what the discussion was about. I can't discuss schism under law because American law does not get involved in church doctrine.

No court in the United States is going to say "Oh, well, the Episcopal Church once had an implicit doctrine that same-sex activity was sinful and disqualified a person from becoming a bishop, but in 2005 they changed church doctrine, so they ceased really being The Episcopal Church, or Anglican, or Christian, and therefore Truro Anglican Parish is entitled to take its former parish buildings and bank accounts with it." It's not a decision over which federal or state courts have any jurisdiction.

As to whether certain theoretical doctrinal change "legitimizes schism in my eyes," I suppose. If the Episcopal Church were to undertake a doctrinal change declaring that Jesus was not divine or not human in nature, or denying the Trinity, or declaring that God does not exist, or denying the resurrection, I could see a decision by dissenters to leave as a "legitimate schism," to the extent that schism can exist in an organization that is no longer a Christian church. I'd be among the "schismatics" in that case. Each one of those doctrines is part of the creeds. They're what make us Christians. But that would still not justify the remnant from claiming church property.

I distinguish such things from doctrinal changes about ancillary matters. If the church were to declare that suicide is not a violation of the commandment against killing, and not a sin, but merely a product of mental illness or legitimate concerns about prolonged pain and suffering, it would be a doctrinal change of sorts, but it's not the sort of thing that would cause the Episcopal Church to cease to be Christian.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Leprechaun, you seem to imagine that very many people pay attention to the TEC-Schimatic Anglicans stuff, know about or care about it at all. It ain't the CofE: there's little media attention. The conflicts are relatively invisible even to the vast majority of people within TEC.

The thread began with someone saying they heard it being discussed on NPR.

Anyway, if what you say is true, then it really isn't important at all who is "portrayed" as the real Anglican, as no one will notice.

NPR is a sleepy, loosely affiliated network of donation-supported college radio stations that is listened to regularly by maybe 500,000 yuppies on their way to work. 300,000 of those are probably Episcopalians. It's not exactly big media.

I still don't see why the Episcopal Church should bend over backwards for people that hate us.

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
What will the poor US folk think as we ramble into an area only 9 human beings care about?

Canada's got their own deal. I'm sure it matters to some people, and I wouldn't call it unimportant, but I have been to Canada for a grand total (total grande?) of 9 hours. I'd love to visit our neighbors to the North.

Is the church-stealing as much of an issue up there as it is in the States? That new group is called the Anglican Church in North America, but I wonder if that's not like naming baseball's championship "The World Series" because there are a couple of teams in Canada.

I know little about Canadian law and even less about Canadian churches. Does Canadian statute address church politics? The courts here are hesitant to even wade ankle deep into church doctrine.

No church stealing is not an issue in Canada, for reasons I have been trying to make clear. Though Augustine is correct that the Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians/United Church have property peculiarities stemming from their former established status, those have been overridden by varies private Church Acts for each denomination. That's why that UofO prof's analysis was irrelevant, it was rendered irrelevant by legislative action. History has given way to the present.

The standard formula for such Acts (repeated over various Acts for different mergers) was to declare that congregational property was held in trust by the Trustees (a separate board, or the churchwardens) with oversight by the diocese/Presbytery and the property would revert to the national church (through the diocese/presbytery) if the congregation ceased to exist. It is a further standard that you cannot dispose of property without the diocese/presbytery's permission.

The United Church, since we merged three churches with three different property regimes in 1925 and those churches were themselves mergers, and that The Great Dead Horse debate in 1988 has the longest history of property litigation. The statue and case law states that a congregation's buildings and its financial accounts are owned by the Board of Trustees and cannot be transferred or disposed of without Presbytery's permission. A congregation cannot secede and take its property with it, that is impossible according to both case and statute law.

In the United Church's case property is held under a standard Trusts of Model Deed that creates the Trustees and forms an annex to the United Church Act for each province.

Much as a history of establishment is interesting, the United Church Acts overrode that concern. United Church congregations have a uniform property regime. The Anglican Acts very, very likely did the same. Which is why Augustine's point is moot and church secession doesn't hardly happens at all here.

Though unlike the Anglicans, the United Church does not limit the authority of church courts in the Basis of Union itself, except that congregation's have the the freedom to maintain their existing worship practices (Rights for the Congregationalist). Any Court decisions can be appealed to a higher court (Session, Presbytery, Conference, General Council) and each court has plenary and extensive authority to regulate the affairs of its lower courts. Further higher court regulations (the Manual, for instance) apply to lower courts without question, the only reservation is that General Council decisions have to be sent out on Remit if they meet certain criteria.

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Mockingale
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quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
That will be the gay-friendly mosques TEC will be flogging (oops!) their churches to?

I've ceased trying to decipher your nonsense.
I've ceased to be interested in your turgid efforts - Yah Boo!
Nyah!
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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
So it is possible no one really knows or trusts where the true loyalties of the laity lie. This makes holding the property more important. Naturally, when properties are returned to TEC, TEC will hope that this is a sizable portion of the congregation while ACNA will hope it is a negligible portion... It probably won't be the same in every church, but it will be interesting to see if this is really a factor.

If the building is pretty, it will be a factor. The experience of communal worship is the main draw of the Episcopal Church and the appearance of the building contributes to that for a lot of people, so that's not all idolatrous building-worship.
With respect to Ruth's comment, there's an excellent example (going in the other direction) in this diocese -- one of the two congregations which voted to leave the ACC. We have many friends there. THe presenting issue in the parish's vote was homosexualty ( in a parish, oddly enough, that had benefitted substantially through the years from the work and contributions of gay men and, I suppose, gay women). We have pro-gay friends in that parish who voted with the anti-gay faction to preserve the community they loved and could not contemplate living without. And that was in an ugly building (I can say that because I was a churchwarden in that parish for a number of years when we could simply have let the place fall down) -- the Lord only knows how many more people who actually disagreed with the separators would have voted with them if the building had been pretty.

John

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The Man with a Stick
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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by GreyFace:
That's not what you were asking, or if that was what you intended to ask, you asked in a roundabout way. You were asking if a schism, under certain circumstances, entitles the spinoff church to a share of the parent church's property (i.e. Does a breakaway parish have a viable legal argument for terminating the Episcopal Church's beneficial interest in parish property in circumstances where the Episcopal Church has materially departed from church doctrine?)

I must admit my understanding (at an Atlantic-sized distance) is that the main question at issue in most of the ongoing Court cases (and what the Supreme Court may be asked to opine on) is whether the national Episcopal Church legitimately obtained a valid beneficial interest in the propert in the first place.

The Dennis Canon was passed at National Convention declaring it so, but most states' law on the creation of trusts requires a written declaration of the legal owner for this to be effective.

To make a poorly thought out ad absurdam analogy - I'm a member of my local soccer club, with a vote to elect committee members (so am democratically represented on the club's legislative body). If the Committee passed a resolution that my house is held in trust for the club, I'd be (a) pretty unhappy and (b) unlikely to consider it valid.

According the Anglican Curmudgeon blog, there's 9 or so states where TEC is 'winning' and 8 where the schizzers are 'winning', so it would not appear to be as cut and dried as some appear to be representing here.

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PD
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by aumbry:
That will be the gay-friendly mosques TEC will be flogging (oops!) their churches to?

I've ceased trying to decipher your nonsense.
It's called irony, I believe. I got it.
So did I.

Actually at the end of the day what the courts tend to see is the following situation.

1. The sitting congregation has gotten pissed at the hierarchy and wants to leave with the property

2. TEC has a Property Canon - the infamous Denis Canon of 1979 - which makes the congregation the trustee for the national Church, even though the congregation bought and paid for the building. This effective reverses the previous position where the deeds to the building controlled the ownership - which is why some congregations were able to escape with their property c.1980.

I is a 'no-brainer' that the pissed off congregation is going to loose for two reasons.

Firstly, they have acquiesed to the Dennis Canon for the last 33 years and have therefore tacitly ackowledge the denominations right to the property, and

Secondly, in hierarchical churches, the secular courts usually rule in favour of the hierarchy, unless there is a damn good reason not to. They are not interested in theology, and the property case is pretty open and shut.

PD

[ 19. April 2012, 00:20: Message edited by: PD ]

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by Mockingale:
I still don't see why the Episcopal Church should bend over backwards for people that hate us.

Me either

Good thing Jesus didn't say something stupid like, "Love your enemies."

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
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SeraphimSarov
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
quote:
originally posted by Mockingale:
I still don't see why the Episcopal Church should bend over backwards for people that hate us.

Me either

Good thing Jesus didn't say something stupid like, "Love your enemies."

It seems to me there Is enough hatred and people up on their high horses in both sides liberal and conservative or what passes for those positions

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"For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like"

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Augustine the Aleut
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@SPK. I was likely not clear on two counts. First, the Anglican and RC acts were not denominational-- they relate to dioceses and: a) all property went to the name of the diocese or b)(frequently for the RCs) to the bishop as corporation sole. This means that the national church and any antics were irrelevant. This is a point which I made to the pirates at S Vartan's but which they did not like-- they rambled on about pre-diocesan title, which had ceased to exist in Victoria's Day, if it had ever existed. The fires of Moloch can be kindled but as long as they're lit with the permission of the Bishop of Ottawa, it's totally kosher (some of us would put the erection of projection screens in the same league, but that's another discussion).

As SPK notes, that is one of the reasons why secession never happened; the parishes rarely had any legal existence in their own right (some exceptions but that's another tangent, and those rights were ended with legislation). It would be like a flowerbed declaring independence of the rest of the garden.

Second, the acts were needed as dis-establishment
vitiated trusts which characteristic of establishment--(rector and wardens) which attended the 12+ prerogative rectories. Other parishes sometimes but not all the time (ah Dylan!) had private acts from colonial assemblies (as did some of the cemeteries) and those that didn't started to reap lawsuits. The RCs had more trouble with this, including a ten-year schism in Halifax.

So the acts cleared up the mess. SPK's description of the UCC and Presbyterians show how their denomination-based approach resembles that of TEC. Anglicans and RCs benefitted/suffered from the mediaeval corporatist approach. And this meant that any discussions over church title were political in nature (as in "Let's talk" as the courts would have treated the title question as an open and shut case.

This was the case in the Diocese of British Columbia (Vancouver Island) in Victoria's time, where there was a local schism resulting in the establishment of several REC parishes. They sued and did not get the properties. It's been like that ever since.

The Ottawa situation, referred to above, was an attempt to maintain the legalities but address the reality and bend over backward for the secessionists. The pirates, in a buy-back arrangement, got one of the two churches. In return, they had to make it clear in signing that this was not part of the Anglican Church of Canada or the Diocese of Ottawa. As John Holding points out, they retained some ACoC parishioners who were attached to the community and did not interest themselves in the label attached. This is a reality understood more readily by laity, who are congregational in consciousness, than by clergy.

I've done a little more reading and I think that the Ursulines maintained their peculiarity in spite of the acts. However, as they don't care to exercise it at all, it's very moot. The exception is that they allow a male Governor General into the enclosure as visitor and representative of the founder (Louis XIV of France).

This is likely more than anyone wanted to know.

Posts: 6236 | From: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sober Preacher's Kid

Presbymethegationalist
# 12699

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Thanks Augustine, that clears that up.

As I'm an insufferable pedant, the Minister in a United Church charge is ex-officio chair of the Board of Trustees, the only body with any corporate existence in a United Church congregation. Frequently the minister delegates this to someone else, our Minister has taken this responsibility over directly this year.

The minister is not and has never been a corporation sole, he/she is an employee. The Minister has many legal and spiritual roles as the representative of the wider church to a congregation, that's why she chairs the Trustees, to represent and safeguard the wider church's interest in our property.

A United Church can happily get along without a minister, Presbytery simply appoints one of its own members as Pastoral Supervisor to take over the oversight role.

The legal restrictions on the Trustees are that they cannot sell, mortgage, pledge or do anything other than maintain the real property without permission of Presbytery, and most importantly that they ensure that the property is used "in a manner consistent with the doctrine of the United Church of Canada". Hehehe. [Snigger]

Doctrine = 20 Articles of Faith, contained in the Basis of Union. Questions about doctrine go to the Judicial Committee of General Council. We can change our doctrinal statements so long as the matter is proposed by General Council, submitted to Presbyteries and Congregations as a Remit under the Barrier Act, approved and reconfirmed by the next General Council.

This is in part why secession is rare in Canada.

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NDP Federal Convention Ottawa 2018: A random assortment of Prots and Trots.

Posts: 7646 | From: Peterborough, Upper Canada | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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{Catching up on this thread. Apologies if this has been covered.}

From what I remember of the situation of several years ago, I suspect KJS is trying to keep the schismatics from getting a foothold again--so the buildings stay with the TEC. Makes sense to me. AFAIK, the buildings belong to the TEC.

I can't fathom calling KJS "evil", even if you're anti-women's ordination.
[Ultra confused]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Matt Black

Shipmate
# 2210

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:
quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
I understand all this Mockingale, I really do. But with respect you're not answering the point I'm raising. Or are you saying that there are no possible doctrinal changes whatsoever that would legitimise a schism in your eyes?

That's not what you were asking, or if that was what you intended to ask, you asked in a roundabout way. You were asking if a schism, under certain circumstances, entitles the spinoff church to a share of the parent church's property (i.e. Does a breakaway parish have a viable legal argument for terminating the Episcopal Church's beneficial interest in parish property in circumstances where the Episcopal Church has materially departed from church doctrine?) That's what the discussion was about. I can't discuss schism under law because American law does not get involved in church doctrine.

No court in the United States is going to say "Oh, well, the Episcopal Church once had an implicit doctrine that same-sex activity was sinful and disqualified a person from becoming a bishop, but in 2005 they changed church doctrine, so they ceased really being The Episcopal Church, or Anglican, or Christian, and therefore Truro Anglican Parish is entitled to take its former parish buildings and bank accounts with it." It's not a decision over which federal or state courts have any jurisdiction.

As to whether certain theoretical doctrinal change "legitimizes schism in my eyes," I suppose. If the Episcopal Church were to undertake a doctrinal change declaring that Jesus was not divine or not human in nature, or denying the Trinity, or declaring that God does not exist, or denying the resurrection, I could see a decision by dissenters to leave as a "legitimate schism," to the extent that schism can exist in an organization that is no longer a Christian church. I'd be among the "schismatics" in that case. Each one of those doctrines is part of the creeds. They're what make us Christians. But that would still not justify the remnant from claiming church property.

I distinguish such things from doctrinal changes about ancillary matters. If the church were to declare that suicide is not a violation of the commandment against killing, and not a sin, but merely a product of mental illness or legitimate concerns about prolonged pain and suffering, it would be a doctrinal change of sorts, but it's not the sort of thing that would cause the Episcopal Church to cease to be Christian.

Does that mean that the Catholics should be given all our medieval Anglican parish churches back, then, by us naughty Anglican schismatics?

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Leprechaun

Ship's Poison Elf
# 5408

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quote:
Originally posted by Mockingale:


I still don't see why the Episcopal Church should bend over backwards for people that hate us.

But it's the Baptists/Muslims you're bending over backwards for! If you let the secessionists buy the building, TEC gets a load of money (could probably charge over the market rate) to start or build something new. My guess is the buildings will end up being sold at a good deal less than market value to other religious groups who also hate you. Anyway, far be it from me to hope the success of the Episcopal Church.

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He hath loved us, He hath loved us, because he would love

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