Monday, October 01, 2007
Church? I'd Rather Have a Nightclub!
Well, this is interesting:
The Episcopal Church will make sure that any property it sells is not intended for use by parishes that plan to affiliate with other Anglican provinces, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said Sept. 30 on a visit to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
What this is about is the announced sale of St. Clement Pro-Cathedral in El Paso, Texas to its congregation. The congregation of St. Clement's is splitting from the Episcopal Church to join another diocese in the Anglican Communion and wishes to buy the property (rather than suing to try to take it with them). They made a good faith offer of, I think, two million dollars which was accepted by the bishop, Bishop Steenson of the Diocese of the Rio Grande (who interestingly enough is now resigning his position in the Episcopal Church to join the Roman Catholic Church). Apparently now Presiding Bishop Schori is moving to block the sale, or trying to, because the congregation is aligning with a dissenting Anglican diocese.
So, apparently, it's okay to sell a church building to any other Protestant demomination, or to turn it into a synagogue or a mosque, or even to put it to secular use such as a nightclub. But a dissenting Anglican denomination? No way. Uhh, yeah, that'll stand up in court.
I hope PB Schori got some really good legal advice before making this statement to the press. At best, it makes her organization look petty. At worst, if this isn't legally enforceable - and it's difficult to see how it could be - it will make her look foolish. And if there's one thing TEC doesn't need right now, it's that.