Thinking Anglicans

lawsuits

Updated Tuesday

The Washington Times has an article about Virginia: Episcopal dispute hinges on 1860s law by Julia Duin.

The largest property dispute in the history of the Episcopal Church, brought on by divisions over a homosexual bishop, is likely to turn on a Civil War-era Virginia law passed to govern churches splitting during disputes over slavery and secession.

The Rocky Mountain News has an article about Colorado: Diocese turns up heat in lawsuit over schism by Jean Torkelson.

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese’s existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.

The targeted members include everyone on the parish’s governing board as well as the church’s main spokesman, Alan Crippen, and its rector of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong.

We haven’t previously linked to reports of other recent developments in this case. Here are some backfile items:

ENS Bishop deposes former rector Don Armstrong

Living Church Forensic Audit Faults Diocese in Armstrong Investigation

Press releases from the Diocese of Colorado about all this are here.

Update Tuesday
Here is another article about Virginia, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch Episcopal property case goes to trial today.

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NP
NP
13 years ago

1 Corinthians 6:7

“To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”

(this applies to both sides, of course….)

Worth reading the chapter given the issues ripping apart the AC at the moment:
http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=1+Corinthians+6

EmilyH
EmilyH
13 years ago

On the subject of the expanded list of those to be sued in CO and Colorado law necessitating their addition. Named in the article is Alan Crippen. Alan Crippen is the President of the John Jay Institute, a quasi-educational organization that “educates” suitable conservative candidates for careers in law and politics and serves as a feeder for them into conservative networks. It received, and may be continuing to receive, free rent at Grace St. Stephens. Prior to his move to John Jay, Crippen was with the Witherspoon Fdn, basically the same model and, I beleive, it was part of the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

NP:

And what would you have a wronged person do when all other options fail? Is being a Christian to be denied the resource of the civil law?

Marshall Scott
13 years ago

Duly noted, NP.

But, then, Jesus said, “Be wise as serpents [as well as] innocent as doves;” and “Make friends for yourself with unrighteous mammon.” We are certainly called to turn the other cheek, and to go the extra mile; but perhaps in the mind of Christ even that has limits.

NP
NP
13 years ago

Hello Pat – following what St Paul says, both sides should be avoiding the courts even if it means being defrauded etc……. If all we are fighting for is money or property, we should not fight….and if no agreement can be made, we should just give up our rights…..as I said, this goes for both sides. So, if TECUSA takes a CANA congregation to court for their building, even if they mostly paid for it themselves, they should avoid the courts, give TECUSA the building and trust God to provide for their needs. He will….he has a great record of… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
13 years ago

Is being a Christian to be denied the resource of the civil law? In a sense yes, for we are not to look to the courts for vengeance. I kind of agnostic about the property issues, however TEC really seems to desire to expand this to taking individuals to court. A Christian is fight for distributive justice and retributive justice but this moves into punitive justice which Scripture points us to the Lord, He’ll repay. So on the second article this moves from a mere property disagreement to a vengeance one, hopefully the civil judge will not allow the courts… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
13 years ago

NP is using good old-fashioned proof-texting. The context of the statement is that of the 1st C. Resorting to the courts then meant participating in the pagan state religion.

The exhortation simply doesn’t apply any more because the conditions which necessitated it are no longer present.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

NP, enjoys clobber verses from the Bible, taken out of their cultural context. Paul was writing during the time of the Roman Empire that did not then recognize the emergent Christian movement as a RELIGIO LICITA. Taking matters to a Roman court might have brought on suppression of the Christian mission, if not persecution, by the imperial authorities. The majority of St. Stephen’s/Grace Church, approx. 500 members, have been evicted from their church by the Armstrong secessionists, about 340 members. Under TEC’s canons, individuals may leave the denomination but do not take with them church property, which, under an implied… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Well, there’s an easy answer – those leaving the Episcopal Church hand back the keys to the building. Simple.

Kevin
Kevin
13 years ago

I think a ‘property dispute’ is a fair term, I think the cries (I do mean cries) of theft are not, at least the civil authorities (who also have things written about theft) have declared it as such.

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

I am astonished that Virginia parishes would actually point to the church’s divisions over the issue of slavery as a precedent for dealing with the present difficulties regarding homosexuality. I presume that in Virginia churches today there is a considerable degree of consensus on the issue of slavery. History and the church itself have judged that slavery is wrong, and those who relied on a fundamentalist approach to the scriptures to butress their support for the institution of slavery are now seen–rightly–as misguided. Surely the parallels between the issues of slavery and homosexuality are too obvious to be missed, and… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Oh God! I agree with NP on this. I don’t think not suing people was solely about not taking part in the Roman legal system. It is a sign of our failing as Christians, whether or not the judge before whom we appear is a pagan. So is the tendency to blame each other for the situation in which court work raises its head. But I’m agreeing with NP, so I must be wrong. I need a little lie down.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

As for Kevin’s comments, above. It is not vengeance to seek to preserve for the future what those who came before us preserved for us. A parishioner at our church who is upset at the cost of litgation, and thought the Diocese ought to just hand the property over, was brought up short when I asked him if, when he put his wife’s ashes in our columbarium, he assumed that this would continue to be an Episcopal church, so that when his time came, he would have the burial service he wanted, presided over by an Episcopal priest, and would… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

If I’d written such a comment there would have been howls about my being a false teacher. In God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery e.g. Leviticus 19:15; 2 Chronicles 19:17; Job 32:21-22 or 34:17-19; 1 Timothy 5:21. Jesus understood and was thus challenged in Luke 20:21″“Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” Deuteronomy 1:16-17 “…Hear the disputes between your brothers and judge fairly, whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them… Read more »

Neil
Neil
13 years ago

I’m surprised you report you have not previously linked reports about Don Armstrong. I could have sworn I have read everything you post now on this website in the past.

Completely unrelated – but pertinent on this and any other post…for some reason there are some people’s posts who I just scroll past without reading…it is like I have tried and struggled for long periods but almost give up because they should be shorter and snappier.
Sadly this seems to affect both sexes…but more women.

Neil
Neil
13 years ago

PS And its not like I agree with what the men write either! But, at leats I tend to read what they write.
Moral: keep it short.

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
13 years ago

Under US civil law the leaders of TEC have a fiduciary duty to protect and preserve the assets of the not for profit corporation. If they declined to pursue property claims in civil court, disgruntled members could file suit against them to compel them to do their duty.

EPfizH
EPfizH
13 years ago

It’s not a matter of suing your fellow Christians. It’s about making sure that both sides have all the relevant evidence, and, in the case of an ecclesiastical authority rendering best judgment. In the US, a civil authority can compel full disclosure of all relevant information, the good and the bad, from all litigants. An ecclesiastical authority can’t. It must rely on only that information that those under investigation are willing to disclose. How this works out… In the case of +Duncan et al., they will likely be brought before ecclesiastical authorities for abandonment of communion etc.,– ecclesiastical offences. But,… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

Merseymike says “Well, there’s an easy answer – those leaving the Episcopal Church hand back the keys to the building. Simple.”

Sure, that is what I said, based on scripture – you see, I do not fear that MM.

Ford – very amused by your jesting…..but I reckon if we both agree and scripture supports us, we may well be right….

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ford, Just as with everything else in life there is no clear right or wrong here. It is impossible to sit nicely in the white corner feeling Christian and holy. Both options, law suit or simply giving in and allowing the bullies to steal your church have moral implications. Also, I don’t quite understand why it’s wrong to point out that someone has consistently refused all offers of reconciliation and compromise, and that what they’re doing now is actually wrong and their own fault. I don’t often agree with NP either, but there are times where discernment is necesary (not… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Ford:

I’m also in agreement with NP. However, one of the problems is coming up with a venue and method for settling differences of this type. Ideally, one might postulate some type of mediation or arbitration proceeding with trusted Christian mediator(s)/arbitrator(s) and a set of ground rules agreed to by both sides. Unfortunately, though both sides might actually agree to the concept, they would probably spend the next 20 years trying to decide on who to use and what rules to apply.

Steven

NP
NP
13 years ago

Erika says “Just as with everything else in life there is no clear right or wrong here.”

Erika – many of us do believe in objective truth…….and I think we are in good company…..John 14:6

ruidh
ruidh
13 years ago

>> By contrast, because an ecclesiastical authority was denied all relevant data in the Armstrong+ case, it may not have delivered the best verdict. In this case, the Diocese requested interviews with the vestry of Grace St Stephen’s. It was denied. It requested other relevant data like tax returns, and again, it was denied. The ecclesiastical court rendered judgment on the data it was given, a judgment that may or may not be accurate. << Oh, don;t be fooled by the whitewash. Armstrong took loans which were illegal inder CO law — undisputed in the vestry sponsored review. Armstrong diverted… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Neil:

Good point about keeping it short and sweet. However, it can be difficult at times, such as when you get a multi-point rebuttal to one of your own posts. This kinda forces you to respond to most or all of the points made, leading to–you guessed it–lengthy counter-posts.

This is the main problem for me. First posts can usually be pointed and succinct, but responding to someone else’s multi-point post often leads to responsive posts that are a lot longer than I would prefer.

Steven

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

When I started a few years ago, there were complacent conservatives who claimed there was no biblical underpinning for “liberal” theology and therefore God would never even contemplate their arguments or issues. Conservatives also like to claim that the Word of God brings healing and that “evil” is driven away by the gospel. One of our joys last year was getting a couple of conservatives to smarmily comment that the bible can be read in many different perspectives. Another joy is discrediting those who claim the bible is not relevant for “liberals” or “secularists”. Sure, not everyone will read every… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

The Living Church is siding with CANA’s forensic audit report, declaring Mr. Don Armstrong not guilty of the charges brought against him by the Colorado ecclesiastical court. Part of the problem the Diocese of Colorado faced was that Mr. Armstrong chose not to co-operate with the diocesan auditors and make financial documents available to clear his reputation. Nor did his parish leadership give depositions, when requested. Therefore, he has no one but himself to blame that he was found guilty by the ecclesiastical court and, upon review of the verdict, deposed by his Bishop, whom the accused does not recognize,… Read more »

EPfizH
EPfizH
13 years ago

ruidh. I have not suggested that Armstrong+ is innocent. In no way would I wish to be him right now and if +Minns swallows the vestry’s forensic accountant’s report, I would like to suggest some opportunities in the American housing market for him. It is possible that a court procedure, if the case moves that far, would vindicate Armstrong+. It is equally possible that it wouldn’t. The vestry claims that they were assured that the scholarship/compensation practice was quite common. One wonders who on earth so assured them. But, the point remains, the ecclesiastical authority could not obtain the data… Read more »

Mary Clara
Mary Clara
13 years ago

Neil writes: “for some reason there are some people’s posts who I just scroll past without reading…it is like I have tried and struggled for long periods but almost give up because they should be shorter and snappier. Sadly this seems to affect both sexes…but more women.” “PS And its not like I agree with what the men write either! But, at leats I tend to read what they write. Moral: keep it short.” Well, Neil, there are different tastes and different attention spans. If you like short and snappy, that is a reflection of your personal taste and not… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Hi Mary Nice to see Dale Spender’s research hasn’t disappeared into nothingness. The other thing that sometimes God loves to affront by using the despised or weak, so that “the authorities” are discredited and/or so that no one may boast (before God we are all equal) e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:28, Obadiah 1:2-10 Mind you there’s some also pretty horrible imagery about how God strips and humiliates Zion, as a lesson and witness to the corruption of God’s peoples. But the thing is that God also does that to catch souls out e.g. Micah 4:11-13 “But now many nations are gathered… Read more »

Neil
Neil
13 years ago

I should not have made a generalisation about my problem with long posts. The thing is though, that there just happen to be 3 female and 1 male poster who have had, and I am sure still make valuable points – and I have tried over some time to wade through the verbiage. But now, when I see who is posting, my eyes simply glaze over in those cases. That is a pity, and I might be accused of being lazy – but I just wish some people would be shorter and snappier. You are completely right that it is… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

Cheryl mentions “offering up relevant refuting biblical passages “

Cheryl – I ain’t seen any “relevant refuting biblical passages” from you which show that Lambeth 1.10 is wrong in saying certain behaviour is “incompatible with scripture”…..

Stephen Roberts
Stephen Roberts
13 years ago

NP – “I ain’t seen”

Should read, “I haven’t seen”. Bible literalism and functional illiteracy make for poor companions.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“relevant refuting biblical passages” NP, given that you honestly believe that Paul gives you the right to sit in judgement on other people, what’s the point of giving you any Biblical passage? You only accept your particular way of reading Scripture. The people with whom you are arguing have a very different understanding, one that you do not think is valid, to the point that you deny its historicity. They cannot give you the refutations you want because they do not argue as you do. It does not give you any pause for thought that they think exactly the same… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Steven,
Dialect, whether geographical or social, isn’t functional illiteracy. Sorry, but I natively speak a non-standard dialect, and ‘tidden bad English jess coz ’tis not de way you talks. Sorry. Pet peeve of mine. All the same, Biblical literalism and functional illiteracy might not make good companions, but they make frequent ones.

NP
NP
13 years ago

Ford says “They cannot give you the refutations you want because they do not argue as you do.” Not at all, Ford….as you know, there are no verses to show that Lambeth 1.10 is wrong in saying certain behaviour is “incompatible with scripture”….. this is why people do not “mine” them and refute biblical arguments but rather talk of anything else but what the scriptures say on the presenting issue which is still tearing the fabric of the communion as its seeks rights above scripture. If there were verses to refute Lambeth 1.10, I am sure they would have been… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

No, Np. You still don’t get it. The Bible is errant and wrong in parts – a product of its time. Rights are far more important than the authority of this human production – which contains some good material, but one needs to be selective. The refutations are simply that the Bible needs to be treated critically and recognising its cultural, historical and outdated premise. Next you’ll be telling me that Genesis is more than a story and has genuine connection with the way the world came to be. Despite the fact that science clearly shows this not to be… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

NP wrote: “… this applies to both sides, of course…”

“All things equal” – but they are not.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Kevin wrote: “A Christian is [to] fight for distributive justice and retributive justice but this moves into punitive justice which Scripture points us to the Lord, He’ll repay.”

I thought this whole affair of claiming church property for oneself and one’s buddies was “distributive” as “punitive”?

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Ken wrote: “I am astonished that Virginia parishes would actually point to the church’s divisions over the issue of slavery as a precedent for dealing with the present difficulties regarding homosexuality….”

Seems that they do not agree with your assessment of Slavery or with the outcome of the American Civil War.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

(I’m sure NP has a quote from Paul… ;=)

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

“Moral: keep it short.”

Intelligible isn’t so bad either.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

NP wrote: “If there were verses to refute Lambeth 1.10, I am sure they would have been highlighted years ago – but, Stephen, there AIN’T.”

Chronology, NP!

There are no verses on Lambeth 1998 I.10, because it’s later by some 17 hundred years.

(Nor is there a word “homosexuality” in the Bible until RSV 1947, for the same reason)

“Text without context is pre-text”

NP
NP
13 years ago

Merseymike….says “Next you’ll be telling me that Genesis is more than a story and has genuine connection with the way the world came to be.”

Absolutely, it is….this does not mean the world was created in 6 24 periods but Genesis is certainly more than a story.

MM says “The Bible is errant and wrong in parts – a product of its time” Really? Is this because you want to justify certain sins?

You claim to be an Anglican despite not going to a CofE church, I know.
Guess you are familiar with these?

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/thirtyni.htm

Pat O&apos;Neill
Pat O&apos;Neill
13 years ago

“You claim to be an Anglican despite not going to a CofE church, I know.”

And, you go to a church that says it’s CoE, but apparently doesn’t use anything recognizable as an Anglican service, preferring to be “informal”.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“Is this because you want to justify certain sins?”

Perhaps. Or perhaps he can’t ignore these exmples any more therefore must let go of the the idea that the Bible is somehow a consistent document. I believe it is true, and God’s words too, NP, but I can’t ignore simple fact either. That would be superstitious.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Pat,
Not only is their praxis, by all accounts, not recognizably Anglican, neither is a good part of their theology. I don’t know if this applies to HTB, but I was once on an Anglican website that encouraged baptised Christians to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit! I never figured out what they thought happened at the font.

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Ford:

You addressed a post to “Steven” that should have been to “Stephen.” This is doubtless a quibble on my part, but since I am not excessively sensitive to the use of dialect (and often use it myself), I just want to say watch yo step! Us deliberate users of bad grammar and dialect don’t want to be represented as supporting the detractors of such, and don’t y’all ferget it!

Steven

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

NP-“Absolutely, it is….this does not mean the world was created in 6 24 periods but Genesis is certainly more than a story.”

Whoa, WHOA! Either it is or isn’t. Your world of biblical idolatry doesn’t allow for such gray areas!

Oh, it’s OT, so it doesn’t matter eh, like you dismissed the passages concerning the wearing of mixed thread clothing and charging interest in moneychanging.

Weak argument NP. Picking and choosing!

NP
NP
13 years ago

Pat – believing the creeds and being in line with the 39 articles probably makes one Anglican……you talk of liturgy but it lses its value if it is not believed….. Ford, sure, there are inconsistencies but, as you know, nothing which really casts doubt on the Truth behind the whole bible……… I am not a literalist….we need to read intelligently, looking for the intended meaning of texts in their context and in the context of the whole bible…..I don’t think it is “fundamentalist” to agree with our bishops saying in Lambeth 1.10 that certain behaviour is “incompatible with scripture”, is… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Steven wrote: “I just want to say watch yo step! Us deliberate users of bad grammar and dialect don’t want to be represented as supporting the detractors of such, and don’t y’all ferget it!”

As I said, intelligible is not bad.

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