Presiding Bishop Sets Stipulations for Church Property Sales

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.

Asked if she were satisfied with the agreement by the Diocese of the Rio Grande to sell St. Clement Pro-Cathedral in El Paso, Texas, to the congregation, Bishop Schori said she had recommended two stipulations.

“I’ve told them that my two concerns are that the congregation not set up as another part of the Anglican Communion and that there is some reasonable assurance that it’s a fair sale,” she said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori spoke to reporters before appearing on Grace Cathedral’s Forum, a weekly program, broadcast on the Internet. Bishop Jefferts Schori appeared on the program with the Bishop of California, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus. She also preached at the 11 a.m. service.

The issue of control over property is becoming an increasing concern as parishes disaffected by The Episcopal Church’s stance on homosexuality and other matters affiliate with more conservative bishops in other provinces.

Bishop Jefferts Schori’s concerns evidently have not been written into the sale agreement. Bishop Jefferts Schori said she has made herself clear to Bishop Jeffrey Steenson and the diocese, but that it’s “too soon to get a response.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Polity & Canons

66 comments on “Presiding Bishop Sets Stipulations for Church Property Sales

  1. Philip Snyder says:

    So, it really is all about power and not about faithfulness. Why [b] this[/b] specific stipulation? If we are going to let a parish go, we should let them go with good will and our prayers for success. Shouldn’t we be glad that they want to stay part of the Anglican Communion rather than being independent or part of some other affiliation?

    As opposed to suing parishes and vestries and priests, we should negotiate with them such that the contributions of the members and of the diocese are both recognized.

    Phil Snyder

  2. robroy says:

    So if the parishioners vote 99% to go seek alternative oversight, that is not OK. But if the diocese allows it to turn into a discotheque where revelers remark on “getting ‘nasty’ in a church”, that’s OK?

    See [url= ]The Church Website[/url].

  3. DonGander says:

    Act 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

    Act 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.

  4. tired says:

    So, if a bishop negotiated a non-compliant agreement, then the bishop would be threatened? The church itself would be free according to the terms of its agreement, but other TEC bishops, so effete in issues of morality and defending the faith, would aggressively attack one of their fellow bishops with the odd charge of breach of fiduciary duty for failure to require a non-compete provision.

    Breathtaking. TEC’s core doctrine is showing.

  5. Nikolaus says:

    What’s it to her? Seems to me she is binding the hands of the local bishop. It’s pure meaness and spite.

  6. Chris says:

    she seems determined to undermine any Anglican movement that she can’t control – how pathetic. and as #1 points out, former parishes (see Denver) are now nightclubs, apparently NOT much to her chagrin. beam me up Scottie, no intelligent forms of life to be found here….

  7. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Why does the Presiding Bishop assume that the success or failure of the congregation in getting recognition as an Anglican entity will have anything to do with whether or not they possess the building? If the only option is a sale, whether to the ex-congregation or to some other ecclesiastical body, why not give preference to those who have labored in the vineyard and have some identification with the church? Were the minority still able to operate the building the issue might be different, but, when it comes to departures of this sort, that’s rarely the case.

  8. Chris says:

    and isn’t she (or Beers) on record stating that property disputes would be handled within the dioceses? perhpas it was in regard to the Va. situation?

  9. Craig Goodrich says:

    [blockquote]So, it really is all about power and not about faithfulness.[/blockquote]

    … just in case there was any remaining doubt anywhere.

    What has 815 worried sick is that the Primates will deprive TEC of the Anglican franchise, allowing the CCP and Windsor bishops to be officially recognized apart from TEC. This will cause a stampede to the Windsor position by both parishes and entire dioceses, leaving TEC a rump church with a few dying urban coastal dioceses, supported entirely by Trinity Wall Street and a huge endowment being rapidly eaten away by legal fees.

    Remember before GC06 when the buzz from 815 was The Episcopal Communion? They finally realized that that concept would never play in Peoria, and Peoria pays the bills. Thus they started bringing all their heavy artillery to bear on the Windsor bishops (and wavering nebbishops) at the beginning of the year and are now desperately trying to slow CCP’s momentum.

    We’re winning. We’ll be taking casualties, but the clock is running out on Second Avenue. The last quarter of the game, though, is going to get very brutal, and 815 intends to ignore any penalty flags…

  10. Craig Goodrich says:

    Chris #8 asks, “Isn’t she (or Beers) on record stating that property disputes would be handled within the dioceses?”

    That was Griswold. His position on property disputes infuriated Bruno, and was one of the principal reasons Bruno engineered the election of Mrs. Schori. That part of the Quran, as they say, has been superseded by a later shura…

  11. KevinBabb says:

    There seem to be serious Constitutional concerns about the type of restriction that the Presiding Bishop suggests. Even if the first purchaser could be bound by such a restriction, I question whether subsequent purchasers would be so bound, based on First Amendment grounds of free exercise of religion. Even if it a promise by TEC’s purchaser not to set up as an Anglican congregation would be enforceable as to that purchaser, it seems doubtful that any subsequent purchaser could be prevented from doing so. I think the analysis would the same as in Shelley v. Kramer, the Supreme Court case from the late 40s that struck down racial covenants in the sale of real property.

  12. Stuart Smith says:

    I think this is more evidence that Ms. Schori and Mr. Beers know that at every possible juncture, the new PB should make noises indicating that she has some direct or determinative stake in individual congregations’ decisions regarding property.

    Of course, when it serves her and him, they can always recline on the fact that she has no such power to do anything other than preside at episcopal ordinations, involve herself in ecclesiastical court proceedings, and wear the clothes of a “primate”.

  13. Sherri says:

    It’s not a church anymore, is it? It’s a franchise, like Pizza Hut. TEC, INC. I’ve never felt less inclined for pizza.

  14. Paul PA says:

    Assuming both parties are convinced the Diocese has rightful ownership (or at least that both feel a negotiated settlement is the way to go) – The diocese should sign a contract to sell to the existing congregation and give ECUSA/TEC 3 days to match the offer and close on the same terms. How many would they really step in front of? This puts the bishop in the position of meeting their fiscal responsibility and gives the TEC the chance to put their money on the line to preserve the “franchise”

  15. DonGander says:

    13. Sherri:

    “It’s a franchise, like Pizza Hut.”

    Why insult a valued commercial industry? I like pizza. It is good for you – health food, all food groups represented in one single serving!

    Now, TEC, is bland in texture, tasteless, and contains a variety of poisons and carcinogens.

    But, I suppose you were limiting your observations to their organizational similarities and, here, I can agree with you. I do, however, prefer the garden club analogy.

  16. Jason S says:

    The PB is not a Pope and is primate in name only, not in actual metropolitical authority (which is one of the reasons the APO issue has always seemed silly to me – TEC has never had a real primate to begin with). I question whether the PB, Executive Council, etc. have any legal or canonical authority to require national church approval of the disposition of local parish property. Legally and canonically, the approval process stops at the diocesan level.

    And why would it be okay to sell parish property to a Methodist congregation but not to a dissatisfied Anglican congregation? This only looks spiteful. Being petty and litigious will not be to anyone’s benefit.

  17. BlueOntario says:

    [quote]And why would it be okay to sell parish property to a Methodist congregation but not to a dissatisfied Anglican congregation?[/quote]
    Maybe the PB has a keen sense of irony.

  18. chips says:

    I guess the Presiding Bishop has realized that competition will kill TEC as it has an inferior product on the Christian market. TEC seems to be run by very very bad people – the ick factor just gets worse and worse.

  19. the roman says:

    I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up. Amazing!

  20. Zoot says:

    I have about decided that we are dealing with a “control freak”. Just get another denomination to buy it at a cheap price and get them to sell it back to a parish for their costs plus a dollar. She is about to get real nasty and show her “true colors”.

  21. Zoot says:

    Another thing….does she not realize that this denomination has a lot of very wealthy people who could go head to head with her when it comes to lawsuits. I think she has gotten “too big for her britches”.

  22. Sherri says:

    And why would it be okay to sell parish property to a Methodist congregation but not to a dissatisfied Anglican congregation?

    Would it even be legal? We have some property on the market now. Maybe we should call the Methodists across the street and see if they would like to expand while we’re at it.

  23. jamesw says:

    I think KevinBabb is correct here. The PB might have a high opinion of herself, but she does not have the legal authority to perpetually bind the usage of property which is legally and properly alienated from TEC. I would think that departing parishes could do one of two things:
    1) Allow the stipulation into the contract and then ignore it, and let 815 try to enforce this sort of “non-compete” agreement. I seriously doubt that 815 could win in court. Does KJS seriously think that a court would tell a church how it could organize itself? (Let’s hear your best shot at defending this, Dale Rye!)
    2) Allow this stipulation into the contract, then flip the property to a third party who then sets it up for use by another Anglican entity.

    I think this is just 815 blowing more steam. Craig Goodrich is correct – 815 only has the power of destruction, and they are realizing it. They cannot win this. No matter what they do, they cannot win this. So, they have to use the only weapons they have – weapons of destruction such as harrasment, lawsuits, threats, bullying – to scare people into staying with them. Even that won’t win this for them.

    What a sad lot they are.

  24. Dee in Iowa says:

    If her words come from Beers’ mouth, remind me not to hire him to represent me. Get real – Bishop A decides to negotiate with Church B, in good faith….does she really think she can walk in and dictate terms….without sueing Bishop A right up front. Eventually Bishop A can be brought up on charges by 815, but her problem then is to get Bishop A to 815…..for the trial….

    This statement by the PB is pathetic…

  25. Craig Goodrich says:


    I have about decided that we are dealing with a “control freak”. Just get another denomination to buy it at a cheap price and get them to sell it back to a parish for their costs plus a dollar. She is about to get real nasty and show her “true colors”.

    Umm, Zoot, right on all counts except for “about to”; she showed her [url= ]true colors[/url] here in Nevada some time ago. As I [url=]implied above[/url], the Beers/Bruno/Schori clique puts 815 firmly in the hands of the famous three-legged stool — this last term, of course, understood in the purely medical sense.

  26. Reactionary says:

    I agree with the general sentiments on this thread. The national church is in for a huge hit and they know it. This is the statement of a desperate person.

  27. LTN says:

    This type of discrimination of encumbering real estate deeds based on religion will not fly in California. California Civil Code section 53 (relating back to section 51, commonly known as the Unruh Civil Rights Act) makes such restrictions void as a matter of law. Religion is defined in California Civil Code section 51(e)(3) as “all aspects of religious belief, observance and practice.”

  28. Pb says:

    She has the authority to tie up parish property but can not do anything about same sex marriages. It would be unloving.

  29. Craig Goodrich says:

    #25 Dee — You’re quite right. If you think about the implications of your comment, you’ll understand why +Lee abrogated his pet Virginia Protocol so suddenly, +Howe (who negotiated to let a parish go under honorable circumstances in ’06 and has been respected for his orthodoxy for a decade) has recently written letters quite firm on the subject of property, and why +Steenson carefully waited until he was just about to resign to signal to St. Clement’s that now was the time for papers to be signed. Does the term “legal thuggery” ring a bell?

  30. libraryjim says:

    22 and 28 raised the points that struck me on reading the article. Based on the anti-discrimination laws of the United States, she cannot stipulate to whom the property may be sold, nor — apart from county/city zoning regulations — stipulate HOW the property is to be used after the sale.

    It’s illegal.

    Jim Elliott <><

  31. Sarah1 says:

    The cool thing about these “stipulations” are that the PB now admits how terrified the national authorities are about Anglican competition. They can’t afford — desperately cannot afford — for parishes to continue which are connected to a Province of the Anglican Communion.

  32. Dave B says:

    # 11, 22, 28 and 31 It seems to me if the PB can stipulate or nagotiate sales of proberty TEC is then liable for the legal ramifications that develope during the sale of the property. If there is religious discrimination in the sale of this property is 815 then liable and open to legal remedy?

  33. Stu Howe says:

    My most chartable though here is that the PB is thinking/being advised in terms of corporate contract practices, where a “reasonable non-compete” clause is acceptable. However, as a number of commentators have pointed out, this line of reasoning falls short, when applied in the manner the PB is suggesting.

    I agree what this does show is fear and a heavy-handed reaction to combat the source of the fear. Not a very health mental state for any individual or organization.

  34. palagious says:

    Try though they might I don’t think the National Church has any legal standing in matters between the diocese and a subordinate parish. I think they just may find that out pretty soon.

    So, I think she could threaten “other” ecclesiastical actions by the HoB against a sitting Bishop but it won’t take long for most of the remaining “moderate” bishops to realize that what’s happening to Lawrence and Steenson could well happen to them over almost any issue by vengeful and ideological “liberal” bishops bent on having their way. Its a fairly scary lot that they have chosen to throw in their lot with. Its almost as though the French Revolution has come to life in contemporary America.

  35. LTN says:

    #33…no need to get into legal liability or standing regarding the issue of encumbering a real property with a discriminatory restriction (i.e., race, religion, sex, etc.). I would presume that most states would have laws that would immediately make the discriminatory restriction void. No need to even go to court and remove the restriction that is void as a matter of law. Just ignore the discrimination and ignorance by the drafter.

  36. KAR says:

    Do any of the rest of you keep getting these visions of Daffy Duck saying, “mine, mine, mine?

  37. Stu Howe says:

    Re #35 Does this reference mean that you are thinking of the PB and the functionaries of 815 in terms of the Jacobins?

  38. justice1 says:

    TEC and KJS are missing something of great importance. Read Acts… a persecuted church only grows stronger and flourishes. You can’t stamp out the gospel by fighting for reified structures.

  39. Christopher Johnson says:

    David Booth Beers’ sock puppet makes it official.

  40. azusa says:

    Are there no Revisionists out there – John Gawain Wilkes & co – that will speak out on behalf of Schori? Or do they too realize that any such stipulation is (1) spiteful; (2) panic-stricken; (3) unconstitutional?

  41. Rob Eaton+ says:

    Interesting…..nothing about where there is no sale at all?


  42. Bob Lee says:

    She’s a real Christianm huh? A veritable witness to Christ’s kindness.


  43. Daniel Lozier says:

    To all Disaffiliated Attorneys: Please take note. This should provide additional evidence that the SLAPP Motion is valid, and that their legal prosecution is in reality persecution of our religious beliefs.

  44. Irenaeus says:

    File this policy under MALICIOUS DOG IN THE MANGER.

    Under KJS’s policy, selling a church building to a nightclub that will use the church furnishings to ridicule Christ is better than selling the building to orthodox Anglicans (even the orthodox Anglicans who built and paid for it in the first place).

    Do you think I’m exaggerating about the sacreligious nightclub? Think again. It happened at the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, less than 2 miles from 815 Second Ave. The church building became a nightclub, then a drugged-out disco and sex venue. On opening night (as I recall reading) a near-naked Jesus was carried in tied to a cross and purported to bless the merrymakers. (The diocese didn’t mean for the building to be used in that way, but the point is that . . .)

    Bad as this may be, KJS’s policy considers it BETTER than letting orthodox Anglicans buy and use the property as a church. BETTER!

    This is a shameful, vindictive, un-Christian policy. It is worthy of false shepherds more interested in their own desire to get even than in love, good stewardship, or spreading the gospel. It smacks of the sort of malicious pride that C.S. Lewis called “the complete anti-God state of mind.”

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    For those who may be interested, more about what happened to and in the former Church of the Holy Communion. Think of it as a detailed reminder of what KJS considers preferable to use by orthodox Anglicans.;=&spon;=&pagewanted=all

    – – – – – – Chicago Tribune, Aug. 23, 1985 – – – – – –
    “A plaque on the wall informs visitors they are entering a ‘house of the Lord,’ but that, it turns out, is just a disrespectful irony, one of the many religious artifacts coyly left intact when the Limelight people turned the deconsecrated Episcopalian Church of the Holy Communion into a disco.”

    – – – – – – Toronto Globe & Mail, Aug. 22, 2003 – – – – – –
    — “Accounts of Limelight’s first years describe laser beams bouncing off stained-glass windows, caged drag queens hanging from the rafters, and Michael Jackson videos playing on a large screens. ‘We are horrified . . . using religion in a kinky way is in such bad taste,’ a priest complained in The New York Times. But Andy Warhol liked it and so did thousands of other patrons.”
    — The owner, Peter Gatien, “insisted that he wasn’t involved in the flourishing drug trade in his clubs.” Then a Limelight employee (who had once organized a “Blood Feast”) committed a brutal drug murder,
    — “Mr. Gatien was portrayed by actor Dylan McDermott in Party Monster, a film released this year about Mr. Melendez’s murder.”
    — “The same year as the killing, U.S. drug-enforcement agents fingered Mr. Gatien as a dealer and labelled his clubs ‘drug supermarkets.'”

    – – – – – – – – Albany Times-Union, Jan. 10, 1999 – – – – – – – –
    — “This was the same Limelight where Gatien allegedly mocked Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s crackdown on the city’s drug trade by letting hallucinogens be passed out like Halloween candy.”
    — “Witnesses described white-coated ”doctors” writing patrons prescriptions for hallucinogens; [and] employees spiking vats of punch with Ecstasy, an amphetamine that produces euphoric highs.”

  45. Zoot says:

    Retaliatory lawsuits intended to silence, intimidate, or punish those who have used public forums to speak, petition, or otherwise move for government action on an issue.

    The term strategic lawsuits against public participation, known by the acronym SLAPPs, applies to a variety of different types of lawsuits, including those claiming libel, defamation, business interference, or conspiracy. The term was coined by Professors George W. Pring and Penelope Canan of the University of Denver, who began to study this form of litigation in 1984. Pring and Canan define SLAPPs using four criteria: “[SLAPPs] (1) involve communications made to influence a government action or outcome, (2) which result in civil lawsuits (complaints, counterclaims, or cross-claims), (3) filed against non-governmental individuals or groups (4) on a substantive issue of some public interest or social significance.”

  46. Eugene says:

    Maybe Religion and Ethics should interview the PB on this aspect of her ministry.

  47. Oldman says:

    Please someone enlighten me: Why is it necessary for TEC to have 815 anyway? We have no need for a Vatican like structure in such a relatively small church. Just think of how much money ++Katharine could give to the MDG Fund by moving the offices to someplace like Wichita, Kansas. I think it was PB John Allin (Sp) who floated such an idea, but his term was over and the plan was discarded by the incoming PB. Doing so would get the over bloated bureaucracy out of church pockets and let the Bishops take care of their dioceses and meet once a year to make agreed upon over all policy. ++Katherine could be what PB stands ie, the Presiding Bishop.

  48. Oldman says:

    Sorry in #48 I left off the end. ++Katherine could be what PB stands ie, the Presiding Bishop instead of the TEC Pope.

  49. Dave B says:

    Oldman (48 & 49) , I’ve often wondered why TEC keeps it’s HQ in New York. It is expensive for the staff to live there and the cost of maintenance is high. It would make more sense to live in the South or midwest where cost of living for staff etc is cheaper. With the internet etc communicating is not such a hugh problem. Being more centally located would also reduce cost of tavel. Sory this is a little off subject.

  50. Reactionary says:


    That has been my argument for a number of years. TEC does not need a national church. The House of Bishops can simply elect one of their own number to preside at the annual meeting while remaining bishop of his own diocee. However, that would upset the current pyramid scheme.

  51. Irenaeus says:

    Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

    In issuing this decree, KJS has spoken from the heart.

  52. KevinBabb says:

    Oldman, if they can’t agree to move the headquarters across town to General Seminary as ++Frank Griswold wanted to do, more far-flung geographic movement appears unlikely.

    The structure you suggest, with the Presiding Bishop functioning only as the “presider” over the HOB, describes how business was done until a number of structural changes occurred in 1917. To make it even simpler, the Presiding Bishop was not elected, but was merely the Bishop senior in service. Only after 1917 did the office of the Presiding Bishop expand to the point where the Presiding Bishop became the public face of the Episcopal Church.

  53. Irenaeus says:

    “Why is it necessary for TEC to have 815 anyway?” —Oldman

    It isn’t—a point underscored by the fact that ECUSA’s national organization is legally known as the “Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.” Faithful Episcopalians formed the DFMS to carry out evangelism more effectively. But 815 neither conducts nor believes in traditional Christian evangelism. Its original reason for being has ceased and so has its utility. It does more harm than good. The Christian world would be better off without it.

  54. Irenaeus says:

    Why does ECUSA keep its headquarters in New York City? —DaveB

    About two decades ago, ECUSA considered moving its headquarters to Indianapolis—a less expensive and more family-friendly place. But “family friendly” isn’t a priority for ECUSA’s revisionist rulers. And how can it compete with chic?

  55. BCP28 says:

    I am still opposed to disaffiliation.
    I am definitely opposed to lawsuits.
    But in this case, the whole thing seems nuts. Bitter, vindictive perhaps, but definitely nuts. I have difficulty believing that if parishes went this route ECUSA could hold them to it long-term.

  56. Craig Stephans says:

    And the scripture to support this policy would be…..?

  57. Irenaeus says:

    “And the scripture to support this policy would be?”

    — “Might makes right.” —2 Moloch 6:16.

    — “Do it unto others before they do it unto you.” —Epistle of Herod 2:16 (cleansing of Bethlehem).

  58. Dee in Iowa says:

    Now come on you bishops, I know Dallas let Plano buy out, I know Kansas let Overland Park buy out, I know, I know…but see, I jumped in on Virginia and look at the progress made there. It won’t be long before the true TEC people are back in their buildings…maybe a decade or two, but who’s counting…..

  59. lmk says:

    “And the scripture to support this policy would be…..? ”
    Charles E. Bennison is still writing that part of the Bible for TEC.

  60. Cennydd says:

    I wonder if Schori would oppose the sale of Church properties to a Continuing Churches congregation?

  61. chaney says:

    When all that we do is for the Glory of God, the Lord rejoices in us. When all that we do is for our own glory, God cries at our arrogance, and our life is meaningless. What is TEC doing for the Glory of God? Surely God is weeping at the arrogance of TEC.

  62. Adam 12 says:

    Episcopalians (perhaps myself included) have long been among those who seem to need churches that look a certain way in order for our worship to be proper. After all, isn’t it easy for veteran Episcopalians to spot the Episcopal churches in a strange city. So I can see why 815 is clinging so tightly to the architecture. I guess I am wondering, though, if it is legal to place a building up for sale and to discriminate against potential buyers based on their religion. Also what is to stop somebody from forming a dummy corporation to acquire a property?

  63. Derek Smith says:

    spiteful- just spiteful.

  64. w.w. says:

    Things are becoming clearer.

    815 is absolutely terrified at the prospect of another Anglican Communion province emerging in its midst. And it must take whatever drastic steps are necessary to prevent any dioceses, no matter how few, from leaving TEC.

    Why? Unthinkable legal implications. If even a handful of dioceses succeed in disaffiliating from TEC, and if these dioceses and the scores of parishes that left TEC earlier all huddle for refuge under the new Anglican entity, voila — an unmistakable actual division in TEC itself now exists.

    Under these circumstances, courts across the country settling church property disputes will be hard pressed to maintain a bias in favor of hierarchical considerations. More courts will adopt the neutral-principles approach. TEC will lose big-time. Parishes won’t have to buy their way out. Further, TEC will end up having to pay the legal expenses of those it sued as well as its own. Its leaders will stand exposed and disgraced for ruining a once great and influential church.


  65. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Let’s see, the General Convention has NOT ruled on this…so this is just fluff. We have it on the bishops’ “authority” that they can’t speak for TCGC. PB Schorri is just a bishop. THEREFORE, PB Schorri has no “authority” to issue this requirement. The Executive Council hasn’t ruled on this either. No matter where you turn, there is not a single person or House or Committee to authoritatively state this requirement and I suspect it will take two General Conventions to enact such a requirement.

    Gotta love that reappraiser logic about the polity.

  66. fishsticks says:

    Re: #17: Oh, that was marvelous – just perfect. (The really sad thing is, I don’t think she does appreciate irony.)

    Re: #66: Excellent point! Man, it must be tough when your own argument is used against you…

    Re: #1, #2: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – it’s about power, not faithfulness, and it demonstrates meanness and spite.

    Re: #7: Another excellent point. It’s one thing if those remaining in TEC can afford to maintain and use the property – but if they can’t, and selling the property is the only option, there’s just no [i] good [/i] reason to refuse to sell it to those former parishioners who have chosen to leave TEC. (Lots of bad reasons, but no good ones…)

    Re: #7, #28, #31: Darn you! I was late getting to my computer today, and you posted before I could, and you touched on what ran through my mind immediately upon seeing the headline – before I even read the article. As I recall, once real estate has been put on the market, it’s illegal under federal law, as well as under the laws of the various states, for the seller to discriminate between legitimate buyers. I do seem to recall that this doesn’t apply to property which isn’t actually put on the market, but of course that makes it much tougher to find a buyer – and it’s generally only done by those who already know of a serious potential buyer. (And when one is selling a church, the most obvious serious potential buyer would be who again? Oh, right, the departing parishioners!)

    But even if 815 were to throw a hissy fit and get its way, I don’t believe there’s any way to stop the departing parishioners from simply setting up a “straw man” buyer (as noted by #24 and #63), who could then sell it to them. That’s perfectly legal.

    It’s true that, if 815 were to get its way and the restrictions were written into the sales contract, as noted by #36, the restrictions would be void as a matter of law. So, technically speaking, the departing parishioners could buy it anyway, and simply ignore the restrictions. The trouble is, of course, 815 would probably then sue the parish, and the parish would have cover the costs of defending itself. Yes, the parish could, and should, counter-sue and demand attorney fees and court costs, and anything else they could think of – [i] but [/i] they would still have to pay their lawyers themselves first, and be reimbursed later by 815, which might be difficult for a parish which just had to pony up for a nice, big mortgage.) As noted by #16, I don’t think 815 has any canonical authority to do this, either – but 815 [i] would [/i] have the ability to make life very unpleasant for any diocesan who refused to toe the line.

    Re: #48, #50, #51, #55: Allin and Browning both seriously considered moving TEC’s HQ from New York to Chicago, Kansas City, or St. Louis. As I recall, Browning really tried, and I think he was primarily aiming for KC or STL.