Georgia’s top court is trying to sort out who gets to own Christ Church, the state’s oldest church, in a contest that grew out of conservatives’ disagreement with the national Episcopal denomination’s decision to have an openly gay bishop.
Monday morning, the pews were packed with bishops, clergy and parishioners as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments. The court’s justices peppered lawyers for both sides about which documents to rely on in sorting out ownership of the building.
The church was formed in 1733, and Georgia’s founder, James Oglethorpe, granted the land where it sits, on the edge of one of Savannah’s shaded squares. Among its early priests were John and Charles Wesley, authors of dozens of hymns and the Methodist movement.