Category : TEC Conflicts: Central Florida

(World Mag.) Jamie Dean on many departing parishes departing TEC–Tidings of discomfort and joy

A scorched earth policy. That’s how Anglicans who have left The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its endorsement of unbiblical beliefs and actions often describe TEC’s response. From depressed Binghamton, N.Y., to affluent Newport Beach, Calif., TEC leaders have fought dozens of court battles to force congregations leaving the denomination to forfeit the buildings they, their parents, and their grandparents paid for.

[This policy]… is evident…at St. James Anglican Church, which for more than half a century owned property in Newport Beach: The 300-member congregation now meets in a fluorescent-lit room with exposed pipes and concrete walls. It’s a humble setting for an affluent congregation accustomed to soft lighting and stained glass, but a fitting one this month for celebrating the birth of a Savior in a barnyard stable””and that’s one of the providential results of the scorched earth policy.

St. James lost its building even though the church had a written agreement with its diocese that seemed to ensure the congregation’s ownership of the building””but when it was time to part, the diocese and TEC sued the congregation, and a judge cited an Episcopal Church canon declaring that all church property belongs to the diocese and the denomination.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

'We're not 'the frozen chosen'' Trinity Episcopal Church in Central Florida makes changes

When Father Chris Rodriguez brought his family here from New Jersey last September becoming Trinity Episcopal Church’s new rector, he discovered a congregation that was hurting and needed help.

A little over two years ago, a doctrinal split within the congregation prompted approximately three-fourths of its members to leave. Most followed the former Reverend Loren Coyle, the church’s rector at the time, creating the breakaway, Christ Church at K-Mart Plaza. Soon after, Coyle left the ministry.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Departing Parishes

A.S. Haley–The Via Media Movement: No Orthodoxy — We're Episcopalian!

We see in this set of facts, as early as 2004, a recurring pattern. While professing to honor diversity — and indeed, to seek “unity in diversity” — the groups allied with Via Media have always taken root only in those dioceses led by orthodox clergy who stoutly resisted the ordination to the episcopacy of individuals in a noncelibate relationship outside of Holy Matrimony as defined (and still defined) by the Book of Common Prayer. For thus upholding the rubrics of the BCP, they have been accused of fomenting schism within ECUSA, sued, deposed and hounded from the Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, Theology

Central New York Episcopal Diocese sues former parish again

Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.

On Friday, both sides were back in court.

“We’ve kind of moved on as a congregation and this is almost looking backwards now. So we were dreading it but here it is,” said Father Matthew Kennedy, Good Shepherd’s head pastor.

This time, the feud centers around a will by former Good Shepherd member Robert Brannan. He died in 1986 and left behind money in a trust fund for his parish.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Conflicts: Central New York, TEC Conflicts: Colorado, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Conflicts: Florida, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Georgia, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Conflicts: Ohio, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Conflicts: Rio Grande, TEC Conflicts: San Diego, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC House of Deputies

Diocese of Central Fla. Statement of Mutual Concern over Civil Courts Redefining Polity

The Diocese of Central Florida is thankful to the Anglican Communion Institute, Inc. (ACI) for taking the initiative in making a statement (see below) about the nature of hierarchy and governance within the Episcopal Church. We fully support and are grateful for The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, The Rt. Rev. Bruce MacPherson and the other signatories to the statement.

We fully share the concerns expressed in the statement regarding recent court filings and arguments made by the Presiding Bishop’s chancellor to “turn The Episcopal Church’s governance on its head.”

We oppose any attempt, in this civil litigation or in any other secular forum to turn Dioceses into “subordinate units” of the General Convention, the Executive Council or the office of the Presiding Bishop–something they never have been and must not become.

We are deeply concerned that the Presiding Bishop is seeking to reinterpret the Constitution and Canons of this Church and overturn 220 years of settled church custom and law by appealing to an outside secular court.

We welcome and encourage other dioceses within the Episcopal Church to stand with us in resisting this redefinition of our ecclesiastical polity through the use of the secular courts by the Presiding Bishop and her chancellor.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Polity & Canons

Cary McMullen: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

[Central Florida Bishop John] Howe has told me that he would not be part of any group that is cut off from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the main symbol of unity in the Anglican Communion. In an interview with his diocese’s newspaper recently, Howe said, “I share many if not most of (the dissenters’) theological commitments and concerns. … But God has called me to be a bishop in The Episcopal Church … and I have no intention of leaving it.”

All this may seem like a lot of to-do about technicalities, but there is an important principle at stake in these disputes, and that is the nature of the church. The dissidents – those who are going – believe they are upholding its purity. The ones who are staying believe they are upholding its unity. Which is the more important?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, Theology

Bishop Howe's Response to Canon Lorne Coyle's Letter to those who have Left

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Canon Lorne Coyle has written an important letter to those he believes will be departing from The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Central Florida on July 1, 2008.

I am concerned that several of his statements may not be entirely accurate.

He has said:

1. “Trinity is part of a dying denomination”¦The Episcopal Church is part of a culture which God cannot honor, the culture of salvation without a cross, of grace without sin, of Easter without Good Friday.”

I believe this may well be the theology of some within The Episcopal Church, but it certainly is not the official teaching of TEC. And, more importantly, it is not the teaching of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which we are a constituent part.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, Theology

Bishop John Howe Writes His Diocese About Recent Developments There

I wrote you in November that a “season of separations” had come upon us. And I have tried to keep you apprized of the way events have unfolded since then.

Today I write you with the greatest thanksgiving. This terrible time of separations is coming to an end. Two weeks ago all of the parties concerned agreed to a Mediation Settlement at Trinity, Vero Beach, which was the last of the nine congregations involved.

To recap, very quickly: the two tiny church “plants” (neither of which had yet become an organized mission) have left The Episcopal Church. One Rector changed his mind, entirely, and he and his congregation remain very much part of the Diocese. One parish has become an independent community church, and they are renting the facilities from the Diocese. And the other five congregations have seen their clergy, and a portion of their membership leave, but there remains a continuing congregation in each of those five places.

By the grace of God we have been able to navigate these very troubled waters in a way that is different from what has happened anywhere else in this country. We have had NO litigation, there has been NO inhibition or deposition of clergy, and there has been NO transfer of real estate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida

Central Florida Parish, Diocese Reach Separation Terms

The two sides have agreed not to lobby undecided members and to issue no media releases “concerning the disaffiliation except what counsel for the Leavers and Stayers agree upon.”

The leavers, who include most of the ordained clergy including the Rev. Canon Lorne Coyle, rector, retain sole operational authority of the plant until the date of separation. If the continuing Episcopal congregation later decides that it cannot afford to maintain the church plant, the Leavers have the first right to purchase the property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida

In Central Florida Gay issues prompt church to split

Another Central Florida Episcopal congregation has split over the issue of the denomination’s policy on homosexuality.

Most of the members and ministerial staff of Trinity Episcopal Church in Vero Beach will leave their historic facility in July to form a new congregation separate from the Episcopal Church, USA, if an agreement is ratified later this week with the Diocese of Central Florida. The agreement would formally separate the two groups.

On Sunday, about 200 of the congregation’s 700 members who wish to remain part of the diocese elected a new vestry, the congregation’s governing board. That board is expected to sign a separation agreement already approved by the diocese and the departing members.

“I hope it shall be,” said Warren Winchester, who was elected Sunday as the vestry’s presiding officer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida

Central Florida Church asks members: In or out?

Recently, Trinity Episcopal Church mailed letters to 700 active church members, asking them to indicate their preference and return the signed forms by Feb. 15, said member Ron Joaquim, who recently was appointed to speak on behalf of the pastor and church leaders.

Based on informal questioning of parishioners, Joaquim estimates 75 percent to 80 percent of the members favor disaffiliation.

“My prayer is that the whole flock will stay together as we move to a safer pasture,” [Lorne] Coyle said.

The letters are a written poll, Joaquim said, rather than an official vote on disaffiliation. Ultimately, any separation proposal would have to be approved by the diocese.

Coyle said he hopes to finish the conversion by June 1.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida

Majority in Six Central Florida Churches Join AMiA

A majority of members of six congregations in the Diocese of Central Florida are leaving The Episcopal Church following discussions with their bishop, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Maitland, held its final service as an Episcopal Church on Feb. 3, and the rector of Grace Church, Ocala, and the leadership and majority of members at Good Shepherd were received into the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) the following day.

During the past six weeks, a majority of members at four Central Florida parishes and two mission congregations have walked away from consecrated Episcopal church buildings. The parishes are Good Shepherd; Gloria Dei, Cocoa; St. Edward’s, MountDora; and Holy Cross, Winter Haven. The mission congregations are St. Philip’s, LakeNona, and St. Nicholas’, Poinciana. The six have been received into the AMiA, a missionary outreach of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

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I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida

The Bishop of Central Florida's Diocesan Convention Address

There are those who simply have to leave The Episcopal Church for conscience sake. I understand that. I don’t agree, but I don’t believe we should punish them. We shouldn’t sue them. We shouldn’t depose the clergy. Our brokenness is a tragedy. The litigation that is going on in so many places is a travesty.

And although some seem to be trying to do so, I don’t think you can hold a Church together by taking everybody you disagree with to court.

One year ago I stood before you and said, “This is my promise: if there are those who decide to leave I will be more fair-minded and generous to them than any policy that could possibly be established. And I don’t have to ask you to believe that; I’ve proven it.”

Well, Dear Friends, we have proven it, again (and again, several times). As I promised we would, we have said to those leaving, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

You all know that personally I am no happier than those who are departing about some of the recent decisions of The Episcopal Church. But I am committed to staying the course for as long as it is possible to remain both an Episcopalian and an Anglican. And the Archbishop of Canterbury has given me, personally, and all the world, assurances…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Bishop Howe: Church Litigation a Travesty

At the conclusion of the diocesan convention Jan. 25-26 at St. James’ Church, Ormond Beach, Bishop Howe told a reporter for The Living Church that though exhausted, he was pleased with the negotiations.

“We are on the best of terms with all those leaving,” he said. “And we are committed to rebuilding where there have been losses.”

In his address to convention, Bishop Howe said the last three months had been the worst period of his life. However, amicable solutions had been reached with the members of the eight congregations who sought to withdraw from the diocese.

“There are those who simply have to leave The Episcopal Church for conscience sake,” he said. “I understand that. I don’t agree, but I don’t believe we should punish them. We shouldn’t sue them. We shouldn’t depose the clergy. Our brokenness is a tragedy. The litigation that is going on in so many places is a travesty. And although some seem to be trying to do so, I don’t think you can hold a church together by taking everybody you disagree with to court.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Departing Parishes

Diocese of Central Florida closer to resolving 'disaffiliation' issues

Central Florida’s Diocesan Board on Jan. 18 moved closer to resolving questions about seven rectors’ stated intention to disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church.

On Thursday, October 18, 2007, the rectors and senior wardens of seven parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, and two church planters, met with Bishop John W. Howe and representatives of the Diocese to discuss the possible scenarios by which all or part of the congregations might leave The Episcopal Church.

The parishes are Gloria Dei, Cocoa; St. Anne’s, Crystal River; Good Shepherd, Maitland; St. Edward’s, Mount Dora; Grace, Ocala; Holy Cross, Winter Haven; and Trinity, Vero Beach. The “church plants” are St. Philip’s, Lake Nona; and St. Nicholas, Poinciana.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida