Turns out you can't take it with you...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-07-2008
Turns out you can't take it with you...
Mon, 01-05-2009 - 8:40pm

at least not if you are a breakaway Episcopal church who has decided you don't like what your parent church is doing.....


Pity we no longer have those "experts" on the Episcopal breakaway posting with us, isn't it ;-)

Avatar for maryrca
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 01-06-2009 - 8:57am

Saw that last night... excellent news. And hopefully, a warning to the other breakaways across the country (with the exception perhaps of VA - their laws are just different from what I understand).

You can go, but you can't take the property with you.

Hope they enjoy their new church homes - probably located somewhere between the drycleaners and the Chinese takeout.

Avatar for machock15606
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 01-08-2009 - 10:45am
As a parishoner in the L.A. Episcopal Diocese, I was thrilled by this ruling! One of the arguments that's always thrown out there by the 'splitters' is that their parishoners paid for the property, therefore they "own" it and should decide what to do with it. I call BS, because that church property was "paid for" decades ago, and a whole lot of the people who contributed are no longer around to put their two cents in. This was definitely the case at the church in North Hollywood; my friend's family attended that church in the 1960s and 1970s, and her parents -- both deceased now -- never in a million years would have agreed to the parish seceding from the American church.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Thu, 01-08-2009 - 3:10pm
And yet.... I wonder if state laws have changed in the intervening years here in California. In the late 70s DH's family's church had a split. The rector didn't like the idea of women priests or accepting homosexuals as full members (no mention of clergy at that time), which the national Episcopal church voted in. So, the rector got the Vestry to vote for secession. Half the congregation, while not all agreeing with the national church's decision, did not want to leave the national Episcopal church, but seek for change within. The congregation was split pretty evenly, many on both sides still living and family members, too, who had contributed large sums of money to building projects, special stained glass windows, needlepoint kneelers, and so forth. So they went to secular court. And guess what? In that case, the judge awarded the property to the group who wanted to secede! :O So the group wanting to stay within the national church, lost the property, their history in that building, their contributions, etc. After years of using public school buildings for church services, having temporary clegy from the diocese, and fund raising, they finally built their own brand new church, church hall and labyrinth. They are now well established and holding strong as members of the national church. So, the diocese at that time was not legally seen by the judge, as the ultimate owner of the property, and the membership wanting to take the church out of the national church, were considered the "owners." And they lost the property eventually. The old rector retired to AZ and the church went downhill. The property was sold to a different church, and has changed hands numerous times over the intervening years, never an Episcopal church again. Guess the rules of law have change because back in late 70s, they could take it with them, and did, in the case of my DH's family's church. Too bad this ruling wasn't in effect then... Families and long time friendships were torn apart over this fight over property, and never healed. :((




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