My Blog List

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has released a statement regarding yesterday's vote by the parishioners of Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore to approve its vestry's motions to leave the Episcopal Church and to seek full communion with the Holy Catholic Church. The statement, while expressing regret at Mount Calvary's decision, is notable in that there does not appear to be the animosity or the veiled threats found in past statements issued by Episcopal Church headquarters on 815 Second Avenue in New York when other parishes or diocese have announced their departures. In that Mount Calvary is the first Episcopal parish to leave for Rome, not a competing Anglican organization, they may well be able to do so without too much ado, as the Presiding Bishop herself has suggested of departing parishes some years back.

There is, toward the end of the statement, this boilerplate reiteration of the Episcopal Church's stance on parish property.
Regarding the physical property of Mount Calvary Church and its assets, Canon 7,Section 4 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church states:All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any Parish, Mission or Congregation is held in trust for this Church and the Diocese thereof in which such Parish, Mission or Congregation is located.”
That paragraph was almost certainly included at the insistence of diocesan lawyers, looking to reserve the rights of their client, as all lawyers must do. Of greater interest is the paragraph that follows:
The bishops and the Standing Committee will work with the remaining parishioners of Mount Calvary to discern the future ministry of the parish and its urban community.
Notice there is no suggestion that the few parishioners of Mount Calvary who choose not to pope and remain Episcopalian may expect to retain the fairly substantial holdings of the departing parish. That, to me, implies not only is the Diocese of Maryland open to making a deal with Mount Calvary but that they already are in negotiations with the parish and well advanced toward an agreement.

(Thanks to Augustine)

No comments: