Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Conservative Episcopal church refuses to hand over assets to the Rochester Episcopal diocese

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From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: All Saints refuses to hand over keys Dissolved Irondequoit church tells visitors from Episcopal diocese it will not surrender its assets Marketta Gregory Staff writer
"We no longer acknowledge your authority"
(November 22, 2005) — A delegation from Rochester's Episcopal diocese — including the bishop and an attorney — requested the keys and assets from All Saints Episcopal Church Monday but left empty handed. "We no longer acknowledge your authority" since the parish was voted out of the diocese on Saturday, said Raymond J. Dague, an attorney representing the Irondequoit church. The church had been withholding money owed to the diocese as a way to take a stand against the diocese and the Episcopal Church USA, which supported ordaining a gay bishop without the approval of the worldwide church, called the Anglican Communion. "We wanted to come by and request that the assets be transferred. It's the responsibility of the diocese to protect the assets," Philip Fileri, chancellor for the diocese, told Dague and a handful of others who stood in the parking lot of 759 Winona Blvd. "The church isn't open and we did not bring the keys," Dague said. Back and forth the attorneys went, arguing politely over whether the diocese has the legal right to take over the property. The bishop and others stood silent. Not all of the requirements to dissolve a church have been met, Dague alleged. "We respectfully disagree with you," Fileri said, adding that the place to talk about the issue was not in front of TV cameras. Later, after the two attorneys had exchanged business cards, Bishop Jack McKelvey told reporters that not everybody in the Episcopal church has to believe the same thing but that there needs to be a sense of fairness when churches are linked together. All Saints' refusal to pay close to $16,000 put an unfair burden on the other 52 congregations, the diocese has said. "I had hoped that we would be together under one tent, but apparently that is not possible," McKelvey said. "I'm very much concerned about the people of this congregation... I'm saddened that we have to come to this place." The people of All Saints will continue to pray for the diocese, Dague said once the diocesan representatives had left. But he reiterated that the building is owned by the congregation — "The diocese does not hold the title," he said. In addition, the parish has been around longer than the diocese, he added. In all that discussion with the other attorney, "I heard a hint of a possible lawsuit," Dague said. McKelvey had a news conference Monday afternoon and fielded more questions from the local media about what would happen next. He didn't offer any specifics, however. "We're trying to deal with this one step at a time," McKelvey said, indicating that he hoped to avoid a lawsuit. Original source ====== Please, Please, Archibishop of Canterbury, the Queen... someone over there in England... step up and say or do something before our church is torn completely to shreds!