Saturday, August 15, 2009

Battle over Christ Church now in hands of judge

From Georgia-

There's a lot at stake for one Savannah congregation. Nearly two years ago many members of Christ Church pulled away from the Episcopal Church.

Ever since there's been a fight over who the actual church building belongs to, the congregation or the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

Today both sides headed to court where a judge will now decide. The hearing was held in Chatham County Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf's courtroom. Close to 100 people packed the room, all very passionate about this issue.

Judge Karpf made it very clear from the start of court Friday afternoon that this is a very complex issue and it will take time for him to make his ruling.

While the decision made by many in the congregation to split from the Episcopal Church was based on religious beliefs, the judge said that will not influence his decision. His decision will be solely based on law.

And there's a lot of history involved. Christ Church is located in Johnson Square on Bull Street. It was established nearly 300 years ago in 1733, before the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia was even formed.

"We predate the establishment of the Episcopal Church so I think this has implications for a whole host of congregations and we hope to get a favorable ruling," said Christ Church Reverend Marc Robertson.

The Episcopalians argue that a lot has happened since 1733. The Episcopal Diocese made Christ Church an official parish, it was consecrated by the bishop, and just as recently as the 1979 the Episcopal Diocese passed new laws for all it's parishes. And until now, no one complained.

Many want to preserve the Episcopal faith, one that passed down to generations in that Johnson Square church building.

More here-


Bruce Robison said...

I believe our former Archdeacon Greg Malley and his wife Joan are members of this parish.

Bruce Robison said...

A second note -- I ran across this account of the hearing from Phil Ashey, former rector of St. Stephen's McKeesport and now, I believe, President of the American Anglican Council.