Thursday, February 10, 2011

Episcopalian dispute goes to Conn. Supreme Court

From The Boston Globe-

Lawyers for a local parish and the Episcopal Church clashed before the Connecticut Supreme Court on Wednesday over whether the parish can keep its building and land after breaking ties with the national church. Similar disputers are playing out across the country.

The high court heard the case of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, which like dozens of parishes nationwide split from the national Episcopal Church after the 2003 appointment of a gay bishop in New Hampshire and what they call other liberal changes in the church's theology.

The justices didn't rule Wednesday. They could take several months to issue a decision. Courts in other states have sided with the national church and its dioceses in nearly all cases, while the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a similar case in October 2009 involving a California church.

The 135-year-old parish along the southeastern Connecticut shoreline is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the decision of a lower court judge who ruled last year that the church and land belong to the state diocese and the national church. The congregation has been allowed to continue worshipping at the site while its appeals are pending.

About 60 parishioners from the Bishop Seabury Church rode a bus to Hartford and attended Wednesday's arguments.

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