Friday, October 15, 2010

Church, defectors fight over building in Savannah

From Georgia-

The bookshelves in the Rev. Marc Robertson's office are empty. Actually, most of the rooms inside Christ Church in Savannah are quite bare, suggesting the oldest church in Georgia may be moving.

Maybe, indeed, though part of that congregation would argue it already has moved. After breaking away from the Episcopal Church in 2007, Christ Church has battled with the Diocese of Georgia over who has the right to worship in the large-columned building in downtown Savannah.

Both the Chatham County Superior Court and Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the Episcopal Church - like all hierarchical churches - hold the rights to the real estate of all its parishes.
But Christ Church members believe that because they formed the church before the Episcopal Church existed, they are in their proper home.

Now they hope the state Supreme Court will decide who gets the keys. And they believe that decision could affect a lot more than one congregation.

"A lot of this is an issue that is much bigger than we are," said Robertson, who preached at the church long before it turned in its Episcopal affiliation. "We believe we have an opportunity to get a lot of churches to ask a lot of questions."

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