Author Topic: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2005)  (Read 8856 times)

Gladfelteri

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2005, 09:13:47 AM »
Quote


Trick question or not;   isnt' what has already happened in ECUSA (churches taken over,  new locks on doors,   priests removed,  lawsuits, etc.) proof that they can't?
It sure is from my perspective.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2005, 09:14:06 AM by Gladfelteri »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #61 on: August 25, 2005, 10:38:36 AM »
Episcopal polity - generally - allows the Bishop to take over a parish if it's ministry is threatened or its relations with the Bishop are severed.

Lutheran polity - generally - does not; although in former ULCA/LCA congregations, the property and all probably belong to the Synod if the congregation disbands or otherwise ends its ministry. That is not true for all ELCA congregations.


Gladfelteri

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #62 on: August 25, 2005, 05:16:01 PM »
Lets slow down a bit and clarify things:  There is "episcopal polity" and "Episcopal Church (ECUSA) Polity."  The two are not exactly the same.  Actually, the Episcopal Church' own polity was changed with the adoption of the "Dennis Canon" after a great many Parishes left that Church after its approval of ordination of female priests in the early 1970's.  The text of the Dennis Canon (Title I, Canon 7.4 of the ECUSA's Canon Law Code) follows:  "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. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the Parish, Mission or Congregation otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular Parish, Mission or Congregation remains a part of, and subject to, this Church and its Constitution and Canons."  

Episcopal Church (ECUSA) clergy and Dioceses are  bound by this Canon, the plain meaning of which is that the Episcopal Church owns all Church assets down to the parish and even the personal level (vestments, etc.) Civil courts have consistently favored property rights of superior governing Church bodies over those of individual congregations in hierarchically organized churches when a Church's Canons give that Church the authority to exercise ownership and control over property even if it is not actively exercised on a day-to-day-basis.  The American Anglican Council  asserted that ECUSA General Convention actions violated the preamble of the ECUSA’s Constitution with the adoption of the Dennis Canon, and narrowly applied, they are quite right, but that has not slowed anyone in the ECUSA down in applying the Dennis Canon with all the finesse of a M1A1 main battle tank.  >:(   :o   >:(

Prior to the Dennis Canon, parishes owned their own property and could simply leave and keep everything.  And in the schizms which founded the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) in the 1870's and the Anglican Church in America and its allies (ca 1972), they did.  

But now, under the Dennis Canon, unless a parish was in existence during colonial times before the end of the Revolutionary War and the subsequent establishment of the PECUSA, all local parish properties were properties of the Diocese to be held "in trust" BY that Diocese FOR the local parish.  If the Parish were to leave the PECUSA / ECUSA, the building, grounds and other property automatically would become property of the diocese to do with as it saw fit.  This is why ECUSA Bishops have been able to padlock churches.   >:(

This was deliberately enacted to discourage parishes from leaving the Episcopal Church by holding the parish property hostage, and in the flap over the openly gay Bishop of New Hamshire, it has worked marvelously.   >:( 

Given the choice of leaving the ECUSA but leaving the buildilng and grounds behind, the people have generally chose to keep the furniture and not the faith (or put differently, to simply swallow hard and live with the revisionist faith as long as they do not see or hear too much about it  - or simply go to an early Mass without a sermon . . .)  Some of would be tempted to say that those people showed what they truly worshipped - not God but rather the "idol" of their beloved parish building and grounds.   :'(

The Dennis Canon has been challenged in court in various States, but, as stated above, civil courts have consistently favored property rights of superior governing bodies over those of individual congregations; and so far all legal challenges to the Dennis Canon have been upheld at the apellate court level.   >:(

This has absolutely nothing to do with "episcopal polity" per se.  My own denomination, the ECCL, and all the Old Catholic denominations I know of as well are quite episcopal in their polity, and the bishop does "own" the clergy, but the parish absolutely owns the property.)  This (the Dennis Canon) is simply a brazen "stop-loss measure" enacted after the defection of much of their "high church" over the ordination of women aimed at preventing major future schizms.)

I keep telling my theologically orthodox Episcopalian lay friends to "let them (the revisionists) keep the furniture and you keep the faith."  But I get responses like, "my family has gone to church here for three generations; grandpaw paid for the stained glass window above the altar, mom and dad are buried in the columbatium, I and my kids were baptized and confirmed there, I was married there.  No, I am  sorry they changed the faith, I think they are wrong, but this parish is just too important to me.  I can't walk away from it . . . " :'(

And THIS is exactally what the framers of the Dennis Canon were counting on.  But this is not part of "episcopal polity." this is "Episcopal Church (ECUSA) polity."

Perhaps I misunderstood the point of the post contrasting Episcopal and Lutheran polity, but I just wanted to be sure that "episcopal polity" as a generalization was not being misunderstood and miscast.   :)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2005, 06:17:49 PM by Gladfelteri »

Charles_Austin

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2005, 07:00:46 PM »
YOU WROTE:
My own denomination, the ECCL,

I ASK
What is the ECCL?

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #64 on: August 25, 2005, 07:52:22 PM »
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The Dennis Canon has been challenged in court in various States, but, as stated above, civil courts have consistently favored property rights of superior governing bodies over those of individual congregations; and so far all legal challenges to the Dennis Canon have been upheld at the apellate court level.   >:(

While perhaps "consistently," ++Irl, not unanimously.  The Diocese of Los Angeles has just had its case against 1 of 3 dissenting parishes dismissed in Superior Court, though +Jon Bruno is appealing.  See the Orange County Register  article at http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2005/08/16/sections/local/local/article_636215.php (you'll need to register), or Google "St. James" and "Newport Beach".

Pax, Steven+
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #65 on: August 25, 2005, 07:59:19 PM »
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I ASK
What is the ECCL?
Surely, Charles, you've bookmarked "Pastor Zip's Lutheran Web Links" at http://homepage.mac.com/pastorzip/lutheranlinx.html.  Click on "Lutheran Churches" to get the link to "Pastor Zip's US Lutheran Web Links" (the software for this forum won't let me put in the URL and combining "us" and "luthlinx" together creates a "u very friendly person hlinks") and then click the "Evangelical Catholics" link to go to Pastor Zip's brief description plus a link to "The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran" that the good Archbishop refers to.

Pax, Zip+
« Last Edit: September 02, 2006, 10:07:32 PM by Steven P. Tibbetts »
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Chuck

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #66 on: August 25, 2005, 09:23:19 PM »
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Lutheran polity - generally - does not; although in former ULCA/LCA congregations, the property and all probably belong to the Synod if the congregation disbands or otherwise ends its ministry. That is not true for all ELCA congregations.


Actually, Charles, you should read Chapter 7 of the Model Constitution for Congregations more carefully.

Title to UNDISPOSED property passes to the synod upon dissolution and it matters not at all whether the congregation was LCA, ALC, or AELC.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2005, 09:26:30 PM by Chuck »
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Gladfelteri

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #67 on: August 25, 2005, 10:32:56 PM »
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YOU WROTE:
My own denomination, the ECCL,

I ASK
What is the ECCL?
The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran, ( http://www.ecclnet.org ) one of the microsynods - actually an Evangelical Catholic Synod at the extreme "Catholic" edge of the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic spectrum.  We are by far the most Roman Catholic-oriented of the U. S. Lutheran Synods.  (We are those "Romanizing Lutherans" the LCMS' Dr. Sasse warned you about. ) :D   Details about the ECCL and various links are on the (official) website noted above.  

The ECCL is a member of the Augustana Evangelical Catholic Communion (http://home.sprintmail.com/~gallups/id2.html ),  the Sudanese Council of Churches - USA, and Sudanese Council of Churches.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2005, 08:42:15 AM by Gladfelteri »

Gladfelteri

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #68 on: August 26, 2005, 12:55:48 AM »
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Title to UNDISPOSED property passes to the synod upon dissolution and it matters not at all whether the congregation was LCA, ALC, or AELC.
In my state, and probably most if not all the others, all "undisposed property" held by a nonprofit / not-for-profit corporation must pass to some other designated nonprofit / not-for-profit corporation upon dissolution of that corporation; and that the recipient must be designated in the by-laws / articles of incorporation otherwise the disposition of all undisposed property will be made by a civil judge as he or she sees fit.  

I'm willing to bet that that is why that provision is in the ELCA Canons; not to force departing congregations to leave the ELCA with only the clothes on their backs as is the clear intent (at least to me) of the ECUSA's Dennis Canon.

Chuck

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Re: Issues for a Dissenting Lutheran Synod (July 2
« Reply #69 on: August 26, 2005, 07:19:47 AM »
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I'm willing to bet that that is why that provision is in the ELCA Canons; not to force departing congregations to leave the ELCA with only the clothes on their backs as is the clear intent (at least to me) of the ECUSA's Dennis Canon.


I suspect you are right, though dissolution is different than departure. If a congregation leaves the ELCA, generally they keep their property unless they affiliate with a non-Lutheran church body. This (departure) is what Charles may be thinking, as there are differences between the former ALC (and AELC) and LCA congregations when it comes to leaving the ELCA. Former LCA congregations need the permission of their synod council in order to leave and retain title to their property.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2005, 07:23:47 AM by Chuck »
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I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. —George Bernard Shaw