The Diocese of New Jersey announces that it has sold church property to a CANA congregation. The diocese's statement, in full:
Statement about the sale of church property in Helmetta, New Jersey
The Diocese of New Jersey recently sold church property to the congregation formerly known as St. George’s Episcopal Church in Helmetta, New Jersey. The sale was approved by the Rt. Rev. George E. Councell, Bishop, and the Standing Committee, with the guidance and support of Canon John Wood Goldsack, Esq., Chancellor of the Diocese.
In their consideration of this sale, the Bishop and Standing Committee followed a process outlined in a pastoral direction that they adopted in 2008. The process provides that if the Bishop, in consultation with the Standing Committee, determines that the sale of parish buildings and property is not inconsistent with the mission objectives of the Diocese, such a sale may be considered and approved.
“In the matter of St. George’s, Helmetta, the Standing Committee and I are clear that we acted in the best interests of the Diocese of New Jersey. We are satisfied that this agreement is the right settlement for this particular circumstance and we wish our brothers and sisters well.” In short, the diocese has a protocol which considers sale of church property on a individual, case by case basis when it is in the interest of the diocese's mission. It does not have blanket policy of selling church property when individuals leave the diocese and form a non-diocesan congregation.
CANA says the sale sets a precedent. But a diocese has always had the right to sell surplus church property. The sale establishes who owned the property: the diocese.
St. George's statement says "Fr. Guerard was able to transfer to CANA as an ordained Anglican priest without being required to renounce his ordination vows unlike many other Anglican clergy who have left TEC for CANA and other Anglican groups." Check back with us on that one. There was no transfer issued by the diocese, and we believe he will be deposed now that the sale is complete.