A parishioner of All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth writes of the eviction of the congregation in an op-ed today in Baptist News Global. A splinter group took possession of the church property last week.
In February the US Supreme Court declined to take the appeal of the Texas Supreme Court decision giving custody of All Saints and other churches to a splinter group. The court has also declined to take appeals by splinter groups elsewhere in the country, leaving the outcome of hierarchal church property disputes up to local courts for now.
An extract from Wende Dwyer-Johnsen’s op-ed in BNG
We lost our church today.
We were required to hand over the keys to our beloved building — a marvel of limestone and exquisite stained-glass. A church founded and built by Episcopalians and grown over the decades. Taken away today.
It was our house of worship, the place where for more than 75 years generations of Episcopalians engaged in spiritual sustenance. We were evicted today.
The building was taken by those who left the church 12 years ago in disagreement with Episcopal Church doctrine. There was a bishop who didn’t want to welcome everyone. He didn’t want to abide by the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church, despite having taken a sworn vow to do so. He decided to re-write bylaws to his own liking and pull people away from the Episcopal Church and into his personal belief that women should not be priests and that LGBTQ folks have no place in the church.
Over those ideals he was willing to break apart whole communities of congregants and, in fact, split an entire diocese.
In an accompanying article, BNG explains the property disputes in hierarchical denominations to a Baptist audience familiar with the free-church tradition.
Spectrum News recently covered the evictions of the Episcopal congregations.