TEC wins NY property case

From The Associated Press via Newsday:

In a property dispute stemming from the national Episcopal rift over the ordination of a gay bishop, New York’s top court ruled Thursday that the Rochester Diocese can keep the building once occupied by the breakaway All Saints Anglican Church.

Note especially:

“We conclude that the Dennis Canons clearly establish an express trust in favor of the Rochester Diocese and the National Church, and that All Saints agreed to abide by this express trust either upon incorporation in 1927 or upon recognition as a parish in spiritual union with the Rochester Diocese in 1947,” Judge Theodore Jones Jr. wrote. The other six judges agreed.

All Saints’ attorney Eugene Van Voorhis had argued that the Dennis Canons, adopted in 1979 by the General Convention of the National Church, should not apply since they came nearly 30 years after it joined the diocese. He said the land and church were bought and built by the parishioners.

While Jones agreed there was nothing in the original deeds or certificate of incorporation indicating the church property was held in trust for the diocese or National Church, he said applicable case law set in 1979 by the U.S. Supreme Court requires looking to the constitution of the general church.

Read the whole decision. According to the AP, five or six other parishes in New York have allied themselves with other branches of the Anglican Communion while attempting to keep property claimed by the Episcopal Church. Those of us who aren’t lawyers should probably speak cautiously, but this would seem to be very bad news for them.

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