Bishop Howe Sends An Email On Property Issues

Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 10:25:59 EDT
Subject: Leaving The Episcopal Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There has been a great deal of conversation over the past few years about whether or not those who wish to leave The Episcopal Church might “negotiate” with the Diocese of Central Florida to purchase church properties and affiliate with some other Province of the Anglican Communion. It is time to end these discussions. The simple answer is: No.

The Windsor Report and the several Communiques from the Primates of the Communion have said that the incursions by foreign Bishops and Archbishops are illegitimate. The Presiding Bishop has said that The Episcopal Church will not allow the purchase of any property by any group that seeks to affiliate with an offshore Province.

I will not permit the passage of any Resolution by the Diocesan Board, the Standing Committee or the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Central Florida that seeks to alter the accession clause in our Constitution to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, or that seeks to transfer any property held by parishes in trust for the Diocese of Central Florida and The Episcopal Church.

If you must leave, for conscience sake, I will do all in my power to make your leaving amicable. But when you make the decision to leave you immediately cease being a member of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Central Florida. You immediately cease having any say in decisions regarding any congregation of the Diocese or its property.

Please be aware of this in any plans you might be making.

Warmest regards in our Lord,

The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

2 Responses to “Bishop Howe Sends An Email On Property Issues”

  1. 1 Ann McCarthy October 2, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    If deciding to leave makes you instantly not a member of TEC, then someone needs to start cleaning up the membership numbers, because they are seriously out of date. Also, has this statement been ratified by GC? If not, can it be true?

  2. 2 Pavel Krivitskiy January 11, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    This, I think, takes us straight to the problem with the schismatics’ understanding of membership in TEC.

    Having DONATED to the Church all this time, these people think that they now have residuary rights in the parish property where they attended (and now wish to continue to attend, I take it, after withdrawing from TEC) as a consequence of what I was always thought to look on as offerings to God.

    I fail to see where arrived at that conclusion. In my thirty-three years as an Episcopalian, I was NEVER led to believe that I would, either individually or as part of a congregation, retain rights to Church property in the event I ceased to be a member of the Church. I don’t see how the idea came up, except as part of the idea that property is a convenient handle on the other party in a divorce (since attorneys seem to be very well represented in TEC congregations).

    If these people decide (regretfully, and after serious prayer and reflection, I hope) to leave TEC, I offer them my prayers, best wishes… but I would no sooner award them a fiduciary interest in Church property (which I have ALWAYS understood to be property of the TEC) than, when I belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, would have expected the local Archdiocese or the Vatican to turn over title to a single piece of parish property to either a single former communicant or a parish which decided to leave the Church as a body.

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