Central New York Episcopal Diocese Sues Syracuse Church to Seize Property and Asks Judge to Shut the Parish Down
July 19, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Raymond J. Dague 315-422-2052
The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York filed a lawsuit today against St. Andrew’s Church in Syracuse, its priest, and the members of the parish governing board seeking the seizure of the church building, the parish hall, and the rectory.
Tomorrow, Thursday, July 20, 2006 the Diocese’s lawyers and the lawyer for the parish will be in court again before Supreme Court Judge Edward Carni at 2:00 pm at the Onondaga County Courthouse when the diocese will try to get the judge to sign a court order to prevent any parish property from being transferred.
In oral argument earlier today in chambers before Judge Carni, Raymond Dague, the attorney for the parish defending the lawsuit, said that such an order would effectively shut the church down.
“If you can’t pay the priest’s salary, the electric bills, the phone bill, the secretary, and the organist, and even a lawyer to defend this lawsuit, it is pretty hard to run a church,” said Dague. “For Bishop Skip Adams and the Episcopal diocese to try to stop a parish from conducting its weekly worship goes beyond mean-spirited.”
Bishop Adams’ actions follow a trend in dioceses across the country in which revisionist bishops misapply and abuse canon and civil law in order to seize parish property of churches which oppose their agenda. The bishop and the parish are on the opposite sides of a controversy over homosexual bishops and the authority of Scripture which has engulfed the Episcopal Church for the last few years. St. Andrews sticks with the traditional teaching of the church that sex outside of marriage is prohibited by the Bible, while the Bishop and the leaders of the diocese have been outspoken supporters of the homosexual bishop of New Hampshire who divorced his wife to live with his male partner.
Last summer the diocese brought Jesus Seminar theologian Marcus Borg to Syracuse to teach the clergy of the diocese. Since Borg openly rejects many of the teachings of the Christian faith, such as the Trinity, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus, relations between St. Andrew’s and the bishop have deteriorated. “They simply believe a new religion which is foreign to the historic faith of the Church,” said Dague.
“In suing the parish the bishop treats the scripture about not suing your Christian brother in a secular court (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) just the same as he treats the scripture about homosexual behavior being a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11),” said Dague in a statement issued to the press. “The people behind this lawsuit are perfectly consistent in their contempt for God’s word. This is an attempt to destroy a biblically faithful congregation because some of the leaders of the Episcopal Church just can’t live with a parish being faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
St. Andrews Church is a member of the Anglican Communion Network which seeks to be faithful to the traditional teachings of the Church. In the weeks following the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in June, seven entire dioceses (also Anglican Communion Network members) have disavowed the leadership of the national church and the newly elected presiding bishop of the church and appealed to the archbishop of Canterbury over the same issue.
Over the last three years twenty-two of 38 primates of the World Wide Anglican Communion have declared broken or impaired communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) because of this issue, and the vast majority of the Communion believes ECUSA has abandoned the faith and practice of Anglicanism as well as historic Christian teaching.