Tuesday, January 6, 2009

CA Court Sides With Episcopal Church over Property

SAN FRANCISCO – The state's high court ruled Monday that three Southern California parishes that left The Episcopal Church cannot retain ownership of their church buildings and property.

In an unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that the property belongs to The Episcopal Church because the parishes agreed to abide by the mother church's rules, which include specific language about property ownership.

St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saints Church in Long Beach and St. David's Church in North Hollywood pulled out of the 2.1 million-member national Episcopal Church in 2004 and sought to retain property ownership.

Each church held deeds in their names to the property. The court ruled that Episcopal Church canons made it clear the property belonged to the individual parishes only as long as they remained part of the bigger church.

"When it disaffiliated from the general church, the local church did not have the right to take the church property with it," Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin wrote for the seven-member court.

The 2003 ordination of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire set off a wide-ranging debate within the church and upset conservative congregations. Since then, four dioceses and about 100 individual churches have split and set off bitter religious and legal feuds over church doctrine and division of property.

An attorney for The Episcopal Church said that the California Supreme Court ruling will be influential in other similar property disputes across the country.

"This was a thorough and conclusive ruling," said Episcopal Church lawyer John Shiner.

Bishop Jon Bruno, head of the 85,000-person Los Angeles Diocese, said he was "overjoyed" with the ruling and hoped it would prompt reconciliation talks with the three churches.

"I'm a Christian and I believe there is always the possibility of reconciliation," Bruno said. "It has been devastating for both sides."

A lawyer for one of the breakaway churches, St. James, said it will continue to fight for control of the property despite the ruling.

"St. James holds the deed free and clear," attorney Eric Sohlgren said. "The Episcopal Church hasn't contributed a dime to St. James in 50 years."

Similar legal battles are expected in Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Texas, and Quincy, Ill., where dioceses recently voted to split from the national church.

On Dec. 19, 2008, a Virginia judge citing a Civil War-era state law there ruled in favor of 11 congregations in their split from the main church.

The Episcopal Church, with about 2.1 million members in the U.S., is the American body of the Anglican Communion, with about 77 million members worldwide.

How will this effect other denominations? How will this effect local giving? What say you? (Click "comments" below.)

[from The Christian Post RSS Feed by Associated Press Writer]

Economy Contracts in Spite of Efforts

Even as Federal Reserve officials slashed their key interest rate to a record low and pledged to use other unconventional tools to fight the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, they still feared the economy would be stuck in a painful rut for some time.


[from TheStreet.com by twocents@thestreet.com (The Associated Press)]


Epiphany (Greek for "to manifest" or "to show"), is a Christian feast day which celebrates the revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ.

Epiphany falls on January 6 or, if celebrated on a Sunday, on the first Sunday after New Year's Day. Western Christians commemorate the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the child Jesus on this day, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.

In Spain, Filipinas (Philippines) , and some Latin American countries Epiphany day is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings).

It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians.

Who Deserves The Namesake At Lee University?

I just finished my class at Tomlinson Memorial before heading to the Payne Center for some lunch. Then I'll be at the Platt Building for a group meeting before going back to Jernigan Hall.

Doesn't sound familiar?

Perhaps you don't recognize the names because they're the only Lee University presidents not to have anything on campus named after them.

A.J. Tomlinson, T.S. Payne, John C. Jernigan and R. L. Platt put a combined total of 14 years in to serving the Lee community and today they're mostly forgotten remnants of history.

In fact, F.J. Lee, the institution's second president, only served as president for one year. So why does Flavius Josephus get the honor of having the entire school named after him?

Well, Lee was an early pastor at what is now North Cleveland Church of God, second general overseer of the denomination and authored ten books.

So second general overseer and second university president.

Who was the first and why isn't Lee named after him?

The first general overseer of the Church of God, the founding pastor of North Cleveland Church of God, and Lee's first president was Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson. He served the college for four years.

So why skip over the founding father of the whole shebang?

Perhaps because he was impeached from his position due to financial mismanagement and went on to form the Church of God of Prophecy.

Here's the history:

Through his work with Cashwell, Tomlinson became the general moderator of a new ministry known as the Church of God. Tomlinson's success in the Church of God was unparalleled. By 1914, Tomlinson had been granted the power to appoint pastors. Further, the church conferred upon him the position of general overseer for life. Unfortunately, Tomlinson was stripped of this position in 1923, when allegations of financial mismanagement surfaced. After being impeached from the church, Tomlinson moved on to form another group, known as the Church of the God of Prophecy.

The impeachment was the result of lax financial bookkeeping on Tomlinson's part. One explanation often cited for financial discrepancies was that Tomlinson may have used church funds to support struggling pastors and churches and had, on many occasions, reappropriated money from otherwise-designated funds, causing shortfalls. Although there was no indication that Tomlinson used church funds for himself, there were many within the organization who felt that this type of imprudence was an indicator of serious flaws within the organizational structure of the church.

So if Tomlinson gets the boot because he couldn't hire a financial adviser, who's next in line?


What say you? (Click on "comments" below.)

[From The Editor's Weblog: Who deserves the namesake? By Lee Clarion]

Day 6 of a 21-Day Fast

Sometimes we need renewal in our spiritual lives. Fasting is one of the ways that you can cleanse your body and aid the process of communicating with the Father.On your sixth day of fasting, remember:
- Drink lots of water
- Rest to conserve energy
- Utilize your personal prayer time and prayer place
- Journal your experience
- Concentrate on prolonged times of meditation and listening
- Sugar free mints

Physical Effects:
- Senses begin to heighten
- Cravings can occur, especially with pictures and smells
- Weight loss continues
- Bad breath

Today’s Quote: “Our forefathers knew, it seems, how to communicate with the Almighty … but do we? We must learn anew to think deeply, to worship meaningfully, to meditate unhurriedly.” (Charles Swindoll - Intimacy with the Almighty)

Thoughts for your Journal:
- How is experiencing fasting as a private discipline bringing you closer to God?
- Has God revealed anything to you since the Fast has begun?

Today's Prayer

I praise you, O Lord, for your awesome and holy being. I thank you for the life you have given me. I appreciate the beautiful blessings you have provided in the earth around me and the simple, but important, things of life. Thank you for family -- my birth family, my extended family, my family of the church.

Please forgive me for taking them for granted sometimes, and help me to always show my appreciation and love to them.

Thank you for taking care of me. Thank you for answering my prayers in the way that you know is best. Thank you for always being here for me.

With all my love, in the name of Jesus I pray, amen/