Episcopal Church Break-Up Over Gay Clergy Leads To Colossal Legal Battle

episcopal church by greg westfallA schism in the Episcopal Church over gay clergy has lead to one of the largest church-property disputes in U.S. history.

The Texas Supreme Court will decide who owns more than 50 Fort Worth-area churches, since the Fort Worth Episcopal diocese is no longer affiliated with the mother church. (The regional group left over the ordination of openly gay New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson and other “liberal” moves.)

Conservative Bishop Jack Iker, who led the schism five years ago, claims his diocese holds the deeds to all church properties, which are valued at more than $100,000. But the national church filed a lawsuit in 2009, claiming the breakaway group couldn’t just take the land and buildings with it.

A district judge had originally given Iker 30 days to turn over the deeds to the national church, but that order was put on hold as the Fort Worth sect files an appeal.

Photo: Greg Westfall

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  • MikeE

    WOW! land and buildings in Texas sure are cheap! 50 churches and the land they stand on, and it’s only valued at $100,000? My single tiny house cost me more than that.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @MikeE: I thought the same thing, so I clicked the link: typical Queerty, got the details pretty fucked up — its 52 church properties worth an estimated $100 million.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @The Real Mike in Asheville: Much more like it!!! Each church property valued at $2,000.00?? Mehhh, I doubt it.
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • SteveMD2

    this has come up before, I think in VA, where the courts ruled the buildings belonged to the national church. Its apparently a matter of state law.

    OF course not surprising to see the antis revolt – TX – home of the KKK who in 1999
    dragged James Byrd, a poor black grandfather to death with their truck

    And that @#$%$^^&&* Gov Perry whose leased hunting grounds had a sign over the gate

    NIxxERHEAD RANCH. Some of the people there would still have a sign over the gate- Arbeit macht frei

    Lots of great people in TX eg the gay mayor of Houston, who won re-election in a 3 way race with an absolute majority (about 52%

  • Charles175

    Holding fast to hatred and bigotry had it’s rewards. I feel sorry for the congregants that have been cast out and properties seized. Sad indeed.

  • cdub

    A similar situation has just come to a head in Glasgow – St George’s Tron, which was based in an iconic city centre church in the centre of Glasgow, left the Church of Scotland over gay clergy. They claimed rights to the building. C of S have now kicked them out and reclaimed the building, but they had to go to court.

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