Anglicans’ loss is their gain

Newport Beach Episcopalians say goodbye to the rose window
St. James Episcopal, Newport Beach

St. James Episcopal, Newport Beach

The following comes from a Dec. 13 story in World Magazine.

CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK, and CALIFORNIA—A scorched earth policy. That’s how Anglicans who have left The Episcopal Church and its endorsement of unbiblical beliefs and actions often describe the Church’s response. From depressed Binghamton, N.Y., to affluent Newport Beach, Calif., Episcopal leaders have fought dozens of court battles to force congregations leaving the denomination to forfeit the buildings they, their parents, and their grandparents paid for.

Here’s one example: Church of the Good Shepherd stood for nearly 130 years on a main road through Binghamton, a former manufacturing hub that now has a high unemployment rate. Members were long concerned about theological drift, and the consecration of a homosexual bishop in 2003 by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention was the last straw.

Binghamton rector Matt Kennedy began a conversation with the bishop of central New York, telling him the church would likely leave the Episcopalians to seek oversight of an Anglican bishop in another province. Kennedy says the initial meetings were productive, and the congregation offered to buy its building from the diocese for $150,000—but Episcopal hierarchs rejected the offer. After the congregation disaffiliated from the Church in 2007, the diocese filed suit for the building.

Kennedy says the congregation considered walking away, but would have had no resources to continue. Plus, the rector said: “We thought it would be good for outsiders to see that those who claim to be about tolerance and inclusivity really aren’t about those things. It’s really more a kind of tyranny.” In 2009, though, a judge ruled against the congregation, which had to leave immediately.

Kennedy remembers “one of our more stoic men standing in front of a plaque bearing his father’s name, tracing the inscription with his finger.” The plaque would have to stay. In 2010 the diocese sold the church to local Muslims for $50,000, according to Virtue Online, three times less than what the departing Christians had offered. The Muslims used a crane to remove the cross. A sign on the building now reads, “Islamic Awareness Center.”

Anglicans mourned the loss, but Roman Catholics offered them an abandoned church building at a reduced price the Anglicans could afford. Church of the Good Shepherd Anglican now meets on a property that includes a sanctuary four times larger than the old one, with 10 times the parking capacity. The rectory for Kennedy’s family (now with six children) is larger than the one he had to give up. A local day school rents a school building on the property that covers the church’s mortgage.

On a recent Thursday evening, local community members sat around long tables in the fellowship hall for a weekly soup kitchen. The extra space has allowed the church to accommodate more people. Some visitors to the soup kitchen have become members of the church. And the larger campus has allowed the church to expand outreach to a nearby low-income neighborhood.

But despite the church’s material blessings, Kennedy says the primary lesson has been about letting go: “The experience of standing firm for the gospel and suffering loss has taught us that Christianity is not about Jesus giving you a new car and a better job. … It’s about giving everything for Jesus.”

THE SCORCHED EARTH POLICY is also evident 3,000 miles away at St. James Anglican Church, which for more than half a century owned property in Newport Beach: The 300-member congregation now meets in a fluorescent-lit room with exposed pipes and concrete walls. It’s a humble setting for an affluent congregation accustomed to soft lighting and stained glass, but a fitting one this month for celebrating the birth of a Savior in a barnyard stable—and that’s one of the providential results of the scorched earth policy.

St. James lost its building even though the church had a written agreement with its diocese that seemed to ensure the congregation’s ownership of the building—but when it was time to part, the diocese and the Episcopalians sued the congregation, and a judge cited an Episcopal Church canon declaring that all church property belongs to the diocese and the denomination.

Judges across the country have used the same rationale to expel dozens of congregations from their buildings over the last decade, as the Church and local dioceses wage a relentless campaign against departing churches. But many Anglicans, while suffering significant material loss, are finding substantial spiritual gain. Caroline Crocker, the wife of St. James’ rector, compares the dynamic to the account of Joseph in the Old Testament: “What one meant for evil, God meant for good.”

Other churches around the country share similar stories. Some don’t get other buildings. Some don’t even survive. Yet, many Anglicans say they’ve learned more about humility and ministry by losing material possessions. Many say they’ve also learned about unity in the broader church, with other local congregations offering help. Meanwhile, Episcopalian membership continues to fall. At 1.9 million in 2010, it’s about half of what it was in 1960, and 16 percent lower than in 2002….

To read the entire story, click here.

To add a comment, click on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ icons OR go further down to the bottom of comments to the Post your comment box.


  1. Now they know how Lot and his family felt. When you leave Sodom, don’t look back.

  2. Good for them to get out of that dying sect called the “Episcopal Church” I find it very ironic that the Episcopal Church would sell their church to infidel Muslims instead of the Traditional Anglicans who offered more for it. Just like the Novus Ordo in America and Europe who would rather sell their empty churches to Muslims as well, rather that to the F.S.S.P. Institute of Christ the King and yes even the S.S.P.X. And the Franciscans of the Immaculate continue to be destroyed by the forces in Rome.

    • Sedevacantist’s propaganda. You have no authority whatsoever.

      • Ann Malley says:

        If only Janek’s comments were mere propaganda, AJ. Sadly, this is not the case. As for authority, one does not need it to understand or see that dirt is dirty, that water is wet, or that the sky doesn’t always appear blue.

        One can, however, misuse authority by crying anathema, propaganda, or schism to those faithful who merely report that which is obvious for all with ears to hear or eyes to see.

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    Pander or Perish = The ‘gospel’ of the Gaystapo

  4. I have respect for the those Anglicans who maintain the cathedrals and old churches of England so lovingly, and I am thankful for the inspiration of writers like Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson, Dorothy Sayers and C.S. Lewis. But the Anglican Church began because of the lust and avarice of one man, and as a branch sundered from the True Vine and His true Church has now lost the last of its sap and withers irreversibly.

  5. Maryanne Leonard says:

    If you travel through England and see all the churches the Protestants claim, it will not be loudly proclaimed that most of them were built by and for Catholics for use as Catholic churches and cathedrals. This is true of entirely too many Protestant-claimed churches and cathedrals.

    The shameful history of what happened to real estate that belonged to the Catholic Church in Italy is beyond belief as well. Yet Catholicism is still the most thrilling faith in the history of mankind, real estate, corruption, theft and illegal actions by churches and states, not to mention other religions notwithstanding. I’ve attended Mass in cathedrals and caves, and the Lord was present on all occasions.

  6. Thomas Edward Miles says:

    I support civil same sex marriage, however, the far left wing and the far right wing are more alike than not!! Where is the respect and the tolerance that the far left is always preaching and the same goes for the far right?! Of course, the churches in question should have been allowed to transfer title!! Where is the CHRISTmas spirit of peace, love & joy?!!!

    • Civil same sex marriage is not an issue of the church. Lots of states are already performing them. The problem comes when Judges and States try to compel churches to perform these types of unions. They threaten to take away the church’s tax exempt status if they don’t do as the command. If people can’t practice their faith without the fear of government intervention, then where is the freedom of religion.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Felix, no American judge has ever tried to compel a Church to perform a same sex wedding. Ever. Nor have they threatened any tax exempt status for not performing a wedding. Ever.

    • Western Schnieder says:

      You are a grown man Mr. Miles but with the formed conscience of a Child. If by now you do not know that Nature makes man and woman, and that they are different but equal, and your mind cannot come around to understanding that something does not become what you call it simply because you call it that, you need to re-examine your whole belief system.

      Two men getting a paper from the government and using their reproductive parts for sexual gratification including canal knowledge of another mans digestive tract, and all feelings of friendship, does not constitute marriage.

      Even if you were to call it marriage, its not marriage, just like using a chair as a table and calling it a table does not make the chair a table. Even if we all believed that is a table, it would still be a Chair.

      How difficult is that to grasp?

  7. OTOH if our parish voted to leave the Catholic Church the bishop owns the buildings and would want them back wouldn’t he.

    • Western Schnieder says:

      The Catholic Church, Namely, the Bishop, in union with all other Bishops and the Pope would need to call the election.

      That will never happen.

      Plus the Bishop is not necessarily the owner of the building, he is a trustee.

      In short, your question is based on the wrong premise. Unlike the Anglican Christian Community, The Catholic Church does not hold election on issues of the day.

      Anglicans are not a Church, neither do we recognize them as one, nor do they have valid orders.

      They have a valid baptism, other than that, its not a Church.

  8. To Thomas Edward Miles:

    There is a natural argument against so-called “marriage” between two persons of the same sex.
    The basis is THE PARTS DO NOT FIT.
    This applies to the psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects—three areas in which a man and a woman do fit.
    The other facet is the physical dimension. The sexual-generative parts of the male and female bodies do fit, THEY ARE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER LIKE A LOCK AND A KEY, and this fit is IN ACCORD WITH NATURE. This natural fit also follows a natural purpose, namely, the generation of a human life. The sexual-generative parts of two males or of two females DO NOT FIT and do not fulfill the natural purpose of generating human life.

    • Thomas Edward Miles says:

      Thank you, Bill, at 63 years of age I now understand nature! Be assured, Bill, your assistance in understanding human sexuality is greatly appreciated, however, in the USA all, including you, Bill, are created EQUAL!!

  9. St. Christopher says:

    The Anglican Church is a “Dead Man Walking,” and good riddance. Built on the demand of Henry VIII for an immoral divorce, the Anglican Church, and its ordinations, are completely invalid. See, Leo XIII, “Apostalicae Curae” (1896) (although these sorts of “Medieval” rantings no longer count in Francis’s Curia, and, certainly have no influence with the new Congregation For Bishops; refer to such publications of prior pontiffs at your parallel, young priests and traditional bishops). Those in that church should absolutely run to join the Roman Catholic Church to better assure salvation. Ooops! Is that “Triumphalistic” and “non-ecumenical?” Oh No, it is also “Anti-Pastoral!” The true issue is not between the Clown Church of the Dress-Up, headed by Ms. Jefferts -Schori, and the “conservative” Anglicans (whose faith also rests on the bones of thousands of slaughtered clerics and Catholic Faithful; and isn’t Westminster Cathedral really a Roman Catholic Church, like St. Sophia?). The true issue is what happens to a faithful remnant, when a revolution — political, not theological, in nature — remakes the institution that many, many had known and loved and trusted over the centuries. Wait — that sure sounds familiar, n’est-ce pas?

  10. Linda Maria says:

    God bless these poor, faithful Episcopalians! Maybe they will consider joining the Anglican branch of our Church??

  11. God bless the good Roman Catholics who made sure they got a holy place to worship the Lord!
    However, I am baffled why the Episcopal Church of America would forbid this congregation from buying their own church at a higher price, but then sold the church to the Muslims for a lower price, thus transforming it from a place where Christ is worshipped to a place where He is not.
    I guess the golden lining in this cloud is they got to keep their integrity, then got a larger church and are thus able to do even MORE outreach, fellowship and ministry than ever before!

  12. I live in this area. Matt Kennedy is an excellent defender of traditional Christianity. Pray for him and his congregation.

  13. Marble Granite says:

    Sale of Binghamton church shows lack of love of Christ for great price he paid for their sins. It is, “Thanks, son of God, but you really did not need to do that for us.” Read chapters 8 & 9, Koran, and you will read why many martyred souls lie beneath the altar, Rev. 6. Rev. 12, wrath of the dragon is on. ALL Christians unite, and help Israel, too, we have the same enemy. For now, it is the pale (green, really, the color of Islam) horse.

  14. What is happening in the Episcopalian/Anglican church is a prelude to what is beginning to happen in the V2 church. I appreciate St. Christopher’s comments: ‘the Anglican Church, and its ordinations, are completely invalid. See, Leo XIII, “Apostalicae Curae” (1896) ‘. Now let’s think about this fact and that the Episcopalians/Anglicans religious bishops and priests have been invited back into the V2 Church with none to little seminary training (relatively speaking) and treated as though their ordinations need but a mere update by conditional ordinations. Hmmmm, makes me think what Pope Leo XIII declared seems to be ignored, defied, and even disobeyed by the V2 Church. For years I was taught and believed current Roman Catholic bishops, priests, and the rest of the clergy were to sustain (not change), and defend the already established teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 250 words, and should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Post your comment

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 250 words, and should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.