And the beat goes on... Hmmm. And the PB said the worst was over. Can you say dishonest speech? I knew that you could. ed.
November 7th, 2008
By George Conger, Religious Intelligence
The steady spate of parish defections from the Episcopal Church continued unabated last week, as a Texas parish announced it had quit the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
On Oct 21 the vestry of St Francis on the Hill in El Paso, Texas voted to quit the Episcopal Church. Parish spokesman Ron Munden stated the “separation was mandated by the congregation and ratified by the vestry.”
Mr Munden stated that the congregation had “hung on throughout 2008, thinking that the [Episcopal] Church would change, or at least allow [traditionalists] to practice their faith in the traditional Anglican manner, which we believe is founded on scripture. It is apparent that is not going to happen, and the Episcopal Church in the USA has firmly stated they are doing what they think is right — they are not changing.”
“For us at St Francis, we feel we cannot worship and pray in an environment that deviates from traditional church teachings, so we have broken away,” he said.
A statement released by the diocese said that the acting Bishop William Frey — who had been appointed bishop following the resignation of former Bishop Jeffrey Steenson who last year left the Episcopal Church for the Roman Catholic Church —- informed the parish that ”if they made the decision to leave the Episcopal Church, they could not take their property with them."
However, the parish stated it would contest the diocese’s claim of ownership. “As early as 2004, we let it be known that our by-laws clearly outlined how and why we owned our own property,” Mr Munden said. “We built this church with money from our parishioners — not one dime came from the Episcopal Church or from the Diocese. This church and grounds belong to St Francis on the Hill.” St Francis is the second El Paso Episcopal parish to quit the diocese. In 2008 St Clements, one of the largest parishes in the diocese, seceded from the Episcopal Church, and was permitted by Bishop Steenson to take its property with them.