Bishop sues under canon law
smmorris at RMI.NET
Wed Jun 27 11:58:10 PDT 2001
The issue was debated in the Episcopal Church in the late '70's and early '80's
in a different dispute. That one boiled down to who had the right to control
the property of the church, as this one probably will. The courts decided in
favor of the bishops and not the dissidents. I think Paul is right on the
diversity issue. The Episcopal Diocese is among other thing a corporate
entity. "The Episcopal Church was Created so that God might have something to
laugh at." BishopWilliam Frey, retired Bishop of Colorado.
At 11:08 AM 06/27/2001 -0400, you wrote:
> As I read the following story, I kept wondering, "What conceivable
> grounds could she have for coming into federal court in the first
> place? Is there some federal cause of action for reining in dissident
> priests?" Then, the last sentence of the article says that the issue
> is a violation of canon law. Well. I'm going to hazard a guess that
> Rule 12(b)(6) is about to rear its head.
> Episcopal bishop sues to regain control of parish
> Dispute in Accokeek illustrates growing rift within denomination
> By John Rivera
> Sun Staff
> Originally published June 27, 2001
> Unable to resolve a dispute with a dissident conservative priest
> through church channels, the acting bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of
> Washington has gone to federal court seeking an injunction to regain
> control of a Prince George's County parish.
> Bishop Jane H. Dixon filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court in
> Greenbelt, asking that a federal judge prohibit the Rev. Samuel L.
> Edwards from officiating at Christ Episcopal Church in Accokeek. Dixon
> also is asking the court to order the vestry, the lay body that runs
> the 120-member church, to allow her to visit and minister at the
> * * *
> * * *
> The vestry is standing fast in its belief that it has the right to
> hire the pastor it wishes and that Dixon failed to object within the
> 30-day window mandated by canon law. Dixon countered that she merely
> had to begin her review within a month of Edwards' arrival and as
> bishop retains the right to confirm or deny his appointment as rector.
> Dixon has the support of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church,
> as well as 63 Episcopal bishops and more than 100 members of the
> diocesan clergy. Edwards has received the backing of at least seven
> The dispute between Dixon and Edwards came to a head last month when
> the bishop went to Christ Church to preside over Sunday services. She
> was turned away at the door and parish officials threatened to charge
> her with trespassing.
> Dixon conducted a service on an outdoor basketball court. Since then,
> Edwards has conducted the Sunday service at Christ Church, while a
> priest loyal to Dixon has presided at another service at a nearby
> community center.
> Dixon said Edwards and the vestry of Christ Church left her no
> alternative but to sue. The issue, diocesan officials said, is that
> Edwards, by not obeying Dixon's directives, is violating canon law.
Stan Morris, Atty
Cortez, CO 81321
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