Letter to Parish

Dear Parishioners:

The Texas Supreme Court decision on the lawsuit brought on The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth by The Episcopal Church (TEC) was published on Friday, August 30, 2013. As your Rector and Vestry have said, we are writing to inform you of their favorable decision. Many of you are already aware of their decision as this is a highly publicized case and information has been abundant on the internet.

First, The Texas Supreme Court has reversed the Lower Court Order which took us to appeal directly to The Texas Supreme Court. The ruling of the lower court is no longer binding upon our case, we stay in our property and continue our ministry and worship of our Lord and Savior.

Second, The Texas Supreme Court sent our case back to the Trial Court with guidance to use Neutral Principles in deciding this case brought against us. TEC had used a Hierarchical argument which basically states that TEC is a hierarchical church. They claim that the court must rule in its favor as the court has no jurisdiction in religious matters or disputes over property. The Texas Supreme Court has rejected that argument and stated that Neutral Principles must be used in deciding property disputes. Neutral principles are basically “whose name is legally on the title is the owner of the property.”

Third, The Texas Supreme Court has stated that TEC’s Dennis Canon is ineffective in the State of Texas. The Dennis Canon was passed by the General Convention TEC to try and create a Trust which stated that all property belongs to the larger Church and not to the Diocese or the Corporation of the Diocese. The Texas Supreme Court stated that it does not apply in Texas. When a Trust does not state it is irrevocable it can be revoked. The Dennis Canon does not state it is irrevocable and thus it is ineffective.

What does this mean for us? It means that we first must give thanks to God for the decision given to us. It means that we must continue to be strong in prayer for our Bishop, Diocese, Clergy and People as we still must take this journey through the Court System. It means we continue to strongly support and uphold our lawyers and judicial system in prayer that they may make wise decisions, and as we pray each Sunday in the Eucharist, that in all they do they may honor the Lord. It means we continue strongly in glorifying God by our participation in our worship and ministries at St. Alban’s, using to God’s honor our time, talent and treasure.

We have been blessed with the path The Texas Supreme Court’s decision has put us on. May God’s guidance, love, forgiveness, and mercy continue to be our focus and action in this broken and torn world in which we live.

In Christ,
St. Alban’s Rector and Vestry

Permanent link to this article: http://www.saintalbans.org/2013/09/02/letter-to-parish/

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