24 March 2009

Grace Church belogns to TEC Court Rules

A decision has been made to resolve ownership over the multi-million dollar Grace church Monday.

A judge has ruled that the Colorado Springs church building belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and not a breakaway parish.

The ruling was handed down Tuesday in El Paso County District Court.

Ownership has been in dispute since March 2007, when some members and leaders of Grace Church and St. Stephen's left the national body over theological differences.

The breakaway group aligned itself with the conservative Anglican Communion province in Nigeria but continued to worship in the building.

Another group chose to remain with the Diocese of Colorado and has been worshipping at another building.

The church property is valued at $17 million.

Ownership claims of the historic landmark have been in dispute since it's congregation decided to leave the Episcopal Church in March of 2007. The diocese and Grace Church have battled back in forth in what many are calling a "messy divorce."

"It's analogous to a marriage that started 135 years ago, the local Episcopal body in Colorado Springs married the Episcopal church, bringing the house, our church, into the marriage" stated Reverend Alan Crippen of Grace Church and St. Stephen's.

Troubles in the marriage worsened when the Grace Church & St. Stephen's filed suit against the Episcopalian church. "Now we're looking essentially at a divorce," said Rev. Crippen.

Armstrong claims he retained possession of the church's property after leaving the church in 2006, but the Episcopal Church of Colorado disagrees. They argue the parish is a subsidy body of a larger body.

This is the second huge setback for the schismatics in the United States. We say, Deo Gratias!

Tip of the Biretta to Bonnie for the news.

See Thinking Anglicans for more on the story.