SAVANNAH, GA: Christ Church appeals to Georgia Supreme Court

david at virtueonline.org david at virtueonline.org
Fri Jul 30 22:24:56 EDT 2010


SAVANNAH, GA: Christ Church appeals to Georgia Supreme Court 

Parish News Release 
August 1, 2010

Today Christ Church appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court a recent ruling of the GA Court of Appeals upholding Judge Michael Karpf's decision issued in October, 2009, against Christ Church and in favor of the Diocese of Georgia and The Episcopal Church. 

That decision upheld the plaintiff's argument that Christ Church holds its property in trust for the Diocese and the national church, based on a 1979 national church canon which was enacted without notification prior to or following its adoption. 

If this decision is allowed to stand as Georgia law, then most churches should be concerned about whether or not they can keep title to their property should they for any reason come into disagreement or otherwise fall out of favor with the national church organization. Christ Church petitioned the state Supreme Court in order to protect itself and other congregations and their claims to hold title to their own property.

Christ Church disaffiliated from The Episcopal Church on September 30, 2007 by a unanimous vote of its Rector, Wardens and vestry. Two weeks later this vote was upheld by an 87% vote of affirmation by the congregation. "We continue to believe that we must stand firm for the Gospel against the innovative claims of The Episcopal Church," said David Reeves, Christ Church Senior Warden. 

In 1758 an act of the Royal Council granted Christ Church ownership of its church building and cemetery. After the Revolution, the Georgia legislature granted a charter of incorporation to Christ Church. Thus, since 1789 Christ Church has been a legal entity, a corporation defined, bound and protected by Georgia corporation law. Its corporate existence and identity cannot be usurped by any other group or entity. Christ Church has never conveyed title to its property to any other party, nor has it ever agreed to hold its property in trust for any other party. 

The Rev Marc Robertson stated, "This disagreement is not about real estate. It is about the basic tenets of the historic faith, proclaiming Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. And it is about freedom--freedom of religion-freedom to practice our religion as and where we have for over 275 years; freedom to choose to follow the Jesus of Holy Scripture and not a culturally-manufactured Jesus designed to promote a "different way of being Christian'." 

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