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Two years ago, over two-thirds of the congregation of St. Marks-on-the-Mesa of the Diocese of the Rio Grande voted to leave the Episcopal Church to join the Anglican Church in North America. As Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, chief operating and development officer of the American Anglican Council, explains :

When those parishioners left the parish, the Diocese of the Rio Grande, and the Episcopal Church, they left everything. They left the property, building, endowments, bank accounts - even paperclips and pencils. They did so in good conscience, with generosity, and with love for those who in good conscience could not leave The Episcopal Church. Based on their reading of scripture, these parishioners did not want to fight over buildings and property in civil courts. Instead, they walked away and began a new life together as Anglican followers of Jesus Christ at Christ the King Anglican Church. Not only did the new parish draw former Episcopalians, but also Christians from other denominations who wanted to worship and serve at Christ the King Anglican.

Although St. Mark’s on-the-Mesa got to keep everything, the church still decided that they needed more: They want another $20,000 from the Anglicans to cover expenses of a church they no longer attend. As one non-profit lawyers says,

In the 25 years that I have been involved in litigation involving religious bodies, I have never seen or heard of a request that those who leave a religious organization have any continuing financial obligations to support the organization they left. I know of no passage in the Bible or legal theory that supports the request made by The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.

Asking people who live the church to cough up money for its maintenance may not be a Biblical move, but you have to give them style points for audacity.

(Via: Strange Herring )

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