March 26, 2017

May 3, 2012

Christ Church Savannah Announces Settlement

It is heartbreaking to see Christ Church drop her appeal but it is certainly understandable. She fought a good hard fight and leaves the field honorably. It is instructive to compare this statement with the one issued by Truro. There is in Christ Church’s publication no hint of friendly cooperation with the revisionist diocese or bishop, no mutual promoting of ministries, no sense that the rector and the bishop consider themselves Christian brothers…just the facts and a clarion clear declaration that Christ Church has no regrets. She stood firm for the truth. She lost her building but won so much more. Well and faithfully done Christ Church.

Savannah: Christ Church Anglican Announces Settlement

May 3, 2012

Christ Church Anglican (CCA) in Savannah, GA has agreed to settle a 4 ½ year legal battle with The Episcopal Church (TEC), and The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. At the heart of the dispute was a lawsuit against CCA, the Senior Pastor and fourteen members of the 2007 Vestry (Board) including money damage claims by the Diocese against these individuals in excess of $1million. “While we never agreed that our people had any personal liability, we are pleased to see these claims dropped as this threat of personal financial loss has hung over our people for more than four years. These parishioners served as volunteer directors on a non-profit 501-C3 board and made decisions to try to stand for their beliefs and fulfill their duty to protect the non-profit corporation they served,” said John Albert, CCA Senior Warden

In 2007, Christ Church Anglican, established in 1733 and predating the formation of TEC by 56 years and the TEC Diocese of Georgia by 90 years, conducted a congregational vote by which 87% of the congregation supported the Vestry’s decision to disaffiliate from TEC over core theological differences. Subsequently, TEC sued Christ Church Anglican, its pastor, and the 14 individual members of the 2007 board. After the Georgia Supreme Court ruling on November 21, 2011, CCA turned over possession of its three buildings (including the church building on Johnson Square) and the parking lot, all worth in excess of $6 million.

As set forth in the settlement agreement, the Church will adopt the title “Christ Church Anglican.” “We see the addition of ‘Anglican’ to our name as a way of identifying our roots going back to our beginnings in Savannah as a Mission of the Church of England in 1733. God has given us the privilege of living out a truth we have always believed, that the Church is not the building but the people of God. God has blessed us in this struggle, as we have maintained the vast majority of our congregation while adding new members who are excited to be part of a church that seeks to live out its beliefs. Orthodox Anglicanism is alive and well in Savannah and we look forward to a bright future,” commented The Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, Christ Church Anglican’s senior pastor…more

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So deeply deeply saddened for Christ Church, Savannah and Marc and the lay leadership there.  It’s apparent when reading that the only thing that Benhase had to hold over them were the evil personal suits against *the individuals*—something that none of us will ever forget.  What a reprobate.

By the same token, I’m proud of Christ Church for fighting as hard as they did for their property, which has been legally stolen from them by Bishop Benhase and the leadership of the Diocese of Georgia.

And I am relieved beyond measure—I can’t even describe how relieved I am—that the rector and vestry of Christ Church, Savannah are not busy announcing how they’ve been introducing Benhase to “ministry opportunities” in the COE and prattling about how he is their “brother in Christ.”

When I first heard that CC, Savannah had withdrawn the appeal to the Supreme Court—something I was so grateful they did—my heart sank.  I could just imagine them announcing all sorts of planned mutual ministries.

I am so proud of them!

[1] Posted by Sarah on 5-3-2012 at 01:19 PM · [top]

The church where John Wesley preached is now in the hands of those who preach another gospel- how tragic! I feel this loss personally because my parents were married there. Yet I console myself knowing that the church is not a building. Christ’s true church remains and is moving forward faithfully. Also, since the current occupants of the property probably won’t be able to afford to maintain it, I am comforted knowing it’s unlikely the Diocese could allow it to be torn down or converted to a mosque because of its great historic value and legislation protecting it.

[2] Posted by Hosanna on 5-3-2012 at 01:57 PM · [top]

BE OF GOOD CHEER!!  God is good - all the time! 

It appears to me that He wants his faithful out of buildings and into the world.  While it is sad to lose such a historic building, it is still a building.  The gospel of Christ would NEVER have spread out of Jerusalem if not for persecution…so maybe, just maybe that is God’s plan for today. 

So BE OF GOOD CHEER!!  Spread the Word that saved each one of us - the Word came to the world and became sin, died and was raised from the dead so we can be with God for all eternity.


[3] Posted by B. Hunter on 5-3-2012 at 02:42 PM · [top]

No! Someone has got to take this issue of property theft (sanctioned by a few of these corrupt courts) to SCOTUS and end this horrible injustice.

[4] Posted by All-Is-True on 5-3-2012 at 02:53 PM · [top]

Just noticed that on Truro’s website they’ve posted a number of documents regarding their settlement decision; including a letter from +Guernsey, and an FAQ which addresses a variety of topics including the comments by the Rector that +Johnston is a “brother in Christ.”  Here’s the link:

[5] Posted by TreadingGrain on 5-3-2012 at 05:36 PM · [top]

[6] Posted by TreadingGrain on 5-3-2012 at 05:38 PM · [top]

Very sad documents. Thanks for sharing them.

[7] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-3-2012 at 06:37 PM · [top]

Comparative Literature:

“We are so looking forward to welcoming Bishop Shannon Johnston and Tory Baucum to our Leadership Conference in London. Our prayers are with them – and all our brothers and sisters at Truro Anglican Church and throughout the diocese of Virginia – as you work together to bring peace, unity and healing.”

Nicky Gumble

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him stakes part in his wicked works.”

St. John
2nd John 10-11

[8] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 5-3-2012 at 06:46 PM · [top]

Maybe Shannon Johnson will do Nicky Gumbel the favor of presiding at the first gay marriage at Brompton.

Will he have to carry his miter, too?

Well, prayers for the good people of Christ Church Savannah.  TEC thinks it has won, but one wonders, when the Lord Himself returns, what their reaction will be when He shows up and want the keys for His church back?

[9] Posted by tjmcmahon on 5-3-2012 at 07:16 PM · [top]

It is just a short walk from Johnson Square to Independent Presbyterian Church. December 11th, 2011 was brisk, perhaps nearing cold by Savannah’s standards.  I didn’t feel the cold as we waited for Father Marc’s benediction from the wrought iron railing of the porch above.  What I felt was a little odd, slightly embarrassed, and displaced.  Behind him, several of the ushers closed and locked the 10 foot green doors with an audible *thunk* that no one of the 400 or so below could have missed.  That which once was Christ Church Savannah was now closed.  And my heart said,  “Now it is just a tomb.”

  So we walked.  My newly wedded daughter and her husband, James, although they go to another denominational church, wanted to walk with us because it mattered.  We walked none-too-somberly I thought at the time, folks visiting, catching up on the doings of relatives ( this IS Savannah, after all).  We marched along to the skirl of a bagpiper to Independent Presbyterian Church.  When I got to the corner of Oglethorpe Street, I could see Independent’s congregants spilling out from the granite porch and down the steps filling the lawn awaiting expectantly.

  Now my heart said,  “*This* is Christ’s Church.  Terrible as an army with banners.”

[10] Posted by anglicanlutenist on 5-3-2012 at 08:51 PM · [top]

I agree with Anglicanlutenist (who plays a beautiful lute, and also the penny whistle wink and has a lovely, mellow voice - come and hear him at IPC). We shook the dust of Egypt from our feet, crossed the Red Sea (well, Broughton Street - but the police stopped traffic), and were met by our brothers and sisters in Christ at Independent Presbyterian. Even those of our congregation whose grandparents were baptized at the Johnson Square building have not looked back.

We - the congregation and our wonderful rectors and vestry - are Christ Church. To God be the glory!

[11] Posted by sophy0075 on 5-3-2012 at 09:23 PM · [top]

Although I believe that CCA is the successor to the Whitfield, Wesley, Tucker, etc legacy, most will not. CCS has returned to the default setting and is much like the church of my youth. CCA should define itself as a separate entity with a different mission. Their past is past.

[12] Posted by Pb on 5-4-2012 at 03:47 PM · [top]

It’s my understanding that the TEC Diocese of Georgia has been a Windsor diocese - no SSBs, and no openly homosexual clergy.

Here’s a link to the story at the TEC diocesan website.

It does not seem to address the matter of the lawsuit against the former Rector and vestry.

In any case, it’s over. And it’s clear (whether we agree with it or not) that in Georgia, even a colonial parish cannot leave the TEC diocese. I pray that both congregations will flourish, and that the TEC congregation will openly and forcefully resist any attempts to change the Windsor status of that diocese in the aftermath of General Convention.

Otherwise, the TEC diocese will be open mission territory for ACNA, and other parishes will leave.

In the aftermath of this and the more recent Calvary Americus debacle, someone needs to prepare a legal guide for departing clergy, vestries, and parishioners, so that their departures will be tidy.

[13] Posted by Ralph on 5-5-2012 at 08:53 AM · [top]

There are many excellent legal guides available. Just ask the right people.

[14] Posted by SQ on 5-14-2012 at 09:42 AM · [top]

DGA is a WINO diocese - Windsor in name only.

[15] Posted by Pb on 5-14-2012 at 11:20 AM · [top]

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