Monday, January 5, 2009

California Supreme Court rules in favor of Episcopal Church

This just in: The California Supreme Court ruled a few minutes ago in favor of the Episcopal Church in its property dispute with two break-away congregations in Southern California (Newport Beach and Long Beach). This is a huge decision for those of us who have been involved in these disputes for several years, and I pray this will prompt a settlement in other cases in California. Here is the pertinent paragraph from the Court this morning:
"Applying the neutral principles of law approach, we conclude that the
general church, not the local church, owns the property in question. Although the
deeds to the property have long been in the name of the local church, that church
agreed from the beginning of its existence to be part of the greater church and to
be bound by its governing documents. These governing documents make clear
that church property is held in trust for the general church and may be controlled
by the local church only so long as that local church remains a part of the general
church. When it disaffiliated from the general church, the local church did not
have the right to take the church property with it."
You can read the full decision by clicking HERE.

It should be noted that the breakaway congregations won at the trial court level, but lost on appeal. The California Supreme Court is upholding an 88-page decision of the California 4th District Court of Appeal. The case in which I have been involved, with a breakaway congregation in Petaluma, Calif., has been on-hold pending the decision in the Southern California cases. I hope the Petaluma case can now go forward, or even better, if the renegade Petaluma congregation will hand over the keys or rejoin the Episcopal Church. This decision could also have an impact on the lawsuit seeking to regain control of the Diocese of San Joaquin.

While the decision of the California court has no direct bearing on the nine cases yet to be decided in Virginia, it should be noted that California decisions historically have been cited by other state high courts. The California Supreme Court in its ruling also cited cases from the United States Supreme Court which should have a bearing on Virginia and other states. The Virginia cases are still in the trial court stages, where an 1867 law has, so far, been used with success in allowing the breakaway congregations in Virginia to retain property that Episcopal Church claims that it owns. 

By the way, though no one seems to mention this much, the 1867 Virginia law in question was passed after the Civil War to allow local churches to disaffiliate from national denominations rather than allow African American ex-slaves to join their churches. It is upon that law, with roots in the history of white supremacy, that the breakaways of Virginia now rest their case. Perhaps the higher courts of Virginia will see this as California Supreme Court now sees it.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been making my tithe (remotely, as I do not live in the area) to the Anglican church in Petaluma. Does this mean that the funds in that account will now belong to TEC? If I request that my tithe, which was very intentionally sent to the Anglican congregation instead of the Episcopal congregation, will TEC transfer the money to the Anglican congregation, honoring my intent?

Thanks.

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Dear Anon:
I am not a lawyer, so I cannot answer your question with legal expertise, and I am sure that the leaders of the "Anglican" church in Petaluma would give you a different answer than I will give you. But here is what I will tell you from what I know talking to our lawyers:

1- The church in Petaluma is an Episcopal Church, and always was. Because a current group decided to name it something else and claim that they own does not mean they can. That is our position in court, and that is the position that the California Supreme Court upheld in today's ruling in the Southern California cases.

2- It is my hope that the ruling will prompt the leaders in Petaluma to settle the lawsuit brought against them by the legitimate Petaluma congregation and the Diocese of Northern California. No settlement talks have ever occurred, so I have no idea what the shape of a settlement would be. Settlement could include having the breakaway congregation purchase the church from the Diocese of Northern California, or vacating the premises, or best of all, rejoining the Episcopal Church.

3- The congregation that broke away argues that it owns the building. The Episcopal church maintains that the congregation, in effect, stole the building by changing the deeds. The California Supreme Court is, in effect, agreeing with us on that.

4- The Petaluma Church is not Anglican. It can call itself Anglican but that does not make it Anglican. To be Anglican means to be recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the only church in the United States that is so recognized is the Episcopal Church. In other words, there is only one Anglican Church in the U.S. and it is the Episcopal Church.

My answers may not make you happy, but that is as honest as I can be.
-- James+

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response, Fr. James. My guess is that the Petaluma Anglican congregation will likely leave the building based on this ruling, and my question arose out of that.

Terminology aside, I intended to provide financial support to the group that refers to itself as St. John's Anglican Church in Petaluma and is under the authority of the Global South. If that group of people turn over their building and accounts to TEC, what I am wondering is how graciously TEC might handle a request that my contributions be transferred to their intended recipient.

It sounds like I'll just have to make the request after the dust has settled and see how it is handled.

Thanks.

The Rev. James Richardson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Rev. James Richardson said...

Hi Anon --
Indeed, the dust will need to settle before any of us know the answer to your question. It is my hope that if the breakaway congregation leaves that they will do so amicably as brothers-and-sisters in Christ, and that the Diocese will be generous with them in their departure. Please let underline something really, really IMPORTANT. I consider many of the people -- and all of the clergy at St. John's Petaluma (both branches) to be friends. David Miller and Marvin Bowers have always been gracious and caring toward me and my family, and it is with great heartache that all of this has occurred. While we disagree on these issues, they are in my prayers and I will always consider them friends.

Anonymous said...

:) My hope was that the departing Anglicans would win the lawsuit and promptly turn over 50% of the properties to TEC.

Thanks again.

Keith said...

Many hopes that Virginia courts can see through the Hon. Judge Bellows and rule in favor of TEC for the same reason.
If not, I will fascinated to watch this "new church" attempt to create cannons that will ensure that the same thing does not happen to them in ten years when they have another disagreement.

Matthew said...

I feel sorry for people who turn to this blog seeking legitimate answers to questions regarding the intricacies that define the Episcopal Church USA, a now former denomination of the Anglican expression of the Christian faith.

From the begining of the colonization of this continent by European settlers, there was a different brand of Anglican Christianity; starting with demands for their own bishops, diocese, and ultimately their own province, all before the Revolutionary War even occured. To have a person who calls himself "Reverend" be so patronizing as to refer to the parent church of his denomination, in which he is supposed to be an ordained minister, as "Anglican" as if the 75 million other people in the world that call themselves Anglican were the ones that changed the tenets of Christianity in order to hold onto a building that belongs to God, instead becoming some social club that is more interested in adopting the U.N. millenial goals for social welfare than spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a clear indication that this is not a place where real Christians should seek answers.

If ECUSA were still a Christian denomination, they would be concerned about a rift that threatens to lose souls, not property. If this priest were being honest and doing a service to those reading here, he would acknowledge that the Pentaluma church in question is made of people, not walls. The people of these Anglican parishes have made the claim that while ECUSA has chosen to no longer be Anglican, and thus Christian, they have held onto those Anglo-Christian beliefs and since they are still interested in spreading the Gospel, will use the physical resources that God has provided them to do so. Calling the people who chose to use secular litigation to subvert the work of Christ by the faithful Christian members of the Pentaluma parish and others, "legitimate" is like voiding a home sale because the former owners don't like the color drapes the new owners have put up.

The insidious label of "breakaway congregation" is merely a projection of what ECUSA has done by breaking away from the Global Anglican Church and Christianity in general. The fact that ECUSA was the entity which brought a supposedly civil and uninterested government into a family dispute shows which direction it is directing its remnant population. Jesus didn't say, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and that which is God's also to Caesar." The buildings and property belong to God for the purpose of doing His work. To make a grab for this property, in the fashion which ECUSA has done, is to be making the claim that the faithful, non-Episcopal, Anglican parishes and diocese are no longer doing the Lord's will while ECUSA still is. If this were true then how can secular arbitration be justified as an expression of the Christian faith ECUSA claims to still be performing?

Additionally, the outright lie of the parish not being Anglican is proof that this "Reverend" is no longer upholding the faith and traditions of Anglican Christianity. Look up any definition of the word Anglican you like; no where does it even mention the Archbishop of Canterbury or his approval meaning anything related to a person, parish, diocese, or province being Anglican. Being Anglican has to do with those groupings of people being related to the Anglican Church and upholding its teachings. ECUSA stopped upholding Anglican teachings decades ago and has only accelerated its degeneration over the last few years. The fact is the true Anglican Church now no longer recognizes ECUSA as being Anglican, so in truth the only Anglicans in North America are these "breakaway" parishes, diocese, and the Province of Canada. If this man believes his answers to be honest, then it couldn't be any clearer how far from the Gospel of Jesus Christ ECUSA has sprinted.

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Dear Matthew,
Thanks for your comments. I would invite you to read the court opinion; your perspective is interesting but not very accurate, nor does hurling insults at me make it accurate. I agree with you that the church is not the walls. It would be nice if the breakaways agreed with you as well.

Edward said...

Dear Reverend,

I just checked out your comments to Matthew.

I think your point, that hurling insults alone doesn't make something accurate, makes perfect sense.

But I'm not sure that the unstated implication in your response, that merely gratuitously "hurling insults" lessens the accuracy of Matthew's comments, makes any sense.

But who knows ?

It does seem that under the TEC's currently fashionably revisionist, deconstructionist approach to the scriptures, creeds, history, etc., all perspectives (mine, Matthew's, and yours)are clearly subjective and, therefore, merely "interesting" and not worth addressing.

To continue to observe, and sometimes to be drawn into participating, in all this passive-aggressive, partisan, and not particularly constructive sniping (e.g. to tersely dismiss Matthew’s comments as merely “interesting, but not very accurate” without making any effort to critique specifically any of his assertions)in the wild west that now is the Episcopal blogosphere about the inevitable atomization and recombination of congregations that has always occurred in the universal church (as we know, those “walls” you mention have always moved – hard to fight human nature and the inconsistency of continuous revelation) serves to drive middle-of-the-road Episcopalians (i.e.,most the TEC laity, I think) like me away from the church and to cause us to move either to other denominations or to more private, and often less communal, approaches to the divine.

It’s just not clear that the TEC’s all-or-nothing approach to litigation over property interests (that seems to be supported by the more “tolerant” wig of the TEC, even some that contribute to this blog) won’t have a more deleterious effect on the continuation of the ECUSA in anything like its current form than simply working out some arrangement for the sharing or division of disputed property (I think Christ said a few things about sharing) between the high-church/low-church (or however else one cares to characterize the split) congregations (heck, we already share stuff, even priests, with the Lutherans these days – why not share buildings with some of those orthodox folks that made the now-evident fatal mistake of credulously believing what they heard years ago in Sunday Schools at Episcopal churches not as tolerant and as experiential as yours ?).

Thanks – keep blogging !

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Dear Edward,
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, and I appreciate what you have to say very much and I am in agreement in several respects. My reply to Matthew was short because (I) I was heading out the door to yet another early morning meeting, and (2) I don't want to be arguing with someone who is looking for a fight and not a dialogue. Minds will not be changed, and, hey, I have a parish to take care of, meetings and all.

To address some of your points: I would love it if the so-called "orthodox" (and I don't grant them the title, sorry) would share space with those who they kicked out of their parishes. Let me give you two heartbreaking examples:

In Petaluma, the deacon of many years died. She had remained loyal to the Episcopal Church, and so the breakaway congregation refused to allow her to have her funeral there. That is cold. And in Virginia, there is a 90-year old woman who has been refused burial next to her husband because she has remained loyal to the Episcopal Church. That seems all rather uncharitable, petty and as far from the Gospel of Jesus Christ as you can get.

And, though the breakaway leaders continue to decry the lawsuits, let's at least acknowledge who put this into the legal arena in the first place: the breakaway leaders by changing deeds and filing new incorporation papers, which in California is the Secretary of State's office in Sacramento.

Those who believe that to be wrong have no other recourse than the civil courts. "Thou shalt not steal" is still a commandment, and doctrinal disputes do not place anyone above the commandment or the law. Most of us would call the police if someone stuck a gun in our face and took our wallet. The courts of the United States are still where we go to seek redress, and the courts were founded on biblical principles of fairness and justice.

And I would not dismiss lightly the reasoning of the California Supreme Court in its unanimous decision. Episcopal Church property is held in trust by the local congregation for the wider church, which is Episcopal. We are not a congregational church. Let me give an example of how this could go if we were to take the logic of the breakaways: Let's say a group of Scientologists decided they wanted to take over your local parish. They jam the annual meeting, pack the Vestry, take a congregational vote, and poof! Now it is a Church of Scientology. But wait a minute, you say, other people built this church, and we are trustees for the Episcopal Church.

As for Matthew's comment about the Anglican Communion, he is simply inaccurate. The Anglican Communion is a federation of national churches -- it is not set up like the Roman Catholic Church. There is no pope, no magisterium. It was founded in the 19th century by the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Church of England. See the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral on pps. 876-877 of the Book of Common Prayer. And just because a someone decides to call himself an "Anglican" doesn't make them an Anglican anymore than it makes them an astronaut. There is only one recognized province of the Anglican Communion in the United States, and it is the Episcopal Church.

I have gone on long enough. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.
Blessings to you,
Jim+

Matthew said...

I do appreciate the responses, though I find the first one very telling as to who is actually open to discourse and interested in Truth and debate (if God actually affords us room for debate when His position on many of these issues is so clear). We both come from the standpoint that there are issues that there is disagreement about. From my end there is a right and a wrong (that’s singular one right and one wrong) side to these issues. If you are making the claim that there are more than two sides, discussion is an appropriate term, but if I am right, then fighting is not a term that should be used pejoratively. The lessons and stories from the Bible are laced with Good versus evil, Right versus wrong, black and white, 2-sided issues for which there must be exactly one correct answer and definitive winner. This may not be “nice” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.

Making the claim that I am sorry for people reading should merely speak to the fact that this is a blog, not a distinguished, recognized academic or theological journal or website, and thus justifiably taken with a grain of salt. Additionally, observing that the use of “Anglican” in quotes is patronizing, when the author is outnumbered by a greater than 50:1 ratio by people who exclusively call themselves Anglican compared to Episcopal Anglicans, is just that, an observation. Finally, an assertion that someone has spoken a lie, does not make that person a liar anymore than a person running one red light makes them a habitually dangerous driver. I will however admit that I made the mistake of calling your statement a lie. I made an assumption that an obviously learned man should know well enough, in order to distinguish between facts and truth and that such a statement must have been a lie since it was false. This was my fault for confusing knowledge with wisdom, it was my mistake and I should have given you the benefit of the doubt.

All other comments were directed at the larger Episcopal Church. Even if someone was "hurling of insults" at a nebulous organization, such as ECUSA, an ad hominim attack that disqualifies the points of the concerned is no better than the “hurling of insults” initially accused.

While the nature of electronic communication is relaxed, for a topic of such gravity as this, it is perhaps more important to give special attention to details such as capitalization. The word church, when capitalized, refers to the people of a particular parish, denomination, or even the universal Christian fellowship, while left lower case, church does specifically refer to a particular building. So the claim that a building is a building should not be in dispute, the question is, and always has been, whether a particular building is being used to further the Lord's work. I believe, at least nominally, both sides are claiming that they wish to do the Lord's work in the contested buildings. Given that this is the professed intent of each side, the situation is such that both sides acknowledge that the buildings themselves do not belong to anyone other than God.

The initiation by the majority of members of each of the parishes in question to reorganize and rededicate themselves, and the buildings they have been blessed by God to use, to His work has in no way prevented any other member of the sundered congregations from following suit. It is clear that some of the disgruntled remnant believed that they were doing the Lord’s will despite strong evidence to the contrary that the larger Episcopal Church no longer does so, by actions of many in leadership of that same denomination at the diocesan, provincial, and national level. Calling these born-again Anglicans (since you yourself have made the claim that Episcopalians are Anglicans) “breakaways” and not actually Anglican is curious, since, by your own admission, they were Anglicans before they made the claim to no longer be Episcopalian but still be Anglican.

Given that you cited two examples, and examples mind you, not the normative behavior of the numerous parishes in question (and that’s only if the examples didn’t break the spirit of Jesus’ comment, “Let the dead bury their own dead.” These two dead persons don’t care where their memorial services were held, or their bodies interred. If they were Christian, then they know that such details matter not, and if they weren’t Christian, then it matters even less), to extrapolate that Anglicans are unwilling to “share space” is a little simplistic. The Anglican parishes wish not to contribute economically, or otherwise, to a diocese and a national Church that they feel are not maintaining Christian beliefs or practices. So, certainly, they are unwilling to pay rent to have services or other meetings at these locations (assuming that ECUSA maintains preeminent control of the use of a particular facility). Likewise, they likely believe that (if they had preeminent control of that facility) allowing an organization, that they believe is not just non-Christian (as many secular organizations may be), but actually distorting the Christian Message, is inconsistent with their charge to be faithful stewards of the property entrusted to them by the Lord.

If you are correct that merely claiming to be Anglican does not make it so (though this is inconsistent with any definition of the word Anglican), then likewise merely claiming that the Anglican parishioners are not orthodox also does not make it so (check the definition of orthodox for consistency here as it extends beyond Episcopal particularities to larger Christian and social modes).

If we are seeking to find an origin of the conflict over who gets to continue to use a particular building, the problem originated with the greater Episcopal Church. Individual parishes knew that they would not be “permitted” to continue to use the facilities that they had been using if they merely stopped contributing to the larger Church organizational structures and adhered to historical, Biblical Christianity. Their legal maneuverings were predicated by a clear intent from the national Church and its local diocesan arms to maintain control over buildings and property before seeking to maintain Christian souls.

As stated before, the buildings belong to the Lord. To make the “thou shalt not steal” reference still implies an ownership of property not of God. These parishes are still seeking to do the Lord’s work (and more successfully than the Episcopal husk that they left as evidenced by the faithfulness of their members and the prosperity the Lord has afforded them), so they are not stealing anything. Stealing implies that some entity has procured rightfully owned property of another entity with the express intent to deny the rightful owner use of that property. Since the property belongs to God and is still being used for God’s purposes, no theft has occurred.

The example of the gun in the face is easy to pick apart, because Biblical justice would not have us calling the police, it would have us fighting back and preventing the theft from occurring in the first place. As for fairness, there is no such concept in the history of God’s interaction with humanity. Fairness is an idea created by man to try and level iniquities perceived by man so that man feels better about himself. Read Matthew 25:14-30 and I challenge you to call that fair (the justice is so clear it is left proved without support).

As far as reading the California Court’s decision, I am all too familiar with the Court’s decision on this and other such matters, being a resident of California. Their sudden interest in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as not expressly prohibiting the marriage of any number of men or women to any number of men or women as implying that a democratically passed statue instituting a restriction of marriage to be defined as expressly between one man and one woman, to mean that anything goes is merely an example of how closely the modern judges adhere to the principles upon which they were founded.

The decision of a majority of members of any particular parish decided that it is more important to be called Christian before God than it is to be called Episcopalian before man and led them to make such votes. Democracy is not a Christian form of government. Under Christian rules we all belong to an absolute monarchy, the Kingdom of God. He will rule, in the fulfillment of time, as he directed during the time of Israel between the Exodus and Saul by a series of judges put in place over groups of people, so to make the claim that what has happened is not “acting Christian” is true to a fault.

If the Anglican Church is a federation of national Churches, unlike the structure of the Roman Catholic Church, then your earlier assertion that what makes a Church Anglican is its recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury is proved false right there. As for claiming that there the Episcopal Church is the only recognized province in the United States is like saying that George W. Bush is the only President of the United States; it’s only true for a short while longer. A new Anglican Province has been formed in North America, and it doesn’t include the Episcopal Church. Its constitution is being ratified by all parishes and diocese which wish to join right now, and will be accepted by the international federation of national Churches soon thereafter.

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Dear Matthew (or whatever your name really is):
Is it possible -- just possible -- that you are wrong? Or are you claiming an all knowing corner on Truth? Please read Romans 12:15-21.
Blessings to you,
Jim

Matthew said...

Yes my name really is Matthew and of course it's possible I'm wrong. However the point isn't whether I could be wrong, it is whether you are willing to engage on the level that someone else (in this case me) might be correct and you could be wrong. I'm willing to hear arguments from the other side of issues and to present them to third parties so that they can make a decision as to which is correct. Yet you continue to attempt to dismiss my points by dismissing me or to invalidate them by attempting to attack my humility.

As far as your reference to Romans, it would have been more effective if you had included verse 14 in that passage as well, for I do wish blessings upon those remnant Episcopalians who seek to squelch the "breakaway renegades." As far as living peaceably and harmoniously, this speaks to the active pursuit of conflict. I don't seek it, but also won't shy away from it when a matter of Truth is at stake.

Clearly I'm willing to associate with other people as I continue to try and engage in a fashion here. And certainly you would not consider that you have paid me evil, likewise neither would I consider my contesting your ideas as the same as ascribing the characteristic of evil to your personhood.

I don’t think vengeance is really an issue here but for brevity’s sake, I understand the verse was included because of the behavioral responses that follow. I am disappointed that you have thus set yourself up to be my enemy in those last two verses; but of course I would treat you humanely and justly were we to meet, and I will speak to you pointedly, but truthfully here for now, for the greatest good that I can accomplish is to speak the Truth as God reveals it to me through my combination of spiritual gifts; for God’s Word is not revealed merely by means of scholastic achievement in educational institutions, but also directly through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that resides in all Christians, received at baptism and affirmed at confirmation.

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Matthew,
I have no idea who you are but you know who I am. You are a guest on my blog -- a guest in my house. You throw insults at me in the first entry (go read it again), and you insist on picking fight. I have no desire to argue with you. I have presented my point of view. And you have presented yours. I don't agree with you; you are not likely to agree with me. I will engage in a conversation with you if you can find a way to have a conversation and not make this personal.
Jim

Matthew said...

A point of greater importance than who I am, is whose I am. You have chosen to let people know who you are with your biography. It reads like a resume, as if you are still applying for a job by listing your secular accomplishments. It’s all well and good that you went to school here or worked there, but when it comes down to it, when people are looking to you as a spiritual leader, they should be reading about your relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. Your biography should be your salvation story, how you came to be saved and how He has directed you to where you are now.

You keep bringing up this idea that I have insulted you. If you believe you are in the right, and that you are doing the Lord’s work, then should you not heed Peter in his first letter (4:14)? If I have insulted you while you believe you are doing Christ’s will, should not this insult be worn as a badge of honor, as a visible sign of your suffering for the sake of the Gospel? Does not Paul say in the very selection of his letter to the Romans that you directed me to read, that you should repay this evil (as you see it, for it seems the first, if not only, point you are willing to discuss) with good and not complaint?

I am, however, glad about your last condition for continued discussion; for personal is the very crux of this argument (again not used as a derogative). It is in fact the very center of Christian life on the whole. God wishes for us to have a personal relationship with Him; and while I don’t take your disagreement with me personally, I don’t know how much more personal it can be that you have been entrusted to care for a portion of the Lord’s Flock. The idea that churches don’t really have any unique, dare I say personal, identity (and yes property is part of what defines an individual parish as separate from another) distinct from a diocesan, regional, or national affiliation is about as impersonal as you can get.

Regarding your church’s parishioners: do you not notice whether they are there for services? Do you not reach out to those who are struggling with health issues? Do you not render assistance or counseling when they are dealing with relationship issues such as marriage, divorce, childbirth, or death? These are deeply personal issues to the people of the local churches; and locally is where Christ is really able to be seen as present or absent. The vitality of the larger Church structures can only be measured by the heartbeat of the local parish. Weekly attendance, marriages, births, and deaths, all these things are just numbers when passed on to the diocesan, regional, and provincial level. They are only personal (of or pertaining to a specific person or persons) when looked at on the congregational level. So when a priest, or a bishop, or any other person lets it be known that they aren’t as concerned with whether members come or go as they are with who has control over some chairs, books, and office space, you’re absolutely right I take that personally.

I wholeheartedly believe that the members of your parish are desperate for a personal relationship with you, with each other, and with God Almighty. They should be your parishioners and you should be their priest. No person: lay, priest, deacon, or bishop should come between you and these personal relationships. And while you may think that those things can occur wherever or whenever no matter who owns the building you meet in, consider that you and your parishioners are the ones that populate your church buildings on Sundays and throughout the week. Clerics don’t preside over services someplace with congregants showing up just so those priests will have jobs and the greater Church can continue to exist. No, people create their own churches and then call someone to them to be their pastor. The churches always belonged to the local parishioners for their local use, not held in trust for some detached organization far off. By design, parishes have always existed to meet the local needs with help being extended and received as necessary and able, with the larger Church structure being a sort of adhesive that helps hold the pieces together. But the binding agent is not supposed to be a paint, covering over what’s underneath so that a different picture is formed altogether. It was intended to be transparent, allowing the personality and people of the parish, in its natural beauty, to attract new people to be a distinct part of the Body of Christ.

The Rev. James Richardson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.