conservative Plano, Texas, church will pay the
Episcopal Diocese of Dallas $1.2 million as part of an
arrangement governing its departure from the diocese.
Christ Church, formerly Christ Church Episcopal, will
pay the lump sum to the diocese and will continue
paying down $6.8 million of debt on parish property,
according to a report that appeared on The Dallas
Morning News Web site.
Dallas bishop James M. Stanton issued a
statement Friday saying he had taken formal action to
let the church leave the denomination and retain its
property. "This arrangement secures their title and helps
our diocese continue to pursue its mission over the
next few years," Stanton said.
Jill Kinsella, a spokeswoman for Christ Church,
said Stanton had arranged for the church to be
supervised temporarily by the bishop of Peru. Christ
Church intends to remain connected with the worldwide
Christ Church, located in suburban Plano, was
one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the country
and averaged about 2,200 worshippers each weekend.
Stanton is among the leaders of seven Episcopal dioceses
who have rejected the authority of the denomination's
incoming national leader, Nevada bishop Katharine
Jefferts Schori, in the debate over the Bible and
the inclusion of gay people tears at the church.
The move, prompted partly by Jefferts Schori's
support for gay people in the church, falls just short
of a complete break. In October, Dallas-area
Episcopalians will meet to more fully consider their future
in the denomination.
Christ Church's exit was no surprise. The
church's pastor, the Reverend David Roseberry, has
been a vocal critic of the decision to consecrate a
gay bishop. He turned in his credentials at the 2003
national convention after the decision, and the church
hosted a conference of conservative Episcopalians
later that year. (AP)