Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Settlement Reached By Episcopal Diocese and Syracuse Breakaway Congregation

On Aug. 28, a New York trial court approved a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York against the breakaway St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Syracuse. (See prior posting.) Under the settlement reported yesterday by Episcopal News Service, the diocese will be given title to the church property, but members of the breakaway church can use it rent-free for up to one year. More specifically:
The diocese will lease the building to the breakaway members at no charge for six months. The lease can be extended at their request on a month-to-month basis, for a maximum of six months if the court finds that the members have complied with all terms and conditions of the settlement, including making good-faith efforts to relocate. The breakaway members have to maintain the property and insure it, and they cannot remove any Episcopal symbols or signs.

At the end of the lease, the breakaway congregation will vacate the building and the former rector, Robert Hackendorf, will leave the rectory.

The members were also ordered to account for the parish's financial assets, which can later be transferred to any new church formed after the dissolution of St. Andrew's. The settlement says those assets amount to less than $50,000.
During the time that the building is being used by the members that changed their affiliation from ECUSA to the more conservative Anglican Mission in America, no Anglican bishop can visit or officiate there.