The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester is asking for the keys to the church property of a parish that was recently dissolved in its opposition to the denomination's homosexual agenda.
All Saints Episcopal Church in Rochester, N.Y., now declared "extinct," refused to give up its property despite its being dismissed from the diocese for not paying its dues.
"He (Bishop Jack McKelvy) asked for the keys to the church," said Attorney Raymon Dague, who will represent All Saints if sued by the diocese, according to Agape Press. "He wanted possession of it; he wanted to install his pastor there. And we politely told him, 'No, you're not going to do that.'"
After the 2003 ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson a practicing homosexual in New Hampshire, conservative member churches were outraged. All Saints halted its annual payment to the diocese, protesting the denomination's move away from Scripture and the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Rochester congregation offered an alternative of putting the money in an escrow account until 2006, when the homosexual agenda would be assessed at the Episcopal National Conference. The diocese council rejected the offer.
Rochester's Episcopal diocese voted on Nov. 19 to dissolve All Saints with its assets to be turned over to the trustees of the diocese.
"If you don't pay your taxes, you go to jail," said the Rev. Diana Purcell-Chapman who said she reluctantly cast a vote in favor of the resolution, according to World Net Daily. "It had to be done."
Despite the threat of losing its property and a possible lawsuit, the Rochester parish plans to continue its 80-year-old ministry and hold regular Sunday worship services.
"We are certainly still alive and well even though this body has declared us extinct, given us the death sentence," the Rev. David Harnish of All Saints Church had stated.
The ordination of an active homosexual in 2003 stirred member parishes around the world in protest, with a possible schism from the 3.2 million member Episcopal Church USA.