New Anglican church severs ties with PTC’s St. Andrew’s

Tue, 02/27/2007 - 5:35pm
By: John Munford

A congregation that split away from the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta is dropping its legal claims to any of the property from its former church, St. Andrew’s-in-the-Pines in Peachtree City.

Instead, the newly-christened Anglican Church of Fayette County will meet temporarily at Huddleston Elementary School for the time being, with a few services slated for the nearby Gathering Place senior citizen’s center, said parishioner Fred Burdeshaw.

The previous week’s service was shared by both the new Anglican church and those who elected to stay with St. Andrew’s-in-the-Pines Episcopal Church as they met together side-by-side.

The Anglican Church of Fayette County celebrated its inaugural service at the Gathering Place Sunday with 125 members celebrating Holy Communion with Canon David Anderson of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Anglican Church leaders said they split away from the Episcopal Diocese because of concerns over the “increasingly liberal interpretation of scripture.” The church tried to work with the Episcopal Diocese to settle property issues, as only one of three parcels on the St. Andrews campus is actually deeded to the diocese, but those efforts were ultimately abandoned, Burdeshaw said.

Georgia law tends to favor established churches like the Episcopal Diocese in these types of cases, Burdeshaw said.

Instead, the decision was to abandon any potential conflict, and “we were better off to walk away, which is disappointing but reality,” Burdeshaw said.

The church is limited in the amount of dates it can rent the Gathering Place but has reserved it for Palm Sunday and Easter services, Burdeshaw said.

Nationwide, similar Episcopal congregations have also faced the growing issue of scripture interpretation, particularly in light of the national Episcopal Church appointing an openly gay bishop in 2003. Such actions have created a theological schism between those who wish for the scripture to be interpreted more traditionally and those who support the current church leadership. [See related opinion column on Page A6 in this issue.]

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Submitted by ludepk on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 6:22am.

Thank you for an excellent report. I attended the first meeting of the Anglican Church and am one of the new members. By providing our community with a fair report of this event, you let all those, who can not in good conscience continue supporting The Episcopal Church, know there is now an alternative. This is the sort of service a community newspaper should render, and I commend you for it. -Phil Kelley

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