Friday, 10 October 2008

Largest Western New York parish leaves diocese

The area’s largest Episcopal parish plans to split from the Diocese of Western New York and leave behind the Town of Tonawanda church buildings it has called home for 48 years.

Members of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church will become the first local congregation to break ties with the Episcopal Church since the contentious 2003 ratification of an openly homosexual bishop by the national governing body.

“The gay issue is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said the Rev. Arthur W. Ward Jr., rector of St. Bartholomew’s Church. “The Episcopal Church from our perspective has turned its back on the Lord, it’s turned its back on scripture and the word of God.”

St. Bart’s will join hundreds of parishes around the country that have abandoned the Episcopal Church because of philosophical and theological differences, particularly over interpretation of scripture, the path to salvation and the acceptance of same-sex marriages.

The congregation, however, won’t engage in a legal battle for the property on Brighton and Fries roads — as was done by several churches around the country, including in New York.

Instead, the group plans to buy the former Temple Beth El property on Eggert

Road, less than a mile from its current location. It anticipates a December move. Read more
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