by Jeffrey Walton, IRD
The story of Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, New York is widely known: the parish decided in 2007 to leave the Episcopal Church, offering to pay $150,000 to the Diocese of Central New York for the small 130-year-old property. Rather than negotiate a payment from the departing Anglicans, the diocese opted to sell the building for only $50,000 to an Islamic group, which converted the church building into an Islamic awareness center. According to the Rev. Tony Seel, the Diocese even added a legal caveat to the sale stating that the new owners of the property could never re-sell the building to the original congregation.
[...] “I’ve had two principles throughout this,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told NPR earlier this year when speaking about Episcopal property battles. “One, that the church receive a reasonable approximation of fair market value for assets that are disposed of; and, second, that we not be in the business of setting up competitors that want to either destroy or replace the Episcopal Church.”