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Saturday, 5 July 2008

Anglicans, property and why Sydney Diocese won't be part of a schism

Whatever their passion for getting the Anglican church on what they see as the right theological track we can I think be fairly certain that the leadership of Sydney Diocese will move cautiously in how this is all framed in terms of institutional arrangements with respect to their relationship to the Anglican church in Australia.

That at least is the view of this non-Anglican, bush lawyer and committed ecclesial anarchist.

If you are wondering why I sound so confident, I have one word for you - property.

Sydney Diocese is sitting on someone unknown amount of property, some estimates place it at about $4 billion, arising historically from the early land grants during the initial settlement in Sydney - grants that were made before it became clear that the Anglican Church was not going to become the Established Church on that fatal shore.

Anglican dioceses are rife with lawyers. Any hint that Sydney diocese was in any way moving to formally disconnect itself from the Anglican communion would see legal opinions flying right left and centre about the possibility of civil suits around the lawful ownership of that property.

An example of what such legal action might look like, on a somewhat smaller scale, can be found in the cases that followed the split up of the assets of the Presbyterian Church between those who joined the Uniting Church and those who remained to form the continuing Presbyterian church.

We can't say that we weren't warned by Jesus about the power of Mammon. In this case it looks like it will effectively constrain some church leaders who have strong theological commitments from following thos commitments to their logical institutional conclusion.

2 comments:

perthanabaptists said...

Good point Doug; I think property and money must cause all sorts of theological compromise. I'm surprised you haven't had a flurry of comments!

Shalom, Nathan.

Kellee said...

This is great info to know.