Shield The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth  
April 19, 2016

Appellate court hears oral arguments

 

Visitors’ seating was full today in the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth Court room dooras a three-justice panel heard arguments from both sides regarding the appeal of last year’s trial court ruling in favor of the Diocese and Corporation. Justice Ann Gardner welcomed all those present for the hearing, noting the unusual number of observers.

The appeal was filed by the plaintiffs Episcopal Church parties after the trial court ruled that, under neutral principles of law, the church and diocesan properties held by our Corporation are held in trust for the Diocese and the Parishes and Missions in union with it – and not The Episcopal Church. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the trial court should apply neutral principles rather than deferring to TEC wishes. It also declared that the Dennis Canon has no force or effect in the state.

Attorney Scott Brister answered a very few questions from Justices Lee Gabriel, Bonnie Sudderth, and Gardner during his presentation on behalf of the Diocese and Corporation. The hearing concluded on time. There is no period defined for the court to hand down an opinion and judgment, but a ruling can be expected within a few months’ time.

Attorneys for the Diocese and Corporation ask for continued prayer for the justices as they review the extensive record in the case and reach a decision on the appeal.