St. Andrew's requests rehearing following appeals court ruling

Church contends purchase of its property is key element in case against diocese

On the heels of a recent Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a state trial court decision in favor of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Tennessee, St. Andrew's Church has filed a petition for rehearing.

The case stems from Nashville-based St. Andrew's efforts to break away from the diocese.

In her ruling, filed April 25, Judge Patricia Cottrell said the Episcopal Church is hierarchal and, as such, individual churches hold property in trust for the diocese and, as such, are not in a position to disassociate themselves from the governing body.

Cornelius & Collins represented St. Andrew's, while Bass Berry & Sims represented the diocese. Ben Rose, partner with Cornelius & Collins, said the appeals court, in its lengthy opinion, did not appear to reference the church’s purchasing of the property.

“One of the main points of emphasis in the petition was the fact that St. Andrew's purchased the Woodmont Boulevard property back in the 1960s from the Diocese of Tennessee,” Rose said.

Rose said it would be “premature” to make a decision regarding pursuing a Tennessee Supreme Court effort “until the court of appeals has had an opportunity to review and consider the petition for rehearing.”

Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the diocese could not be reached for comment.