St. Andrew’s Church officials are now mulling — following a recent court ruling — whether to pay a bond to stay in their church property and operate their preschool while an appeals process plays out in an ongoing lawsuit with the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.
Last Friday, Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy required St. Andrew’s to post a bond of about $82,000 to stay in its property. The diocese and its attorneys from Bass Berry & Sims had requested that McCoy require a bond of between $11,500 and $12,500 per month – an amount the diocese feels it could attract were it to lease the property.
In previous filings, the diocese had urged McCoy to require St. Andrew’s to post a more substantial bond than the chancellor actually imposed on Friday. In response papers, St. Andrew’s Church termed the diocese’s request as potentially crippling to the preschool and church operations.
Hypothetically, McCoy could have required a bond of $12,500 per month or more for the entire time the church remains on the property during the appeals process. This likely would have resulted in both the preschool and church closing, St. Andrew’s officials said.
If St. Andrew’s pays the bond, execution on a recently granted summary judgment award will be stayed and St. Andrew’s will be allowed to remain on the property, hold church services and continue operations of its preschool until the appellate process is resolved. That process could require a minimum of two years, according to St. Andrew’s attorneys from Cornelius & Collins.
The ruling is the latest in the ongoing lawsuit. St. Andrew’s officials claim the Anglo-Catholic church severed its relationship with the diocese in 2006. The diocese, which filed suit on Oct. 30, 2009, and Bishop John Bauerschmidt, refute the claim.
In April, McCoy granted the diocese’s motion for summary judgment, meaning the case likely will not go to trial and the diocese eventually could take control of the property, located at Woodmont Boulevard and Lynnbrook Road and considered highly valuable by developers.