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NYC's $1 billion Trinity Episcopal Church

Posted By Les Kinsolving On 04/02/2012 @ 8:05 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments

Even before an earthquake caused several million dollars worth of damage, which the Episcopal Washington cathedral has nowhere near the funds to pay for, the cathedral’s financial situation was so serious that it had to stop advertising service times in the Washington Post.

Moreover, this is the same year that Episcopal cathedrals in both Delaware and Rhode Island had such dwindled attendance, contributions and membership that they announced the dates this year for final services before these two cathedrals are closed.

Then, last summer, the New York Post reported that the Sunday attendance at Historic Trinity Episcopal Church Wall Street was counted by a long-time parishioner at 49.

But the following week’s church bulletin reported attendance to be 113.

Reported the Post:

  • “Trinity’s rector, the Rev. James Cooper, had decided that tourists who wander in and out should be counted. …”

  • “‘That’s just a little snapshot into the way he presents everything,’ said [a] parishioner, who was also a member of the governing board until she resigned in protest. ‘Everything has a little bit of truth to it but a lot of deception around it.’”

  • “Playing fast and loose with the numbers, and official church records, is one of the many complaints that dog the man who heads the richest parish in the Anglican world, a church with at least $1 billion in Manhattan real estate.”

  • “Cooper was supposed to be the guardian angel of Trinity. Instead, former board members say his dictatorial style of leadership and grandiose ambitions have fomented insurrection. … They accuse him of undermining Trinity’s mission of good works since taking over as rector in 2004.”

  • “Instead of helping the poor, Cooper’s helped himself – with demands for a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse, an allowance for his Florida condo, trips around the world including an African safari and a fat salary.”

  • “Cooper, 67, whose compensation totaled $1.3 million in 2010, even added CEO to his title of rector. … The atmosphere has become so poisonous that nearly half the 22 members of the vestry, or board, have been forced out or quit in recent months.”

  • “The relationship between the board and Cooper became so tense that, over the summer, Cooper agreed to quietly step down but requested a generous retirement package first, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Post. But Cooper then reconsidered, and the dissenting board members were powerless to remove him. …”

  • “‘When the fox ends up guarding the henhouse, it never ends well for the chickens,’ ousted board member Thomas Flexner, global head of real estate for Citigroup, wrote in a Feb. 13 resignation letter. ‘But this is what has happened at Trinity.’”

  • “Trinity Church opened its doors in 1698. … Seven years later, Queen Anne gave the church a wide swath of land, 215 acres. … George Washington and Alexander Hamilton worshipped at Trinity, and Hamilton is buried in its graveyard on Trinity Place.”

  • “Today, Trinity’s holdings – in addition to the church and nearby St. Paul’s Chapel – include 14 commercial buildings. … The revenue from the rents is some $200 million a year. …”

  • Cooper’s salary is $346,391 per annum, plus deferred compensation of $507,940, according to 2010 tax documents, the latest available.

Question: Will Historic Trinity offer any of its billion-dollar income to help the Washington cathedral with its multi-million-dollar earthquake indebtedness?

Second question: Why in the New York Post was there no comment from either the denomination’s presiding bishop or from the Episcopal bishop of New York? (It surely appears to me that the Post inquired of these prelates – who refused to comment.)

Third question: Since the one-time 3.6 million-member Episcopal Church has already lost 1.6 million of those members – in large measure due to its approving of same-sex marriage, as well as homosexual and lesbian priests and bishops – have these losses in membership, as well as millions of dollars in contributions, been made up by donations from members of the hugely financed sodomy lobby?


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