St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro received more than $1.3 million from the estate of Hendley McDonald after he died in 2017. ACNA officials laid claim to the bequest, arguing the money rightfully belonged to the breakaway Anglican congregation, which still calls itself St. Mary’s. Until that dispute could be resolved, the two sides agreed to keep the money in a joint bank account, where its value has grown to about $2 million, according to David Skelton, senior warden of the Episcopal congregation.
McDonald filed his will in Waco, where he had been a longtime resident, mandating the dispute over the bequest be referred to Waco’s probate court. On Feb. 16, a McLennan County judge signed an order saying the terms of the will “are unambiguous with regard to the identity of the beneficiary,” which the judge ruled was the Episcopal congregation. That congregation should be “the only owner and signatory on the investment count,” the court said.