Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Advisory: Landmark court decision upholds diocese's claim

Breaking News, which does not look good for those churches breaking away from the Episcopal Church and still wanting to hold on to their property. (The churches that have lost this case maintain that they are now part of the Anglican Church of Uganda!):

LOS ANGELES -- The California Court of Appeal, in a 77-page landmark decision issued yesterday, unanimously upheld claims by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national office of The Episcopal Church to the property of three parishes whose leaders and members had left the Episcopal Church in 2004.

Presiding Justice David G. Sills, writing for the Court, concluded "the right of the general church in this case to enforce a trust on the local parish property is clear." ...

Three years ago, three parishes of the Diocese--St. James' in Newport Beach, St. David's in North Hollywood, and All Saints' in Long Beach--severed their relationship with the Episcopal Church and Diocese and placed themselves under the jurisdiction of a conservative Anglican bishop in Uganda. Each parish claimed it was entitled to take parish property away from the Episcopal Church and Diocese.

The Diocese, citing church canons which place all parish property in trust for the Episcopal Church and Diocese, asserted it was entitled to retain the property. Litigation followed.

The Court's ruling yesterday confirms Bishop Bruno's conviction that parish property cannot be taken away from the larger church by departing members.


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