Thursday, May 7, 2009

SAN JOAQUIN: Court ruling 'tentatively' favors Episcopal Church, diocese

A Fresno County, California, judge, who tentatively ruled that Bishop Jerry Lamb and not John-David Schofield is the legitimate episcopal authority in the Diocese of San Joaquin, is expected to make a final determination within the next several days.

One day before a scheduled May 5 hearing of the Diocese of San Joaquin v. Schofield, California Superior Court Judge Adolfo M. Corona released a tentative summary judgment, a customary court practice. The full text of Corona’s tentative summary judgment is available here, beginning on page 4.
Noting that "the Episcopal Church has spoken as to who holds the position of Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin," Corona indicated that he would rule that Lamb has rights to the diocese's property-holding entities, including the Corporation Sole, the Diocesan Investment Trust, and the diocese's Episcopal Foundation.

Lamb was elected provisional bishop shortly after Schofield and a majority of the diocese’s congregations voted in December 2007 to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. They attempted to retain diocesan property and assets.

Corona's temporary ruling indicated that the amendments made in 2006 and 2008 to the diocesan constitution and the articles of incorporation of the Corporation Sole were void. Those amendments had removed all references to the Episcopal Church and instead inserted the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, and removed the required statement that the diocese accedes to the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons. The ruling also indicated that another amendment made in 2008 changing the name of the corporation to "The Anglican Bishop of San Joaquin" was void.

The court tentatively ruled that it would defer to the Episcopal Church in issues of governance and administration, including Schofield’s deposition. Schofield had challenged Lamb’s election as bishop on procedural grounds such as notice and quorum, "but this court has no power to rule on the validity of the Episcopal Church’s election of its Bishops," the judge said.

More here-

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