Friday, February 12, 2010

Episcopal diocese sues, seeks church property

From The Modesto Bee-

The Episcopal-Anglican battle in Stanislaus County got very personal on Monday, as the Episcopal faction filed a lawsuit against St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock.
The suit, filed by the Rev. Jerry Lamb, bishop of the Modesto-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, names the Rev. Gerald Grossman and nine members of the church's vestry, or ruling body, as well as the St. Francis parish as defendants.

No monetary damages are mentioned. Instead, the lawsuit seeks "to return control of the parish premises and other parish assets to the plaintiffs in the matter."

St. Francis is the first parish to face an individual lawsuit. When the original diocese, headquartered in Fresno, voted in December 2007 to leave the Episcopal Church and align itself with the larger worldwide Anglican church, about 40 of its parishes joined in that action, while another six or seven decided to remain Episcopal.

The break was mainly over the interpretation of Scripture — whether Jesus is the only way to salvation and if homosexuals should be ordained and married in the church, for example.
The Episcopal Church set up a parallel San Joaquin diocese with Lamb as bishop, while the Rev. John-David Schofield is the bishop of the Anglican diocese.

Most of the parish property belongs to one of the two dioceses; about 10, however, were incorporated, which means their property was never owned by the Anglican diocese, which stretches from Stockton to Bakersfield.

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