Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Court gets Episcopal case on Valley properties

From California-

A key phase begins today in the court battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Diocese of San Joaquin over who owns the Valley churches' properties.

After a Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled last year that the national Episcopal Church is the rightful owner of the church buildings and other assets, the diocese appealed. A hearing before the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno is scheduled for 10 a.m. today. The judges are expected to make a ruling in about a month.

The issue ultimately will be resolved by a jury. But if the diocese loses its appeal, the jury will not be allowed to hear the argument that the diocese and not the national church has ultimate authority over church property.

Almost three years ago, an overwhelming number of the diocese's clergy and lay representatives voted to split from the national Episcopal Church amid disagreements over same-sex marriage, the ordination of gay bishops and the role of women in the church. The diocese holds to a more conservative theology.

More here-

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