Friday, May 09, 2014

Episcopal Church Wins Lawsuit Over San Joaquin Diocese Property

A California state trial court this week released a Tentative and Proposed Statement of Decision giving a victory to The Episcopal Church (TEC) in its property-ownership dispute with the break-away Diocese of San Joaquin. The decision comes after a trial. (In an earlier decision the court concluded that there was not evidence that would allow adjudication on summary judgment.) In Diocese of San Joaquin v. Schofield, (CA Super. Ct., May 5, 2014), the court held that the purported transfer of property to the Anglican Diocese Holding Corporation, affiliated with the Province of the Southern Cone instead of TEC, was invalid because the transfers were made by Bishop John David Schofield after he was removed as an Episcopal bishop by TEC. It went on to hold that the Diocese could not "leave" the Church because it is a geographical construct of the Church. The Church's governing documents "make clear that a local parish owns local church property in trust for the greater church and may use that property only so long as the local church remains part of the greater church." Anglican Curmudgeon blog comments on the ruling from the perspective of the break-away Diocese.