Calif. Episcopal diocese sues breakaway parish

Feb 18th, 2010 | By | Category: Signs of the Times (click on article name)

Calif. Episcopal diocese sues breakaway parish

The Associated Press

Posted: 02/12/2010 02:52:14 PM PST

Updated: 02/12/2010 04:08:21 PM PST
Mercury News

TURLOCK, Calif.—Episcopal leaders in central California are launching a new round of legal action to gain control of property used by congregations that split from the national church in a dispute over the Bible and homosexuality.The Diocese of San Joaquin said the congregations that left to align with more conservative Anglican parishes in 2007 had no right to take control of church property. Former Bishop John-David Schofield led about 40 San Joaquin parishes in the secession after the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Breakaway Episcopal conservatives have since formed the rival Anglican Church in North America.

The Modesto-based diocese previously filed a lawsuit against Schofield in an effort recover most of the church properties.

But 10 of the breakaway parishes are incorporated—meaning that they own their own property—so the diocese must deal with those cases individually.

On Monday, the diocese sued one of those parishes, St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock, “to return control of the parish premises and other parish assets to the plaintiffs in the matter.” The lawsuit also names the Rev. Gerald Grossman and nine members of the church’s ruling body.

“The (Modesto) diocese has never given us money,” Grossman said. “The national church has never given us anything. Why do they think they have a right to this property?”

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