Episcopal church split headed to court in California

Fresno BeeApril 26, 2008 

The U.S. Episcopal Church has filed a lawsuit to reclaim property from the Diocese of San Joaquin, which voted last year to leave the national church largely over differences with the national body's approval of same-sex blessings, ordination of a gay bishop, the role of women in the church, and how to interpret the Bible over such issues. antional church.

In a 30-page lawsuit filed this week in Fresno County Superior Court, the church argues that the vote by 42 of the diocese's 48 parishes doesn't entitle them to keep any property. The national church wants all the diocesan property, including titles to its church buildings, including the diocesan headquarters, St. James Cathedral of Fresno.

The lawsuit asks John-David Schofield, whom the national church deposed March 12 as bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, to vacate his Fresno office and turn over the property occupied by parishes that voted to leave. A Schofield spokesman, the Rev. Van McCalister, speaking on his behalf, said the diocese will likely fight the legal action.

The lawsuit raises the question of who makes up the diocese and who's the bishop. Six of 48 parishes voted to stay with the national church and later elected Jerry Lamb as bishop. The smaller diocese has set up temporary offices in Stockton. The breakaway diocese has aligned with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America, based in Argentina.

Read the full story at Fresnobee.com.

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