A peaceful churchyard atop a hill in West El Paso belies the trouble that lies below the surface.
The church is named for St. Francis, the 13th-century saint who sought to be an instrument of God’s peace. But this congregation, the parish of St. Francis on the Hill Church, is hardly at peace as it waits to find out its future.
Two years ago, the parish of St. Francis voted to leave the Episcopal Church, but said it intended to remain right where it was ”” on the hill overlooking El Paso’s Westside. The parish also changed its name, from St. Francis Episcopal Church to St. Francis Anglican.
And to head off efforts by the denomination to evict them, members took the unusual step of suing the national church and the regional diocese, the Diocese of the Rio Grande, based in Albuquerque, N.M.
Since then St. Francis and the Episcopal Church have been battling it out in the 210th Judicial Court before Judge Gonzalo Garcia.