Members and clergy of various local Episcopal and Anglican congregations say they are doing just fine, some of them boasting church growth in numbers of congregants, quality of fellowship and worship, or both, despite ongoing litigation over church property to which both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin lay claim.
The rector of All Saints Anglican Church, the Rev. John Riebe, said pending litigation does not worry him or his flock of 140 who attend two Sunday services. “The church is the people. It’s not the building,” he said. “We honestly believe that this is the Lord’s property and we are stewards of the Lord’s property. If we’re asked to give it up to find other property to work with, then that’s what we’ll do.”
He said only about five people left All Saints when “the separation” took place in December of 2008. “We have continued to see slow but steady growth. We have not had any decline as a result” of the split, he said.
“It’s a very thriving, energetic, Episcopal parish,” Grace Congregation member Mary Webb said about her church during the social hour following a recent Lenten service attended by about 65 worshippers. “We are very much alive and well. There are legal battles over property, but we move on.”