San Diego Episcopal Episcopal Diocese sues three Anglican parishes

Howard Smith, the diocese’s chief financial officer and canon for administration, finance and communication, said individual parishes are formed, overseen and dissolved by an Episcopal convention.

“Episcopal churches can’t wake up one day and decide that they’re going to be Methodist,” Smith said. “All of these churches were built when they were part of the Diocese of Los Angeles, so there were contributions from the Episcopal Diocese to build these Episcopal churches.”

Officials at the Fallbrook and Oceanside breakaway parishes and the attorney for the parishes said, however, that the deeds to the property are in the names of the local congregations and the property belongs to them.

“Our view is that that is our church,” said Rick Crossley, the lay administrator of missions and ministry at St. John’s parish. “We’re the ones that paid for it and maintained it. It’s in our name and always has been, and in our view, they (the diocese) have no claim to the property.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Diego

13 comments on “San Diego Episcopal Episcopal Diocese sues three Anglican parishes

  1. kstctr says:

    >:( The Bishops of TEC need to get a grip!! This one is a real piece of work. What part of NO doesn’t he get? These conflicts will continue if this two faced bishop does not stop pushing the members around. I am afraid that the Bishop knows nothing about being a Christian or the Bible, except to manipulate the words to justify what he is doing. He needs to wake up and smell the coffee!!!! It is over!!!

  2. AnglicanFirst says:

    ECUSA has striven to be seen as an “open” and “inclusive” church. It’s emphasis on the word “tolerance” has been used as a major plank in its platform urging the acceptance of non-celibate GLBT persons.

    And now, ECUSA is showing itself to be a church more interested in preserving its property rights than the Salvation of souls.

    People are not attracted to litigious “lawyer types” when they seek a place of worship. In fact, a property oriented and litigious church will have a difficult time retaining members, let alone gaining new members.

    Law suits are going to back fire on ECUSA, ‘big time.’

  3. Harvey says:

    #1 and #2, You guys have got it right.

  4. Br_er Rabbit says:

    In California the litigation track record is 0 for (how many so far?). They stand little chance in the courts of California, which under the “Neutral Principles” clause respect the titleholder of the deed unless specific provision under California law has been given for another claimant. The Denis Canon is a non-starter, and “implied” trusts don’t cut it.

    Since they yet keep the lawsuits coming neverthless, one must conclude that their purpose is punitive and exemplary for other churches that might be thinking about such a dastardly thing as leaving. The message is clear: try to pull out while keeping the property you built, and it’s going to cost you big time.

  5. angloirish says:

    I used to live in California. I seem to remember provisions in state law that allow for damages to the sue-ee from the sue-er if the court deems the sue-er to be maliciously tormenting the sue-ee. Any CA lawyers here know about that? Wouldn’t that be a hoot, to see +SD forced to pay legal expenses and a fine!

  6. Summersnow says:

    Jim Mathes is no fool. Either leave us the property and endowments, or we will harass you in the courts. Jim may have a pastoral reputation, but I do not believe that he wishes to be seen as being soft on those who leave. 815 is watching.

  7. Cennydd says:

    They can watch all they want, but the only satisfaction they’ll get out of this mess is just exactly THAT……a MESS! They can’t seem to understand that it’s far more Christian to just let these parishes go in peace……with their property……than to harass them. They claim to be Christian? Then fine……they can prove it by dropping the lawsuits! Otherwise, they’ll just prove to the Christian world that they’re hypocrites, who say ONE thing and do ANOTHER!

  8. Br_er Rabbit says:

    Expenses to defend against a frivolous lawsuit are indeed damages that can be recompensed by court ruling. Currently, the Diocese of Los Angeles (+Bruno and company) have been ordered to pay damages for their persecution of Saint James Anglican, Newport Beach, whose case was argued this week before the appeals courts.

    +SD and company may indeed be forced to pay. Tune up your hooter, you may need it.

  9. Sue Martinez says:

    AngloIrish, to add to what Br_er Rabbit wrote, the Diocese of Los Angeles and Bishop Bruno were ORDERED to pay the fees for defending St. James’, All Saints’, and St. David’s last year. (I’m a member of one of the parishes.) Our lawyers have not seen one penny! TEC was also told that it had no business even being part of the suit, but they are all appealing the Superior Court decision. Opening arguments were heard in the Appeals Court on Monday and TEC is back as part of it. They are appealing not only the decision, but the fees, as well. If they lose in this court, they will probably appeal to the California Supreme Court–and who knows, maybe even the U.S. Supreme Court. This case is too important for them to be content with any negative outcome because of the precedent-setting implications for California, and possibly, the entire U.S.

  10. angloirish says:

    Sue, Br_er Rabbit,
    Thank you for the information. We used to go to St. James La Jolla back in my Navy days. My youngest was baptised at Good Samaritan back when it was a mission, I think, of St. James. Sad to see the current situation, but it was a long time coming. Good for the California courts.
    Go Pads.

  11. kstctr says:

    >:( I have been an Episcopalian all my life. I am convinced that all of this was set up 35 years ago, by putting the BCP before the Bible, and not teaching scripture. I have personally met +Mathes and he has told both Orthodox and Gay Rights advocates that he is their man! What is interesting is you can’t be on both sides. It sounds more like monkey in the middle. I was in the Diocese of San Diego, and am no longer, after meeting this man. There is no Joy of Christ in this mans face or actions. It is so sad to see the church I dearly love being manipulated to this extent. I became so disgusted that I walked away and am now a member of a new plant Anglican Church. We are growing in leaps and bounds and will continue to follow the foundations of the Faith to save people for Christ. This bishop’s actions will drive people away, after all he has a situation with nine of his parishes already. It is interesting to watch, but I am thankful every day that the Holy Spirit made the decision easy for me and my family.
    In my opinion, TEC is in a death spiril which will not end until the house of bishops hears what the people want and respond accordingly. It is arrogance which drives this bunch and God will get His without any of our help!!!

  12. Enda says:

    I agree, #2. The day is coming when sympathy for GLBT will be placed on the shelf because of the abuse of Christians who will not become PC within the household of God.

  13. Hursley says:

    “Episcopal churches can’t wake up one day and decide that they’re going to be Methodist…”

    But their clergy can wake up one day and decide that they’re Moslems…and still Christians, somehow. Ahh, the delightful Humpty-Dumpty logic of the PostModern Episcopal Church! I guess we know where TEC’s “treasure” is by the amount of “heart” they put into defining the boundaries when pressed.