Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SAN JOAQUIN: Tentative court ruling favors Episcopalians in Valley

By Sue Nowicki
May 17, 2014

The battle between the national Episcopal Church and the theologically conservative Anglican diocese that departed from it has been compared to the epic Bible story of David and Goliath. But in this case, the shepherd boy was no match for the giant – the mammoth national church with its deep pockets.

Although legal challenges remain, it appears that newly elected Bishop David Rice of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has arrived just in time to accept the spoils of the eight-year war: 29 parish properties, the diocesan headquarters in Fresno and frozen assets worth more than $7.25 million. Those properties include St. Luke’s in Merced, St. Matthias in Oakdale, St. Alban’s in Los Banos and St. Mary the Virgin in Manteca.

That’s in addition to six of nine independently incorporated parishes that already had reverted to the Episcopal diocese, including St. Francis in Turlock, the historic Red Church (St. James) in Sonora and St. John the Evangelist in Stockton. Three parishes remain in litigation. It also is in addition to the multimillion-dollar complex at St. Paul’s on Oakdale Road in Modesto, which was voluntarily given up in 2009 by its Anglican congregation before lawsuits were filed.

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