Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reactions to the California Supreme Court ruling on property

Let me share a few reactions to yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court. In case you missed it, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church in its lawsuit to regain control of three breakaway congregations in Southern California. The breakaways maintained they were justified in splitting from the church, and taking property with them, because of the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop. The court ruled otherwise, that the local congregations hold property in trust for the mother church and cannot take property with them if they chose to leave the denomination. You can read the full opinion HERE.

Also please scroll down to my post from yesterday for my own reaction to this. You might also look at the dialogue I had in the comment section with a polite anonymous poster.

A few reactions:

From the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles:

"The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is overjoyed with the conclusive opinion of the California Supreme Court.

"We have prevailed in all areas of law addressed in this case.

"We look forward to the possibility of reconciiation with these congregations, and we assure that this Diocese and the people of The Episcopal Church that we will continue mission and ministry in the areas of these congregations.

"The mission of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles continues, as our prayer book states, 'to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.' We will continue to seek this reconciliation with fellow Christians in the communities of Long Beach, Newport Beach, and North Hollywood, as well as La Crescenta, where Episcopal church properties continue as part of the Diocese of Los Angeles in accordance with the Court's opinion announced today.

"We acknowledge that this opinion establishes a precedent. We further note the pastoral concerns at this time within The Episcopal Church, which continues in its mission of service, especially in providing food, shelter, medicine, and pastoral care to those in greatest need locally and globally, respecting the dignity of every human being."

And this from the Los Angeles Times reporting the reaction of the breakaway churches:

But some breakaway parishes remained defiant. 

The Rev. William Thompson of All Saints Anglican Church in Long Beach called the ruling "a disappointment," and said that reconciling with the Los Angeles diocese was not an option for his parish of 350 to 400 members. 

"Our congregation will survive and, I think, thrive, no matter what the outcome," he said. "We are not anticipating somebody coming tomorrow and removing us. We don't think that's going to happen. Beyond that, I just don't know."

Eric Sohlgren, an Irvine attorney who represented All Saints and St. James, said the ruling might deter congregations from joining national denominations in the first place. He said the St. James parish would introduce new evidence in trial court to try to demonstrate that it should prevail, even under Monday's ruling, and might appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Howell said...

Having not had a chance to read your blog since Saturday, I got to read your last three posts in one fell swoop. How inspiring and hopeful to read about the prayer hits and the ruling, and to listen to the Bishop. I was especially moved by the prayers for peace.

If your research were detailed enough to show addresses, you would see that our household has become hooked to your blog. Thanks for brightening our days!

The Rev. James Richardson said...

Hi Howell -- The bloggy gizmo doesn't give me exact household addresses, but does tell me towns and countries where the blog is viewed and how they found the blog. Which is cool information to know.

See you soon! Many blessings on you and your family.
-- Jim