Posted by Kendall Harmon

A property rights battle over the historic St. John's Parish has ended years after a schism erupted within the Episcopal Church when part of the congregation opposed the church's acceptance of gay pastors.

Superior Court Judge Roger Ross on April 4 awarded the parish in downtown Stockton to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The group that had broken away from the diocese - most of them with a history of multiple past generations in the Episcopal Church - and became aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church of North America was ordered out of the building in the ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In another recent but unpublished decision, the same [South Carolina] Court of Appeals disposed in one paragraph of an appeal by a Baptist Church Conference from a judgment finding it had no ownership or trust interest in the property of one of its churches (Haselden v. New Hope Church, No. 2012-213355, March 19, 2014) (h/t: commenter "Joe"). The per curiam opinion is self-explanatory:
The General Conference of the Free Will Baptist Church of the Pentecostal Faith ("the Conference") appeals the circuit court's order granting summary judgment in favor of New Hope Church ("New Hope") on the grounds that New Hope owned the property on which it was situated free and clear of any legal interest claimed by the Conference. We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Rule 56(c), SCRCP (stating that summary judgment is proper when no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law); Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595, 603 (1979) (stating that when resolving disputes over the ownership of church property, courts must rely "exclusively on objective, well-established concepts of trust and property law familiar to lawyers and judges."); S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7401(a)(2) (Supp. 2013) ("To be valid, a trust of real property, created by transfer in trust or by declaration of trust, must be proved by some writing signed by the party creating the trust."); All Saints Parish Waccamaw v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of S.C., 385 S.C. 428, 449, 685 S.E.2d 163, 174 (2009) ("It is an axiomatic principle of law that a person or entity must hold title to property in order to declare that it is held in trust for the benefit of another or transfer legal title to one person for the benefit of another.").

AFFIRMED.
Since it is unpublished, the opinion has no precedential value (i.e., it cannot be cited to any other South Carolina court), but its summary disposition is still a strong indicator of the way the wind blows in South Carolina. The Court found applicable Jones v. Wolf's holding that state courts may apply traditional concepts of trust and property law in resolving church property cases; a South Carolina statute setting out the legal requirements for a valid trust in the State; and the Supreme Court's opinion in the All Saints Waccamaw case, which ruled against a similar argument made by ECUSA and the then-EDSC. Taken together, those three authorities are all a court needs to cite in order to find a Dennis-Canon type of claim invalid and of no consequence under South Carolina law.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 24, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a Fresno courtroom Monday, Anglican Bishop John-David Schofield's presence loomed large in the long, legal battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.

Schofield, who died in October, is a key witness in a Fresno County Superior Court civil trial that will determine who owns dozens of pieces of property -- the Anglican diocese or the national Episcopal Church?

The bishop gave his videotaped deposition in late 2011, long after he led 40 of 47 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin away from the national Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Diocese of the San Joaquin.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Retired Anglican bishop John-David Schofield, who in 2007 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin led a movement out of the U.S. Episcopal Church over debate about same-sex marriages and the consecration of a partnered gay priest, died early Tuesday. He was 75.

Current Anglican Bishop Eric Menees said on the diocese's website that Schofield died peacefully at home sitting in his favorite green chair and was found Tuesday morning by friends.

Read it all and the message from Bishop Menees.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals

4 Comments
Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The change at St. James Church in Sonora is in some ways a microcosm of messy Anglican realignment and both the stark theological differences and litigation that usually accompany it.

The historic “red church” of St. James in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin was turned over to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in July. Known for bold color and architecture, St. James is also the oldest standing Episcopal Church building in California, constructed in 1859.

The congregation of St. James’ joined the majority of the Episcopal (Now Anglican) Diocese of San Joaquin in departing the Episcopal Church in 2007 over theological differences and the direction of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church. After temporarily coming under the oversight of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone (South America), San Joaquin Anglicans later helped establish the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Presiding Bishop's job -- and future reputation -- is, in effect, on the line. She and her personal Chancellor have been so identified with the litigation agenda of ECUSA (because they run that agenda without interference from anyone else in the entire Church) that they are taking a hit, so to speak, on account of the reversals which that agenda has recently suffered in Texas (Fort Worth), Illinois (Quincy), South Carolina, and yes - let it be said -- in San Joaquin (even though there is as yet no final judgment there, ECUSA faces a decidedly uphill battle to convince the California court that its canons allow it to take the property of the withdrawing diocese).

In a (rather desperate, and, some would say) clumsy attempt to protect her prerogatives on the litigation front, the Presiding Bishop (and, as always, her personal Chancellor, whose law firm earns millions each year from the Presiding Bishop's continuing patronage) asked the "Ecclesiology Committee" to deliver a counter to the "Bishops' Statement on Polity" promulgated by the Anglican Communion Institute and the Communion Partner Bishops within ECUSA....

That Committee (with membership as noted above) obediently came forth with just such a "Statement", and presented it to the assembled bishops in Nashville. Wonder of wonders, however -- what seemed likely as a rubber stamp of 815's current litigation claims devolved into a rejection of the Committee's paper. That rejection was based chiefly on the bishops' reluctance to submit themselves or their dioceses, by a simple resolution, to any claim of metropolitan authority -- but it was also based on their own personal knowledge of the Church's historical polity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 28, 2013 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Philip Richardson, who is the senior bishop of the seven New Zealand dioceses, says the three Primates here have accepted Bishop David’s resignation with regret.

“For the last five and half years, Bishop David has thrown himself, body and soul, into serving the Diocese of Waiapu.

“His people here will miss him. Equally, they will understand, as we do, the responsibilities we all have to care for our extended whanau. He and Tracy will return to the US with our blessing and prayers.”

Bishop David is to become the Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, in eastern California, and will take up that role in February next year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and PolynesiaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

1 Comments
Posted September 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is not enough to claim "We say the Nicene Creed every Sunday" as evidence of Christian belief. One must ask the deeper question, "What exactly do you mean by the words you are reciting?" Episcopalians have embraced the postmodern spirit of the age in an attempt to be relevant to the culture. In doing so they have changed the core beliefs of Christian faith at the very roots. This revision then becomes a pseudo Christianity, which is radically opposed to the original. The two cannot be reconciled by simply saying, "Let's all be friends." We no longer worship the same God.

As Anglicans, we are unwilling to compromise the traditional expression of Christian faith. When we separated from the Episcopal Church, Bishop Schofield freely gave deeds to the properties of all churches which wished to remain Episcopal. Four months later those same churches joined together in a lawsuit to take all the Anglican properties as well. All attempts to find an amicable settlement have been rebuffed by the Episcopal Church.

What does it mean to be a Christian?

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

5 Comments
Posted August 23, 2013 at 8:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Per the Prayer Book and personally, I accept the Holy Scriptures as the "inerrant Word of God" which "contains all things necessary for salvation," and I also accept (as does The Episcopal Church USA, or ECUSA) the historic Creeds (Apostle's, Nicene and Athanasian) as "a sufficient statement of the faith." All that in turn means I and ECUSA believe in the Virgin Birth, that Christ was the only Son of God and so on, period.

For a non-Episcopalian to state that I believe otherwise is the result of ignorance, arrogance or something worse.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

9 Comments
Posted August 16, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In its passion to pursue a progressive theological paradigm embracing cultural sensitivity (inclusiveness) and intellectual freedom, TEC cast aside fundamental Christian doctrines, professing, among other things:

* Jesus was not born of a virgin, was not God incarnate, and his resurrection is questionable at best;

* Man needs enlightenment, not salvation; we are to reconcile ourselves with one another, not with God;

* Scripture is not authoritative nor the revealed word of God, but rather metaphorical.

Simply put, Anglicans left TEC because of their faithfulness to the fundamental and historical Christian foundation that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority of its faith.

The tragic fallout of this split is multifaceted. A lady I have known and worshipped with for 30 years approached me, saying homosexuals were not welcome at St. Paul's. I was taken aback by her misconception. I reminded her that on every Sunday, the priest who is celebrating Holy Communion invites "all baptized Christians as being welcome here at the Lord's table." Not blessing same sex unions is an unrelated issue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

12 Comments
Posted August 9, 2013 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standing at the entrance to St. Paul's Episcopal Church on 17th Street, the Rt. Rev. Chet Talton raised up the blunt end of a 6-foot-tall staff and pounded it against the door.

Again he pounded with his crosier, and again, each time the knock resounding through the 160-strong gathering. From inside, the church warden greeted him, and after a brief exchange, Talton entered.

So began a new era at St. Paul's, itself the subject of a prolonged battle that, though settled at this congregation, continues to ripple through courtrooms across the country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

9 Comments
Posted July 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Francis was packed Sunday, with about 140 people filling every pew and the choir area, with visitors from Bakersfield to Lodi. The crowd fit the theme of the day, from the opening hymn to the sermon: "All Are Welcome."

"What a joy it is to be here in St. Francis Church," Talton said during his sermon. "This is the church, St. Francis, a part of the Diocese of San Joaquin and a church cannot be divided. We affirm that, praise God."

But division did hit the parish in 2007, when the San Joaquin Diocese and 40 of its 47 parishes, including St. Francis, voted to leave the theologically liberal national Episcopal church. It became the first diocese in the nation to do so and renamed itself and its parishes Anglican, remaining with the worldwide Anglican Communion, to which the Episcopal church also belongs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted June 10, 2013 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Kathryn Galicia, who leads the St. Francis Episcopal congregation, did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment. In the past, she said she was unable to talk publicly about the upcoming property settlement.

"We didn't want to say anything before the property matter was settled," Talton said. He added that he wishes the departing Anglican congregation well and was trying to be "sensitive" to its feelings in the weeks leading to the return of the property.

Likewise, Anglican Bishop Eric Menees in his remarks to the former St. Francis congregation urged members to pray for the returning Episcopalian congregation and to put any anger it had over the forfeiture of the property on him, because "I was the one who made the decision to give up the property."

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2013/05/31/2741914/st-francis-property-episcopal.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted June 1, 2013 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sign outside St. Francis Anglican Church reads “think FORGIVE act.” Action and forgiveness were the themes of the day, as the parishioners gathered Sunday for one last time at their church on Main Street before walking several blocks away to begin a new church in rented facilities.

The congregation opened its closing service with "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee," which includes the words, "Thou art giving and forgiving ... teach us how to love each other."

It was especially poignant because the St. Francis facility has been in a tug-of-war since 2007, when 40 of the 47 parishes in the San Joaquin Diocese voted to leave the national Episcopal church over theological differences. The departing parishes, including St. Francis, and the diocese were sued by the Episcopal church in 2008 and 2009 in a bid to regain those properties.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Paul's Anglican Parish in Bakersfield is looking for a new home following a courtroom decision that hands control of its church property back to the Episcopal Church.

The Anglicans are on the move following a little-noticed ruling in February that parishioners in two of several breakaway Kern churches lacked the authority to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church.

Even though Anglicans at St. Paul's and St. Michael's Anglican Church in Ridgecrest both held their own titles to church property, Kern County Superior Court Judge Sidney P. Chapin ruled that they had to vacate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Theology

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Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Litigation Lottery for the parishes of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin continues in the courts of California. I mentioned in an earlier post that as a result of a poorly reasoned decision by a trial court judge in Bakersfield, which granted summary judgment to Bishop Talton's rump diocese, two parishes in Kern County had decided to move out of their church buildings rather than carry the fight on to the appellate level -- even though the decision was so obviously wrong.

Now comes another trial court decision -- based on exactly the same underlying facts -- which denies summary judgment to Bishop Talton and his diocese. The Superior Court of Tulare County ruled on Tuesday of this week that there were disputed issues of fact remaining with regard to the ability of St. John's in Porterville to disaffiliate from ECUSA.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture

3 Comments
Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

"...as I was working on the immediately preceding post about the new federal case in South Carolina, my office forwarded the tentative ruling from the Fresno Superior Court on the motion for summary judgment which ECUSA and Bishop Lamb (now Bishop Talton) brought against Bishop John-David Schofield to recover all of the property of his Anglican Diocese.

The tentative ruling was to deny the motion -- meaning that the case will have to go to trial before it can be finally decided. In short the court held that the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden on summary judgment: they failed to show, in effect, that a Diocese of the Church is prohibited from leaving it as a matter of law.

ECUSA had tried all of its usual "hierarchical" arguments, but the Court indicates it is not inclined to buy them..."

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Rev. Canon Jim Lewis, who is part of the diocesan leadership that decided to break away from TEC, told The Christian Post that he has little issue with the process that the Continuing Episcopalians are undertaking. "We have said consistently that The Episcopal Church (TEC) is free to set up a new Diocese here. She has every right to come and be a part of that process," said Lewis.

"What neither she nor TEC has a right to do is to claim to be us in that process. We remain the same legally incorporated entity that was established in 1785 (four years before TEC was founded). We have disassociated with TEC but we have not ceased to be The Diocese of South Carolina."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Eric Menees, new bishop of the San Joaquin Anglican Diocese, might feel a little like David facing the giant Goliath.

First there's the lawsuit seeking ownership of 31 of the diocesan parishes and the diocesan headquarters in Fresno. Then there are nine more lawsuits filed against the independently incorporated parishes that also are part of the diocese. Finally, there are the multimillion-dollar assets of the diocese, which remain frozen pending the outcome of the lawsuits.

The giant in this case is the Episcopal Church, which was not happy when Menees' predecessor, the Rev. John-David Schofield, was the first bishop in the country to lead his diocese away from the national church and its increasingly liberal theology. Schofield and the 40 parishes loyal to him are under the oversight of the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America, which allowed them to stay with the worldwide Anglican Communion, to which the... [Episcopal] church belongs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2011 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Sunday, the day after he was enthroned in Fresno as the new Anglican bishop of the San Joaquin Diocese, the Rev. Eric Menees conducted his first services at St. Matthias Anglican Church in Oakdale.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted October 24, 2011 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some national church denominations have changed their standards in recent years – stirring debate among congregations about whether to stay or find a new path.

In the central San Joaquin Valley, some congregations have chosen to leave their denominations because, they say, it doesn't represent their traditional values. The goodbyes have worked out for the churches, but they have been difficult.

The trend has reached three major denominations – the U.S. Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA) and most recently the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranPresbyterianSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

1 Comments
Posted August 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



The segment description is as follows:
George Conger and Kevin Kallsen bring you back to the "new media" of the 1980's in their "On this day in History" segment. They also discuss the use of analogies and their place in a violent world. Alan Haley discusses some specifics from the court case in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin; and our guest Bishop this week is Bishop Iker from the Diocese of Fort Worth. Bishop Iker brings news from the Fort Worth law suit and the new heat record for DFW.
Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

6 Comments
Posted August 6, 2011 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jim Cowan, liaison to Council from the Anglican Church in Canada, reflected that he found the conversations concerning the Dioceses of Quincy and San Joaquin intriguing. He asked, "How do the dioceses that have suffered as a result of schism compare with those dioceses that are marginal? There are real concerns about viability, but where do these concerns mesh with plans for the extended mission of the Church?

He also observed, "We have talked about 'pruning for growth.' What does this mean to us? Pruning, whether for maintenance or for growth, hurts."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of CanadaEpiscopal Church (TEC)Executive CouncilTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

2 Comments
Posted June 18, 2011 at 9:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Special events are planned throughout the diocese for candidates to meet and interact with congregations. They will be held Tuesday at St. John the Evangelist in Stockton; Wednesday at St. Paul’s in Bakersfield; Thursday at St. Michael’s in Ridgecrest; and Friday at St. James’ Cathedral in Fresno.

All begin at 3 p.m.

Those events will be followed by question-and-answer sessions involving laity and clergy at 6:30 p.m.

A special convention for the election of the new bishop will be held May 14 at St. James’ Cathedral.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

0 Comments
Posted March 26, 2011 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With gratitude to the Search Committee for their faithful completion of the task appointed them, and with anticipation of the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, ACNA, is pleased to make formal announcement of the candidates for Episcopal Election. The following candidates were selected after a process of serious prayer, discussion, and discernment from the nominations which were received as of January 2011. They are listed simply in alphabetical order:
The Rev. Dr. Ronald Jackson, Diocese of Luweero (Province of Uganda)
The Rev. Dr. Eric Menees, Diocese of Western Anglicans (ACNA)
The Very Rev. Carlos Raines, Diocese of San Joaquin (ACNA)
The Very Rev. Canon Ryan Reed, Diocese of Fort Worth (ACNA)
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

66 Comments
Posted March 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

30 Comments
Posted November 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the trial judge erred in granting declaratory relief, the presiding justice went on to say, the court is not necessarily precluded from resolving the other causes of action.

Ardaiz explained:

“[C]ivil civil court jurisdiction is properly invoked to resolve issues concerning property transfers assertedly made by Schofield while he was the duly constituted Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Resolution of these issues involves consideration of both the powers invested in the bishop under the church law at the time he took those actions, and the powers of the bishop under state corporate, trust, and property law at the time he took these actions.”

Church law, he added, may be relevant to those issues to the extent it “may establish trust relationships and limit or expand corporate powers.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

3 Comments
Posted November 24, 2010 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Thursday's ruling, the appellate justices said the issue before them was "not resolution of a property dispute ... (but) solely this issue: Who is the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin: John-David Schofield or Jerry A. Lamb? This is an issue the First Amendment forbids us from adjudicating."

The matter of who is bishop, outside of property issues, the court wrote, is a matter for the church itself. Civil courts must not decide "questions of religious doctrine," the justices wrote.

The facts are clear, the justices said, and not a matter for courts to decide: Schofield was the bishop until Jan. 11, 2008. Lamb has been the bishop since March 29, 2008. "Third, at some point Schofield became the Anglican Bishop presiding over an Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America."

Thus, the trial court erred by naming Lamb as the bishop, the justices said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted November 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The legal battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin over who owns church property will return to Fresno County Superior Court, the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday.

The appellate justices tossed out a Superior Court judge's decision that the breakaway diocese couldn't claim a right to the property in a jury trial. The judge essentially had decided that it was a church matter, not a matter for the civil courts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted November 19, 2010 at 6:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What does this decision signify for the other nine cases pending in various local courts in the Diocese of San Joaquin? (These are the ones filed, since the Fresno trial court's decision in this case, by Bishop Lamb and the Episcopal Diocese against the individual incorporated parishes within the Anglican Diocese.) It is probably too early too tell. More skirmishes will have to occur, and the facts become clearer, before that question may be definitively answered. For each of the parishes in question did not leave the Diocese to which they have always belonged; instead, the Diocese in question left the Church to which it belonged, and the parishes came along with the Diocese. Now that the Court of Appeal has, in effect, ruled that state courts cannot inquire into the ecclesiastical legalities of that departure (which would require them at the same time to decide who is the proper Bishop of San Joaquin), it would appear that the local courts might be equally well precluded from inquiring whether the parishes correctly followed the Diocese.

Once again, if we take the present opinion as our guide, it would seem to say that the ownership of the individual parishes' property will have to be decided based on neutral principles of property law -- the deeds and the parish articles will be examined, as well as the diocesan and the national constitution and canons. And here is where the parishes have some breathing room. For the Dennis Canon was never adopted as such in the Diocese of San Joaquin, from the time it was enacted at the national level in 1979 until the date the Diocese withdrew from the national Church in December 2007. When it was admitted as a Diocese in 1961, San Joaquin acceded only to ECUSA's Constitution, and said nothing about acceding to its canons; its diocesan Constitution still reads the same way today, under Bishop Lamb. Indeed, the Diocese enacted in 2005 a type of anti-Dennis Canon, which negated any trust interest in diocesan or parish property for the benefit of the national Church:

No ownership or proprietary interest in any real or personal property in which title and/or ownership is held by the Diocese of San Joaquin, its churches, congregations, or institutions, shall be imputed to any party other than the Bishop as Corporation Sole (including a trust, express or implied) without the express written consent of the Bishop and the Standing Committee of the Diocese.

Given these circumstances, therefore, the most important language in the Court's opinion may well be in its final three sentences, directed to the trial court (emphasis added):

Other neutral principles of civil law may be relevant; and the governing documents of the diocese and the national church, to the extent those documents may establish trust relationships and limit or expand corporate powers. (See Episcopal Church Cases, supra, 45 Cal.4th at p. 485.) Thus, the trial court may be required to determine whether properties claimed by both plaintiffs and defendants were actually transferred by their legal owners under California law, and whether otherwise-valid transfers violated the provisions of a valid express or implied trust imposed on the property. But we emphasize that in resolution of, for example, trust issues, the court is required to determine the terms of the trust based on the applicable documents and the civil law, not on the basis of religious doctrine. (See Jones v. Wolf, supra, 443 U.S. at p. 604.)

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted November 19, 2010 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all (an eleven page pdf).

A.S. Haley offers this preliminary comment:

The ground upon which the reversal is ordered is that the case as presented by the plaintiffs Lamb and ECUSA in their first cause of action is not properly decidable by the secular courts without their becoming too entangled in First Amendment issues, such as who is the proper Bishop of San Joaquin. It holds that ECUSA's recognition of Bishop Lamb is conclusive as to his position as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and to the continuity of that entity "for ecclesiastical purposes", but it goes on to hold that the validity of the transfers of title to diocesan property by Bishop Schofield while he was still the Episcopal Bishop will have to be decided upon neutral principles of state corporate law, and also any relevant governing documents of the Diocese and the national Church.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted November 19, 2010 at 6:37 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here are the letter signers:

Ms. Sarah Dylan Breuer, Diocese of Massachusetts and Member of Executive Council
The Rev’d Tony Clavier, Diocese of Northern Indiana and Alternate Deputy
The Rev’d Scott Gunn, Diocese of Rhode Island and Deputy
The Rev’d Matt Gunter, Diocese of Chicago and Deputy
The Rev’d Tobias Haller, BSG, Diocese of New York and Deputy
The Rev’d Stephen Moore, Diocese of Olympia and Deputy
The Rev’d Bruce Robison, Diocese of Pittsburgh and Alternate Deputy
The Rev’d Mike Russell, Diocese of San Diego and Deputy
The Very Rev’d George Werner, Diocese of Pittsburgh and past president of the House of Deputies

Now read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So the path I ended up following was one of loyal and oblique opposition. Ironically, the documents posted by the current San Joaquin Standing Committee, if one takes the time to examine them closely, quite clearly illustrate this. When the Committee on Constitution and Canons proposed an amendment to Article II of the diocesan constitution that said, in effect, “We’re going to be Anglican, and affiliate with a province to be named later,” I cooperated with two clergy colleagues in crafting a substitute that would have been compatible with remaining within the Episcopal Church. (True, it omitted any mention of TEC, but it is worth noting that the “unqualified accession” language had already been removed some years earlier, so that concern was not at issue in 2006.) This was supplemented by a resolution that we drafted that appointed a committee to study various options for ensuring continued affiliation with the Anglican Communion, one of which would have been continued affiliation with the Episcopal Church. I did everything within my power, given the political realities in the diocese, to retard and subvert progress toward separation from the Episcopal Church. I even proposed an amendment to the constitutional change on the floor of convention that would have restored mention of the Episcopal Church to Article II, but my amendment was roundly defeated. So I failed in my efforts, but it was not for lack of trying.

Of course, from late 2006—actually, about the time of the diocesan convention that year—and on into the following year, I was involved with the search process at St Anne’s in Warsaw, Indiana, where I now serve as rector. I accepted that call in May 2007. In my experience, God’s timing usually turns out to be pretty good (!), and in this case it got me out of a situation where my opposition would have needed to turn from oblique to direct, not only with my bishop, but with my own parish, where the vestry was overwhelmingly committed to Bishop Schofield’s leadership. As the saying goes, it would not have been pretty.

Let me conclude by reiterating my intention to make my vows when I am consecrated a bishop without crossing my fingers, either physically or mentally. I will neither attempt to lead, nor cooperate with anyone else’s effort, in taking the Diocese of Springfield out of the Episcopal Church. In fact, I will oppose any such effort. I have tasted the fruit of that sort of activity, and it’s not sweet. I am committed to the Episcopal Church, and believe my specific vocation is to exercise my ministry within the Episcopal Church. My voice has been and will continue to be a minority voice on many important questions. I accept what comes with that territory. It is my call.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted November 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The latest twist involves the man who was pastor of St. John's in the run-up to the schism.

[The] Rev. Daniel H. Martins, St. John's pastor for 13 years, has become a bishop-elect in the Diocese of Springfield, Ill. - but in the original denomination.

The denomination St. John's decided to leave while Martins led it.

Some Episcopalians feel betrayed.

"I'm very surprised that he's turned around and has decided to go back to the Episcopal Church," said Al Lingo, "because he was a very, very avid opponent, and he led St. John's parishioners away from the Episcopal Church. And I'm sure it's a great, great surprise to the people of St. John's."

The original Diocese of San Joaquin has taken the unusual step of informing Springfield that Martins is a schismatic in sheep's clothing and should not be bishop....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Anglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted October 31, 2010 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Obtained via email; in wide circulation at present so important for blog readers to see; please read it all and follow all the links--KSH.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
The Central Third of California
The Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, Bishop
The Rev. Canon Mark H. Hall, Canon to the Ordinary

Dear Bishops and Standing Committee Members,

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin joins me in sending you this letter that outlines our grave concerns about the election of the Rev. Daniel Martins as the Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.

Our concern is not about the electing process, but about the suitability of Daniel Martins to be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church. We write to you now before the consent process is in full swing, so you will know of our concerns and have a chance to review pertinent information about Daniel Martins and his involvement in the attempted separation of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin from the Episcopal Church. We also request that you visit Daniel Martins' website (http://cariocaconfessions.blogspot.com/) and review his comments about the startup of the Continuing Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

All of the material concerning Daniel Martins' relationship to the Diocese of San Joaquin can be found on our diocesan website (http://www.diosanjoaquin.org) under "Updates" on the right sidebar or by direct link at http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/dioceseofspringfieldconsent.html.

Daniel Martins came to the Diocese of San Joaquin in 1994 when he was called to be the rector of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Stockton. He remained at St. John's until August 2007 when he accepted a call to St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Warsaw, Diocese of Northern Indiana. St. John's is the oldest Episcopal Church in Stockton (and was one of the leading parishes in the diocese.) Only months after Martins left St. John's, the parish chose to follow John-David Schofield in the attempt to leave the Episcopal Church. It is our contention that Daniel Martins did not prepare this congregation to remain in the Episcopal Church, but did just the opposite. St. John's, Stockton is one of the few incorporated parishes in the diocese, and we were forced to file suit to recover this property for the Episcopal Church.

While residing in the Diocese of San Joaquin, Daniel Martins was very active in diocesan affairs. He was elected a deputy to General Convention multiple times, the last time in 2006. The Diocesan Council meeting minutes on April 8, 2006 report on a discussion of the upcoming Diocesan Convention resolution regarding disassociation from the Episcopal Church. In response to a question as to why deputies to General Convention 2006 had questions about the timing of the resolution, the Rev James Snell is referenced: "Read e-mail from Dan Martins. Endorse substance of proposal but concerned that (1) language provocative, (2) timing is ill-advised (prior to GC 2006) - diverts attention, (3) resolution will be spun by Bps adversaries, (4) robs GC deputations of effectiveness and credibility at GC. If GC rejects Windsor Report, then it will be time to act and Dan will lead the charge." (See http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/CouncilMinutesApr2006)

In John-David Schofield's address to convention in December 2006, when the first reading of the proposed change to the Constitution was made, he made the following statement, "Working independently of this Virginia meeting, three of our rural deans: Frs. Dan Martins, Jim Snell, and Richard James came up with a substitute for the original proposed changes to our diocesan constitution." This substitute amendment became the very amendment that the disaffiliating parties attempted to use as their vehicle to leave the Church. (See http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/SchofieldAddr2006)

When former Bishop Schofield called for a vote in 2006 on this constitutional change removing the accession clause (after rejecting the motion for a secret ballot) and called for a vote by delegates standing in favor, reliable witnesses noted that Daniel Martins voted in the affirmative.

The Standing Committee and I contend Daniel Martins was instrumental to the process that led to first and second votes by the diocese to change the Constitutions and Canons that resulted in the failed attempt to unilaterally leave the Episcopal Church. Further excerpts from Diocesan documents are available at our diocesan website. (See for example, email dated June17, 2007 from Martins to Standing Committee http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/Email6172007, Standing Committee minutes from June 2007 http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/SCMinutesJun2007, and email from Dan Martins in December 2006 http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/Email12182006).

We also urge you to read excerpts from Daniel Martins' blog entitled "Confessions of a Carioca." (See http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/DanMartinsBlogExcerpts) The following are examples from his blog.

3-5-2008: There's a new group of Non-Jurors in the process of formation even as I write. They are former clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Their principled stand places them between the "rock" of their former bishop, whom they have loved and served loyally, but whom they cannot in good conscience follow to the Province of the Southern Cone, and the "hard place" of the noncanonical rump "remaining" Diocese of San Joaquin, which they cannot in good conscience join because it represents the raw exercise of naked illicit power by the Presiding Bishop, and because to do so would compromise their oath of loyalty to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

7-13-2008: Now, aside from the ... what shall we say? ... ungenerous ... tone of the missive, it raises some curious issues. It comes as no news that, for a number of substantive technical reasons, I recognize neither the constitutional foundation of the "Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin" nor the authority of Bishop Jerry Lamb. By any rational reading of the Constitution & Canons of the Episcopal Church, we're talking about a bogus diocese with a bogus bishop, though they have some impressive-looking stationery. That they exist at all, and are able to maintain the chimera of legitimacy is a result only of the raw exercise of naked political power on the part of the Presiding Bishop. She is manifestly guilty of presentable offenses but it will never happen because the political calculus just isn't there.

Out of concern for the Episcopal Church, we urge you to review the information in this letter, on our website (http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/dioceseofspringfieldconsent.html), and in Daniel Martins' own blog.

Upon reviewing the materials, we believe that it is clear that Daniel Martins not only actively supported and voted to attempt to remove the Diocese from the Episcopal Church. Furthermore, it is implicit in his writings and actions that he clearly holds the belief that a Diocese may leave this Church unilaterally, which is contrary to our understanding of Anglicanism and the polity of the Episcopal Church.

In closing, the consent process, as mandated by our canons, is the only way the wider Church can respond to the election of a person to be a bishop. Accordingly, we would ask you to join us in withholding consent for Daniel Martins to become the Bishop of Springfield.

Peace,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Jerry A. Lamb is Bishop of San Joaquin [the TEC Affiliated Diocese]

Members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process* TheologyEcclesiology

30 Comments
Posted October 29, 2010 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The appellate justices who will decide whether the U.S. Episcopal Church or the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin owns the diocese's church properties on Wednesday appeared uncertain about the court's authority to rule on the issue.
"We are involved in a very confusing question of power of the church versus power of the court," said 5th District Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Cornell, who repeatedly compared the schism between the two church groups to the Civil War.
Justice James Ardaiz also acknowledged the case was "confusing."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted October 21, 2010 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A key phase begins today in the court battle between the U.S. Episcopal Church and the breakaway Diocese of San Joaquin over who owns the Valley churches' properties.

After a Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled last year that the national Episcopal Church is the rightful owner of the church buildings and other assets, the diocese appealed. A hearing before the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno is scheduled for 10 a.m. today. The judges are expected to make a ruling in about a month.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted October 20, 2010 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Who is the legitimate bishop in the San Joaquin Diocese, and who owns the diocese's property, including its headquarters in Fresno and parishes from Stockton to Bakersfield?

Those questions are at the heart of the next round in the legal battle between local Episcopalians and Anglicans. The two groups face off today in the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno.

The justices will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit, filed by Bishop Jerry Lamb against Bishop John-David Schofield.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Anglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

5 Comments
Posted October 20, 2010 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Frank Kirkpatrick, professor of religion at Trinity College, wrote in a survey article in 2008 that "there were, as of December [2007], 55 [Episcopal Church] property disputes in one state or another of resolution around the country." (You may find a listing of those lawsuits in this post from August 2008, and see also the latest report from the American Anglican Council.) Of those fifty-five lawsuits, I estimate that ECUSA itself was a party to about half of them. Thus from the five lawsuits to which it was a party as Bishop Griswold ended his term in November 2006 (the Pawley's Island case in South Carolina, the three Los Angeles lawsuits, and a case involving St. James Church in Elmhurst, in the Diocese of Long Island), the number increased by five times in the first full year of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's term.

Under Bishop Jefferts Schori, ECUSA did not just passively stand by as the property disputes emerged, and allow the diocese involved to carry the laboring oar. It aggressively prosecuted the cases in both California and Virginia, joined in filings in Connecticut, Georgia and New York (where it intervened as the DFMS against St. Andrew's, in Syracuse, and filed an amicus brief in this case in New York's highest court), became enmeshed in additional litigation in San Diego and Colorado, and threatened litigation against the dioceses of San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Quincy if they dared to withdraw from the Church. (The latter two threats were issued by the Presiding Bishop's Chancellor on his own initiative, as discussed in this earlier post.)

There are no records in the minutes of the Executive Council during this period to show that it was ever consulted before any of these multiple filings in the name of the Church took place; as quoted in the previous post, the Presiding Bishop held the view that only she personally, and neither the Council, nor even General Convention, had any authority over litigation. Thus she simply gave her Chancellor free rein -- and ECUSA's legal bills began to mount exponentially.

Read it all (and please note it is part of a series all parts of which need to be perused).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing ParishesTEC Data* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 2, 2010 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has filed its ninth and final lawsuit against self-incorporated parishes that turned their backs on the national church in 2007.

This one, filed Monday, is against St. John the Evangelist church in Stockton, which is insured for $7.5 million.

St. John was one of about 40 parishes in the San Joaquin Diocese that left the Episcopal Church over issues of scriptural interpretation, such as whether Jesus is the only way to God, and whether gays should be ordained as priests and bishops.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted September 2, 2010 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 160-year-old Church of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Stockton is at the center of a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Joaquin County Superior Court, the latest among several similar legal disputes over parishes that voted in recent years to leave the Episcopal Church USA.

To the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, the lawsuit represents an effort to reclaim assets that were wrongly taken when nearly 50 congregations voted in 2007 to secede, largely in protest over the ordination of women and gays.

But members and leaders of St. John's - which now is aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church in North America - call the lawsuit a malicious attempt to decimate a congregation and to steal what never belonged to the Episcopal Church in the first place.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

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Posted September 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has filed a lawsuit against the former members of St. John the Evangelist, Stockton. It’s the ninth such lawsuit the diocese has filed against its former congregations that split from the national church to align with a more conservative Anglican order.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

16 Comments
Posted August 31, 2010 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

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Posted August 26, 2010 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is suing the members of St. Paul’s, Bakersfield. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of suits stemming from the original diocese splitting from the national Episcopal Church and aligning itself with a more conservative Anglican order.

The congregations being sued occupy what the Episcopal Diocese contends is church property that it owns. The Anglicans dispute that argument. There was no immediate comment from the Bakersfield church about the lawsuit.

Similar cases are pending against the former members of St. Francis, Turlock; St. Michael’s, Ridgecrest; St. John’s, Porterville; St. James, Sonora; Redeemer & Hope, Delano; St. Columba, Fresno and St. Paul’s, Visalia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

8 Comments
Posted August 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We see in this set of facts, as early as 2004, a recurring pattern. While professing to honor diversity -- and indeed, to seek "unity in diversity" -- the groups allied with Via Media have always taken root only in those dioceses led by orthodox clergy who stoutly resisted the ordination to the episcopacy of individuals in a noncelibate relationship outside of Holy Matrimony as defined (and still defined) by the Book of Common Prayer. For thus upholding the rubrics of the BCP, they have been accused of fomenting schism within ECUSA, sued, deposed and hounded from the Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican IdentityEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central FloridaTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted August 23, 2010 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The summer months have seen no break in the Episcopal Church’s legal wars, with new lawsuits, appeals and victories for both sides in the litigation over parish and diocesan property.

On July 6, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin filed suit against the rector, vestry and parish of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Visalia, California. A congregation of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, St. Paul’s along with a majority of the diocese withdrew from the Episcopal Church in 2007 and affiliated with the Province of the Southern Cone.

The St Paul’s litigation joins a growing list of parish lawsuits funded by the national Episcopal Church and initiated by loyalist faction in San Joaquin. Suits against lay leaders and parish corporations are pending against St Francis Anglican Church in Turlock; St Michael’s Anglican Church in Ridgecrest; St John’s Anglican Church in Porterville, James Anglican Church in Sonora; Holy Redeemer Anglican Church in Delano; and St Columba’s Anglican Church in Fresno.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

10 Comments
Posted August 13, 2010 at 8:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's been a year since more than 90 percent of St. Paul's congregation walked away from its $2.3 million property in northeast Modesto to begin Wellspring Anglican Church downtown. The move forestalled a lawsuit by Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb to claim the property in the ongoing national dispute between the theologically liberal Episcopal Church and the conservative Anglicans.

Members and leaders of each congregation said they are happy -- Wellspring with its stable congregation and ministries, despite not owning a physical structure, and the small but slowly growing congregation at St. Paul's.

Recent visits to both churches found the congregations using the identical liturgy, from prayers to reponses, and even the same order of worship.

The differences are in the numbers -- about 30 adults attended the main service at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, while nearly five times that number gathered at Wellsping -- and in the Scriptural passages and sermons.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

9 Comments
Posted July 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies and council vice president, yielded the majority of her time for opening remarks to Diocese of San Joaquin Provisional Bishop Jerry Lamb who updated the council on the work to rebuild the central California diocese since the group met there in January 2009.

"I want to tell you clearly and loudly that the clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin are committed to the Episcopal Church and to the Episcopal sense of what it is to be God's people," he said.

He said that the Episcopalians who remained after the former leadership and a majority of its members joined in December 2007 the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone have tried to reconcile, revive, renew and rebuild. Lamb said that efforts to reconcile with those who left "bore very, very little fruit" but that 21 worshipping communities have reformed and 18 of them have shown "significant but slow growth."

"They are becoming much, much stronger," Lamb said.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

6 Comments
Posted June 17, 2010 at 8:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin filed a lawsuit last week against St. James Anglican — the historic Red Church — in Sonora. It was news to St. James' priest, the Rev. Wolfgang Krismanits, on Monday afternoon.

"We've had no word whatsoever," he said. "I've seen nothing yet. I didn't get an e-mail. I didn't get a phone call."

When told that a news release dated Friday said a lawsuit had been filed against his congregation, Krismanits replied with frustration: "This is what (the Episcopal[ians]s) are doing. They're telling everyone else, but they're not contacting the congregation until after it's done."

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

8 Comments
Posted April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Paul's Church of Visalia has chosen to fight attempts by the Episcopal Church to seize its property including the stately 60-year-old brick church complex at Hall and Main Streets.

The Rev. Richard James, pastor of St. Paul's Anglican Church, said the Fresno law firm of Penner, Bradley and Simonian has been hired to represent the St. Paul's congregation in court.

“This move was necessitated by legal action taken against St. Paul's by the Episcopal Church and the Rev. Jerry Lamb Bishop of the newly formed Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. .Lamb is seeking claim to St. Paul's property for a small group which broke away from the congregation after it voted by a large majority to remain a part of the original Diocese of the San Joaquin, said James.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

10 Comments
Posted March 25, 2010 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009Anglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

8 Comments
Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin today filed a lawsuit against St. Columba’s, a Fresno parish that in 2007 joined Bishop John-David Schofield and 39 other churches in seceding from the national Episcopal Church.

Already, the Episcopal diocese has filed similar lawsuits against St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock and St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Ridgecrest, a high-desert community in far eastern Kern County. Those parishes also were part of the secession.

The lawsuits against the individual parishes are part of a larger legal battle pitting the Episcopal Church against the breakaway Diocese of San Joaquin, which joined the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America, and now also the newly formed Anglican Church in North America.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

19 Comments
Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

However, unlike the case in San Joaquin, there is now a date that has been set for oral argument in the Court of Appeal -- and it will occur in the same week that oral arguments have been set in the Supreme Court of Virginia on the litigation between ECUSA, the Diocese of Virginia, and the Anglican District of Virginia. (The latter Court has not yet published a specific date and time for argument, but has announced only that arguments will occur sometime during its session meeting from April 12 to 16.)

The Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas, which hears appeals from Fort Worth, has announced that it will hear oral argument on the writ sought by the Episcopal Diocese and Bishop Jack Iker on Wednesday, April 14, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: Virginia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

3 Comments
Posted March 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This new program of legal mayhem began with the filing of this suit against the parish of St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock. St. Francis is a duly constituted member of the only true Diocese of San Joaquin, and wants nothing to do with the non-Diocese. But the non-Diocese wants to claim its property and assets -- its bank accounts, its prayer books and altar furnishings, and the building which it owns, and in which it worships.

How can this be? Well might you ask. For in the make-believe world of Bishop Lamb, the Presiding Bishop and President Anderson, St. Francis still "belongs" in some fashion to ECUSA -- in their eyes, it never left. And so they want to "embrace" it in their loving grasp, and to take all of its property and assets. Never mind that although there are some Episcopalian parishioners in Turlock, who are worshipping for the time being in other premises, they by themselves would not be enough to maintain and insure the property, and pay for a full-time rector. If the Anglican parishioners choose not to return to the fold and support their church, well, the Episcopal remnant will just run through the parish bank accounts until the property can be sold to someone else (but certainly not to the Anglicans, because they are in "competition", and the Presiding Bishop is dead-set against helping "competitors"), and then that money can be used to prop up the non-Diocese. What a wonderful and Christian-like plan!

And now, as I have reported, the non-Diocese has embarked on a program to sue all of the individually incorporated parishes in the Anglican Diocese, using the St. Francis complaint as a template. A second such lawsuit has now been filed against St. Michael's in Ridgecrest, and still others are in the works. Each of the lawsuits seeks a "declaration" from the court where it has been filed that the parish corporation's assets are held in trust for ECUSA and Bishop Lamb's group, and so cannot be controlled or used by the people who are the current vestry members and clergy. (The latter have been "deposed", don't you remember? So they cannot function in an Episcopal church, and must be made to hand their churches over to those who will "loyally guard and preserve the Parish Premises and Parish Assets for the mission of the Church, . . . adhere to the Church and Diocesan Canons and . . . protect and serve loyal Episcopalians in the Parish", to quote from paragraph 80 of the complaint.)

Other lawsuits against the remaining incorporated parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin are surely coming....

Read it carefully and follow all the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)House of Deputies President Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

2 Comments
Posted March 8, 2010 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation! All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near; praise him in glad adoration."

If the 67 parishioners at St. Francis Anglican Church here were troubled over last week's lawsuit seeking their property, they didn't show it as they fervently sang the traditional hymn Sunday.

The song has been around since the 1600s, nearly four centuries before a split hit the U.S. Episcopal Church over the interpretation of Scripture. Anglicans say they haven't abandoned their faith but have moved to the oversight of the biblically conservative Anglican church worldwide.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted February 16, 2010 at 8:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal-Anglican battle in Stanislaus County got very personal on Monday, as the Episcopal faction filed a lawsuit against St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock.

The suit, filed by the Rev. Jerry Lamb, bishop of the Modesto-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, names the Rev. Gerald Grossman and nine members of the church's vestry, or ruling body, as well as the St. Francis parish as defendants.

No monetary damages are mentioned. Instead, the lawsuit seeks "to return control of the parish premises and other parish assets to the plaintiffs in the matter."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has started a new round of lawsuits to get dissidents to return numerous Central Valley churches.

The dissidents split from the national Episcopal church to affiliate with a more conservative unit of the Anglican Church.

The lawsuits have been filed because invitations of the Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, to discuss the orderly return of the churches have been largely ignored, the diocese says.

“It is particularly disappointing given the recent and unequivocal decisions of the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals’ rulings that the properties and assets are held for the Episcopal Church and its Dioceses,” says Diocesan Chancellor Michael Glass, the lawyer for the diocese.

The litigation is focused on returning the properties and assets to the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, he says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

8 Comments
Posted February 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two years ago this week, the Diocese of San Joaquin seceded from the U.S. Episcopal Church, launching a legal battle over church property that is now headed toward a decisive showdown.

The rebel diocese changed its name and became a founding member of a new church, the Anglican Church in North America. But religious and legal experts say holding on to its property -- including real estate and cash -- will prove to be far more challenging.

Already, a Fresno County Superior Court judge has handed a critical victory to the national Episcopal church, which sued not long after the San Joaquin diocese voted to break away. The diocese is appealing that July ruling.

Several legal issues in the case remain to be decided. But even the breakaway diocese acknowledges it will likely lose if it cannot persuade the 5th District Court of Appeal to overturn Judge Adolfo Corona's ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

10 Comments
Posted December 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds of worshippers packed into Sacramento’s Trinity Cathedral on Sunday morning to hear the nation’s leader of the Episcopal Church talk about the need to embrace change.

“Changing isn’t the problem,” said Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her message. “Our fear and anxiety about it is.”

Jefferts Schori spoke to a supportive and welcoming crowd. After all, she interned at the midtown cathedral 16 years ago. Sunday she returned to deliver a message of hope and change for the Episcopal Church that has been marked by controversy in recent years.

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

10 Comments
Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As two former Episcopal dioceses hold conventions this weekend, they are beginning to incorporate congregations from across the nation.

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote on welcoming Harvest Anglican Church, Homer City, Pa.; Church of the Transfiguration, Cleveland, Ohio; HolyTrinityChurch, Raleigh, N.C.; and St. James Church, San Jose, Calif.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (Southern Cone) plans to receive St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church, Springdale, Ark., as a new mission station. It also will welcome two existing parishes: St. Matthias’ Anglican Church, Dallas; and Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulsa, Okla.

On Oct. 30, the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee went to court against St. Andrew’s Church, Nashville, which left the Episcopal Church in 2006 and has since announced its affiliation with the Diocese of Quincy (Ill.).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing Parishes* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

2 Comments
Posted November 8, 2009 at 5:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those divisive issues caused the San Joaquin Diocese to become the first diocese in the nation to leave the Episcopal Church in December 2007. The theologically conservative Fresno-based Anglican San Joaquin Diocese represents about 40 parishes from Lodi to Bakersfield, including St. Francis in Turlock, St. Matthias in Oakdale, the historic "Red Church" (St. James) in Sonora and St. Luke's in Merced.

The theologically liberal Episcopal San Joaquin Diocese, with its headquarters in Modesto, has added about 10 new churches to the original seven that chose to remain Episcopal in 2007. Those original parishes include Christ the King Community Episcopal Church in Riverbank and St. Anne in Stockton.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

6 Comments
Posted October 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read the whole order here; and A.S. Haley has comments there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

7 Comments
Posted September 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This paper examines whether the Presiding Bishop is authorized to initiate and conduct recent property litigation and finds no source for such authority in the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Arguments based on a presumed equivalence of the roles of the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council to those of a corporate CEO and board of directors are found not to be valid. The paper also examines claims that pursuit of litigation is necessitated by fiduciary duty. It concludes that no convincing case has been made that this is so. First, no person is under a fiduciary duty to undertake something that has not been authorized. Putting aside the issue of authorization, several factors relevant to a proper fiduciary duty analysis suggest refraining from litigation such as has been commenced against disaffiliating dioceses. In this connection, relevant fiduciary duties are not limited to those that may be owed to TEC as an organization, but also include duties owed to its member dioceses. Claims that a member diocese cannot disaffiliate and retain ownership of its property implicate the latter set of duties. The paper presents a case that the duties to dioceses include duties to those that have withdrawn because the claims against them are based on alleged consequences of their having been dioceses of TEC rather than the actions of an unaffiliated third party.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted September 18, 2009 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church (USA) currently is a party to some sixty lawsuits across the United States. Its litigation budget from 2006-2012 could approach $7 million, or more than $1 million per year -- and that is just the official, published figures. There is another considerable amount going out to prop up its Potemkin dioceses in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy.

Those are the four dioceses which have thus far voted to leave the Church, and each departure has spawned a lawsuit. ECUSA from the beginning has adopted a high-stakes, winner-take-all strategy which depends for its success on its ability to prove in court the proposition that a diocese is not free to withdraw from the voluntary unincorporated association which ECUSA has been since its formation at common law in 1789....

The inverted logic of this argument should be apparent to any mind that loves reason. The Presiding Bishop and Chancellor first contend that ECUSA's Constitution and Canons prohibit any Diocese from amending its Constitution so as to withdraw from the Church. They can point to no language in the national Constitution and Canons which says as much; they argue that the prohibition against leaving is implicit. Then they contend that because it is forbidden implicitly to withdraw, a vote to do so pursuant to the express power to amend spelled out in the diocesan Constitution (which, in the form approved by General Convention when the diocese in question was admitted, was an unlimited power to amend the document in any manner whatsoever) violates that implicit prohibition. So an implicit and unwritten understanding overrides the express language of amendment: the latter does not mean what it says, because despite its unrestricted language, it is to be understood that certain amendments are out of bounds. And it is further understood (although nowhere expressly written) that you are out of office the moment you choose to follow the express language in a manner that is implicitly prohibited.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

22 Comments
Posted September 2, 2009 at 1:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No, as you can see plainly from this chart.

I post this today because earlier I read the following:

St. Francis is one of 28 parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church in the United States.


According to the Episcopal Church Annual of 2007 (which reflects parochial reports from 2005) there were 67 parishes in the diocese of Pittsburgh that year. So the quite significant drop in active baptized membership in the domestic dioceses of TEC from 1997-2007 of -9.7% does not yet reflect the realignments in Pittsburgh, Quincy, Fort Worth and San Joaquin.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Data

4 Comments
Posted August 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin will appeal a California Superior Court ruling that The Episcopal Church is hierarchical and that the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield had no standing to break the diocese’s ties with the larger church.

Judge Adolfo M. Corona of the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno, issued an order for summary adjudication on July 21. The lawsuit was filed by the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, acting bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, and The Episcopal Church against Bishop Schofield, several bodies formed by the departing diocese, and the investment firm of Merrill Lynch.

“Defendants' right to amend their constitution and canons is not unrestricted and unlimited,” Judge Corona wrote. “The constitution of the diocese has always permitted amendments. … However, from the inception of the diocese as a missionary district, it acceded to the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and recognized the authority of the General Convention of the same.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

12 Comments
Posted August 8, 2009 at 11:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Officials with the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin say they will appeal a Fresno County Superior Court ruling that affirmed the U.S. Episcopal Church's authority and its choice for a bishop -- a man the decision said controls the local church's affairs and properties.

The ruling did not directly address ownership of disputed properties claimed by the Episcopal Church but occupied by breakaway congregations. But the ruling likely will make it hard for the rebel diocese to hold on to the properties as the legal battle between the two sides continues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted August 5, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The California courts have handed the Episcopal Church and the ACNA a mixed bag of legal decisions this month in the battles over parish property. While both sides have trumpeted the importance of their legal victories, neither ruling is likely to settle the property litigation.

On July 21 the Fresno County Superior Court affirmed its May 5 ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in its suit against the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, while an Orange County Court on July 13 dismissed two motions filed by the Diocese of Los Angeles against St James Church in Newport Beach, that challenged the legal sufficiency of the parish’s cause of action in light of the California Supreme Court decision in favor of the Diocese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

0 Comments
Posted July 30, 2009 at 8:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

4 Comments
Posted July 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

11 Comments
Posted July 25, 2009 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Surprisingly, the court's decision to grant the motion is no longer the bad piece of news it would have been had it happened on February 25, or shortly thereafter. I write this post immediately after receiving word of the court's ruling, in order to forestall the impact of the trumpet-blaring from Bishop Lamb, his supporters, and the Episcoleft blogworld that will now inevitably follow.

The reason why the ruling is not bad news for the defendants any longer is quite simple: the case itself has moved on. The parties are no longer concerned with the second amended complaint, which was the subject of the court's ruling. The plaintiffs have now filed, and the Schofield defendants have now answered, their fourth amended complaint in this case. That fourth amended complaint contains whole new theories about the alleged collusion between the various defendants (including the Bishop's law firm) to remove property from the Episcopal Church (USA) and its allegedly still-existing diocese.

A motion for summary adjudication of a single cause of action, just like a motion for summary judgment on an entire complaint, is framed by the pleadings that are at issue in the case --- meaning the most current pleadings. It is, therefore, in my view a meaningless act to grant adjudication with regard to the second amended complaint, since it is no longer the operative pleading.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

24 Comments
Posted July 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last week, the Anglican congregation at St. Paul's handed over the keys to its $2.3 million facility to Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb. The congregation became one of the first in the nation to voluntarily give its property to the Episcopal Church before a lawsuit was filed.

It's a miniature portrait of a conflict going on across the country over the interpretation of Scripture, such as whether Jesus is the only way to salvation, as Anglicans believe, and if same-sex marriages should be allowed, as Episcopalians favor.

But Sunday, both sides seemed content.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

4 Comments
Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Tom Foster of Modesto was a delegate to the historic inaugural provincial assembly of the Anglican Church in North America held June 22-25 in Bedford, Texas. He called the meeting "a gangbuster operation" and said the spirit of the gathering "was absolute joy."

The 29th province in the worldwide Anglican Communion was established to oversee U.S. churches and dioceses that have left the Episcopal Church, as well as those in Canada that similarly have split over doctrinal issues, primarily the interpretation of Scripture. ACNA will oversee 700 parishes four U.S. dioceses and about 100,000 people, organizers said.

The new province, which still must garner approval from two-thirds of Anglican leaders around the world, is not recognized by the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Robert Duncan, bishop of another U.S. breakaway diocese, was installed as ACNA's archbishop during the assembly, which included the adoption of a constitution and canons, or laws. That would put him on equal footing with Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and the other 27 primates, or leaders, around the world.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

2 Comments
Posted July 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

8 Comments
Posted July 2, 2009 at 8:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although the decision has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Anglican leaders in Petaluma decided to settle rather than engage in a costly legal battle, said their lawyer, the Rev. Lu T. Nguyen.

“My clients felt as though it just wasn’t worth the long-term fight,” Nguyen said. “This is a church. It’s purpose is not material gain but spiritual matters.”

Petaluma Episcopalians appeared happy Wednesday to have a place of their own.

After a majority of the congregation voted to split from the Episcopal Church in December 2006, the remaining Episcopal members re-formed under the Rev. Norman Cram, and held services first in a parishioner’s living room and later at Elim Lutheran Church.

The congregation now has about 50 members.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes

6 Comments
Posted July 2, 2009 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb announced that the first service at St. Paul's in Modesto will be held July 5 at 10 a.m., instead of the two services originally scheduled.

He said a diocesan committee decided it would be better to have everyone gathered at one time to celebrate the renewal of Episcopal services at the church on Oakdale Road just south of Briggsmore....

Also last week, the nine other self-incorporated parishes with ties to the Anglican diocese headquartered in Fresno received letters from Lamb "to arrange the transition of all properties and assets back to the Episcopal Church." Two of those parishes are St. Francis in Turlock and St. James (the historic Red Church) in Sonora....

The Rev. Gerry Grossman, pastor of St. Francis, said Lamb's letter "amounts to the harassment of a local congregation by a national organization. We've received 'invitations' from him before, but this is the first request to, quote, "give back" something that's ours. We're not going to have this taken from us. The story of David and Goliath comes to mind."

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

0 Comments
Posted June 22, 2009 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To The Bishop and Clergy of The Diocese of San Joaquin
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America

Dear Brothers,

Greetings in the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to you on the eve of the launch of the new Anglican Church in North America. You are to be congratulated for your faithfulness in the Gospel and in your cooperation with the organization of the new Province. It is likely that it will take some time before the institutional structures catch up to the realities of the present day situation in the Communion. Until that time, you can be sure of your dual status with us in the Southern Cone. This is true not only for Bishop John-David, but also all of the priests and deacons who received licenses under my authority when your diocese came to us.

You may have heard negative things about your ministries and orders from some quarters, but I can assure you of your good standing and favour with me nd this Province under me as Primate.

Last year, even Archbishop Rowan Williams himself assured me of Bishop John-David's status as a bishop of the Anglican Communion. Any other assertions are, in our view, completely unfounded. What is important is that people are brought to saving faith in Christ and to maturity in Him. We need your full energy to be devoted to that task. The harvest is indeed plentiful, and the workers few! Thank you for your faithfulness.

Yours sincerely,

--(The Most Rev.) Gregory J. Venables is Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone of South America

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

8 Comments
Posted June 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During that week, St. Paul's will become the first parish in the San Joaquin Diocese -- and one of the first self-incorporated parishes in the nation -- to willingly sign its property over to the Episcopal Church before a lawsuit has been filed. The church, which is 130 years old and has been at various locations in Modesto, predates the San Joaquin Diocese and owns its property free and clear.

"Our name's on the deed. It doesn't even have the name 'Episcopal' on the deed, and we paid for it," said the Rev. Michael McClenaghan, St. Paul's priest. "Not a dime came from the Episcopal Church, not even a dime from the diocese."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

21 Comments
Posted June 14, 2009 at 12:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans who left the Episcopal Church in California's San Joaquin Valley to reject [partnered] homosexual clergy are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Will they lose the churches where they worship as a result of their split with the national church and Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin? The answer could come any day over the next two months.

The stakes are high after more than 40 churches from Lodi to Bakersfield and from the coast to the Nevada border left the Fresno, Calif.-based diocese. They joined the Anglicans because of differences with the national Episcopal body over same-sex blessings, the ordination of a gay bishop and the authority of Scripture.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

1 Comments
Posted June 9, 2009 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Wednesday deposed 61 clergy from Lodi to Bakersfield because they have left the national Episcopal Church and aligned themselves with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb, who called the action "heartbreaking," said from his Stockton headquarters that such clergy will have their retirement assets frozen and no longer can participate as Episcopal priests. But, he added, "this action is not taken for any ethical or moral concerns."

The news didn't seem to matter to the priests, who are now under Anglican oversight.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

12 Comments
Posted May 28, 2009 at 8:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Received via email--KSH.

It is with a mixture of sadness and joy that we received today a letter from Bishop Lamb wherein he purports to depose 36 priests and 16 deacons as of May 22, 2009. It is heartbreaking that The Episcopal Church chooses to take such a punitive action and condemn 52 active clergy with “Abandonment of the Communion” when all of these men and women are recognized around the world as priests and deacons in good standing within the Anglican Communion.Clearly, the traditional understanding of what it means to be a member of this historic Communion has been tragically altered by this action; and thereby The Episcopal Church needlessly isolates itself from their brothers and sisters around the world.

The Diocese of San Joaquin continues to reach out to the central third of California in active ministry.It will become one of 23 founding Dioceses, along with 5 more in formation, within the new Province of the Anglican Church in North America at its first Provincial Assembly in Bedford, Texas, June 22-25. Despite The Episcopal Church’s disregard for valid Anglican Orders and ongoing legal actions against us, the bold vision to bring all to an ever expanding knowledge and joy of the Lord Jesus Christ remains unchanged within the diocese. We rejoice over the growing number of ministries seeking to join themselves with us in the mission field God
has put before us.
~
We are, however,~grieved that the leadership of The Episcopal Church feels compelled to create this unprecedented division between the ministries of The Episcopal Church and their brothers and sisters throughout the rest of the Anglican Communion. For our part, we continue to recognize the orders of those who are properly ordained according to the Book of Common Prayer and who have chosen to continue to serve Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior within TEC.~~May God bless~all of us who share a common vision of ministry.~

--The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, is Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

12 Comments
Posted May 28, 2009 at 7:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It seems that whenever a court ruling comes out in ECUSA's favor, or that could put the orthodox into an unfavorable light, all of the Episcopal/Anglican blogs on the left have news about the ruling up on their sites within a day, if not within hours. Just as a little experiment, I have delayed putting up this post about a recent court ruling in the San Joaquin litigation that went mostly against ECUSA, Bishop Lamb, and the group he leads in order to see whether any of those same blogs would discuss it. Well, there has been not a word, even on the group's official Website---and not even about the part of the ruling that was in their favor, either (see below for details: this blog may be ponderous to some, but we do cover both the favorable and the unfavorable).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

3 Comments
Posted May 24, 2009 at 8:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When [Bishop John David] Schofield broke off from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin around Christmas in 2007 because he opposed the denomination’s decision to appoint women as bishops and support of same-sex marriage, a handful of churches split with him.

They called themselves Anglican after the schism and claimed membership with a newly formed Fresno-based diocese led by Schofield. Church leaders deemed too liberal by Schofield within the separated diocese were slowly replaced with more conservative leaders.

St. Mark’s, though, was left in the lurch. It took more than a year for the congregation to find a priest. The instability drove away many members and took an emotional toll on those who stayed.

“A deep, dark depression settled over everyone at first,” said Carolyn Barth, 74, Marvin’s wife and a senior warden for the Anglican side of St. Mark’s. “It took a while for us to move on from that.”

In San Joaquin County, St. Ann’s in Stockton and St. Mary’s in Manteca sided with Schofield. About one-third of St. Mark’s congregation stuck with the national Episcopalian denomination, while the rest turned Anglican.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

5 Comments
Posted May 9, 2009 at 3:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If it did not succeed for Bishop Dionisije Milivojevich, why should that maneuver succeed for Bishop Jerry Lamb? What right, under the Serbian Orthodox decision, does anyone have to come into a secular court and seek a declaration that Bishop Schofield has been duly and properly deposed, and is no longer the "Bishop of San Joaquin"?

And, even more pertinent to the issues at hand, who is to say that the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb is the proper person even to bring such a claim? If we are to look only to the Episcopal Church (USA) to say who is one of its bishops, then as already mentioned, what is to stop the Episcopal Church from picking out any loyal parishioner and saying: "You are now 'the Bishop of San Joaquin.' Please sign this lawsuit for us. Thank you."

The answer to that last question is simply what has already been noted: the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin, as duly enacted and adopted over the years, are the only authority that can specify just who is and who is not a Bishop of that Diocese. Unless and until they have been followed to the letter, the defendants contend that there is no person who can in law (as opposed to whatever the Episcopal Church (USA) wants to do) claim to be that Bishop. And since they were not followed in the case of the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, he cannot, they maintain, be entitled to bring a suit in law as "the Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

7 Comments
Posted May 7, 2009 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church has prevailed on all issues in its dispute with the former leadership of the Diocese of San Joaquin, according to a tentative ruling for summary judgment issued May 4 by a Fresno County Superior Court judge.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

8 Comments
Posted May 4, 2009 at 10:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.

On Friday, both sides were back in court.

"We've kind of moved on as a congregation and this is almost looking backwards now. So we were dreading it but here it is," said Father Matthew Kennedy, Good Shepherd's head pastor.

This time, the feud centers around a will by former Good Shepherd member Robert Brannan. He died in 1986 and left behind money in a trust fund for his parish.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central New YorkTEC Conflicts: Central FloridaTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Conflicts: FloridaTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Conflicts: OhioTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Conflicts: San DiegoTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC House of Deputies

2 Comments
Posted March 22, 2009 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As I watch the sad saga of our bishops’ legalistic and punitive response to “traditionalist” bishops, dioceses, and parishes who are attempting to leave the Episcopal Church in order to form a new North American Anglican province, I am reminded of the defensive and dismissive response of the Church of England bishops to the Methodist Movement in the eighteenth century. The result of course was the founding and development of a separate Methodist Church, which is now much larger than the “Anglican” Church (at least as we are now constituted) on this continent. Imagine the strength and witness of Anglicanism today if the Methodists were welcomed as a preaching order within the Church of England. Surely, they would be more “orthodox” and we would be more “vibrant,” and together we would be much larger and much more effective for the Gospel in the world than we are divided. This, by the way, is exactly what Innocent III achieved when he embraced St. Francis and welcomed his friars into the ministry of the Catholic Church at the beginning of the thirteenth century, despite the fact that they were preaching such a dangerous “new” doctrine.

Now what I wonder is this: what would happen if the Presiding Bishop with the support of the House of Bishops were to welcome the formation of a new province for “traditionalists” within the Episcopal Church, allowing every diocese, parish, and church institution to join this province with a two-thirds vote by the appropriate parish meeting, convention, or governing body? She could even stipulate an acceptable window of a year during which this vote would be required to happen.


In this way, both “sides” of our church could continue in dialogue from protected positions of mutual respect without the present feelings of distrust and fear. Both would also be encouraged to grow by teaching the doctrines and practicing the liturgies they believe in, which they could proceed to do with conviction and enthusiasm. We could, for instance, continue to share the Church Pension Fund and Episcopal Relief and Development, and our primates and bishops could continue to meet on an annual basis to look for areas of agreement, common witness, shared costs and joint projects, but in a way which is more representative, more conducive to collegiality, and more focused on results than our present General Convention. I also wonder if it would not be appropriate for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Consul to ask us to do this in one final attempt at unity and civility before they are forced by our actions to actively establish or passively recognize a permanent state of schism between us.

I would hope that the traditionalists would find such an arrangement better than what is now proposed as it would allow clergy, parishes and dioceses to reorganize without the loss of their properties and the cost of legal action. The risk for the Presiding Bishop, of course, is that too many will want to leave, but at least they will not be completely leaving and no one will remain because they have been bullied and threatened into submission. There is also the obvious advantage pointed out by others who have written to this magazine before me that such an action on her part and on the part of the rest of the House of Bishops would show true Christian humility and a more genuine openness to the power of the Holy Spirit to build the Church and thus to lead the Church in His, if not necessarily our own, direction.

--The Revd. Dr. D. Stuart Dunnan is Headmaster of Saint James School in Maryland; this article appears as a Guest Column in the February 8, 2009 Living Church on page 10 and is used with the author's kind permission


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Departing ParishesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

30 Comments
Posted February 18, 2009 at 8:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Among the many quotes that are mistakenly attributed to William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott's "Oh, what a tangled web we weave / When first we practice to deceive . . ." is surely one that ranks among those which are the most frequent to be so cited. (It in fact comes from his epic poem "Marmion, a Tale of Flodden Field" [scroll down to Canto VI, Stanza XVII, lines 532-33], written in 1808.) Be that as it may, the quote has proved its worth by describing so aptly the results of deception as a "tangled web", which all too frequently catches up the deceiver who spun it.

In this post, I want to point up a classic example of the improviser's art, and to show how it will most likely catch up the improvisers in ways they surely did not imagine at the moment. At the same time, however, the facts I am about to show should let no Episcopal bishop remain comfortable in occupying his or her see. For the truth is that the innovation in this instance sets a most dangerous precedent. And given the manner in which the Episcopal Church (USA) reveres illegal precedent, as in the case of citing the depositions of Bishops Davies and Larrea to justify its subsequent "depositions" of Bishops Cox, Schofield and Duncan, the establishment of any precedent so egregious and illegal as the one I am about to relate should, as I say, be enough to make any Episcopal bishop insecure. For this precedent involves the transformation of the office of the Presiding Bishop from a "primus inter pares", or first among equals, into a Metropolitan of the Church: a primate not in name only, but one in fact, who can swoop into any diocese and assume the Ecclesiastical Authority there.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Polity & Canons

6 Comments
Posted February 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her staff have attempted to aid the four dioceses in which the leadership and a majority of members have left the church with a combination of "guidance, support and pastoral care."

So says an eight-and-a-half page memo Jefferts Schori gave the Executive Council during its winter meeting here. The memo was written by Mary Kostel, the recently appointed special counsel to the Presiding Bishop for property litigation and discipline. Kostel has worked closely with David Beers, who is chancellor to the Presiding Bishop.

While the situations in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh and Quincy are all different, there are similarities in their experiences and in the way Jefferts Schori has worked with them, Kostel wrote. Those efforts usually begin with the Presiding Bishop encouraging the formation of a steering committee of Episcopalians from across the diocese who are committed to remaining in the church "and who represent a broad spectrum of views in the diocese on issues such as human sexuality and the ordination of women."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

8 Comments
Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The litigation in San Joaquin has entered a new phase with the filing of a cross-complaint against the Episcopal Church (USA) by the parties it initially sued last April. The cross-complaint, brought by Bishop Schofield and two diocesan investment entities which he heads (the Episcopal Foundation and the Diocesan Investment Trust), seeks an award against ECUSA for the amount of attorneys' fees those defendants are being called upon to expend in defending the suit instigated by Bishop Jerry A. Lamb and a group calling itself the "Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin", and joined in by ECUSA.

The cross-complaint states two claims for relief. The first asserts that ECUSA in effect put Bishop Lamb and his followers up to bringing the lawsuit that was filed in Fresno County Superior Court on April 24, 2008, by making false representations to them that they could be plaintiffs because they were now a genuine diocese of the Episcopal Church who had met in a legitimate "special convention" the previous month and elected a bishop. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, convened the special convention herself, and proposed the Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, to be its "provisional bishop". After it concurred, the convention proceeded to adopt resolutions authorizing him to claim ownership of the corporation sole that holds title to diocesan real property, and to file the present lawsuit against Bishop Schofield and the investment entities, which manage the funds belonging to the diocese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

3 Comments
Posted January 31, 2009 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In light of the California court’s ruling, Bishop Lamb sent letters Jan. 14 seeking dialogue with those who have disaffiliated. One letter was sent to clergy who have accepted canonical licenses issued by the Southern Cone; the second was sent to church-goers.

“There has been enough pain and suffering on all sides of the issue of separation from The Episcopal Church,” Bishop Lamb wrote to clergy. “It is time for us to speak to one another face to face about returning to the fold of The Episcopal Church or setting forth a plan for gracious leave-taking.”

Shortly before the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin’s annual convention last October, Bishop Lamb inhibited all of the San Joaquin clergy who accepted canonical licenses from the Church of the Southern Cone. The inhibitions will automatically become depositions from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church in April if the inhibited clergy take no further action.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

6 Comments
Posted January 25, 2009 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We really just want the status quo to exist which is leave us alone, let us follow Christ as we have been doing and do that in the building that we're in right now," said Anglican priest, Father Carlos Raines.

Last December the Diocese of San Joaquin split from the Episcopal Church over the issue of homosexuality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

6 Comments
Posted December 23, 2008 at 4:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


...the repeated mantra of "fiduciary responsibility" wears a little thin. One must turn to other factors to make a prudent and sensible decision. If a majority of the present active congregation is in favor of leaving, but a significant minority is in favor of staying, the latter group should certainly not be turned out into the street--or the VFW hall. IMHO, too little imagination and charity have been exhibited in such situations; the winner-take-all mentality has been destructive. (The Colorado Springs situation seems a case-in-point here.)

On the other hand, when a congregation is a relatively recent plant and the facilities have been paid for by parishioners who are more or less the present congregation, and the diocese has made no investment beyond the brand name, and there is an overwhelming vote in favor of leaving, it strikes me as beyond inane to take those folks to court. Justice is just a matter of common sense for those with open eyes.

Then there are the "bite my nose to spite my face" cases where any victory on the part of TEC is pyrrhic because they're left with a church and a steeple but when they open the doors there are no people. Just heating and lawn care bills--and in many cases, a mortgage. Meanwhile, the people that could be worshiping and serving there are...you guessed it...celebrating the Eucharist in the VFW hall on Sunday mornings. That's just idiotic. My former parish is in one of the four departed dioceses. Between my departure and my successor's arrival they eradicated the word "Episcopal" anywhere it was found and replaced it with "Anglican." Sooner or later, Mr Beers will get around to suing them. If he wins, he'll have a very handsome set of buildings dating back to the late 19th century and which are a collective black hole for maintenance dollars. I hope he enjoys watching them fall apart, because my guess is that even the residents of the columbarium will have relocated by then.

This is a complicated mess. It requires a complicated cleanup. Nostrums about thievery are not helpful.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

13 Comments
Posted December 15, 2008 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the Diocese of Fort Worth voted Nov. 15 to become the fourth American diocese to leave The Episcopal Church, the leadership of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) scheduled a constitutional convention in the Chicago area Dec. 3 to form a new North American Anglican province. The event will be followed by “a province-by-province visitation and appeal for recognition of the separate ecclesiastical structure in North America.”

Significant details about the plan were revealed in a short AnglicanTV internet video clip containing remarks delivered by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and Bishop Bill Murdoch, a missionary bishop to the U.S. consecrated by the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Read the whole thing and please take the time to view the video interview here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause PartnershipEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

37 Comments
Posted November 17, 2008 at 8:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The departure of Quincy and three other conservative dioceses raises questions about the future of the Episcopal Church. The church, led by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, represents the U.S. branch of the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion. However, leaders of the conservative breakaway dioceses are pushing for a second province in North America. Approval of an additional province by the archbishop of Canterbury would be unprecedented and pose a strong challenge to the Episcopal Church.

"You have some significant, traditionalist Episcopal dioceses that no longer feel that they have a future in the Episcopal Church. That's a tragedy," said Rev. Kendall Harmon, a theologian in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. "Now, we also have a bigger group that's trying to organize, link with the Global South and compete as Anglicans within the same territory. It will be interesting to see how the leadership of the Anglican Communion responds to this."

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

5 Comments
Posted November 17, 2008 at 7:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Greg Griffith: So not just from a conceptual standpoint, but really from an official standpoint, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is not a creation of General Convention.

Bishop Iker: Not at all. If it's a "creation" of anything, it's a creation of the Diocese of Dallas, which decided for missionary and church growth purposes that they would divide the diocese in two. Two-thirds of the geographical area remained the diocese of Dallas. They wanted to create a new diocese which at the time didn't have a name; it was referred to as the "western diocese," so the first convention had to, among other things, choose our name - it wasn't given to us by someone else. There were several proposals, and the vote was that we call ourselves the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Greg Griffith: Provided the resolutions at your convention pass, you'll be joining Bishop Schofield and San Joaquin, Bishop Duncan and Pittsburgh, as well as the diocese of Quincy, which voted yesterday, in a realignment with the Southern Cone under Archbishop Venables. I think we have to be candid and say that's probably it for the near term - that's probably all the dioceses that will be aligning with the Cone for the time being.

Bishop Iker: I think so. It's interesting, though, that historically to form a new province it's been customary to have 4 dioceses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause PartnershipEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

0 Comments
Posted November 13, 2008 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Five years ago, General Convention threw a match onto a gasoline-soaked garage floor, instigating a chain of events of which the secession of Quincy is now the latest link. At the very least, we are witnessing a series of rebellions that might plausibly be interpreted as one Big Rebellion in several parts. The hope of dioceses like Quincy (along with San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth) is that they are part of a larger movement of realignment within Anglicanism, the end of which will result in a new Anglican province on North American soil, one that will be institutionally unconnected from both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. Several other Anglican provinces are cooperating with this movement: the Southern Cone, obviously, by providing a temporary insitutional haven, but also all the groups that fall under the umbrella known as GAFCON (from their initial gathering in Jerusalem this past summer, the Global Anglican Futures Conference). This big tent includes the Anglican Mission in American (AMiA, connected to Rwanda), the Convocation of Anglicans in North American (CANA, connected to Nigeria), and a smattering of parishes that have come under the aegis of Uganda.

So far, then, what we have is a rebellion in progress. But the hope of what we might call the realignment community is that it will continue to grow–both by continuing to peel off dioceses and parishes from TEC (and its Canadian equivalent) and by growing their parishes, both in size and number–and that TEC will continue to decline (by ongoing loss of dioceses and parishes and by stagnation in spiritual and financial vitality) to an envisaged tipping point, at which it will simply be a fait accomplait, with or without any official pronouncement from Canterbury or elsewhere, that TEC has been replaced as the holder of the Anglican franchise in this country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause PartnershipEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

4 Comments
Posted November 12, 2008 at 4:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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