News for Week Ending 3/31/2008
Diocese of San Joaquin (Calif.) reorganizesThe Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin held a special convention March 28-29 in Stockton and Lodi, Calif., to fill open diocesan offices and voted unanimously to accept Bishop Jerry Lamb as provisional bishop for the diocese. He had been recommended by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. The convention took a number of other administrative actions, including election of deputies to the 2009 General Convention, formation of a new standing committee, adoption of a budget, and restoration of the previous diocesan constitution containing language acceding to the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church.
The special convention was necessary because, in December 2007, a majority of those attending the convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to adopt constitutional changes intended to allow the diocese to withdraw from The Episcopal Church. Bishop John David Schofield then announced that the diocese was joining the Province of the Southern Cone (in South America). (See ENS story here.) Bishop Schofield was deposed by vote of the House of Bishops in March.
Episcopal News Service has provided extensive coverage of the special convention. Stories from ENS may be read here, here, here, and here.
N.Y. trial court rules in favor of TEC in property lawsuitEpiscopal News Service reported March 26 that the Queens County (N.Y.) Supreme Court—a trial court, not an appellate court, despite its name—had ruled that the property of St. James’ Church, Elmhurst, N.Y., is held in trust for the Diocese of Long Island and The Episcopal Church. The court’s decision can be found here.
The ruling responded to a lawsuit filed by the members of the parish who voted in 2005 to split from The Episcopal Church and to affiliate with the Anglican Church in America. St. James’ was a colonial Church of England parish that officially became part of The Episcopal Church in 1793. The court found that The Episcopal Church is indeed a hierarchical, not a congregational, church, and that St. James’ is bound by the Dennis canon.
The plaintiffs, now members of the St. James’ Anglican Church, were ordered to turn over possession and control of the parish property to the priest-in-charge appointed by the Bishop of Long Island. The court blocked The Episcopal Church from collecting damages for trespass, however.
It is unclear whether the decision will be appealed.