Litigation is over, and the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has retained the property that breakaway Anglican groups sought to take with them. Today Bishop Jon Bruno released a statement that includes the passage below:
After a May 7, 2014, appearance in Orange County Superior Court brought final resolution to the litigation, the Episcopal Church, of St. James the Great, Newport Beach, will continue in ministry free of the challenge of appeal by parties who left the parish in August 2004. This action follows the California Supreme Court’s January 2009 decision affirming that all Episcopal Church parish properties are held in trust for the present and future ministry of the local diocese and wider denomination.
In steadfastly supporting this position, the Diocese of Los Angeles has secured assets given by generations of Episcopalians and assisted in establishing favorable precedent for the future, and particularly for other dioceses to prevail in similar cases.
Invested in this position is more than $8 million in costs incurred on behalf of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Church by the Bishop as Corporation Sole. This expenditure resulted in retaining multimillion-dollar properties in Newport Beach, La Crescenta, Long Beach and North Hollywood, and in establishing important legal precedent. While the congregations of St. James the Great, Newport Beach, and St. Luke’s of the Mountains, La Crescenta, continue in ministry within the Episcopal Church, congregations will not be restarted as All Saints, Long Beach, or St. David’s, North Hollywood. The Corporation Sole currently holds title to the church property in Long Beach – a city where there are three neighboring Episcopal Church congregations – and a negotiated settlement allows the present congregation to worship on site while remunerating the Diocese for use of those facilities. Meanwhile, the Oakwood School has purchased the North Hollywood property, a fitting use in the mission of local secondary education.
As we move forward I ask your prayers that understanding will continue to grow among us as we experience resurrection anew in Christ. In that Easter spirit, we are called to look forward and, as leaders of local congregations, to strengthen the work that our parishes and missions are called to do.