Thinking Anglicans

Los Angeles: coadjutor bishop says property sale to proceed

Earlier reports here and then here.

Bishop John Taylor, the Coadjutor Bishop of Los Angeles, has published this: A Letter to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Episcopal News Service explains: Los Angeles bishop coadjutor says disputed St. James property sale contract is legally binding.

This is reported in the local newspapers:

Los Angeles Times L.A. Episcopal diocese is going ahead with sale of Newport’s St. James church site

Orange County Register St. James Church will be sold after all, disappointing the Newport Beach congregation

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RevDaveTJ McMahoncrsJeremyChristine H Harwood Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

A Sad Story – but perhaps predictable. Intentional schism does nobody any good. The outcome of this saga does no credit to the Mission of Christ.

RevDave
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RevDave

“The buyer has the legal right to expect the seller to honor the contract. Much as we might wish it were otherwise, we do not believe that it would be in the interests of the diocese or consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities… We understand that the Hearing Panel’s ruling, which awaits the possibility of Bishop Bruno’s appeal, calls on us to return the congregation to the building. The four concurring Hearing Panel members and the attorneys who advised them evidently did not take fully into account the existence of a binding contract nor all the ways the dispute begs for… Read more »

RevDave
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RevDave

ps For anyone not conversant with the history of this example of TEC’s “you can leave but we’re keeping all your assets” policy: https://americananglican.org/current-news/case-st-james-church-facts-speak/

Andrew
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Andrew

It is unlikely that the developer would have sued the diocese to force the sale. The publicity would not have been worth it, especially since the central body of the Church, through the hearing panel, strongly recommended returning the church building to its parishioners. Real estate contracts in California fail frequently, for many reasons, many less compelling legally and emotionally than this. Rather it appears that Bishop Bruno has friends in the diocese who are protecting him and his reputation by forcing this sale. It somehow justifies his trying to sell the property for a second time even while undergoing… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Rev.Dave, It seems you may not be up to date with the origins of the split in the St. James parish – which decided to take itself out of the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles bishop and diocese, and in the process seeking legal ownership of the parish property. As has now been shown by the Supreme Court in South Carolina, schismatic parishioners have no automatic right to parish property when they leave. The property – unless the parish opted out of Diocesan ownership from its beginning – belongs to the TEC diocese under whose canons the parish exists and… Read more »

Christine H Harwood
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Christine H Harwood

Father Smith, not quite “from the beginning”, just refusing to accede to the Dennis canon. Most of the churches existed before the Dennis canon, they just refused to accept it. I’ve always wondered how the church got away with that canon, especially as they’ve lost the records of it passing. It’s rather like McDonalds having a board meeting and declaring, “As of today, any property of any franchise of our restaurant is now ours, regardless of who paid for it or has title/deed to it.” And there are hundreds of laws that differ between South Carolina and California, so the… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Father Ron Smith says, “The property … belongs to the TEC diocese.”

This is only arguably the case in California because of the unusual “Corporation Sole” structure there.

Most parishes in the Episcopal Church _do_ own their own property. This is why the Dennis Canon was adopted–stating that parishes hold their property in trust for their dioceses.

crs
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crs

Ron, this case is not about a departing congregation. It is about a loyal liberal TEC parish and about whether the Diocese and Bishop have authority over them, or the ‘national church.’ You probably need to stay away from analogies, since the most obvious one is, as in LA, the ‘national church’ having no authority in SC. There wasn’t a single parish in SC wanting to leave. This was a diocese as such, with 37 parishes in toto, disputing ‘national church’ authority over their name, history and property. One wonders if Mark Lawrence and Jon Bruno have exchanged phone calls… Read more »

TJ McMahon
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TJ McMahon

There seems to be a lot of confusion here over the congregation most recently resident in the Newport Beach property- The original St James parish departed TEC in 2005 or thereabouts and became embroiled in court with the diocese and TEC. It was evicted from the premises earlier this decade when the court awarded title to the property to the diocese of LA. 4 years ago (or 5?), a new congregation was formed as a mission (NOT a parish) of the diocese, took the name St James the Great, and reopened the building. It is that mission congregation that was… Read more »

RevDave
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RevDave

Father Ron, I wonder why Bruno and the diocese is so hell bent on selling St James the Great? Maybe it reminds them too much of Bishop David Anderson and the non-liberal ACNA to which many people are leaving TEC…. for very good reasons: https://youtu.be/VgGDA8spnl8