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.
After an overwhelming vote of its clergy and lay representatives in December 2007, Schofield led the diocese away from the national Episcopal Church and to the temporary oversight of an Anglican archbishop in South America. The Episcopal Church responded by deposing Schofield and installing Lamb as its diocesan bishop.Schofield and the departing parishes hold a conservative theology that opposes the Episcopal Church's increasingly liberal stance on biblical issues, including the 2003 ordination of a gay bishop and whether Jesus is the only way to salvation [and the biblical second class status of women].
[Many in] The worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, largely supports the conservative view; Archbishop Rowan Williams, who is the nominal head of the Anglican Communion with headquarters in England, earlier this year banned Episcopal representatives from casting votes on global committees. Schism may result, and the San Joaquin Diocese is a mirror of that larger split.
Written arguments in the local case were filed months ago. "We have a seasoned panel of justices. They'll give us a full and fair hearing," said Rusty VanRozeboom, attorney for Schofield.
Michael Glass, attorney for Lamb, issued a statement Monday refusing comment until after the justices release their ruling, which is expected in about a month. Lamb, who also refused comment, said the diocese "may" have a brief statement after today's oral arguments, depending on the way the hearing goes.
20 October 2010
From the Fresno Bee:
It will be interesting to hear what VanRozeboom has to say about those "seasoned panel of justices" when they rule against Schofield.
Schofield's attorneys will argue that a lower court's ruling naming Lamb as the true Bishop of San Joaquin and owner of all of the diocesan property was in error. Yet, remember, sisters and brothers, the schismatic sect keep saying they don't care about property. Their actions certainly prove them to be liars.
When the justices will issue a ruling, probably in about a month the case will go back to the Superior Court, where it eventually will be heard by a jury.
The schismatic sect has a plan and part of that plan is to bankrupt The Episcopal Church though legal fees. The schismatics are funded by a group of extremely wealthy men who are part of a move to return the United States to Old Testament Law as the legal means by which the US is governed. If the schismatics lose, they will try to get their case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
at 4:17 AM