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Church Property Wars: Calif. appeals court favors diocese over local parish

Conservative Episcopalians received some stunning news this week when a California appeals court ruled the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is within its legal rights in retaining ownership of church property.

The defendants, three dissident churches now linked to the Anglican Church in Uganda, expect to decide soon on whether to appeal to the California Supreme Court.

The worldwide Anglican Communion continues to grapple with the fallout from the consecration of Gene Robinson, an active homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. But increasingly, the civil courts in the US are being drawn into this fight as local, diocesan, and national leaders fight over real estate. It's no small dispute, potentially involving billions in real estate, related assets, and other property.

Of course, national church leaders are overjoyed by the court ruling:

John R. Shiner, Chancellor for the Diocese and its attorney in the litigation, called the ruling a "decisive decision" for the Episcopal Church. ...
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