The Crescenta Valley parish, like St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, broke from the Episcopal organization in 2006 after the national church ordained the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, of New Hampshire, in 2003.
At the time, Father Ron Jackson said his Crescenta Valley church’s departure, which coincided with a national exodus, was due to “the drift of the American church.”
The issue found its way to a courtroom after the Los Angeles Diocese sued St. James parish, with each side claiming ownership of the local church building and the property on which it stands.
In 2007, St. Luke’s and other parishes lost a battle in Los Angeles Superior Court when judges ruled that local church property should rest under the domain of the national Episcopal church, paving the way for Monday’s ruling.
“When it disaffiliated from the general church,” Chin wrote, “the local church did not have the right to take the church property with it.”
The decision also affects the breakaway churches of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Long Beach and St. David’s Anglican Church in North Hollywood. The congregations voted in August 2004 to amend their articles of incorporation and join the Anglican Province of Uganda after Robinson’s contentious ordination.
Chin’s 31-page decision went to great lengths to avoid addressing the religious fervor that largely defined the issue and which brought it to the courtroom in the first place.