As I've asked before, has the Dennis Canon EVER stood up in court?
FALLBROOK, CA: Court Rules in Favor of St. John's Anglican Church Rejects Corporate Takeover Bid by Episcopal Diocese of San Diego
By David W. Virtue www.virtueonline.org
Fallbrook, Calif. (November 13, 2006) -- St. John's Anglican Church, Fallbrook, was vindicated in its fight to prevent a small group of former members and the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, led by Episcopal Bishop James Mathes, from interfering with its corporate governance and taking over its property.
Judge Jacqueline M. Stern of the San Diego Superior Court ruled that the diocese's lawsuit failed to establish that the board of St. John's had vacated their seats, and that the small group of dissenters, orchestrated by the diocese, had failed to conduct a valid director election: "The Court concludes that the Board of Director's of St. John's Corporation consists of the individual Defendants named in the instant action; that there was no valid basis for Bishop Mathes' removal and replacement of the board of directors of the corporation; the purported election on Aug. 7, 2006 of a new board was invalid."
"We are delighted that this is the final ruling and that the courts found in our favor," Rick Crossley, senior warden of the parish told VOL. "This fits with what happened in the Diocese of Los Angeles where three parishes who fought and won their properties from Bishop J Jon Bruno."
"The difference here in San Diego is that the dispute was about who were the duly elected directors, in church law who were the vestry. They sued us under California corporate law and they were basically asserting that the vestry of St. John's had vacated their seats. They had not and the courts in San Diego agreed with our position. The bishop has given no indication what he will do."
"We are pleased that the courts agreed with us, but we are not celebrating because we know the national church through its attorney David Booth Beers has said publicly in Washington last week that they intend to pursue church property issues where the courts have seen in favor of the local parish.But Eric E. Sohlgren, the attorney for St. John's, told VOL that the victory was significant and binding.
"The Dennis Canon has become more holy to The Episcopal Church than the Holy Scriptures. The fundamental problem that the TEC has is that by relying on the Dennis Canon they ignore the laws of various states which respect corporate rights and the ability of property owners to retain their property when they exercise their religious freedom to change their ecclesiastical affiliation."
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