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Breakaway parish appeals case involving L.A. Episcopal diocese

The Anglican congregation asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its argument over the La Crescenta property from which it was evicted.

December 17, 2009|By Duke Helfand

An Anglican congregation evicted from its La Crescenta church in October after it lost a legal battle with the Episcopal Church asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear its case.

Congregants at St. Luke's of the Mountains Anglican Church voted in 2006 to leave the Episcopal denomination over theological differences, including the consecration of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national church sued to retain the church's property.

California courts have repeatedly ruled against the breakaway parish, saying the St. Luke's property was held in trust for the diocese and the national denomination.

In October, the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Soon after, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered the St. Luke's congregation to leave.

The breakaway parish has since taken up quarters in a rented Seventh-day Adventist chapel in Glendale.

The congregation's attorney, Eric Sohlgren, said its leaders hope the U.S. Supreme Court will establish a uniform approach for state laws to follow in church property disputes.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a similar property dispute that has pitted the Los Angeles diocese and the national church against another breakaway congregation, St. James Anglican Church of Newport Beach.

duke.helfand@latimes.com

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