[The Episcopal News, Los Angeles, March 1, 2010] - The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it has denied a petition to hear an appeal from a breakaway congregation seeking claim to the property of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of La Crescenta, California. The court posted its action, together with dozens of other petitions denied, on its web site.
Meeting in conference on Feb. 26, the high court declined to hear the petition filed by St. Luke's Anglican Church of La Crescenta, whose members voted in 2004 to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles.
The property, a landmark stone church complex at 2563 Foothill Blvd., was returned to the Diocese of Los Angeles by court order on Oct. 12, 2009, following the California State Supreme Court's Jan. 5, 2009 ruling affirming that Episcopal Church property is held in trust for the mission of the local diocese and the wider church.
A statement from the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the six-county Diocese of Los Angeles, follows here:
"I thank the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court for their clarity in declining to hear an appeal regarding Episcopal Church property in La Crescenta, California, which has served local residents for more than 80 years.
"Likewise, last October, the U.S. Supreme Court also declined to hear a similar case involving Episcopal Church property occupied by a breakaway congregation in Newport Beach.
"This matter was decided by the California State Supreme Court in its January 5, 2009 opinion affirming that Episcopal Church property is held in trust by a local parish for the present and future ministry of the Diocese and the wider church.
"We now await the California Court of Appeal ruling for enforcement of this decision -- which was requested by the Diocese before the Court on November 17, 2009 -- and the Superior Court's subsequent action that will begin an orderly transition bringing the properties in Newport Beach, Long Beach and North Hollywood into direct administration by the Diocese of Los Angeles.
"I remain hopeful that it will be possible for Christian reconciliation and healing to occur in these contexts, and I look forward to an end to the costly litigation that has spanned more than five and a half years.
"I ask for the diocesan community's continuing prayers with regard to these matters."
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