Virginia’s Supreme Court has sided with the Episcopal Church in its dispute with breakaway conservatives over historic and valuable parish property—a partial but important victory for the embattled denomination.
Episcopal bishop J. Jon Bruno of the large Los Angeles diocese was “overjoyed” at the recent California Supreme Court ruling that said breakaway congregations cannot take possession of their properties, which are held in trust for a larger church body.
Oral Roberts University has settled a year-old lawsuit with two former professors who claimed that their actions as whistleblowers cost them their jobs. Former professors Tim and Paulita Brooker alleged that ORU president Richard Roberts and his family engaged in lavish, unchecked spending and illegal activity.
An American Baptist seminary in Shawnee, Kansas, has received a gift in excess of $2.2 million—the largest in the school’s history—from the former members of a St. Louis–area congregation that became too small to support itself.
A Civil War–era law that lets Virginia churches keep their property when leaving a denomination where a “division” has occurred is constitutional, a county judge has ruled, siding with 11 former Episcopal parishes.
Fairfax County judge Randy I. Bellows’s ruling on the 1867 law stops short of awarding the property to the parishes, but it hands them a major legal win.
Sixteen Protestant denominations and regional districts have joined a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in contesting a Reconstruction-era state law that governs church splits.
The court battle over church assets between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and 11 breakaway congregations has already cost both sides more than $2 million between them, according to representatives.
In what could be a landmark case in church property disputes, a California court has ruled that a breakaway Fresno congregation may keep its property after it decided to sever ties with the United Methodist Church.
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