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US lawsuits go to trial

16 August 2007

by Pat Ashworth

PROPERTY lawsuits brought by the Episcopal Church in the United States and the diocese of Virginia against 11 breakaway congregations will go to trial after a court ruling last week.

The constitutions and canons of the Episcopal Church say that congregational property is held in trust for the diocese. The congregations, which voted last year to leave the Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), are still in their church buildings, and want to keep them.

The 11 congregations sought to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the Church and diocese had failed to make a case. They were overruled by the judge.

The court dismissed the claims of the diocese that the congregations were trespassing on the property. All parties agreed to be bound by the eventual court ruling on ownership.

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