Red Church Anglicans to be evicted?

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

The Anglican congregation at Sonora's historic Red Church could be moving as soon as this summer - the result of a legal settlement over church ownership.

Leadership and worshipers with St. James Anglican Church are finalizing the details of the settlement that will turn over the keys to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, according to Fresno attorney Russell VanRoseboom, who has represented the Anglican diocese in the case.

VanRoseboom said on Monday that the settlement would be similar to an agreement between the Episcopal diocese and St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock, which held a final service and officially moved on Sunday.

Both the Red Church and St. Francis have been involved in legal battles with the San Joaquin Episcopal Church over who owns the church properties. The churches were previously under the authority of the Episcopal Church, but their affiliations were shifted in 2007 due to ideological differences when theprevious San Joaquin Diocese pulled out of the Episcopal Church and joined the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

VanRoseboom said a settlement over the Sonora church and nearby St. Michael and All Angels in East Sonora will likely include the Anglican group vacating the property by July 1.

While the often acrimonious legal battle dates back to 2007 and has involved multiple churches in the San Joaquin Valley region, he said the two parties are working amicably in this case.

"It's very refreshing that the two sides here are being gracious with one another," he said.

What will happen with the local Anglican congregation is still unclear, however. When reached on Monday, the Very Rev. James Stout, interim priest at St. James, said he's "not really up to date" on the matter.

He referred questions to the Fresno-based Anglican Diocese. An inquiry from The Union Democrat to the Anglican Diocese was not returned in time for this story.

Michael Glass, chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, said Tuesday that the diocese is not commenting on the issue.

The legal battle originated when then-Bishop John-David Schofield pulled the local diocese out of the Episcopal Church and brought most Mother Lode Episcopal clergy with him. The disagreement stemmed from ideological differences, with the more conservative wings of the church taking exception to the Episcopal church's liberal stances on gay and female clergy.

The Episcopal Church later sued, claiming the now Anglican churches do not have the right to take the properties with them.

St. James lost its longtime priest, the Rev. Wolfgang Krismanits, and his wife, LaDonn, in the midst of the legal strife when they died Nov. 27 in a car accident in Hollister.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Wednesday August 24, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
More than a coach


Thomas Kruetzfeldt had just returned from a late afternoon run with his ... more

Cal Fire battalion chief remembered


Whenever Mike Spear’s children heard of a nearby fire, they worried about ... more

Nursed back to health, hawk flies free


Sonora resident Laura Reid was driving on Tuolumne Road when she saw ... more

Sonora area group launches a new radio station


First envisioned more than a decade ago, a Sonora-area radio station with ... more

Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report


The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more