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(RNS) New York state’s high court ruled Thursday (Oct. 23) that the Episcopal Church and Diocese of Rochester are entitled to keep the property of a parish that has seceded and joined another branch of the Anglican Communion.
All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church agreed to abide by the rules of the national denomination and the Rochester diocese when it applied to be recognized as a parish in 1947, said the Court of Appeals in a unanimous ruling.
All Saints did not object when the Episcopal Church amended its constitution in 1979 to state that all local parish property is held in trust for the local diocese and the denomination.
“All Saints agreed to abide by this express trust,” wrote Judge Theodore Jones.
The Rochester diocese declared All Saints “extinct” in 2005. The western New York parish now calls itself All Saints Anglican Church and is affiliated with the Anglican Church of the Province of Uganda, in Africa. Dozens of conservative Episcopal parishes and two dioceses have left the Episcopal Church since the 2003 consecration of an openly gay man as bishop of New Hampshire.
A California appeals court reached a ruling similar to the New York verdict on Tuesday. The Supreme Court of California is considering another similar case in what is expected to be a landmark decision.
By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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