[Soundings] 6 June 2008--The following facts are given to correct and clarify recently published misunderstandings and misstatements regarding legal claims against the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.
All actions taken by the Diocese of San Joaquin were authorized by its governing bodies, namely, its Standing Committee and its Diocesan Council, along with Bishop Schofield. These actions were done in complete compliance with California law and were done to secure the property until a California court can rule on the issue of ownership. One of these actions was to retitle accounts held at Merrill Lynch; assets were not moved from Merrill Lynch. The property in question is owned by the Diocese and its parishes and not the Episcopal Church. The Diocese expects a favorable ruling by the California court on the issues of property ownership.
The Diocese of San Joaquin is a California unincorporated association that is governed by the California Corporations Code and its own internal Constitution and Canons (akin to bylaws). The Diocese is a corporate person; a legal entity recognized by the civil courts. In California, an unincorporated association is governed by majority vote of its members. There is nothing in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church which forbade or limited the right of the Diocese of San Joaquin from withdrawing and taking its property with it.