St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church will continue to occupy the church property and buildings it has purchased and maintained for over 60 years, during the appeal of a ruling by the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 3, 2007. . .
The Court had previously granted summary judgment in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and The Episcopal Church on their claim to take over the property of St. Luke’s based on an internal Episcopal rule, following a recent decision of the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District. On August 15, 2007, St. Luke’s Church appealed the Court’s judgment against it. This morning, the Honorable John S. Wiley of the Los Angeles Superior Court granted a stay of the judgment pending appeal, which allows the St. Luke’s congregation to remain in the La Crescenta church property until a final appellate ruling is made.
The Court rejected the Episcopal demand that the local congregation deposit over $7 million – based on a commercial valuation – in exchange for permission to remain on the property. By doing so, the Court adopted St. Luke’s arguments that the property was an historic church in continuous operation for many decades.
In addition, the Court rejected the demand of the Episcopal Diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, that no other Christian bishops be permitted on the property without his prior permission. This demand was irrelevant to protecting the property from damage pending appeal, and instead would have served solely to deprive St. Luke’s Church of visits from its spiritual leaders based on their church affiliation. . .
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