Litigation Update July 2014

July 03, 2014

The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago have asked Illinois’ Fourth District Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court decision that gave control of an endowment fund and a building to a faction of clergy and lay members who broke away from the former Episcopal Diocese of Quincy in 2008.

A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the case on June 18 in Springfield. Mary Kostel, special counsel to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presented the argument for the diocese and the wider church.

Last September, Adams County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Ortbal ruled that an endowment fund, currently frozen, and the former diocesan office building adjacent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Peoria, belonged to the breakaway group, now organized as the Anglican Diocese of Quincy.

Unlike most judges who have ruled in cases in which the Episcopal Church has sought to reclaim assets from departing members, Ortbal found that the actions of General Convention and the presiding bishop “cannot be legally enforced” in diocesan matters.

A decision is expected between mid-August and late September.

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