A Texas court in San Angelo entered a final judgment on October 8, 2009 in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas and against former leaders of a parish who tried to remove the parish from the Episcopal Church and its Diocese.
The 51st District Court of Tom Green County, Texas declared that the property of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church was held in trust for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese and that the continuing parish “is identified and represented by those persons recognized by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas and that the actions of the defendants in seeking to withdraw (the parish) as a parish of the Diocese and from the Episcopal Church are void and without effect.”
The Court made findings that “the Episcopal Church is a hierarchical church; Defendants have no rights in the real and personal property of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd; the Church Property is held in trust for the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Northwest Texas; and the continuing membership of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd have an immediate right to possession and use of the property for worship as part of the Episcopal Church.”
The Court further ordered the former Episcopalians not to divert, alienate, or use any property of the parish and to surrender possession of the property to the vestry of the parish within ten (10) days.
This case follows the reasoning and result of the many cases in other states that have held in favor of the Episcopal Church and its continuing dioceses and parishes. Click here to read the final judgment.