California high court to hear church's property appeal

The California Supreme Court has decided to hear an Orange County church's appeal to keep its beachfront church property, despite breaking away from the main Episcopal Church.

St. James Anglican Church, a theologically conservative breakaway church, has waged a nearly six-year fight to keep the church property instead of returning it to the Diocese of Los Angeles.

St. James is one of several dozen individual parishes and four dioceses nationwide that voted to split from the national church after the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop.

State courts have sided with the Los Angeles diocese throughout the six-year legal case. The church lost its petition to have the case heard in the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

© 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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