A committee of Executive Council has voted unanimously to forgive the large majority of the debt owed to the Episcopal Church by the Diocese of San Joaquin, which since 2008 has had to borrow for basic operations and for litigation connected to its property disputes.

Assuming the full council ratifies the resolution on Saturday, the diocese will be asked to pay $1 million to the church center by Dec. 31. The remainder of the diocese’s $6,175,000 ($5,875,000) debt will be forgiven. The diocese would be expected to pay its full assessment to the church center beginning in 2019.

The resolution is the culmination of months of confidential discussions by the Executive Council, during this and previous council meetings.

In 2007, a large majority of the delegates at the San Joaquin Diocesan Convention voted to leave the Episcopal Church and organized as the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. In the litigation that followed, a judge ordered that 28 church properties belonged to the Episcopal diocese.

Then an appeals court sent the case back to be retried based on different legal principles. The Episcopal Church prevailed again at the new trial, and in the appeals that followed. On July 13, 2016, the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and the Anglican diocese announced that it would not pursue further litigation.

Speaking in support of the resolution, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said that the failure to take this step would threaten the continued existence of the diocese.

Kirk Petersen