Historic Red Church in Sonora faces lawsuit

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin added another notch to its lawsuit belt last week, this time against St. James — the historic Red Church — in Sonora.

But it was news to St. James’ priest, the Rev. Wolfgang Krismanits, on Monday afternoon.

“We’ve had no word whatsoever,” he said. "I’ve seen nothing yet. I didn’t get a phone call.”

When told that a press release dated Friday said a lawsuit had been filed against his congregation, Krismanits replied with frustration.

“This is what (the Episcopals) are doing," he said. "They’re telling everyone else, but they’re not contacting the congregation until after it’s done.”

Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb was at his home out of state and unavailable for comment.

St. James is the fifth incorporated parish in the San Joaquin Diocese to be sued by Lamb following the 2008 diocesan split from the national church over differences of biblical interpretation, such as whether Jesus is the only way to salvation and whether homosexuals should be ordained.

Anglicans hold to a traditional interpretation, while Episcopals tend toward more a more liberal theology, as evidenced by the 2003 ordination of V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man.

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