Los Feliz News
Battle Splits Los Feliz Church In Two
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Jul 18, 2012 - 1:37:56 PM

LOS FELIZ—A battle between two factions of an Anglican church's congregation continues as they dispute whether or not to join the Roman Catholic Church.
Photo courtesy of St. Mary's webiste

The St. Mary of the Angels church in Los Feliz is a 60-member community that has a long history in Hollywood, with its Spanish-style homes by Griffith Park and the Greek Theater. The battle began after Reverend Christopher Kelley was appointed as parish priest by St. Mary's elected board of directors in 2007. Kelley was eager to accept Pope Benedict's XVI offer to join the Catholic Church and gained followers who approved his decision. However, not everyone agreed with his decision and chose to attempt to put an end to his rein.

According to Kelley, it was because of his decision that he was asked to leave by a majority of the parish board but he refused to do so. In April, he was asked to leave yet again but this time by the Anglican officials but Kelley once again refused to leave. He stated that the bishop who suspended him did not have the authority to take him out of the church.

Those speaking against him argue that their displeasure with Kelley is not related to faith but accuse him of theft of parish resources and common temper tantrums. Court papers against Kelley go on to claim that he has the church staffed with security guards in order to force those against him to worship at a condominium complex. Kelley denies the allegations placed against him.

A temporary restraining order had been ordered against Kelley which disallowed him from acting as the church's rector. In June, Kelley and his supporters attended the brief hearing in which Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones ruled an end to the restraining order. The judge claimed that there were no withstanding evidence that proved of Kelley mishandling church funds.

Kelley was eager to return to the church but his adversaries locked him out, claiming that the judge did not state that he could have his job back and they were allowed to keep him out of the church. The battle continues as both sides of St. Mary's reside in the church with no plans of leaving as  more lawsuits are issued.

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