THINKING ANGLICANS

Appeals Court upholds Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh

Updated again Saturday morning

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports: Court upholds Episcopal Diocese’s claim to assets.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has upheld an Allegheny Common Pleas decision awarding centrally held property of the Episcopal diocese that split in 2008 to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh rather than to the rival Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

About $20 million in endowment funds and other assets is at stake. The ruling has no direct impact on ownership of parish property, other than indicating that Anglican parishes must apply to the Episcopal diocese to negotiate for their property, rather than vice versa.

The Anglican diocese has not decided whether to pursue a further appeal.

Lionel Deimel has further details of this, see Details of Commonwealth Court Ruling.

The full text of the judgment can be read from a PDF file here.

There is now a fuller story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal diocese wins a legal round.

Episcopal Bishop Kenneth Price Jr. welcomed the decision, which arrived the day his diocese reached the first settlement with an Anglican parish. It required that parish to cut ties with the Anglican diocese for five years.

“We are pleased with the court’s findings and hope this will be the final legal challenge concerning this issue,” he said.

He invited Anglican congregations “to join us in negotiating a settlement to our differences.”

Archbishop Duncan, who is also primate of the theologically conservative Anglican Church in North America, hasn’t decided whether to appeal.

“The decision of the appellate court is deeply disappointing,” he said. “In the next hours and days the bishop and standing committee will pray and take counsel about our corporate path forward.”

The Episcopal Diocese has issued this press release: Appeals Court Upholds Diocese in Assets Case

Update This press release has been issued: A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy and People of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh which includes the following paragraph:

…The Standing Committee met on Wednesday night, February 2nd. Three important decisions were made. First, we will petition the appellate court for a re-hearing, which means the lower court’s ruling will not yet be final. Second, the Standing Committee and Diocesan leadership (Bishop’s Office, Trustees and Council) will do everything we can to keep all our congregations working together. Third, the Standing Committee will work tirelessly for a negotiated end to the strife between the Anglican and Episcopal Church Dioceses…

Pittburgh Post-Gazette Anglican diocese asks court to rehear case

The filing, which must be made within 14 days, is not an appeal but an outright request for the same court to hear the case over, citing errors of fact in the ruling which was authored by Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer.

“There are some points of fact that are incorrect in the ruling,” said David Trautman, a spokesman for the Anglican diocese. “We are giving the court a chance to correct those errors.”

He did not specify the errors the Anglicans contend are in the ruling.

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MarkBrunsonHermano David | Brother Dah•veedJPMJCFEmilyH Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

TBTG! (I hope they’re listening in South Carolina)

God, grant us reconciliation in Your time.

John C
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John C

I wonder if ‘Archbishop’ Duncan had set high hopes on taking the assets of his former diocese with him. Be interesting to see how long ACNE, sorry ACNA, can survive. Like so many breakaway movements claiming to be the ‘authentic’ expression of the Episcopal/Anglican church they are usually too diverse a community to survive in the long term. Like the Anglican Mainstream grouping there are biblically conservative Evangelicals who would be happy in the Diocese of Sydney alongside conservative Anglo-Catholics who are contemplating joining the Ordinariat of OLW or staying put if they can get what they want out of… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Also hope the Virginia court is listening.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

Not a good week for +Duncan and ACNA. +Duncan stated in his communication with the GS steering committee that it was his intent to take the property with him. (I believe it was the “secret memo” revealed in the Calvary litigation that contained this) I am going on memory here but I believe it was 2007. On another front, given the primates recent “working document”, where does this leave ACNA. If the GS is to continue its opposition “in place” rather than to create a new communion (likely to split moderates and conservative GS members), what group will be providing… Read more »

EmilyH
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EmilyH

An additional note on Bishop Duncan’s bad week… On the subject of the church contacting the agreement to remove itself from the ACNA Anglican diocese and ACNA, Joan Gundersen reports: “Only one Pittsburgh parish in the ACNA diocese had more members and St. Philip’s represented 9.7% of the ACNA diocesan membership.

Bill Easter
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Bill Easter

If TEC votes to forego the proposed covenant, TEC very well could be viewed as a breakaway, like +Duncan. Interesting times, no?

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

One wonders who – in their right mind – would be persuaded to take that completely unsupported argument to appeal.

It’s very sad. As I remember it Bob Duncan promised they could keep everything, they would be in communion with Canterbury etc etc. I just feel so sad for all those folks he misled.

Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

EmilyH: can you tell me what the following are all about?

‘Also interesting that +Duncan should object to the agreement that parishes choosing to leave the Episcopal diocese…desist in joining ACNA or Anglican Dio Of Pittsburgh for 5 years.’

and

‘On the subject of the church contacting the agreement to remove itself from the ACNA Anglican diocese and ACNA, Joan Gundersen reports: “Only one Pittsburgh parish in the ACNA diocese had more members and St. Philip’s represented 9.7% of the ACNA diocesan membership.’

I’ve clearly missed something in this story.

Thanks.

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

FWIW, comments on Kendall Harmon’s thread on the topic of the settlement Emily mentions between the Episcopal diocese and St Philip’s, include “There was very little recognizably Anglican about St. Phillip’s to begin with”; “St Philip’s and the other largish evangelical congregations that have left TEC/ACNA around Pittsburgh in recent years are what some call ‘Sydney Anglicans'”, and “I doubt St. Philip’s is eager to adopt any episcopal oversight.”

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

If Archbishop Duncan was logical, he would now be taking the congregation who have defected from his schism to court. But no, we learn he has allowed them to leave! His whole Empire is breaking up around him..such is the record of continuing Anglicanism in the US.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

For Lister. I am referencing two separate events and, although one must take the slant of Mr. Haley, principle litigator for the Anglican Diocese of the San Joaquin/Schofield) into consideration, his description of both here: http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/ is helpful and better than I can do.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is now reporting that the Anglicans will ask that the court reconsider its ruling http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11035/1123025-100.stm#ixzz1D1ADxYlF

JCF
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JCF

“If TEC votes to forego the proposed covenant, TEC very well could be viewed as a breakaway, like +Duncan. Interesting times, no?” – Bill Easter

No. Rejecting *proposed* rules is in no way similar to breaking *existing* rules.

JPM
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JPM

>>>One wonders who – in their right mind – would be persuaded to take that completely unsupported argument to appeal.

Pentecostals anticipating a “breaker anointing,” of course!

(http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-is-pittsburghs-anticipated-breaker.html)

It pays to remember that most of the so-called “orthodox” are anything but.

Hermano David | Brother Dah•veed
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Hermano David | Brother Dah•veed

What will also prove interesting is what will become of the “Archbishop’s” palace. It is located on the Diocesan property and was supposedly given over to the Duncans by the diocese before its attempted withdrawal from TEC, for their exclusive use as a residence for as long as one of them was alive.

MarkBrunson
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Exactly, JCF.

“Break away” from what?

There is no international Anglican Church. TEC exists as a legal body, this “covenant” church of Williams’, does not.