Tuesday, 9 September 2008

more developments in Pittsburgh

First, see this earlier report about a legal action in which Calvary Church asked a court to appoint a monitor to “inventory and oversee property held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”.

Today, there was a news report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal Diocese prepares for secession vote.

In response to a lawsuit led by one of its parishes, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has agreed to have a court-appointed neutral party inventory all of its property and assets as it prepares for a final vote on seceding from the Episcopal Church.

The agreement between representatives of the diocese and Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside, came after a hearing yesterday before Joseph M. James, president judge of Common Pleas Court. In 2005, he oversaw a settlement after Calvary sued the diocese to prevent the transfer of property from the denomination to individual parishes…

The diocese will pursue “a fair and equitable distribution of property” if the realignment resolutions pass, said its spokesman, the Rev. Peter Frank.

The diocese also agreed yesterday to permit parishes that oppose secession to divert diocesan support payments to escrow accounts that would remain in the Episcopal Church.

The agreement assumes that new leaders affiliated with the church will be elected for Pittsburgh if Bishop Duncan secedes.

“It is highly likely that Bishop Duncan and the other leadership of the diocese will purport to separate from the Episcopal Church, and it is our position that the court order of Oct. 14, 2005, addresses what will happen in that regard,” said Walter DeForest, attorney for Calvary.

“It is certainly the position of Calvary that the new leadership of the diocese will be in charge of those assets.”

And later in the day, a press release was issued by the Diocese of Pittsburgh: Statement on the Sept. 8 Court Hearing.

“On Sept. 8, there was a hearing before Judge James in the Calvary litigation. Calvary took the position that the Realignment vote will violate the 2005 Stipulation and that Calvary was entitled to the appointment of a “monitor” to take over the financial affairs of the Diocese. Calvary first initiated this request in a July 2008 filing. Since July, we have documented with the Court the Diocese’s strong opposition to Calvary’s position, and the fact that Diocese has consistently complied with the Stipulation since it was signed, and will continue to comply with the Stipulation after the Realignment vote. The Diocese always has been, and remains committed to administering Diocesan assets for the beneficial use of all parishes and institutions of the Diocese, regardless of any parish’s position on Realignment.

“The relief Calvary sought — a court-appointed monitor who would effectively run the financial affairs of the Diocese — was not what was done yesterday. To the contrary, we proposed the appointment of an independent third-party (called a “Special Master”), who will have no role regarding the operation of the Diocese. Rather, the Special Master will review all Diocesan financial records and make recommendations to the Court regarding which property is covered by which provisions in the 2005 Stipulation (i.e., what is Diocesan property and what is parish property). The appointment of a Special Master has no impact on whether TEC or its representatives can make any claim to any property. These issues will be addressed at a later date. We have clearly stated our position that the minority who oppose Realignment are not entitled to seize the assets of the Diocese. If necessary, we will vigorously pursue this position in litigation…

Second, this press release GROUP ANNOUNCES PANEL TO ARGUE CASE FOR STAYING WITH EPISCOPAL CHURCH was issued by Across the Aisle. See this earlier report on that group.

One of the speakers on that panel,The Rev. Bruce Robison, Rector, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park, has written this Reflection on San Joaquin and Pittsburgh.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 September 2008 at 8:22pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

At last! Bob Duncan will soon be able to create for himself a church that is willing to have him as an Archbishop. Just like Minns had to create a church that would have him as a bishop. Its about time. But its a travesty of any notion of catholic order and tradition. Not to mention scripture and reason.

Posted by: jnwall on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 at 12:53am BST

So Duncan is putting a brave face on it and acknowledges that he will not be able to take everything with him. Pity the Diocese of Virginia had not been as thorough as the Across the Aisle..Duncan opponents in Pittsburgh.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 at 6:25am BST

jnwall's exasperation is well founded.

It has has always been the case that much of this present debacle is due to a small bagful of ambitious and/or disappointed men.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 at 9:06am BST

What a shame these disappointed men (sic) cannot enjoy the sunshine and the rain; and the wonder of this miracle of being alive, rather than being disappointed of the past or ambitous for the fututre --

two states which are inaccessible --

unlike the present moment !

Present moment
Wonderful moment !

Posted by: L J Roberts on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 at 4:44pm BST

Very interesting post by the Rev. Bruce Robison. He shows us that the national Episcopal Church had no clear plan to handle canonically the "realignment" of San Joaquin. I had suspected as much for quite some time, having been a member of Episcopal Voices of Central Florida in the days when it looked as though that diocese might hive off, too. Those of us who wished to remain in the Episcopal Church had fairly urgent questions, but all we were ever told in response was: "A diocese can't leave the Episcopal Church; only individuals can leave the Episcopal Church." Well, we knew that -- what was the plan?

What came across to me was that the national Church had no real plan and had done no clear thinking as to what would have to happen if certain bishops in the Network (as it was then) were to carry out their repeated threats to "realign."

I did not ever doubt that some of them would "realign," as they had made so many extreme statements and burned so many bridges to their fellow Episcopalians that it had become psychologically impossible for them not to do so. (I still expect perhaps a quarter to a third of the Central Florida clergy to "realign" in some fashion, even if Bishop Howe does not.)

As time went on, it became ever clearer that the logic of extremism was taking over the so-called conservative wing of the Episcopal Church, and that "realignment" was the logical terminus of that process. It was clear after the Nottingham ACC meeting that "realignment" would involve a non-Canterbury-centered Communion.

Yet no plans were made for the virtual certaintly that some bishop in an Episcopal diocese would attempt to "realign" his entire diocese without consulting General Convention, and soon. Why is this? What sort of wishful thinking has operated at the national level in the Episcopal Church? or at Lambeth Palace?

I remain bitterly disappointed in my Church for that reason. Those of us who have had to live in these "realigning" dioceses have been all but abandoned by the national Church, and by Canterbury, and by the Communion as a whole. On the local level, our parish priests "shushed" us, then, with careers undamaged, transferred out to happier places.

PS: What Martin Reynolds said (9:06 a.m. BST).

Posted by: Charlotte on Wednesday, 10 September 2008 at 6:31pm BST

I suppose the clearest answer to Charlotte's conundrum - about why no effective preparation has been made for the suspected realignment of diocese or parishes from TEC - is that there is no statutory way to deal with suspected schismatic activity. What is being proposed by the 'dissenters' is nothing less than schism. How does one prepare for this without 'greasing' the wheels for its possiblitiy?

What is needed now, and urgently, is a meeting of the ACC to determine the claims of the dissenting bodies to remain within the Anglican Communion. After all, there can be no tought of a new Province existing without the permission of ACC.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 12:10am BST

Martyn, Charlotte, jnwall etc

This debacle has been caused by liberals trying to change the Church's practices to conform with the current secular humanist worldview and beliefs on acceptable sexual behaviour. It was not caused by Bishop Duncan. All this ad-hominem stuff might make you feel better about the mess that you have caused, but it is really just avoiding the real issue.

TEC has tolerated heretical leaders and heretical practices who have caused division in the church. Now, TEC's inability to stop supporting them drives TEC into becoming an ever more hostile environment for Christians who are determined to follow the teachings of Christ and the Apostles.

TEC might succeed in suing orthodox dioceses and churches for their properties and funds (just for joining some other part of the Anglican communion!!) but whether or not, it just demonstrates another of TEC's inabilities - this time the inability to be gracious.

Posted by: davidwh on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 3:41am BST

Charlotte, don't under estimate the Episcopal Church....they haven't played all their cards yet.

He that laughs last laughs loudest.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 6:24am BST


I also like "the show ain't over until the fat lady sings"

Zephaniah 3:14 "Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!"

Isaiah 54:1 "“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD"

Hosea 2:14-16 "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’"

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 9:23am BST

"TEC might succeed in suing orthodox dioceses and churches for their properties and funds (just for joining some other part of the Anglican communion!!) but whether or not, it just demonstrates another of TEC's inabilities - this time the inability to be gracious."

As opposed to the re-aligners lack of graciousness in refusing to tolerate even the possibility that others might have a different view of scripture and sexuality than they, and to accept that that different view is not a result of faithlessness but of a faithful and reasoned reading of scripture?

And since when did differences on minor passages of scripture about sexuality rise to the level of "heresy"? I thought we reserved that charge for truly important matters such as Christology.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 11:42am BST

"TEC might succeed in suing orthodox dioceses and churches for their properties and funds (just for joining some other part of the Anglican communion!!) but whether or not, it just demonstrates another of TEC's inabilities - this time the inability to be gracious". - David WH.

Just what is 'gracious' about the re-asserters' dismissive attitude towards women and gays who just want to be included among the congregations and ministry teams of the Anglican Communion?

And as for 'joining some other part of the Anglican Communion', what makes you think that becoming part of the Province of the Southern Cone automatically guarantees your membership of the Anglican Communion? This is a matter that the ACC would have to affirm before it could be pronounced an acknowledged fact. It may just be that the ACC does not consider the predatory actions of Abp. Venables is consistent with acceptable behaviour for membership - and where would that leave the Re-asserters?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 12:03pm BST

"He that laughs last laughs loudest."

Yes, but Mr Williams, none of these divisions is a laughing matter.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 3:11pm BST

Davidwh: "This debacle has been caused by liberals trying to change the Church's practices to conform with the current secular humanist worldview and beliefs on acceptable sexual behaviour."

No, I don't agree at all. It has been caused by a narrow club of insecure old men who feel that their traditional grip on power is being overturned by a world in which diversity and difference are celebrated, rather than persecuted or ignored.

Their time in exclusive control, in the Church as in e.g. the armed forces, the police or any other profession, is now up, and they are terrified and very angry. That is all it is: theology doesn't come into it.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 5:26pm BST

Davidwh, you are (in all possible charity) slandering the Episcopal Church.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 11 September 2008 at 11:03pm BST

Charlotte, he has been doing that for a long time--and so have others. (I bet you this is mild compared to the kinds of comments on T19 and Virtue.) So what makes it slanderous this time around?

Of course, his views, especially the second paragraph, are widely held throughout the Communion, even among those churches who attended the last Lambeth Conference. It is hard to ignore that kind of thinking. (Please don't get me started on Tom Wright and what he said years ago about liberals and conservatives in America being exceptionalists...)

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Friday, 12 September 2008 at 3:05am BST

Charlotte, apparently one of the great advantages of being "orthodox" is that one no longer need worry about that pesky Ninth Commandment.

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 12 September 2008 at 2:53pm BST

Ren Aguila: Granted, Davidwh has been slandering the Episcopal Church for a long time, and granted, many others do it too, on the blogs you mentioned and on others. Granted, N T Wright is 100% off base in calling the Episcopal Church American exceptionalists in the Bush mode.

The question is: what is the Episcopal Church doing actively to counter such slanders and biased misconceptions?

Apparently a good many of the bishops at Lambeth were surprised to discover that American bishops too say the Creed and mean it. Why was this? Why did the Episcopal Church not get its own story out, early and often? If such views are "widely held" throughout the Communion, it is because the evangelical right has been getting its story out while the Episcopal Church has apparently disdained to do so.

During the five years that Central Florida was threatening to "realign," disinformation, slanderous allegations, slanted and biased "reporting," and outright lies about the Episcopal Church were repeatedly spread by the extremist clergy of Central Florida. And they continue to do so to this day.

What did the national Church have available to counter all of that? I asked repeated for simple things, such as a one-page pamphlet listing and refuting the main Network claims about the Episcopal Church. I got nothing.

Now the extremist organizations had plenty of printed material to distribute at vestry meetings as well as access to the diocesan newspaper, not to mention their blogs and websites. What did the liberals and moderates have? What had the national church provided us with? Zip-all besides a few bromides.

It was very late in the game when Jim Naughton began his blog, though it was welcome when he did so. More is needed -- much more has always been needed -- along those lines.

I have to ask: Do liberals like to lose? Is that why they refuse to counter slanders with truth? (See also under Obama Campaign, recent crash and burn of....)

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 12 September 2008 at 3:27pm BST

Charlotte, in part an answer to your query;
why have the people of the middle-ground kept silence? Perhaps it is because, sometimes, the people who shout the loudest are having to convince themselves of the propriety of their argument. A lesson I learned early on from my teachers is that "The Gospel is caught, rather than taught". Also, there is the sheer eloquence of humble silence - in the face of blusterers:
'Like a lamb before his shearers is dumb (Jesus) opened not his mouth'.

I gues that sometimes the more we shout, the less certain we may be of our veracity.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 3:54am BST

Father Ron

The problem is that the middle ground does have a very real responsibility. Being morally right and decent isn't enough.

By leaving the field entirely to the passionate, by not firmly pointing out excesses and injustices, and by not trying to mediate actively, the middle ground is as responsible for the fragmentation as the main actors.

In any debate that grips a whole organisation there IS no innocent position, the IS no safe place. Ultimately, we're as implicated by what we do or say as by what we don't do or say.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 9:06am BST

I agree, Erika. A teacher, for example, has a duty to interfere and stop bullying happening in her/his classroom. To neglect to do so by turning a blind eye, much the easiest option for the teacher in the short term, is to become complicit in the bullying, and to allow long-term damage to be done. I think church leaders should operate on the same principle: they have a resposibility not to allow the weak (in this case, gay people in the Church) to be psychologically mangled by vociferous and angry bullies.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 10:53am BST

"'Like a lamb before his shearers is dumb (Jesus) opened not his mouth'."

Isn't this one of the lessons of the Cross: sometimes (?always?) good has to let evil overrun it? The Cross is proof of the power of weakness, of the victory to be found in yielding to evil. We could more cynically refer to it as giving them sufficient rope with which to hang themselves.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 1:25pm BST

Amen to the liberal posters and those who remind us that silence can be seen as acquiesance. Allusions to liberals trying to change the Church to conform with the secular worldview demonstrates an ignorance of the millenia of God reforming the world.

Any peaceful, inclusive and compassionate paradigms come from God. It is to some souls shame that they see compassionate secularism or humanism as "evil". Such souls should renounce Exodus, the prophets and even Jesus. Even if they don't renounce the people, their theology does renounce the paradigms from which these souls operated and are affirmed.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 5:28pm BST

"We could more cynically refer to it as giving them sufficient rope with which to hang themselves."

Yes, where there is a clear evil and where we are powerless.
No, where we actually have influcence and could do something to stop the situation spiralling out of control.

Resisting evil is one thing.
Not speaking out against wrongs quite another.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 7:33pm BST

"Allusions to liberals trying to change the Church to conform with the secular worldview demonstrates an ignorance of the millenia of God reforming the world."

And I've been, in my small corner, trying to combat this for the past two years here with no effect whatsoever. There is not one conservative on this site who will even entertain the possibility that so-called liberals are acting on anything other than a desire to gain the world's approval, not one who will acknowledge that there is any faith or belief in anything other than the trends of the world. My God, conservative "non-TEC" bishops at Lambeth were honestly surprised, even shocked, that their counterparts in TEC actually said and believed the Creeds! There are those who try to give an impression of respect, but it doesn't take them long to start talking about "liberals" who believe "anything goes" or even baldly state that they believe "liberals" are being guided by society and giving society authority over Scripture. At what point do you just throw up your hands and let them believe whatever nonsense they want to believe about those who do not agree with them? I have yet to encounter one conservative who will acknowledge the faith of those with whom they disagree. If they are so intent on creating this Godless "liberal" they can hate and fear, at what point do you leave them to their precious fantasies? There comes a time when you just have to trust we're all in God's hands, and He will do what He will. Look at how nasty I can get over this stuff. I'm just damaging my own soul, and end up behaving as bad as or worse than anything I am criticizing. Jesus let the authorities do what they wanted to Him, perhaps the time has come for us to do the same WRT the conservative power brokers.

Posted by: Ford elms on Sunday, 14 September 2008 at 2:43pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.