Comments: Pittsburgh court decision

Looks like somebody's going to have to build their own cathedral down at American Bridge. I'm sure there's some cheap rusting steel laying around somewhere. (Note to U.K. readers, 'Ambridge' the home of Trinity Seminary, where arguably most of the evangelical movement started in the diocese, and probably got -Duncan to get on the anti+New Hampshire roll, is a contraction of American Bridge and Steel, a once famous builder of bridges in the U.S. (Mackinac, Bay Bridge-SF-Oakland, Verrazano Narrows)

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Wednesday, 7 October 2009 at 12:16pm BST

Given the following:http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/news_reports/the_situation_in_pittsburgh.html from Joan Gunderson circa June 6, 2008

“Please note that Bishop Duncan has assured himself of a comfortable transition. He has built a retirement house on land owned by the diocese and he and his wife have been deeded (as of November 2007) a life interest estate (to the longest lived survivor) in that house. The diocese also loaned Bishop Duncan the money to build that house (terms not in the public record.) In addition we understand that he AND Bishop Scriven have signed consultant contracts with the diocese for two years at full pay which will go into effect SHOULD BISHOP DUNCAN BE DEPOSED.” I am wondering, is the land in question near or on the Donegal Lake Common Property that Bishop Duncan had worked so hard to acquire and improve? See: http://www.pitanglican.org/news/local/donegal. If so, is his property alleged to be owned and the loan something for the the consideration of the Judge James? Was this done in anticipation of the expected deposition, and attempted secession? What are the legal ramifications?

Posted by EmilyH at Wednesday, 7 October 2009 at 3:00pm BST

The Pittsburgh ruling is somewhat different from the other legal issues in the Episcopal Church in that there had already been a trial of sorts, and a legal stipulation that had resulted from it. In this instance the continuing diocese (within the Episcopal Church) was suing for enforcement of the existing stipulation, saying that in not vacating diocesan property the new diocese (+Duncal et al) were in violation.

What was significant was the judge's determination in this that it was communion with the Episcopal Church, and not efforts to continue to use a name ["Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican)"] that determined which was the continuing diocese, and so had ownership under the stipulation. While not directly precedent (because of jurisdiction), this could well be influential in similar issues in San Joaquin and Fort Worth. Taken with the US Supreme Court's acceptance of the California Supremen Court's decision in Los Angeles, this looks like a strong legal environment for the Episcopal Church as hierarchical and connected.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Wednesday, 7 October 2009 at 4:18pm BST

Well it has been a long haul in this case so far, and maybe longer if appeals are filed. Meanwhile many thanks to Calvary Church and others remaining, for seeing xDuncan accurately enough to head his little coup off at the pass and get the stipulated agreement which is now being spin doctored into imaginary UNreality so furiously by the xDuncan attorneys. These conserves are so full of themselves, they believe they spin doctor reality and the law, all at once.

Tip - Don't buy a used church bus from any of them. If it breaks down with one wheel still perched on their driveway curb, they will claim you broke it because you are the wrong sort, invoke God's will and their own special holiness, and tell you the check has already been cashed and put in an inviolable trust fund that belongs only to them.

You know, come to think of it, Duncan may really, truly be the conservative archbishop of spin, at least in North America. Though perhaps Gomez or that Southern Cone fellow will give his candidacy a bit of global competition. Just look at the case arguments from his side. Then read the signed agreement.

Hang in there Pburgh, Best wishes to the remaining folks in the real diocese of PBurgh.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 7 October 2009 at 4:58pm BST

+Duncan has issued a pastoral letter to be read in all churches - http://www.pitanglican.org/news/local/duncanpastoralletter100709

A couple of snippets:

"We lost. In human terms we lost. Bishop and Standing Committee, together with Board of Trustees, thought we understood the document that was signed on our behalf in 2005 that ended the first phase of the Calvary lawsuit. But yesterday, the judge found against us on the basis of that document."

"The court's decision has nothing to do with PARISH property, including the funds held in trust for you. The stipulation of 2005 spelled out a mediated process for parishes wishing to leave the "diocese." Your bishop, your standing committee, your diocesan council and your board of trustees will all work with your parish leadership toward this end. We invite the leadership of the Episcopal Church Diocese into working with us for the good of all congregations, both Episcopal Church and Anglican Church congregations."

Posted by MJ at Wednesday, 7 October 2009 at 9:09pm BST

"Taken with the US Supreme Court's acceptance of the California Supreme Court's decision in Los Angeles, this looks like a strong legal environment for the Episcopal Church as hierarchical and connected." - Marshall Scott -

So, the chickens are really coming home to roost for the ACNA sodality, which had placed great hopes on acquiring the property, assets and nomenclature of the Anglican characteristics of TEC and, hopefully, the Anglican Church of Canada

"Thou shalt not covet they neighbour's goods, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that it his!"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 7 October 2009 at 10:04pm BST

Of course, the case does have something to do with parish property. Although it is true that Judge James’s decision was about who owns diocesan property, the 2005 stipulation requires congregations attempting to leave the diocese to negotiate the status of parish property. The decision that the Episcopal Church diocese is the “Diocese” of the stipulation, means that the congregations now claiming to be (at least for the moment) in the Southern Cone are going to have to negotiate with what is likely to be an unsympathetic group of folks who just won a long and expensive court fight.

Bishop Duncan was telling parishes before the “realignment” that “nothing will change.” The “diocese,” however, is about to be stripped of its assets, and the parishes may soon suffer the same fate.

The defendants may appeal, but it is perhaps significant that Duncan said simply, “We lost.”

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Thursday, 8 October 2009 at 12:58am BST

"Your bishop, your standing committee, your diocesan council and your board of trustees will all work with your parish leadership toward this end. We invite the leadership of the Episcopal Church Diocese into working with us for the good of all congregations, both Episcopal Church and Anglican Church congregations." - Robert Duncan -

Former Bishop Robert Duncan's acknowledgement of his failure to alienate the identity & property of the legitimate TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh, in the light of his determination to battle against the Episcopal Church, is now pledging to "Invite the leadership of the Episcopal Church Diocese into working with us (ACNA) for the good of all congregations - both Episcopal and 'Anglican'! "

Why would he expect TEC to cooperate with him and his fellow schismatics - in a matter where he and his cohorts were suing the Episcopal Church, with no attempt to negotiate with them in the first place? What sort of idiots does he think the remaining loyal Episcopalians are, to contemplate such a course of action? Eating humble pie just won't cut the mustard here (pardon the culinary mis-match - about the equivalent of ACNA and TEC).

What price his self-appropriated archbishopric now? Will the ACNA Provincial Seat move to the Southern Cone? And who will pay the cost?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 8 October 2009 at 9:16am BST

Posting at StandFirm, Jeremy Bonner, a lay member of the Pittsburgh cathedral chapter, wrote "I once put it to Bishop Duncan (at a chapter meeting) that the legal battle could be corrosive to those who participated in it, even as they went after a legitimate goal, and that financial costs were not the only ones that should be reckoned. He acknowledged the point, but somewhat grudgingly, and didn’t suggest what sort of benchmarks - other than financial - might have to be met before considering ceasing legal action."

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 8 October 2009 at 1:44pm BST

Looking at the comments over at Kendall Harmon's site, I can't help but shake my head and wonder how the Duncanites can accuse TEC Pittsburgh of being ungracious, mean, evil, etc.

The Duncanites attempt to steal that which does not belong to them and then cry "foul" when TEC holds them accountable and make them face the consequences of their ridiculous choice to follow the little Napoleon, Bob Duncan. Sort of reminds me of the story of a teenager who brutally murders his parents with an axe and then pleads for mercy in front of the judge because he is now an orphan.

The clergy who decided long ago to try and implode TEC by hook or by crook are now whining because the Chapman plan didn't quite work out the way they planned. May God have mercy on them for the havoc they have created, the resources they have forced the rest of us to waste, and for the evil they have tried to perpetuate.

Posted by peteford at Saturday, 10 October 2009 at 3:13pm BST

"wonder how the Duncanites can accuse TEC Pittsburgh of being ungracious, mean, evil, etc."

It's actually quite easy. I am righteous, a defender of the Gospel, valiant hero fighting off the hoardes that would destroy God Himself. You, however, are a faithless heathen. You value nothing only the approval of the world, and are prepared to change everything about the Gospel, which you do not believe anyway, in order to get that approval. So, you see, when you behave in a certain fashion, it is ungracious, mean, and evil. When I behave in the same fashion or worse, it is valiant defence of God's Threatened Truth.

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 11 October 2009 at 5:31pm BST
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