Thinking Anglicans

Pittsburgh court decision

Updated again Monday morning

There has been a court decision in favour of the US Episcopal Church in its property dispute with Bishop Bob Duncan in Pittsburgh.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh – of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America reports Judge Awards Control of Assets to Diocese.

A judge has agreed with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that it should have control of assets still held by former diocesan leaders.

In a decision issued October 6, Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County ruled that an existing court-approved agreement is “clear and unambiguous” in requiring that diocesan property must remain with a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

The judge further ruled the former diocesan leaders are “in violation [of that agreement] and cannot continue to be the trustee” of the property.

“The property is to be held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States,” Judge James wrote.

Episcopal Café has Pro-TEC ruling in Pittsburgh case.

There is a copy of the court ruling here. The court’s decision is, of course, subject to appeal.

Updates

There is a response to this decision, see Archbishop Duncan Issues Pastoral Letter.

Another copy of the decision, which is a searchable PDF, is available here.

In another, unrelated, development, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued this press release: Diocese To Release Inactive Clergy. The letter sent to clergy can be read here.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a Statement Concerning the Court Ruling of October 6, 2009 explaining what this means for parish property.

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choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
11 years ago

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)

EmilyH
EmilyH
11 years ago

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… Read more »

Marshall Scott
11 years ago

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… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
11 years ago

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… Read more »

MJ
MJ
11 years ago

+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… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“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!”

Lionel Deimel
11 years ago

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… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“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… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
11 years ago

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.”

peteford
peteford
11 years ago

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… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“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… Read more »

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