Thinking Anglicans

News from Pittsburgh

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has a press release:

Today Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph James accepted a Special Master’s report detailing the properties the Judge has previously ruled should be controlled by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The Special Master compiled his inventory following the Judge’s order of October 6, 2009, in which he ruled that a 2005 Stipulation agreed to by former diocesan leaders prevented them from continuing to hold diocesan assets.

Today’s order contains provisions intended to make it clear to the financial institutions holding the assets that they should now take their instructions only from designated representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The order, which takes effect immediately, also requires former diocesan leaders to provide ongoing cooperation to the Diocese to implement the provisions of the Order.

The Diocese plans to quickly make arrangements so that all parishes may again have access to their investment funds that were frozen by financial institutions during the legal proceedings.

A PDF of Judge James’ January 29th order and the public version of the Special Master’s report can be viewed by clicking here.

Lionel Deimel has additional information here, and more here. And even more here.

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Pat O'NeillEmilyHchoirboyfromhellJPMFather Ron Smith Recent comment authors
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Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

More judgements in different locations in North America will continue to follow this pattern. The Episcopal Church is winning them hands down but it is costing a great deal of money. It is a lesson for The Church of England and should give cause to re-think any recognition of the reactionary elements in their own Church as well as the folly of recognizing the renegade Anglican Church of North America.

karen macqueen+
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karen macqueen+

The real tragedy here is that a court supervised and approved binding Stipulation was entered into in 2005, setting out which assets and properties belonged to the continuing Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburg (of TEC), in the event that the then bishop of Pittsburg, Robert Duncan, followed through on his plans to secede from TEC. Although one would expect that a Christian bishop would enter into and comply with the court approved Stipulation in “good faith”, when Duncan spearated “his” diocese from TEC, he repudiated the court approved agreement, laid claim to all of the property and assets of the diocese,… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Karen makes good sense – but TEC must work a great deal harder to win the propaganda war.

And not just TEC. We have just seen a massive disinformation campaign, filled with lies and fraud funded and operated by Christian groups, defeating the government in parliament.

I am not advocating we use their tactics but liberals are going to have to be far more effective at challenging their spin.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

The lawsuit documents make all plain. When someone is sued, the “discovery” process on the suit forces them to produce all the evidence and the neutral judge or jury rules on the evidence. This is why Duncan fought so hard against the suit when it was initiated. He didn’t want others to see the paper trail that he would have to reveal. He didn’t want a neutral authority making a decision. Duncan’s attorneys denied and denied his intent to leave the Episcopal Church. The paper trail revealed to the judge’s neutral eye something very different. I believe anybody reviewing these… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

“I am not advocating we use their tactics but liberals are going to have to be far more effective at challenging their spin.” From your lips to God’s ears, Martin Reynolds! There are many factual errors and misleading claims in the motion Mrs. Ashcroft is bringing before General Synod on behalf of ACNA. They should be corrected, and it is my understanding that they are being corrected. But our experience in TEC has been that as soon as a factual error is corrected, two new ones spring up in its place. The problem liberals seem reluctant to address has to… Read more »

Tobias Haller
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Yet one more documentation that the alleged “unfair treatment” is simply the course of US civil law. Not that law may not be perceived as unfair from time to time, but in this case it is abundantly clear that a basic principle is at work, long before laid out by Richard Hooker: the church is not simply an assembly but a society which endures after the assembly dissolves (Laws, III.1.14). Individuals or groups may leave the church, but the church continues to subsist in those who remain part of the larger society, not in the separatist group. The real Diocese… Read more »

BillyD
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“The real Diocese in this case, in terms of the property (which is all the case addresses), is the one that continues to be part of the larger “national or provincial Church.””

This is so obvious from a Catholic point of view of how the Church is structured and works that I am shocked that ACNA and their enablers don’t recognize it.

That said, I’m not crazy about the lawsuits, and wish there was some way we could drop them without sacrificing our claims.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Why is the Church of England concerned that people who tried to take $22M not their own are getting their comeuppance in the courts?

Diego
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“the church is not simply an assembly but a society which endures after the assembly dissolves (Laws, III.1.14)” Very good quotation! Thanks for this.

I completely agree with you and this current crisis seems inevitable. However, it is a shame that lots of money are wasted in lawsuits. What would Paul say? Believers quarrelling about properties… Oh dear.

JCF
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JCF

“Karen makes good sense – but TEC must work a great deal harder to win the propaganda war.”

Well, that’s just the thing, Martin R. In the main, we Silly Piskies haven’t been trying to “win the propaganda war” . . . just Live the Gospel.

I know, I know: “wise as serpents, gentle as doves.” I suppose that—while you’re serving the homeless in Haiti, or until you’ve been kicked out of your sanctuary—it’s difficult for the average Episcopalian to “get their serpent on”. ;-/

Counterlight
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Counterlight

“Believers quarrelling about properties… Oh dear.”

I wonder what Paul would say about some believers trying to steal the inheritance of other believers.

Malcolm+
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As an accredited practitioner of the black art of Public Relations, I agree and disagree with Charlotte.

The role of Public Relations is to tell the story and perspective of a group / organization / government in a way that is effectively persuasive. Insofar as PR techniques are so applied, there is nothing unethical about it.

But I agree with Charlotte that TEC anmd the progressives need to start using PR tools and techniques more effectively. Unfortunately, the PR / Communications operation in both TEC and ACoC are woefully understaffed and out of date.

Malcolm+
Guest

Let me note also that the first rule in PR (often violated by the schismatics) is “don’t lie.”

First of all, its wrong.

But more importantly, it generally doesn’t work – at least not for long – and once your found out you can never regain credibility.

Sensible PR folk aren’t stupid enough to lie.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“How can one such as Duncan lay claim to “the faith once delivered to the saints”, and a greater righteouness, while condemning TEC for “apostasy”, in the context of such utter bad faith on his part?” – Karen McQueen – How true, Karen. And how badly-served – by the original and continuing action of ‘Archbishop” Robert Duncan – is the community of Christians. The likes of Sarah Hey and Robert Duncan will have their ‘Day in Court’ in an entirely other dimension. However, in the meantime, the English General Synod needs to have details of this legal judgement against the… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Not Virginia. Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Jennings
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Jonathan Jennings

Malcolm+ – many thanks for your reflections. It was hard enough for many years trying to make sure people understood that communications practitioners reflect and share the values of the organisations that they represent. I grew weary (which is one reason I left the field) of the constant assumption on the part of people within and outside the church that statements we made owed more to the black arts than they did to the truth. I think that the TEC operations (and those of ACoC) are not bad at all, even if, as you point out, under resourced, but it’s… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The Diocese plans to quickly make arrangements so that all parishes may again have access to their investment funds that were frozen by financial institutions during the legal proceedings.” – Episcopal Diocesan Statement – It would appear that, despite concerns around the issue of whether or not TEC is competent to argue its own case here (in the Pittsburgh Diocese) the Diocese itself is quietly getting on with the business of recovering its own dedicated assets. The Law has given permission for this to happen in Pittsburgh, so one can expect the likes of ‘Archbishop’ Robbie Duncan and his ACNA… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Ran into an ACNA Bishop today in a grocery store in Akron, Ohio of all places…and I bit my tongue as I muttered, better a heretic than a schismatic any day…Came complete with a purple shirt and pectoral cross.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Choirboy. Perhaps you should have bitten the bishop’s tongue. You might have saved him from further heresy.

And yes, Jeremy on Sunday – I should have said Pittsburgh, not Virginia. How could I have made that mistake?

JPM
Guest
JPM

As common as ACNA bishops are, it’s a wonder we don’t all run into a gaggle of them every time we leave the house.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I learnt latter that this guy was the rector of the charismatic break-away parish and was on such good terms with his buddy –Bobby Duncan of Quitsburgh that he got a purple shirt and funny hat (although I doubt the latter, they are VERY low church).

I was with the sub-organist and lead choirboy from Mr. Paul’s, had to behave myself, but little David blurted out (unfortunately after the “wrong” reverend had left earshot) “Why can’t people accept people the way God made them?”

There is hope.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

As I have been reviewing some of my notes on some of the parishes that I have been following and how their “stories” may have been portrayed, I wondered if their were any patterns. In all cases that I have been following, the position of “rector” has been critical. He/She has been the pivotal mover and shaker and principal teller of the story. In the case of the schismatic congregation he(and it is usually a he), has been telling the story to his allies, the press and anyone else who will listen. In most cases, the opposition has no effective… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Emily: I can say this as a former journalist–the problem is that journalists are taught, early on, to seek out “official spokespersons”…whether the story is a crime, a civil suit, or just a human interest piece. Why? Because you don’t want to be quoting “the man in the pew” only to have the rector, or vestry warden, or some other official source come back to tell you that person has no authority to speak for the parish. The answer to that? Those opposed to the rector/vestry should organize themselves in some obvious fashion. Form a group, give it a name,… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Emily: I can say this as a former journalist–the problem is that journalists are taught, early on, to seek out “official spokespersons”…whether the story is a crime, a civil suit, or just a human interest piece. Why? Because you don’t want to be quoting “the man in the pew” only to have the rector, or vestry warden, or some other official source come back to tell you that person has no authority to speak for the parish. The answer to that? Those opposed to the rector/vestry should organize themselves in some obvious fashion. Form a group, give it a name,… Read more »