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.