AN ENS article on the New TEC affiliated Dioceses in San Joaquin, Quincy, Pittsburgh and Fort Worth

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: QuincyTEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. frdarin wrote:

Find it nothing short of disingenuous, and really two-faced, that a main theme here is “we don’t need a building to be a church” when in EVERY single diocese mentioned, TEC is spending MILLIONS OF DOLLARS trying to get buildings and property away from the “dissenters”.


November 30, 5:46 pm | [comment link]
2. David Keller wrote:

#1—TEC disingenous?  There’s a shocker!

November 30, 5:59 pm | [comment link]
3. A Senior Priest wrote:

“the congregation’s average Sunday attendance has doubled to 60”?? For this they hemorrhage more money than the properties are worth?

November 30, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
4. BMR+ wrote:

#1 Darin+ : Here in Pittsburgh there is and has been only one matter before the courts.  In 2005 the diocese reached an agreement in court with the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of Calvary Church to settle a lawsuit brought to prevent the removal of assets from the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church.  Following the vote of to realign the diocese “out of” the Episcopal Church and “into” the Province of the Southern Cone, Calvary Church asked Judge James of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County to rule on the question of whether the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, Realigned, could continue to control diocesan assets.  The matter was reopened and the judge ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church should, under the provisions of the 2005 settlement, control those assets.  Following that ruling, control of those assets did in fact move from the Anglican diocese to the Episcopal diocese.  However, the Anglican diocese appealed the judgment to the Commonwealth Court, which recently heard arguments and which is expected to rule on the appeal at some point in early 2011. 
There is no other matter before the courts related to issues of property.  There are obviously still a lot of questions out there about other properties.  For example, a very significant number of parishes in the realigned Anglican diocese worship in buildings titled to the Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and covered under the ruling of Judge James on diocesan assets.  And it is obviously going to be important, going forward, that the dioceses have a sense of clarity and finality about other parish assets.  My observation is that while there are varied opinions about how these questions should be resolved, on both sides of the divide, there is a strong desire to keep them from being contested in court if at all possible.
I do understand that a different approach has been taken is some of the other dioceses where division has occured.  My own view is that we would all do well in considering these matters to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the first part of Romans 15—appointed for us in the RCL, anyway, for Second Advent.
Bruce Robison

November 30, 8:03 pm | [comment link]
5. David Wilson wrote:

Thanks Bruce for your thoughts.  Why can’t the TEC diocese and the ACNA diocese simply agree to allow those who now occupy their properties simply keep them. I know the leadership of the ACNA diocese has said for many years (quite prior to the realignment vote) we don’t want those properties that are occupied by folks who want to remain TEC.

BTW, I think an ASA of 60 for All Saints Bridgeville is wishful thinking and quite a stretch.

November 30, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
6. frdarin wrote:

Gosh, David, that sounds like a reasonable plan. Wonder if, for that very reason, the leadership at 815 will rule it out right away.


November 30, 9:03 pm | [comment link]
7. David Wilson wrote:

It has been my hope that Bruce and others on the TEC side would have the will and the cojones to do the right thing for all of us in Pittsburgh regardless of what the PeeBee and her leutenants think or threaten

November 30, 10:47 pm | [comment link]
8. Statmann wrote:

For 2009, the TEC Diocese of Fort Worth had 14 of its 22 churches with ASA of 66 or less and 16 of the 22 with Plate & Pledge of less than $150K.  But combining Fort Worth (again) with Dallas would no doubt be resisted by Cowtown. For 2009, the TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh had 14 of its 28 churches with ASA of 66 or less and 20 of the 28 with Plate & Pledge of less than $150K. Combing (again) with Northwestern PA appears logical. For 2009, the TEC Diocese of San joaquin had 16 of its 20 churches with ASA of 66 or less and 16 of the 20 with Plate & Pledge of less than $150K There are many ways to allocate its parts to California, El Camino Real, and Los Angeles. The data for Quincy are so bogus that I can’t comment.  Statmann

November 30, 10:51 pm | [comment link]
9. Betsybrowneyes wrote:

David, I know the one time I visited All Saints’, Bridgeville, it was pretty crowded. Small wonder they are seeking more space! This does not detract from St David’s or any of the of the ACNA parishes in the Pittsburgh area. All Saints’ is a spiritual home for those who go there, just as St David’s is for those in your flock. Statmann, I have no idea what the ASA in each of the Pittsburgh area ACNA parishes is. Is that published anywhere? Peace, folks.

November 30, 11:04 pm | [comment link]
10. David Wilson wrote:

I have no beef with All Saints and my statement on their ASA has nothing to do with St David’s or the ACNA.  I know someone who attends All Saints regularly and she has told me that the ASA is about 30 with few if anyone under the age of 55.

December 1, 12:39 am | [comment link]
11. BMR+ wrote:

The simple answer to your question is that in our Pittsburgh-TEC diocese there is a range of points of view about how best to meet our fiduciary and canonical duties.  You know the players, so that’s no surprise to you.  Any resolution is going to need to be one that can achieve—if not consensus, then at least a wide assent, on all sides.  Everybody is going to need to say that what has happened is “fair and reasonable, or at least reasonably fair.”  My hope is that we can work on win/win solutions, but that will require some real give on both sides of “our” side and on both sides of the divide.  Whatever the merits of absolutist solutions (on one side, some want simply to bring in the sheriff and eject the Anglican congregations, on the other some simply want the Episcopal Church to sign over all assets), neither will gather the necessary sense of agreement.  We’re going to have to roll up our sleeves, figure out how to differentiate between what we need and what we want, and then acknowledge from the get-go that the result is going to be messy and in many ways dissatisfying for everyone. 

I take very seriously our “Statman’s” overview of Pittsburgh-TEC.  Reunion with Erie is something that I think at some point down the road we’re going to have to look at carefully, though that won’t happen until the dust settles.  Maybe a decade or so down the road will be the time to talk about it.  But this is, as you know, missionary territory. 

Bruce Robison

December 1, 12:56 am | [comment link]
12. David Wilson wrote:

According to the 2009 parochial reports found in the pre-convention journal on the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh website under resources/conventions, the ACNA diocese has 49 reporting parishes of which 28 have an ASA <66 and 35 parishes with <$150,000 plate & pledge income.  This does not include newly affiliated parishes in the Chicago area, Wisconsin or Christ Church Plano.

December 1, 12:56 am | [comment link]
13. David Wilson wrote:

Thanks Bruce an accurate and forthright assessment— I can tell you this, on our side all we want is our own parishes.  We don’t want any of yours, honest.

December 1, 1:05 am | [comment link]
14. Betsybrowneyes wrote:

I’m relieved to hear that, David. You always seemed to be fair-minded when I worked with you on council, and I would be saddened to think that you had somehow changed. Most of my information on All Saints’ is from several friends who had stopped attending anywhere, a year or two before the split, and who now go there. They are content. Yes, there are children at All Saints’. And yes, there are folks there younger than 55. This Advent, may we all truly seek to glorify God in our own ways..Episcopalian, ACNA, whatever denomination we are…as we mark the time approaching the birth of our Savior. God bless.

December 1, 1:08 am | [comment link]
15. BMR+ wrote:

David, I’m very glad to hear about continuing good health in many of the Pittsburgh Anglican congregations.  It doesn’t surprise me, because so many of these congregations have such a rich mix of gifted clergy leadership and strong and spiritually committed laity.  Good people who have been working together faithfully in ministry for many years. 
We have of course a complicated region—declining river towns and old mill communities, bustling cosmopolitan neighborhoods, areas of urban blight, affluent suburbs, wonderful towns and country villages.  In it all, though, a field white for the harvest.  We would continue to pray for a spiritually flourishing, faithful,  gospel-centered ministry in all our congregations, in both our dioceses.

Bruce Robison

December 1, 9:41 am | [comment link]
16. Sarah wrote:

RE: “In 2005 the diocese reached an agreement in court with the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of Calvary Church to settle a lawsuit brought to prevent the removal of assets from the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church.”

Yes—which is why when the Diocese of Pittsburgh left, a group of Episcopalians who remained were convinced/impelled by the national church to participate in gross violations of the Constitution and Canons of TEC in order to pretend to create a “diocese” out of that group of Episcopalians, not bothering to actually go through the *spelled out* system of creating a diocese by appealing to General Convention.

And why did they not bother to go through that *spelled out* system of creating a diocese?

Because they needed a faux diocese to engage in the lawsuits right away.

The Curmudgeon made it all quite clear as to what game those people played:

No, there was a perfectly legally canonical way to form an actual, real Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh, and that was to form a missional entity and appeal for admission to TEC at GC 2006.

And there is only one reason why traditional Episcopal leaders in Pittsburgh who wished to remain in TEC lost their integrity and chose to do it the 815 way—and that was so that they could have a faux entity that could engage in the lawsuits for other people’s property.

December 2, 1:18 pm | [comment link]
17. Betsybrowneyes wrote:

Sarah, I don’t know where you come from, but you are out of your depth here in Pittsburgh. We are legitimately Episcopalians, having never changed. I served on the old diocesan council for six years before the split, was on the array a while back, was a deputy to convention many times. In addition to those of us on council who decided not follow Bishop Duncan out, one of the original Standing Committee remained. In accordance with the Canons, since we were already by then without a bishop (Bishop Duncan, who told council he anticipated being deposed months before it actually happened, had accepted the offer to become a bishop by Bishop Venables in the Southern Cone prior to receiving notice of being deposed from TEC, which means he was actually a Southern Cone bishop at the time of the 2008 Pittsburgh diocese over which he sat.), Jim named two others who also were active in diocesan leadership to join him on the standing committee. Those of us who remained on diocesan council met once after the split to help pull together the October 2008 convention. The rest is recent history. I really don’t care what anyone else thinks, but I personally took my confirmation as an adult in the Episcopal Church seriously. I left my old parish because they were leaving by majority rule. No outside action by someone else, be it sprinkling of water, an incantation or a show of hands, magically changes me into a Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, ACNA, Lutheran, or whatever other Christian denomination you’d care to name. Get your facts straight, please.

December 2, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
18. Sarah wrote:

RE: “We are legitimately Episcopalians, having never changed.”

I completely agree—not sure why you would bring that up.

Of course, being legitimate Episcopalians has nothing at all to do with whether those legitimate Episcopalians bothered to follow the Constitution and Canons in forming a diocese. 

It is a pity that they did not.

RE: “I really don’t care what anyone else thinks . . . “

That’s cool—again, not certain why you bring up your lack of caring and then proceed to defend yourself by stating you’re an Episcopalian, as if that were some sort of defense for not following the canons in forming an actual diocese.

But we’re both even—I don’t care what you think and you don’t care what I think.  I’ll continue to state clearly for the record on any Pittsburgh thread on which I participate what was done and how wrong and non-canonical it was.  And you can continue to say whatever you please—I’m pleased that the blogging community will read both and happily decide for themselves.

RE: “No outside action by someone else, be it sprinkling of water, an incantation or a show of hands, magically changes me into a Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, ACNA, Lutheran, or whatever other Christian denomination you’d care to name. . . . “

Red herring again.  Nobody said that you weren’t an Episcopalian.  What you are is an Episcopalian who didn’t bother to follow the canons.

Episcopalians do that all the time—and in this case it’s perfectly understandable since Beers and Schori needed to have some sort of entity—however faux—to engage in the lawsuit.

All of this is grindingly and devastatingly revealed in the Curmudgeon’s excellent work—and it’s work that we won’t be neglecting to highlight whenever we find the time so that all at T19 can read the canons for themselves.

I have to wonder—did you even *read* the canons regarding how to form an Episcopal diocese and apply to be recognized by General Convention?  Or did you just vote however your friends told you to?

December 3, 12:47 pm | [comment link]
19. Betsybrowneyes wrote:

Sarah, of course I’ve read them. But again, you miss the point. Bishop Duncan, although still an Anglican bishop, aligned with the Southern Cone prior to the 2008 diocesan convention. That meant for the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh, we were without a bishop when he switched over. The canons provide for the Standing Committee to act as the ecclesiastical head in a diocese in the absence of a bishop. I was a deputy at the 2008 convention, and immediately after the vote that morning to leave, beautiful full-color brochures on the diocese of Pittsburgh, Southern Cone, were handed out. A beautiful photograph of Bishop Duncan was on it. Bishop Duncan, who had been sitting up by the altar during the vote, then passed out forms to the priests so they could be licensed in the Southern Cone. This was before lunch. Those who signed them changed their province. Those who did not, stayed in the province of the Episcopal Church. Simply put, those who didn’t switch stayed. There was a continuing Episcopal presence through those who stayed. We weren’t magically missionary status. We remained what we were. It may be different in San Joaquin, Ft Worth, or Quincy, but that’s how things played out here. As for your taunt of voting what my friends tell me to do, think again. You don’t know me. After our presiding bishop was seated at Lambeth and talks on the Covenant continued, I told both bishops openly at our last council meeting before the convention that I saw no point to leaving TEC. There was pressure to go along with it, but I voted my conscience. I’m conservative in most things, which is why I chose to hold on to that which is good in this case. TEC isn’t perfect, but there is still much good in her. And there is much good in other churches, too.  Rather than rip each other apart, let’s work together as Christ would have us do. Peace.

December 3, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
20. BMR+ wrote:


I get the point, of course.  The foundational concern both in canon law and in civil law is whether what “was” the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on the 6th of October, 2008, “continued” as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, now realigned as a diocese of the Province of the Southern Cone, on October 8, 2008, by a legal action of the Convention held in the diocese on October 7, 2008, or whether the action of Convention was illegal, null and void from a canonical point of view, and thus simply a rhetorical gesture indicating that a number of individuals, congregations, clergy, no longer considered themselves members of the Episcopal Church and subject to its Constitution and Canons.  If the former were true, then those remaining “left behind” individuals, congregations, clergy would naturally need to follow the canons to form a new diocese and apply for admission.  If the latter were true, then those individuals, congregations, clergy not intending to be a part of the “new thing” now called the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Realigned, would be understood as simply, directly, continuously being the same Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that they were before.  Then, as Betsy points out, the “continuing Episcopalian” Episcopal Diocese would follow the diocesan canons, with remaining members to fill whatever vacancies on diocesan committees and boards had occured when members had departed from the Episcopal Church and to continue with the ordinary duties of governance.

The Presiding Bishop indicated that after consultation with her Committee of Advice and Chancellor she accepted this second interpretation when she undertook her canonical responsibilities to assist with the continuing Standing Committee’s efforts to find interim and then provisional episcopal oversight.  She did not say, “you need to elect a new Standing Committee for me to talk to.”  She worked with the Standing Committee that we had, which included the one member elected by Convention prior to the realignment and others appointed in accordance with the diocesan canon regarding the filling of vacancies between conventions.  The Executive Council confirmed her interpretation of the events and applicable canons by resolution acknowledging the status of the continuing Standing Committee as ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, and the General Convention followed in 2009 by seating the full deputation from Pittsburgh, which consisted of some members who had been elected prior to the October, 2008 convention and others who had been elected after, to fill vacancies that occured at the time of realignment.

There are of course many learned and some not-so-learned folks with diverse opinions about how things “should” have happened or “should” be understood, but if there are any other bodies in the Episcopal Church constitutionally or canonically equipped to take formal action, I haven’t heard of them.  It may be that all these bodies are “wrong” in their interpretation of the relevant canons, but even if that is so, it’s sort of like saying that the Supreme Court was “wrong” in its decision Bush v. Gore.  An interesting question for law school debates, but Bush was still President.

From my point of view, this was all pretty much above my pay grade.  Had the judgment of competent bodies been that the diocese should organize afresh, that’s of course what we would have done.  In some ways I think that’s what should have happened in San Joaquin, anyway, when the reorganizing Episcopal diocese refused to recognize the status of a canonical officer.  By creating a “new Standing Committee” and not recognizing the continuity in office of my friend Rob Eaton, it seems to me the diocesan leaders were themselves indicating that they did not intend to claim continuity of ecclesiastical authority.  But that’s another argument, and not mine to make except as casual conversation. 

Here in Pittsburgh we had officers continuing in the Episcopal Diocese in every canonical committee and board, and the continuing Episcopal Diocese continued to operate under the existing diocesan canons and with the recognition of every act of convention except the one action judged to be null and void, that of the vote to “realign” and so depart from the Episcopal Church.

Honestly, the point for both continuing and realigned dioceses has to do more with how the framing of the question plays in civil courts.  Where we are right now is that the Court of Common Pleas, referencing the stipulations settling the Calvary Church lawsuit, has ruled that “the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church” is the body refered to in the stipulation.  The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has appealed that ruling, and we’ll see what the Commonwealth Court says. 

I’m not a lawyer, certainly not a judge, and I’ll just say that we’ll all just need to move forward with whatever the courts decide.  My hope and prayer and personal intention in terms of action is that to the greatest extent possible the relationship of our “two dioceses” and of the clergy and people in them will be reflective of the highest and best Christian character that we are able to achieve.  I hope and pray, then, reflective of this morning’s reading from First Thessalonians 3:  “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men, as we do to you, so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”

Bruce Robison

December 3, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
21. David Wilson wrote:

Help me to understand this logically. Some of the deputies to GC 09 were deemed legitimate because they were elected at diocesan convention in 2005 by majority rule of the entire diocesan convention voting as a duly constituted body.  The actions of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 diocesan conventions to amend the diocesan Constitution and Canons were deemed somehow illegitmate even though enacted by majority rule of the entire diocesan convention voting as a duly constituted body?

December 3, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
22. BMR+ wrote:

I’m no canon lawyer, or any kind of lawyer, but I think what I would say is that any amendments to the diocesan Constitution and Canons which seemed to permit the diocese to do something that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church would not allow it to do could have no effect.  A “duly constituted” convention could vote, for instance, to give itself permission to select and ordain 9 year old priests, but since the national canons specify that priests need to be 26, and since the Constitution and Canons of individual dioceses are subordinated to those of the Episcopal Church, that resolution could have no effect, and any 9-year-old priests thus ordained would not be considered priests of the Episcopal Church. 

Some of the canonical changes in the years preceding 2008 appeared verbally to give the diocese the ability to do something that in fact, from the point of view of the Episcopal Church, anyway, we did not have the ability to do.  Doesn’t matter how many of us, duly assembled, voted for them.  Thus when in October 2008 the convention “acted,” the Episcopal Church simply determined, again, from its point of view, within its own sphere of constitutional life, that nothing had happened.  All this didn’t have anything to do with the “legitimacy” of duly formed conventions or elected offices, etc., but only with one specific act.  The fundamental legal point I guess is that there’s a difference between “accession” and “unqualified accession.”  You can acceed to something and then later step away.  If you make “unqualified accession” the result is essentially an organic union.  As the kids say, “no backs.”  Dioceses of course retain, constitutionally, a great deal of authority, many rights and privileges,  within the union created by this unqualified accession, but the authority to depart is not, as the Episcopal Church now interprets the situation, one of them.  I am for example personally of the belief that aspects of the new Title IV canons, for example, give the Presiding Bishop authorities that conflict with the constitutional integrity of dioceses.  However, the one body I need to convince of this is the General Convention, because within the Constitution of the Episcopal Church it is only the General Convention that can make that determination.  Who else is there?  Much as I might wish that we had a Supreme Court, there isn’t one.  If Bishop White were still around, I’d like to talk that over with him . . . .

Bruce Robison

December 3, 4:22 pm | [comment link]
23. David Wilson wrote:

Thanks Bruce.  Nice try, but no cigar.  To quote Acts 26:28 (New King James Version) Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me . . .”  My thoughts take me back to my original posts #5 and #7.

December 3, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
24. BMR+ wrote:

Appreciate the smile, David.  And sorry about the “no cigar.”  But I’m not really trying to persuade.  From the point of view of the authorities of the Episcopal Church the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh functions as the continuing diocese.  The “Supreme Court” of the Episcopal Church—that is to say, General Convention—has so ruled.  They may have erred in some Platonic sense, but we live on this plane.  I understand that folks in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh also consider themselves the continuing diocese.  Whatever the governing body of the Episcopal Church has to say, and whatever historians conclude about the technical arguments presented by both sides—should any historian ever care about the question—my own view is that both dioceses have a reasonable moral claim to this identity, neither an exclusive claim.  But that’s just me.  When it comes to questions about the stewardship of the assets of the pre-2008 diocese by these post-2008 dioceses, my preference would have been for us all to have been able to sit down and find some reasonable division.  However, on both sides here and in the larger institution there were strong voices who have maintained exclusive claims based on their interpretation both of the applicable canons and state laws.  The Commonwealth will assist at least in sorting through the various claims about the latter.  My hope is that even with the courts involved we will be able to maintain sufficient charity in our relationship to resolve outstanding questions in ways that will reflect the character of the One whom we follow and serve.

Bruce Robison

December 3, 7:37 pm | [comment link]
25. David Wilson wrote:

Bruce, I couldn’t agree with you more and I value our friendship.  Please know there is no one in leadership that I know of in the ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh who would not agree to an equitable division of the all the assets and all the property.

December 4, 1:44 am | [comment link]
26. BMR+ wrote:

Yes, and I wish I could say the same about views on this side of the stream—which are instead, let’s say, more diverse and divided.  In the end I expect not a good solution, but, if we all work hard, a solution that will be “less bad” than it might have been.

Bruce Robison

December 4, 10:28 am | [comment link]
27. David Wilson wrote:

We will just have to wait and see how it all unfolds, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I still hold out hope that we will all “be ourselves at our best”, to quote Bp Duncan.  Warm Advent and Christmas Blessings to you and Suzy and fam. Over and out.

December 4, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
28. Sarah wrote:

RE: “I think what I would say is that any amendments to the diocesan Constitution and Canons which seemed to permit the diocese to do something that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church would not allow it to do could have no effect.”

The C&Cs; do not forbid departure of a diocese at all. 

RE: “From the point of view of the authorities of the Episcopal Church the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh functions as the continuing diocese.”

Well sure!  From the point of view of “authorities” of *any* organization their way is the correct way. 

That’s not my point of course.  My point is that people should endeavor to follow the C&Cs; rather than merely *assert* what they wish to be true as “true” because they are “the authority” and wish for it to be true.

RE: “TEC isn’t perfect, but there is still much good in her. And there is much good in other churches, too.”

I’m not certain what any of that has to do with any of this discussion.  I am a very happy member of TEC.

I would like for purported leaders of TEC to actually follow the C&Cs; which they have promised to uphold.

Not simply “declare” that whatever they do is correct, even as it violates those same C&Cs;.

That’s like the Vichy French government “declaring” that such and such actions by Germany were “perfectly legal under the French Constitution.”  “Declarations” of various sorts hold no weight with me. 

Everybody can read the C&Cs; for themselves and see what happened.  The fact that claimed-orthodox-Christians would actually go along with such a sham and refuse to actually form a diocese in accordance with the C&Cs; is a simple disgrace.  Even worse, we all know exactly why they went along with such a sham—they were *afraid of Schori* and she *needed the lawsuit now with an entity called a ‘diocese’ [sic].”

December 4, 4:02 pm | [comment link]
29. BMR+ wrote:

Sarah, re

The C&Cs; do not forbid departure of a diocese at all.

No, but they do require unqualified accession at the time a diocese is received into union with General Convention.  And not only did Pittsburgh make such an unqualified accession, it sat in General Convention and required precisely such accession of many others in later years.

If I make an unqualified gift to you, I may not return later and say, “conditions have changed, and you must return the gift to me.”  A qualified act of giving might permit the subsequent demand, assuming those qualifications were reasonably specified at the time of the giving.  In 1867 Pittsburgh did not specify any qualifying conditions to initiate disassociation.  And had it done so, the application for union would have been rejected as insufficiently unqualified.

It is in fact my belief that I and we here in Pittsburgh-TEC did actually “follow the C&C’s; which [we] have promised to uphold.”

I have affection and ongoing respect for those who found it necessary as a matter of conscience to depart from the Episcopal Church.  It is my opinion, however, that their effort to depart “as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh” was, while sincerely intended, an action that was not permitted within the Constitutional framework of the Episcopal Church.

I do agree with you that a spirit of lawlessness seems to reveal itself on many sides in the current situation.  Part of the issue is clearly that the “current situation” has presented some critical questions not anticipated in the canons.  Even people trying to do their best on both sides have had to act based on best guesses of how their actions might be understood canonically.  This as true for those who developed a rationale for “realignment” as for those who argued against it.  Part of the issue is a culture which for a generation, for example, has thought little of clergy rewriting BCP texts to fit their own eccentricities.  We are after all, as Baby-boomers, most of us, and again on all sides, not good with living under authority.  And part of the issue is a strangely unChristian sense that ends justify means. 


Bruce Robison

December 4, 8:24 pm | [comment link]
30. Sarah wrote:

RE: “If I make an unqualified gift to you, I may not return later and say, “conditions have changed, and you must return the gift to me.”

True—but fortunately, as the Curmudgeon has detailed in a rather lengthy post, there are *plenty* of lawful withdrawals of “unqualified accessions.”  And “unqualified accession” to join an organization is *not* required to be “permanent.”

December 14, 12:50 am | [comment link]
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