Pressure on US Episcopal Church to Reveal Litigation Costs

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over 5,000 people have signed a petition demanding The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA reveals how much money it has spent since 2004 on litigation against individuals and parishes.

The online petition, sponsored by the American Anglican Council (AAC), was signed by 3,583 Episcopalians and 1,747 Non-Episcopal Anglicans.

The Rev Canon David C Anderson, President and CEO of the AAC said, “This petition represents a cry from thousands of current and former members of the Episcopal Church.”

The petition is just one way concerned Christians are speaking out against TEC and its continued lawsuits against former parishes, priests and members.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

32 Comments
Posted September 11, 2007 at 4:18 pm

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/5769/



1. Jon wrote:

Can someone tell me how I can sign this petition?

September 11, 4:48 pm | [comment link]
2. Steven in Falls Church wrote:

Here is a link to the petition.

September 11, 4:54 pm | [comment link]
3. Oldman wrote:

An interesting Part B would be how much of the litigation costs have gone to David Beers and his Washington law firm.

September 11, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
4. Scotsreb wrote:

TEC to Canon Anderson:

“Pffttt”

Like they care?  Like they’re going to come clear in this?

September 11, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
5. plainsheretic wrote:

The National CHurch is very transparent in this regard:

Here is the annual budget:
http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/2007BudgetSummaryfor_web.pdf
Note the line items for “Mission Property Protection” at $500,000
and the Title IV process at $300,000

Then here is the monthly actuals:
http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/2007JulyBudgetarySummary.pdf
It’s all out there in the public. Whats the fuss about?

September 11, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
6. Scotsreb wrote:

#5, yes the budget line items are known.  So what?

That’s not the question at issue, which is:
1) How much has TEC spent on all its legal property fights and where those funds have been expended?
2) How much has TEC advanced to various dioceses from outside the budget, for those dioceses to fight their legal matters?  Such advances from TEC, could very possibly be made from investments from the PBs Corp Sole if there is one at 815, so they would not be budgetary expense line items.  As *loans* they would not be booked against the budget as expenses.

3) How much of those TEC legal disbursements, have been made to the law firm within which the David Booth Beers is a partner?

#5, at this time, one ought not expect blind faith or trust in 815’s activities.

September 11, 6:12 pm | [comment link]
7. plainsheretic wrote:

Scotrreb,

Well, since TEC has a governing board and by it’s rules that governing board (executive council) must apporve any expenditures, then it will show up in the budget.

1. It is listed in three budget items reported monthly. I let you find them.

2. TEC can’t “advance” diocese money from outside it’s budget. If it could, it would require executive council approval. Minutes of executive council are public. Again whats the fuss?

3. Most of them. Big surprise, they are the appointed coucil for the national church. Again what’s the fuss?

September 11, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
8. Brian from T19 wrote:

This is truly reaching crisis level!  A full 0.16% of our membership is interested.  Please ++Katharine, do something before it reaches 0.2%!

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

September 11, 6:47 pm | [comment link]
9. Oldman wrote:

#8
Part of my pledge goes to the National Church, so I would be very appreciative of +KJS to be open and up front. Being in the, as you say, 0.16%, I think even I, like minority stockholders in a corporation, deserve accountability.

Ask the stockholders of Emron how they felt when the corporate books were fixed. If +KJS et al, are not messing with the books she should be happy to tell the truth.

September 11, 7:01 pm | [comment link]
10. Pete Haynsworth wrote:

That TEC in 2006 budgeted $100,000 for and then blew through $3/4 million on such activities was outrageous enough for this pewsitter.

But, like so many vestries and diocesan standing committees, TEC’s Executive Council is made up of people whose eyes glaze over whenever they are presented anything with a column of numbers.  So now TEC’s spending on litigation, etc. is at the same stage as the corporate executive pay issue:  How much is too much?  Nobody can say.

Surely, the tapping of pockets of funds that are available to the national church goes on just as it does in dioceses and parishes.  In my trade - business analysis, it’s referred to as “pulling a bunny out of a hat”.  And the “transparency” of such financial activity is universally poor to nonexistent.

Finding a smoking gun is probably not in the cards.  (Block those metaphors!)

September 11, 7:45 pm | [comment link]
11. Bob from Boone wrote:

Another publicity stunt from the AAC, which has found a way to push a lot of buttons. And this from an organization that with its acronym allies that has hardly been transparent. Would we know about the Chapman Memo had it not been leaked to the Washington Post three years ago? Despite denials and claims that it was only a “draft,” the process set out in that memo has been followed ever since by parish congregations that have left and tried to take church property with them. “Holy disobedience,” the memo called it. Really! Disobedience for sure.

It took a lawsuit from one parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh providing for a discovery process by their attornies that tore out of Bishop Duncan’s hands the paper trail that could give those disagreeing with his position the evidence for his own planning. Now we’ll see if he tries to take the diocese out of TEC and keep his cathedral, et al.

The amount the Church has spent on protecting our property would be greatly decreased if those insisting on leaving would stop trying to steal it.

September 11, 7:50 pm | [comment link]
12. Oldman wrote:

#11.  Aren’t you changing the subject?

September 11, 7:53 pm | [comment link]
13. Brian of Maryland wrote:

Bob,

Repeating your argument doesn’t make it true.  They aren’t stealing their own property.  They bought the land, put up the buildings and have maintained it over the years. 

Maryland Brian

September 11, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
14. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Assuming for the moment (which is a huge assumption I grant you) that TEC will produce some sort of solid numbers on money spent on litigation, I don’t understand why anyone would trust the numbers. I imagine whatever number they produce would be such spin as to be virtually meaningless. I think TEC is still sticking to ridiculously low numbers when it comes to churches that have or are trying to leave and overall membership.

The Archer of the Forest+

http://costlygrace.blogspot.com

September 11, 8:42 pm | [comment link]
15. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “A full 0.16% of our membership is interested.”

So strange.  I mean . . . “The Episcopal Majority” is a mere 400 people.  And, you know, they’re “The Majority” and all.

So . . . I just can’t quite grasp it . . . 3,583 members of the Tiny Minority . . . and 400 members of the Vast Majority . . .

So . . . confusing.

I can’t quite put it all together . . .

Heh.

Heh heh.

September 11, 9:22 pm | [comment link]
16. Makersmarc wrote:

You won’t find a smoking gun if it isn’t there.  Things are as transparent as anyone would want, but it’s hard to see much through such a smoke screen as this petition and the willingness to see a devil behind every corner, even when there is no corner and no devil.  This is getting beyond absurd, flirting with the pathological.  No other arguments hold up under scrutiny, so you have to resort to manufacturing another “crisis” when there is none.  Doesn’t existing in a crisis mentality wear you folks out after a while?  There is a peace that passes all understanding that is available to you right now; no need to wait until Oct. 1 or Lambeth or… (esp. since the only thing that will happen on the days that follow is that the sun will rise and we’ll each go about our daily lives as the Holy Spirit so leads.)

September 11, 9:46 pm | [comment link]
17. RalphM wrote:

Let’s see - Figure $600 per hour for any top flight big city law firm.  If the $$ available from the budget total $800,000, I get about 1333 hours to be billed for 2007 - about 33 lawyer-weeks. 

I suspect it took that much just to get all the complaints filed for the Virginia churches alone.  If you don’t like my hourly rate estimate, cut it in half - the numbers still indicate a very large shell game to me….

September 11, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
18. Brian from T19 wrote:

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah

Is someone else using your screen name?  Recently you have really tried these cute little quips instead of making any statements of substance.  As you are no doubt aware, the comparison is 0.16% who are interested and 99.84% who are not.  You see, a fair criticism would be “But what % of income is represented by those 0.16%?”  But you seem to be missing even those softballs these days;)

As for the signers who are worried about TEC being Enron, vote with your feet - like stockholders should have done when Bethany McLean’s article came out.

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

September 11, 10:24 pm | [comment link]
19. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

BrianfromT19,
“As for the signers who are worried about TEC being Enron, vote with your feet - like stockholders should have done when Bethany McLean’s article came out.”
Do you mean it was the stockholder’s fault that they didn’t get out in time?  And that those in TEC who get burned (metaphorically or literally on earth as in hell) have only themselves to blame?
Your certainty certainly is faithfully fascist.  Does Jason Boyett approve?

September 11, 11:20 pm | [comment link]
20. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Recently you have really tried these cute little quips instead of making any statements of substance.”

But Brian . . . when responding to you I don’t need to make any “statements of substance” . . . I only need to respond with slightly less vacuity then you to win hands-down.

Best to save myself for people who, you know, don’t need so much posturing as their defense mechanism.

And as you are no doubt aware, the survey was distributed via Internet, which would mean that not all people had access to it who wished to express their opinion.  And even those who are “interested” and on the Internet may not wish to express their opinion at all.

But none of the above even matters . . . a red herring breezed across the trail . . . as actually the numbers of Episcopal conservatives who make themselves known are devastatingly . . . nay even for some, frighteningly . . . higher than the number of Episcopal liberals who make themselves known.

3,583 Reasserters fits quite nicely with Plano.  400 members of the Episcopal Majority fits quite nicely with the size of the national conference of that organization that purports to speak for “the majority”, which fits quite nicely with the size of Integrity . . .  you know . . . all those “interested” in blessing and affirming same-sex sexual relationships.  ; > )  But as all of us know . . . the percentage of ECUSA that’s actually “interested” in something means very little indeed in regards to the actions taken by 815.

Some of us reasserters think that the reason for that is the same pattern that Kirk Hadaway noticed in his interesting stats regarding numbers of congregations that identify themselves as conservative.  [And truth be told, some progressive activists privately think the same.]

But still . . . I digress into matters of substance, which really are unsuitable here.  As three years of noticing your comments have demonstrated, the more threatening the news for progressives, the more shallow and snippy your initial comments are on a thread.  I always know that on these sorts of threads in particular—on a “threatening to progressives” news day—I don’t need to be at even half-powers.

There’s so much baying, and bristling, and pawing at the ground, during these full-moon seasons, which passes for rhetoric, that one good silver rhetorical bullet pretty much takes care of it.

September 12, 12:13 am | [comment link]
21. CanaAnglican wrote:

18. Brian from T19— A more telling percentage is that for the number of Christians who have walked away from TEC over the past 30 years—perhaps 50%.  TEC claims 2.2 million people.  The real number might be 1.5 million.  Let’s see, a full half-percent of America’s population is now in TEC.  Wow.

Now, whole parishes are departing or planning it.  Dioceses appear to be not far behind.  This is really sad.  Even sadder, TEC invites it.

September 12, 12:51 am | [comment link]
22. Oldman wrote:

Bryan!  Thank you for your advice. I know many who are voting with their feet and not like me who merely demand that all my “giving” be for the parish only…none absolutely none for the diocese or 815.  I hope more will follow and do as you suggested the stockholders of Enron should have done…leave!

I know 815 has all those trust funds to see them through for a while, but some day even they will run out.

September 12, 12:59 am | [comment link]
23. carol wrote:

I sent the petition to a bunch of people.  One of the ones at my old ECUSA church didn’t appreciate it.  Here is his response to it.

  So those virtuous people and the AAC want to know all about
  TEC’s spending habits.  Well it is not their money and not yours.
  You all left TEC and took your membership elsewhere.  Why do
  you think you can still control what TEC does.  When I give my
  money to the church, it belongs to the church and particularly to
  God.  I trust what the church does with it and that it is in the
  interest of TEC.  We are a family—-those who are with us.  Those
  who are not, should go their own way and let go of us as we have
  let go of them without prejudice.
  You can leave me off these political and un-Christianlike emails.
  Sorry but these emails are not helping to solve anything.  They
  just widen the gap.
  Peace
This is the same person who said3 years ago, “as long as ‘it’ doesn’t affect my church I don’t have a problem with it”.
I am still working on my response to this.  Also, I check with my current Anglican church and discovered that my membership letter was never received by them.  So I guess I can tell him I am still a member since they don’t want to part with membership.

September 12, 5:58 am | [comment link]
24. CharlesB wrote:

Millions on law suits.  Another reason I am glad we left in 2003.  The church where we give now sets aside 15% off the top for the mission of the church, then they figure out how to live and serve with what they have.  They have spent zip on law suits.  We are averaging 7 new believers a week and have planted 5 new churches this past year.  TEC is pretty much ineffective.

September 12, 6:22 am | [comment link]
25. Brian from T19 wrote:

Do you mean it was the stockholder’s fault that they didn’t get out in time?

As with the orthodox, greed kept them from doing the right thing.

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

September 12, 7:51 am | [comment link]
26. Brian of Maryland wrote:

Other Brian,

Or ... maybe it was simply a matter of justice.  Having financially built local ministries and, over many decades, contributed to their priest’s pension fund they didn’t see the value of walking away and leaving it all to those who had nothing to do with raising the funds in the first place.  Or just maybe they thought they should try and remain in dialog with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as long as possible.  Now that TEC stands on the verge of being rejected by the Anglican Communion, it’s a bit rich to blame those who are committed to staying with the global majority. 

There are probably a couple of PhD projects to be written by future church historians concerning all this.  The double speak on the part of those fully committed to TEC’s walk into the dark night of schism and heresy is stunning to watch.

Maryland Brian

September 12, 7:59 am | [comment link]
27. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

BrianfromT19,
“Do you mean it was the stockholder’s fault that they didn’t get out in time?

As with the orthodox, greed kept them from doing the right thing.

Faith as certainty is a fascist’s attitude. - Jason Boyett”

Pray tell, BfT19, where you keep you ‘insightometer’ into the hearts of thousands that so unerringly tells you the motivation of hundreds of thousands!  Do you use it to determine your investment strategies and purchases and sales so as to assure that no individual suffers the state of greed which you so knowingly ascribe?

Ever tried the ‘insightometer’ on the other-than-orthodox, non-orthodox, heterodox, or frankly heretical?  How about the abdicators of Christian moral doctrine to cultural ‘imperatives’?  Does it show greed for power or orgasms or any other object of human desire?  Is it merely limited to finances?

I seem to recall a pertinent phrase about motes and beams.  You, perhaps, know it?

Faith (in BfT19’s insightometer) as certainty is a fascist’s attitude. - Jason Boyett

September 12, 9:41 am | [comment link]
28. johnd wrote:

Carol,
I think I recall that unless you are transfering membership to another TEC church, your “old” church won’t pass a membership letter along.

September 12, 9:55 am | [comment link]
29. Brian from T19 wrote:

But still . . . I digress into matters of substance, which really are unsuitable here.  As three years of noticing your comments have demonstrated, the more threatening the news for progressives, the more shallow and snippy your initial comments are on a thread.  I always know that on these sorts of threads in particular—on a “threatening to progressives” news day—I don’t need to be at even half-powers.

There’s so much baying, and bristling, and pawing at the ground, during these full-moon seasons, which passes for rhetoric, that one good silver rhetorical bullet pretty much takes care of it.

Sigh…you can do so much better than personal attacks an faux hyperbole.  You actually prove my point by not understanding it.  But that’s the way it is I guess.  Thanks for spending so much time refuting me when it isn’t even necessary;)

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

September 12, 11:03 am | [comment link]
30. Oldman wrote:

#28, I think it must be Anglican as well as the attitude of the initial church. Over my many years of being here and overseas, I have had letters from ECUSA “in” to Anglican “out” and Anglican “out” to ECUSA “in” as well as ECUSA to ECUSA.

I hope this makes sense….Nowdays, I don’t function well before noon.

Truthfully, it depends on how Christian either church involved is. These days rules are changed or upheld according to politics more than theology.

September 12, 11:14 am | [comment link]
31. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Sigh…you can do so much better than personal attacks an faux hyperbole.”

No need to.  As I pointed out above. 

And I’m afraid you flatter yourself—a few seconds at the keyboard is all this stuff takes.  Say something substantive and I’ll respond with substance.  But for this stuff . . . I need only just reach slightly above your level, which is not all that high or challenging.

But come, come, Brian—you know you like the light skirmishing!!!!  ; > )  It makes you feel better on threads like these . . .

September 12, 2:27 pm | [comment link]
32. carol wrote:

John D.
I too had heard that if it was another church they wouldn’t send it on so I checked with the church secretary at our old ECUSA church about a month or so ago and was told that it had been done.  She said that we had been “deleted from the church directory” so therefore our membership was sent out as requested.  Then checked with the Anglican Church I am currently attending and they have received nothing. If they don’t send it out, how do you get off their rolls?  Are we counted in the 2.4 million and 800,000 ASA?  We still receive requests from the diocese for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for various mission projects they have going.

September 12, 3:47 pm | [comment link]


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