ACNA loses appeal

Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

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 decision is here.

Lionel Deimel has analysis here.

Somewhere, the Cheshire Cat is smiling. Because the ACNA diocese claims it is the Episcopal Diocese the case has an Alice in Wonderland feel.

In a closely related development a parish has just negotiated a purchase from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. In a statement ACNA’s Bob Duncan called the settlement “heartbreaking.” It has not been a good couple of days for Duncan.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Part of the agreement allowing St. Philip’s church to keep its building and property stipulates it must cut ties with the newly formed Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh for at least five years.

“The amendment to the bylaws passed by a voice vote, which means they will be withdrawing from the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh,” diocesan spokesman David Trautman said after the meeting.

The settlement with St. Philip’s will leave that church independent with the deed to its property clear of legal battles. In addition to continuing to pay the mortgage for the buildings, St. Philip’s will pay an undisclosed fee to the Episcopal Diocese.

The Anglican Diocese already passed a resolution releasing St. Philip’s from the diocese, pending the congregation’s approval of the settlement, Trautman said.

[Epis. Dioc. spokesperson] Creehan said Duncan’s comments do not reflect how the settlement was reached.

“That statement does not accurately reflect what the negotiations were

about,” Creehan said.

See also this Post-Gazette report.

ACNA’s Pittsburgh Diocese isn’t the only one that has appealed a lower court’s ruling. In recent days Fort Worth has as well.

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Category : The Lead

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9 Comments
  1. It never ceases to astound me how petty, spiteful and vindictive the Episcopal Organization can be.

  2. Bill Nichols

    “Sadly, the separation mandate seems to be specifically designed to hurt both the local diocese and the North American province.”

    Or apparently in other words, “It’s all about only us.” Duncan seems to hold the opinion that it’s all right to hijack property belonging to a sovereign entity, but not all right to require the hijacker be held subject to the rule of law. Bizarroworld? 🙂

  3. Peter Pearson

    Christopher, it would be helpful if you explained your comment because I don’t consider it vindictive when someone takes my stuff and the police make them give it back. So I am at a loss. We may be using the same words but meaning very different things.

  4. No one seems to consider that St. Philip’s may be quite happy not to be associated with Duncan’s diocese. To begin with, it is a church that seems to have more in common with Pentecostal than Anglican churches. Moreover, by leaving the ACNA diocese, St. Philip’s no longer pays a diocesan assessment to anyone. People are thinking of this as a settlement with the Episcopal diocese, but it also means that St. Philip’s will not be financing litigation designed to legitimize the theft of property perpetrated by Duncan and his cronies. St. Philip’s negotiated a very good deal for itself. I don’t see any principles being compromised here.

  5. Michael Russell

    Christopher,

    Though I am sure it doesn’t matter, you might want to remember that all this was started by people who called ALL Episcopalians heretics and apostates and essentially expelled them from Christianity. Then they took property they knew they had no right to take.

    So we are just recovering what is ours.

  6. Thanks, awfully, since all of you are proving my point for me. What is the purpose of legally demanding that this parish cut ties with ACNA for five years?

  7. John B. Chilton

    Chris – Hardly.

    It’s negotiation, otherwise known as not being a doormat.

    You steal my clothes and my identity. The court says they are mine. I sell you my clothes by my free volition. I don’t have to sell my identity.

  8. tgflux

    Christopher, MAKE A CASE—otherwise (what w/ the sarcasm and insults, e.g. “Episcopal Organization”), you’re just trolling the thread. Got the Truth on your side? Persuade us!

    JC Fisher

  9. Regarding comment #1, I don’t see how requiring the parish not to be associated with ACNA can be seen as anything BUT spiteful and vindictive. What other purpose could it possibly serve, negotiated or not? If there is some Christian reason for it; if anyone thinks it is something of which Christ would approve, please explain it to me.

    John K. – please sign your last name next time you comment. Thanks ~ed.

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