Thursday, December 21, 2006

Breaking News from Pittsburgh

CALVARY FILES PETITION IN COURT OF COMMON PLEAS

The following statement has appeared on the website of Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh.

In October 2003, following a Special Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Calvary Church, together with its rector and senior warden, brought suit against Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven, and other officials of the Diocese. St. Stephen's Church, Wilkinsburg, and Mr. Herman S. Harvey, a parishioner of St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley, later joined Calvary in the action as plaintiffs. One of the reasons for the action was the passage of Resolution Six, "Title to Property," at the 2003 Special Convention. Resolution Six denied the rights of the National Church to property held or administered by the Diocese or by parishes within the Diocese. Because Calvary is firmly committed to the National Church, it contested the passage of Resolution Six and other actions which it believed were contrary to the interests of the National Church. Ultimately, Calvary obtained a settlement and Court Order, entered October 14, 2005, which provided for protections of those property interests and also established the nullity of Resolution Six, which had been withdrawn.

In light of occurrences since the date of that October 14, 2005 Court Order, particularly the purported withdrawal of the Diocese from the Third Province of the Episcopal Church and the request that the Diocese not be under the authority of newly elected Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (both of which were approved by the Standing Committee in June, subject to ratification by the Diocesan Convention, which ratification occurred in November) as well as events since then, Calvary believes that -- despite assertions to the contrary -- persons and property within the Diocese are effectively being removed or have been removed from the Episcopal Church. As we understand it, no funds have been sent by the Diocese to the National Church for some time. Now, withdrawal from the currently established Province structure of the Episcopal Church effectively eliminates participation in the participatory government process of electing representatives to the Executive Council, and, also importantly, removes the process (which resides at the Province level) for review of discipline imposed by a bishop on a priest or deacon. In light of these developments, a Petition has been filed by Calvary to have the Court of Common Pleas enforce what we believe to be the correct reading of the Stipulation and Order entered October 14, 2005. The text of the Petition will ultimately be available on the Prothonotary of Allegheny County's website, by clicking here.

Information about the resolution to the previous lawsuit is available. Click here for the complete story.

Update: We were so eager to post this story as soon as the news was released that we did not see what other Websites had posted it. Other sources will surely begin providing more analysis and further links, and we will be pleased to post other links. To this point, the news seems only to have been noted by the Diocese of Washington. Journalist Jim Naughton has some additional information here.

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12/21/2006 5:20 PM  

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