Thursday, March 1, 2018

Important Agreement

I want to note here that when Anglicans have property disputes, they do not necessarily need to end badly. The Pittsburgh Episcopalians and Anglicans chart the way here.

This involves a fascinating distinction between (in my words) historic property and its value and recent upgrades and their added value.

I am happy to take comments about resolving property issues when separation arises and about the nature of property when held in trust for ecclesiastical use. I will not (NOT) take any comment which refers to the underlying issue for separation in Pittsburgh or hypothetically elsewhere in the present or the future.


Anonymous said...

As I read this, Peter, the innovation is agreement that ACNA's parishes have indeed left TEC with all of their property, but also that TEC's diocese has a right to benefit from the property that ACNA's parishes owned before they left. Unlike TEC's dioceses elsewhere (eg Virginia, South Carolina), its Pittsburgh diocese neither denies the reality that parishes have left nor attempts to claim title to the property that they hold. Instead, it has asked that its former parishes continue to support its work with money and space, and they have agreed to do so.

TEC Bishop Dorsey W. M. McConnell disapproves of schism, but has refused to punish clergy and parishes for leaving TEC. For example, many bishops in TEC have deposed departing clergy from holy orders so that they lose all their retirement income from the Church Pension Fund. In contrast, Bishop McConnell not only does not do so, but has spoken and written against the practice. As he reads St John 17, schism is not a wrong that should be punished but an impossibility that should not be countenanced. Readers can find his thoughts on the matter here--


Peter Carrell said...

Very interesting, Bowman!

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed, Peter. I am wondering how and why Anglican life in Pittsburgh differs from what the WG has proposed for ACANZP. And vice versa.

And how close do either come to #7 of my 2/28 at 2:12 on the thread for Inspiration, Authority and Revelation...?


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
In both places a formal agreement was reached / is sought; in both places some details about the implementation of the formal agreement remain to be worked out in practice / will need to be worked out in practice (if agreement is secured).

Goodwill and grace of the heart have / may combine with the workings of legal headspace.

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter,

My understanding is that most, if not all, property given to ACANZP was bequeathed on the understanding that it would be used for proclaiming the Doctrine, as per the Constitution 1857 Fundamental Clause 1. I know this is quite specific in the Deed of Gift, when our family gave land.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Glen
I imagine there are a variety of circumstances re gifts and bequests ... to the parish, for the Sunday School of the Parish of ..., to the diocese for division amongst four parishes with which I have been associated ... some such will be specific about the constitution, or more generally about the Anglican church hereabouts ...

Anonymous said...

"I am wondering how and why Anglican life in Pittsburgh differs from what the WG has proposed for ACANZP. And vice versa."

On reflection, what I see is one great similarity in what Bishop McConnell has said, and in what your GS (if I understand it aright) has implied: the Lord has forbidden any body with an allegiance to him to act as though another body in that allegiance were foreign to the *totus Christus*. Speaking both theologically and psychologically, whatever *purity* Christians may have in Christ, they do not increase it by avoiding others in Christ who have violated even undisputed God-given taboos.

On that premise, it is most obvious that the Body should not be divided at all. But if some disassociation nevertheless happens, allegiance to Christ in itself limits its allowed depth. Neither side may deny the churchliness of the other, and both sides remain bound by the obligations (eg financial, fiduciary, etc) that they undertook together before the division.

In Pittsburgh, that logic results in a *schism* in which the ACNA parishes are financially supporting the TEC diocese, and that diocese is still exercising a degree of oversight in them, ostensibly in defense of its own rights, but apparently also as an advocate for their once and future unity.

Of course, the ACNA parishes also have an ACNA diocese in Pittsburgh, yet this is not an agreement between Bishop McConnell and his ACNA counterpart. Because the latter would not have been a party to civil litigation between the TEC diocese and its former parishes, he is not a party to this civil agreement. In South Carolina, where the whole diocese left TEC, both the TEC and ACNA bishops are litigants because TEC, to the surprise of many of us, raised the question whether a diocese owns itself or not.

The Pittsburgh agreement is analogous to a divorce settlement negotiated while one spouse was already attempting remarriage. Or to a second marriage in which one spouse still has legal responsibilities from the first. However it is not analogous to that French royal wedding in which the first husband negotiated his wife's passage to her second husband. Should it have been?

"And how close do either come to #7 of my 2/28 at 2:12 on the thread for Inspiration, Authority and Revelation...?"

Once we have posited degrees of integrity, unity, and separation, we cannot avoid asking *how much unity* is appropriate to the present aeon. As my support for strictly canonical order suggests, I am confident that church bodies can recognise and adapt holy traditions. However, only in a very *realised eschatology* would they remain united in imposing one collective will on the future.