News for Week Ending 3/1/2010
Supreme Court rejects La Crescenta appealEpiscopal News Service reported March 1, 2010, that the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of St. Luke’s Anglican Church. The church, formed by the breakaway congregation of St. Luke’s of-the-Mountains Episcopal Church in La Crescenta, California, had lost its property to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles when it appealed to the high court in December. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Both the diocese and the new church have issued statements.
Defendants appeal in Calvary caseOn February 25, 2010, attorneys for deposed Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan and his fellow defendants filed a notice of appeal to various findings and orders of the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas in the so-called Calvary lawsuit. Such an appeal was promised last October 29—see Pittsburgh Update story here—in response to Judge Joseph M. James’s October 6 ruling that property controlled by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh before the schism of October 4, 2008, should remain under the authority of the Episcopal Church diocese.
Although the notice of appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania lists various Common Pleas Court actions dating back as far as May 2007 as being the subject of the defendants’ appeal, the filing gives no hint as to the basis for the appeal.
Calvary Episcopal Church first sued Bishop Robert Duncan and other diocesan leaders in October 2003 in an attempt to keep church property within The Episcopal Church in the event of schism. Litigants reached a settlement two years later embodied in a stipulation that declared, among other things, that diocesan property “shall continue to be so held or administered by the [Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America] regardless of whether some or even a majority of the parishes in the Diocese might decide not to remain in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.” Litigation in the past year has focused on enforcing this provision and has not touched on property held by parishes.
Their appeal notwithstanding, the defendants have been co-operating in surrendering diocesan property to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.