PITTSBURGH: Parishes and Diocese Meet to Discuss Litigation and Future

Posted by David Virtue on 2010/4/29 17:20:00 (1517 reads)

Appeal will press forward, said Archbishop Duncan.
Parishes urged to stand firm and continue in Mission

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
April 29, 2010

Leaders from all 55 parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh met with diocesan leaders on April 25 at St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, to worship and discuss the current status of their litigation with The Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Robert Duncan read a prepared statement, which addressed financial concerns, timelines, and the way forward in mission. Bob Devlin, chancellor for the diocese, and members of the standing committee responded to questions and concerns from parish leaders. These leaders were also given various resources to guide them in moving forward with their mission.

“We have come to a remarkable clarity and unity about our path forward, both legally and missionally. It is this we want to share with you today,” said Archbishop Duncan.

Duncan said that appealing the decisions by the Court of Common Pleas in Calvary Church v. The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan et al. (the court’s final order issued on January 29, 2010) was in the best interest of all – and critical to the defense of – all the parishes of the diocese.

“[Myself] and the Standing Committee have thoroughly examined this course of action, together with a number of other legal options (including ending all legal action), and have given our lawyers instructions to press forward with the appeal as a result of this careful examination. Throughout all of the deliberations and debates about how best to proceed, the over-riding concern before the Bishop and Standing Committee has been how best to protect your parishes and your mission.

……….

Moving Forward in Mission

“The most important thing each parish can do is to move forward in mission. As a parish, whom are you called to reach? Is there an overlooked people-group, social need, or institution at your doorstep? What do you need to reach them? How important are your present buildings to the mission? Are there attractive alternatives? How much does the result of the diocesan appeal actually matter? Could your parish assign a small team to look at contingencies, while the vast majority of your congregation focuses on the mission? Can you shape and plant new congregations, can you draw new people, regardless?

“The lawsuit is a distraction – for now a necessary distraction – but the mission of the Gospel must be our abiding focus. “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” [Luke 5.4] Jesus’ direction to us is clearer than ever.

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