Sunday, May 29, 2011
Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith …. What Does It Mean?
In late January 2011 the Appellate Court of the Commonwealth of PA unanimously ruled against the appeal of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh on all four counts in the case of “Calvary Church of Pittsburgh vs. Robert Duncan et al”. A final appeal is now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In mid February the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church (TEC) announced they were ready to negotiate about property issues with the parishes that had separated from the Episcopal Church through the majority vote of the lay and clergy deputies of the diocesan convention duly called and seated on October 4, 2008. The TEC Diocese, however, refuses to acknowledge the existence of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh or Bishop Duncan as its diocesan bishop. It appears they do recognize the Bishop as an Archbishop of an independent (though non-Anglican) denomination, known as the ACNA . In most TEC writings he is referred to as either “Robert Duncan” or just “Duncan” and occasionally as archbishop Duncan (usually lowercase “a” rarely “A”). The TEC Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jeffords Schori, in her recent visit to Pittsburgh referred to him in an interview with the press as “Bob Duncan”. Because the TEC Diocese refuses to acknowledge the existence of the Anglican Diocese, it therefore refuses to negotiate with it since in their view the parishes that realigned never realigned and still remain part of their diocese. So,one has to ask if this tactic of TEC represents “negotiating in good faith”?
On February 17, 2011, the TEC Diocese issued a document posted on their website and mailed to each Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh parish titled, “PASTORAL DIRECTION FOR PARISHES SEEKING TO RESOLVE PROPERTY ISSUES WITH THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH” with the subheading “PASTORAL GUIDELINES FOR THE PROCESS TO BE FOLLOWED BY PARISHES SEEKING RESOLUTION OF PROPERTY ISSUES” (link here) The “Guidelines” list eight apparent pre-conditions that all Anglican parishes must subscribe in order to negotiate. So, again, one has to ask if this tactic of TEC represents “negotiating in good faith”?
On April 26, 2011, Ken Price, the Bishop of the TEC Diocese wrote to each Anglican parish requesting financial information from each parish and informing each that property maven Dr. Joan Gunderson would be contacting the parish to schedule “tours” of each property both as further apparent pre-conditions prior to commencing negotiations. These so-called "tours" are nothing more than thinly veiled inventory incursions replete with cameras and video-cams. On May 11, 2001 Dr. Gunderson wrote and reminded each parish to send in the requested financial information . She also stated that no negotiations would occur until such information is received. So, once again one has to ask if this tactic of TEC represents “negotiating in good faith”?