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Friday, September 23, 2011


It’s interesting to note that the TEC-Pgh diocese has broken off negotiations with our parishes because in their words, “we broke confidentiality”. All Saints’ Rosedale had issued a press release with a copy of their letter to the TEC law firm following the failed attempt at negotiations. And Ann Rodgers carried a story in the Post Gazette.

When TEC-Pgh back in February of this year informed us they would negotiate with our parishes, for our property which they had been awarded title of by the courts, the TECsters listed a number of pre-conditions to which we had to agree in order to begin the actual negotiations. We have never agreed to these pre-conditions one of which is confidentiality. So how could one violate something in which one has not agreed to?

All Saints’ never had one negotiating session with TEC. They had an exchange of one letter each. TEC’s response to All Saints’ best offer they could make was a form letter of impossible demands – a non-starter. All Saints’ had no alternative but to leave their property.

And it all blew up in TEC’s face. What’s next? Nobody knows.

I think it’s all off at least until after the March election of the new TEC bishop but what do I know.


  1. I guess all we know is what we read in the papers. But the end of your post seems a little odd to me, David.

    When the NFL began to negotiate with the players union, the step began with the NFL issuing what it called its "best offer." The union responded that that "best offer" was a non-starter, and offered its "last, best proposal," which was immediately rejected by the NFL. Then the owners locked the doors and the players decertified the union. But with these two "last ditch" documents on the table, it was then and only then that the two parties sat down at the table and began the long process of coming to a mutually-acceptable conclusion. This is the kind of pattern that nearly every "negotiation" I've ever been involved with has followed.

    To say, as you do here, that after one exchange of proposals that "All Saints had no alternative but to leave their property" seems to me anyway very peculiar, if that's in fact what happened. Wouldn't the usual alternative, in fact, be to counter the counter? To begin the fine-tuning, "split the difference" process that tries to find the place where those on both sides of the table get some of what they want and most of what they need, where nobody wins but nobody loses.

    Judge James said in his order enforcing the 2005 Stipulation that congregations would not be evicted from their properties without his express permission, and so far as I know our Episcopal Diocese has not sought that permission. Walking away from the table is a choice, but the constable wasn't at the door over in Rosedale.

    I can perfectly understand and even sympathize with the feeling that some of my Anglican Diocese friends may have that at least in some situations it might be more fruitful in terms of congregational mission and ministry simply to turn the page and start over rather than to engage in a protracted negotiation for properties that may even in the best of times be less than well-suited for the congregation's needs and future growth. I'm not sure that this was the case in the Penn Hills or Verona, though it might have been. Maybe it was in Cranberry, since that congregation had already pretty much moved out of the Warrendale location.

    In any event, it would seem to me that if this were the case, it would be a lot more wholesome just to say so, rather than to try to spin every possible situation to make the folks on the other side of the table seem like they're wearing black hats . . . .

    Bruce Robison

  2. Bruce,
    You're right to say that it is neither accurate nor fair to say that the Rosedale congregation was evicted. However I believe that Rosedale's perspective that they had no choice but to leave (voluntarily) is in fact accurate. Rosedale has expressed, quite articulately, that their desire is to live within St. Paul's demands to be at peace with everyone, to live in a manner that most reflects Christ. That would rule out forcing the TEC diocese to legally evict them and it would rule out financially overextending themselves, especially where it results in putting things before Gospel. Rosedale's best offer, was, in my understanding, a true best offer, not an opening bid for negotiation but an honest assessment of what they could pay. When that offer was rejected, they could not split the difference because to do so would be financially overextending, poor stewardship, and rather unfaithful. And so, they had no choice but to leave. You are right that they were not evicted, but to say they had other options is a little overly positive, too.

    White hats and black hats indeed... most of us wear shades of grey. But in this case, I find no fault with Rosedale and am, in fact, quite thankful for their witness... in part because they weren't evicted, they made the choice to sacrifice the stuff for the Gospel witness.

  3. Bruce

    Rosedale's offer was rejected outright by your Chancellor in his letter ---not even considered as a negotiable point. And the disaffiliation and "fair value" requirement was pressed as the only way forward.

    And then the reason given for freezing all negotiations is David Rucker's so-called violation of confidentiality --something to which he never agreed.

    I predicted 6 weeks ago there would be no negotiations. If your leaders really want to negotiate then drop the draconian preconditions.

    The walk has to equal the talk and it ain't happening.

  4. David,

    I'm not in any position to comment on the content of the All Saints offer or the Episcopal Diocese's counter-offer. And I will trust Tara's assertion that the All Saints congregation did not feel that there was any room to wiggle past their initial offer, and I'll assume you describe the process accurately.

    So that is obviously where things stand, and I understand that tomorrow will be the last day of Sunday services for the All Saints Anglican congregation at the Rosedale location. David has done a beautiful job over a number of years now to pastor and help build a fine Christian community, and it will be interesting and I'm sure inspiring to see what their next chapter of life will look like.

    I don't know entirely what might be learned from this moment. You seem to conclude that there is no desire for meaningful negotiation, and I do just need to say that that isn't the way I read things on this side of the stream. But I agree there are still some tough knots to untie.

    You indicate that two sticking points from your point of view are the concepts of "fair value" and "disaffiliation."

    I haven't been a part of any of these conversations between the parties, but I would be interested to know whether there are some flexible ways to talk about the concept of value (since "fair value" and "market value" may be but are not necessarily the same thing), and whether there has been any energy on the Anglican side devoted to understanding what the issues are for the Episcopal side underneath this concept of "disaffiliation,"--and to thinking about, again, some flexible ways of addressing those issues.

    Again, it's up to the parties themselves. But to me, announcing that your one and only and first offer is your last and best offer, and then walking away from the conversation when it isn't accepted, doesn't seem to me to be the reasonable way forward. There is always some wiggle room, if the motivation is serious.

    Whether any of us wish it were so or not, the court has determined by accepting the Special Master's list that the church properties titled to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh are in law the property of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. And the Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese are required to act canonically and legally as fiduciaries for the Episcopal Diocese. That's just the way things are.

    People are going to have to work within reasonable realities and acknowledge necessary constraints or your prediction of failure will be inevitably, and I think unnecessarily, self-fulfilling.

    Bruce Robison

  5. If there is a flexible way address the "disaffiliation" requirement, the Episcopal Diocese has had plenty of time to signal such flexibility will be considered. My read is that it is ironclad on your side. If it is negotiable than signal such otherwise it's a moot point.

  6. David,

    All I really know is that "disaffiliation" was an aspect of the settlement at Moon. Whether that aspect of the settlement was problematic for the negotiators for St. Philip's, I don't know. I haven't talked to Eric about it. You'd have to ask them.

    And I know that there was no process of negotiation at all at St. James in the Penn Hills and apparently only a formal exchange of "first offers" at All Saints Rosedale. I don't know what kind of conversation may have taken place related to Warrendale. But I'd say thus far we really don't know the full extent what would possible or not possible in a serious negotiation where both sides come to the table with a desire to reach a mutually acceptable, mutually beneficial conclusion--in which each side would seek seriously to assess and meet as best they can the needs and concerns of the other, while retaining a clear sense of its own important interests. We just don't know because it doesn't seem to have happened yet. The folks at Somerset seem happy enough with their resolution, though I know the issues there were different enough that they aren't all that helpful as a model.

    I've made my own opposition to the concept of "disaffiliation" clear from the beginning, but I can see that it is an idea presented by our diocese because of a set of concerns that are common among many in the Episcopal Church--who perhaps read your blog and so conclude (I know in error, but how do they know?) that the central and motivating activity of Anglican Diocese folk is a relentless attack on the Christian character of the Episcopal Church. There are a lot of people who are pretty sour about the tone, and I think it would take some time into the future of self-conscious dialing-down of rhetoric for that to change. When the Anglican Diocese congregations now come to the table and say "we'd like to negotiate a settlement based on a spirit of Christian charity and fellowship," I would personally understand why there may be perceived something of a disconnect.

    The courts have concluded, unsurprisingly to me anyway, that properties titled to "the
    Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh" are in law the property of "the Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh," and both Pennsylvania law and the Canons of the Episcopal Church require the officers of the Episcopal Church to conduct themselves in the stewardship of of property in a manner that serves "the best interest" of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh." I thus imagine that any final settlement about the transfer of ownership of property will need to meet these requirements. The negotiators for the congregations likewise need to determine what the best interests are of the congregations they serve. And all this of course will look different in each specific situation. Then the two parties sit down and try to find a point where both have satisfied their responsibilities.

    That's all to say, based on our current track record, so far as I've seen it, what possible way do we have to determine what is truly "non-negotiable?"

    Bruce Robison

  7. It should also be remembered that most human beings haven't already thought through everything they might be willing to consider when they first begin to consider something. We can't know how flexible the negotiators on either side are until some variations which they may not have thought of have been suggested to them.

    For instance, I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons why those on the PECUSA side have disaffiliation on their agenda is because ACNA not only makes public statements suggesting that the Episcopal Diocese is not really the Episcopal Diocese, but spends money trying to persuade the courts to accept this argument. This money is presumably contributed, at least in part, by the member parishes. It's entirely reasonable to expect Party A in settling with Party B to ask Party B to make no further contributions to efforts which, if successful, would render the settlement null and void.

    But that doesn't require disaffiliation, it merely requires not paying the diocesan assessment, which I understand is voluntary in ACNA in any case. I can imagine an ACNA parish responding to a disaffiliation proposal by saying 'tell me what your interest in disaffiliation is, and let's see if we can satisfy that in a way that still allows us to be part of the church body we have chosen'. But if instead of that negotiations are broken off, no one will ever know whether or not a deal could have been worked out.

    I realise that for some ACNA parishes, not paying their diocesan assessment would be a non-starter. Others might hope that the ACNA diocese would understand why it had to do this, and would continue to be active supporting members of ACNA in every other way. But you can't assume that the Episcopal Diocese has thought of this and rejected it; someone has to suggest this, or any other variation that seems workable, and see what response they get.

    I found this web-site helpful on the whole subject of legal negotiation:

    Philip Wainwright

  8. Bruce and Philip

    We are obviously talking past each other. If
    TEC has said it wants to negotiate and are taken totally by surprise and are miffed that All Saints' walked away than why didn't TEC respond to All Saints' that it was willing to sit down and actually negotiate? Instead of reiterating the same mantra of disaffiliation as a pre-condition? It is disingenuous to feign hurt and surprise in this.

  9. David,

    All I know from the press releases, etc., is that the folks from All Saints sent a (written, I gather) proposal to the Episcopal Diocese, and that the Episcopal Diocese apparently replied (with a letter, as I understand it) saying that the proposal presented by All Saints was unacceptable, and I guess suggesting some ideas for a proposal that might be more acceptable.

    At that point the folks at All Saints might have said, "we tried to do the best we could with our first offer, and we find your responding offer" (if that's what it was) "not something we can accept. However, we'd like to meet with you now with these two proposals on the table and see if we can make progress toward creating a third document, and a settlement that might work for both of us."

    Or, what happened instead: the folks at All Saints responded, "our first offer was our last and only, and we have no interest in further negotiations." The Press Release anyway didn't specify that it was the "disaffiliation" issue that was the stumbling block for the All Saints congregation. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was a concern related to a proposal about the financial aspects of a proposed settlement. Nonetheless, I don't see how a party that indicates its first offer to be its last can then go on to suggest that the other party has failed to negotiate.

    I find Phil's thoughts about the different concerns behind "disaffiliation" to be very helpful. At least as a way to demonstrate that a good negotiation includes a process of testing assumptions and experimenting with different definitions and perspectives. Which takes time, of course, and some openness to the possibility that a solution might eventually emerge that looks different from what you thought a solution would need to look like when you got started.

    Bruce Robison

  10. All I can say Bruce is TEC-Pgh has to drop the PRECONDITIONS that we must agree to prior to negotiations

  11. David,

    I think I agree with you.

    My own view is that preconditions should be related to the process of negotiation (for instance, an agreement about confidentiality, a promise not to throw sharp objects across the table, etc. . . .), not to desired (or even required) outcomes of the negotiation.

    I entirely agree, for example, that no successful negotiation in the Middle East can be concluded without a requirement that Palestinians recognize officially and in implementation of policy the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.

    I don't believe that it is or would be helpful, however, for Israel to demand such a declaration as a precondition for negotiation. It's part of what needs to be hashed-out at the table.

    Bruce Robison

  12. Bruce: I think we can agree on that too. It would certainly push the peanut ahead.

  13. Bruce,
    I'm not sure I understand all the angst about Rosedale. You're right when you point out that bitterness, which in our fallen humanity, does not become either side. But to put it rather bluntly, the ACNA diocese got a pretty raw deal and has some corresponding raw feelings. That said, Rosedale chose to walk away after revealing their best offer and engaging in minimal negotiation... they don't seem bitter, and in fact seem quite at peace with that. What I don't understand is why the TEC diocese, who got what they felt entitled to have, seems so upset over this.

  14. Thanks, Tara. I'm not sure that I agree that the Episcopal Diocese "got what they felt entitled to have." What the Episcopal Diocese folk feel "entitled to have" is a resolution that meets our legal and canonical responsibilities as fiduciary officers of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. And that could happen in a pretty wide range of scenarios, seems to me.

    All I really know is that the negotiators for the Episcopal Diocese didn't feel that they could accept without at lease some amendment the first offer that came from the All Saints side of the table, and that the folks at Rosedale, having heard a counterproposal, didn't feel that they wanted to engage in any further negotiation.

    Which is of course entirely their right.

    My own belief is that there should have been or at least might have been a possibility for a negotiation that would have allowed the All Saints congregation to continue to worship in and minister from the Rosedale property. But that would have taken longer, for sure, and none of us can be sure what the elements of that outcome might have needed to be.

    I don't think the concern raised about "confidentiality" in Dave's original post is an indication one way or the other about how the Episcopalian side of the table felt about the conclusion of the process at Rosedale. To me it seemed like pretty much a failure for both sides.

    But the point seems to be that if the folks in the Anglican Diocese feel free to release selected elements of the negotiation to the public via press releases, then that will complicate the process along the way in future negotiations. Typically in negotiations the details of offers and counteroffers are kept confidential until the process has concluded, and then the two parties determine and agree what will be said in something like a "joint press release." Otherwise it's not really a negotiation between the two parties, but instead a political process engaging a wider community.

    If I as a negotiator say to you, "think about this offer and give me a response," and then the next morning I read the text of my offer in the Daily Planet, I may feel less willing to engage in that process in the future.


  15. Bruce, you write: "If I as a negotiator say to you, "think about this offer and give me a response," and then the next morning I read the text of my offer in the Daily Planet, I may feel less willing to engage in that process in the future".

    Very true, but that is not the response that All Saints' received form your side. Your side's response was, 1. disaffiliate, and 2. pay fair value. If not leave the keys. But we we will let you stay 18 months while we canvas your congregation so that we can discover on our own how they really feel about realignment especially after we educate them.

  16. Again, David. I understand. I would have been surprised if the Episcopal Diocese negotiators had found the All Saints "first offer" acceptable, and I would have been even more surprised if the All Saints folks had found the Episcopal Diocese's reply acceptable. I personally think that both the offer and the counter-offer didn't take seriously the legitimate needs and concerns of the other. But that's where the play began.

    But my point is simply that if the folks at All Saints had replied: "Friends of the Episcopal Diocese, our first proposal didn't work for you, and your reply doesn't work for us--let's schedule a meeting to see if we can find something else that might work for both of us," and then the Episcopal Diocese side had said, "we're not interested in talking any more, leave us the keys," then I agree--the shoe would have been on the other foot. But of course, that didn't happen.

    In fact, Judge James indicated in 2009 that the Episcopal Diocese, at least at this point, may not "instruct" the people of Anglican congregations to "leave the keys." Not without his permission. Not even in properties where the title is clear. And I would be surprised if he would give that permission unless he were first satisfied that both sides had made a serious effort to negotiate, as per the terms of Paragraph 2 of the 2005 Stipulation. My guess--I don't know, but this is my guess-is that he would before giving permission to evict ask for an account of good-faith efforts to settle amicably.

    Obviously, if both sides make extensive and exhaustive efforts to resolve the situation, but are unable to do so, then the next step will need to happen. But in this case, anyway, the question is moot. If you leave the plane in the hanger and walk away, you'll never know for sure whether it will fly . . . .

    Bruce Robison

  17. I marvel at Bruce's ability to lay all the blame on All Saints (if you leave the plane in the hanger, etc) and to regard TEC-Pitt as the offended party. My question: Where is the evidence that TEC-Pitt made "extensive and exhaustive efforts to resolve the situation" and why did they not respond to Fr. Rucker's letter that their preconditions were a non-starter. Ah, but I am so naive, aren't I? Everything is just so terribly complicated.

  18. Dan, I'm still trying to figure out how they can be an offended party when they were given the whole shebang without the bother of extended negotiations. Something about a gift horse, etc, right? Its a beautiful building and they don't have to pay the lawyers to baby sit the negotiating team... So why the bluster and bother?

    Bruce, obviously the TEC diocese wouldn't want to hear first through the newspapers, but I'm not aware that that was at all the situation. Do correct me if that is mistaken. As for the rest... well, see my note to Dan. Maybe I'm not as smart as some, but I'm utterly befuddled on this one.

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  20. Thanks, Ethan. Open negotiations are always one way to go. But it probably is the case that folks having "open" negotiations will always be looking over their shoulder to see how their back-and-forth across the table looks to other constituencies.

    Makes it somewhat less likely that one side will offer something potentially costly, even if in exchange for something of value.

    Until the whole agreement is worked-out, the offer becomes a political football in another field of play.

    I don't know for sure, but I think behind the idea of "joint statements," which you often see in such situations, is the thought that in public announcements both sides will be able to agree that their position is fairly represented. Otherwise the one side will "cherry pick" the most unattractive parts of the other side's position, while perhaps selectively leaving out aspects of its own position that it would prefer to de-emphasize. Thus it is helpful to have ground rules spelled out in advance.

    Apparently there is now even a disagreement, via David's note here, about whether there were in fact "ground rules" related to the exchange between All Saints and the Episcopal Diocese. If the Episcopal Diocese negotiators thought there were some groundrules, and the negotiators from All Saints and the communications folks at the Anglican Diocese acted in ways that seemed to violate those groundrules, then clearly the problem was either that the Episcopal Diocese negotiators were in error in their assumptions or that the actions of others were a breach of the understanding. In either case, it's understandable that there would be a reaction, with perhaps a sense of caution about continuing in the process with other parties until some real clarity could be developed in the future.

    Bruce Robison

  21. I am frankly dismayed to read how good Christians (whom I know to be so from their blogs and their comments elsewhere) could even begin to rationalize a demand that other Christians surrender their constitutional rights under the First Amendment as part of the price of a "negotiated settlement." Whether what has euphemistically been termed "disaffiliation" consists of agreeing not to affilate with certain groups, or not to make any monetary contributions to them, the demand to do so is blatantly unconstitutional, unconscionable, and most assuredly un-Christian.

    When presented with such an unspeakable demand to surrender one's basic rights, even if it was meant only as an "opening ploy", the true Christian's response is to do exactly what the parishioners of All Saints did: they obeyed Christ's command to "shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against [what was demanded of them]."

  22. Thanks, Mr. Haley. As I hope I've made clear, I oppose the so-called "disaffiliation" demand.

    I think it's a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons--although I don't believe it deprives anyone of "First Amendment rights" anymore than, to use an exaggerated image, it would be if, say, the local Roman Catholic parish declined to allow a local group to rent one of its buildings for the conduct of Druidical worship.

    Anglican congregations are always entirely free to be members of the Anglican Diocese, but I believe it is at least constitutional for Episcopal Diocese authorities to determine whether or not they may in that case continue to use properties owned by the Episcopal Diocese. Churches have generally been exempt from non-discrimination laws in such context--or otherwise there could be employment actions related to requirements for religious affiliation in the hiring of teachers of religion in private church-owned schools.

    Again, I think the demand for "disaffiliation" is ungenerous and counterproductive. But I would be astonished if a court were to rule that it is illegal or "unconstitutional." It can be just a bad idea.

    But I indeed have tried to understand--"rationalize," I guess--what this demand for "disaffiliation" is really about for those who support it--and to see if there might not be some way for the two parties to meet each other's concerns in a way that will in the real world allow for both groups to move forward.

    It seems to me that "disaffiliation" has been a concern for the Episcopal Diocese when proposing or considering a proposal that asks it to release its legal interest in an asset for a value less than the full fair market value, and/or to "carry the note" and to permit the congregation (thus, St. Philip's, Moon) to satisfy the mutually-agreed obligation over an extended period of time.

    The Episcopal Diocese apparently has decided that while it is willing to enter into such beneficial agreements with congregations, it is not willing to enter into such agreements if those agreements will in a fairly direct trajectory (though the congregation's assessment and other contributions) provide resources with which the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh will pursue its legal actions against the Episcopal Diocese. Especially when this is seen also in the context of a very persistent pattern of negative speech and action both nationally and locally intended to diminish and undermine the ministry of the Episcopal Church generally.

    Thus I've wondered if there might not be a middle ground of "semi-disaffiliation." For congregations to agree not to give financial support to the Anglican Diocese or any other body engaged in legal action against the Episcopal Diocese, in the context of whatever benefit to the congregation is being provided by the Episcopal Diocese in the area of a favorable purchase, at less than full market value, or of a private financing of that purchase.

    So far as I know at least thus far no Anglican congregation here in Pittsburgh has offered to finance on its own the purchase with cash at the full market-based price assets that Judge James has ruled are the property of the Episcopal Diocese. I would be very surprised as well if a case would be made for "disaffiliation" in that circumstance, even by those who support "disaffiliation" in other circumstances.

    Bruce Robison

  23. Waaaaaitaminute.... Um, Bruce, do you honestly think the Anglican Diocese has plans to use diocesan assessments to continue litigation against the Episcopal Diocese? You've got to be kidding me. Either your sources are whack, or mine are.

  24. Hi Tara. So has the Anglican Diocese withdrawn its appeal of Judge James's ruling to enforce the 2005 Stipulation to the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth, and has it decided not to follow with any further legal action down the road challenging the status of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh? If both of those things have happened, then I would agree that funds supporting the Anglican Diocese are not being used "in litigation against the Episcopal Diocese."

    Bruce Robison

  25. Bruce, obviously you'll want to confirm that with someone who keeps closer tabs on these things than I do, but I believe we have exhausted all pending litigation (why on earth then would we be handing over any buildings if there was litigation still pending) and have no plans for any further and that diocesan assessments were always used for mission not for our defense fund. Need I remind everyone who initiated the lawsuits? 'Twasn't us.

  26. Bruce

    Greeting from the local library in sunny Florida. You might not remember but prior to the "start" negotiations in March 2011, an Open Letter was proposed that both parties sign. It was simple enough, but unfortunately the TEC-Pgh Standing Committee of which you're a member for reasons unbeknownst to me couldn't/ wouldn't sign on to it. Here's the link to the letter to refresh your memory

  27. Just to set the record straight:

    The ACNA-Pgh diocese has initiated no litigation against the TEC-Pgh diocese. I would hardly characterize appealing a decision of a lower court against the original litigating party as initiating litigation.

    Also note that no money contributed by ACNA parishes is going towards legal expenses in the diocesan appeal to either the PA Court of Appeals or the PA Supreme Court -- a check the diocesan budget, proves this correct. Using that as an excuse for requiring disaffiliation makes no sense. The voluntary tithe (10%) asked of the ACNA parishes fund the mission of the diocese and its member parishes, not legal costs.

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  29. Ethan, I entirely agree with your last paragraph. Thank you.

    My efforts in this thread have been to wonder about how we might begin to sort out trails of possibility in gray areas at the margins.

    It appears to me that the difficult challenge of "disaffiliation" has its source at least in part in the decision by the Anglican Diocese to contest and appeal the ruling that Judge James used to enforce the 2005 Stipulation.

    No one questions the right of the Anglican Diocese to pursue this course, or to test other legal options to contradict the status of the Episcopal Diocese as the legal successor of the pre-2008 Episcopal Diocese.

    Nonetheless, so long as that course is followed, the Episcopal Diocese will I guess to some extent regard the Anglican Diocese as a "hostile" entity. I personally can't and won't use that language to describe my relationship to my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I'm trying to understand how the thought process works.

    In that context, it seems to be the case that when it enters into negotiations about the sale and transfer of property owned (per the Court) by the Episcopal Diocese to congregations of the Anglican Diocese, the Episcopal Diocese may have offered some beneficial terms (this was the situation at Moon, anyway)--sale for less than full market value, with payment to be made over time--with the understanding that such beneficial terms would not be offered if the congregation continued in its affiliation with the Anglican Diocese.

    My wondering was whether there might be some gray area here at the margin, and whether the Episcopal Diocese might accept what I've called "partial" disaffiliation--suspending financial support but maintaining spiritual fellowship and other organizational participation--while the legal action of the Anglican Diocese against the Episcopal Diocese continues.

    This might of course not be acceptable to either side initially, but perhaps it could be an area to explore, if and when additional parties come to the table to talk.

    I hope Dave and Gale are having a nice time at the beach. Surf, sand, mai tai on the veranda as evening falls. It's more like November around here . . . .


    Bruce Robison