As you consider this, I want you to be aware of a canonical determination that I have made as Bishop with the advice of the Standing Committee of this Diocese. Diocesan Canons state that any parish failing to meet its assessment obligation to our Diocese for two years will become a Transitional Parish (Canon XV, Section 6), which carries the consequence that the title of all property held by or for the use of that parish shall be vested in the Board of Trustees for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Canon XV, Section 13).
Under the most favorable interpretation of our Diocesan Canons, any parish that has failed to pay its assessments to the Episcopal Diocese for the past two years has until March 13, 2011, to once again become an active, participating parish in the Diocese, including resuming assessment payments, or its status will become that of Transitional Parish.
My first hope, of course, is that we be reconciled in a way that your parish can share in the life of the Episcopal Diocese again. If that is not possible at this time, I reiterate my invitation that you contact me to begin a conversation seeking an amicable resolution of these property issues. By this all will know that we are His disciples.
The rest of the letter is here.
All comments are my own and don't represent anybody else, blah blah. And frankly I don't have the authority to do what I'd really like to do, which is probably for everyone's benefit, not least of which is the benefit of my own spiritual state. Lucky everyone.
But let me get this right, bishop....
1. If we want to come back with our tail between our legs, after you make sure we're sufficiently shamed, you'll gladly take all the stuff.
2. If we don't come back tails tucked, we're welcome to pay up our "assessments" and if we don't do that you'll gladly take all the stuff.
So basically our options are give you everything or have it taken from us.
3. While the presiding judge in the lawsuit expressly stated that he did not wish to see the mission of any parish interrupted, you'll gladly disregard the civil authorities that granted you hearing, threaten us, and take all the stuff.
But "By this" all will know that you are his disciples? What is "this? By threats? Just whose disciples would that be? I've been generous to TEC as anyone can be from where I sit. I know that some are in TEC who are Jesus' disciples as am I. But whose disciple is it that thinks it is okay to rape the church's theology and pillage her property when the faithful protest? Sorry, fella, but we are NOT on the same side.
I follow a lord who said whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of him. Pittsburgh faithful, do not look back. That's the lord whose disciples we are.
I follow a lord who said if you're asked to go one mile, go two. There's not a church on this earth, basilica or basement, that is more important than the one whose disciples we are.
I follow a lord whose Scriptures forbid suing your brother, and who insists that it is by self-sacrificial love, love that is willing to lay down our own lives for one another, that all men will know his disciples.
I follow a Lord who reminds us not to put our faith in the things of this world, where moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal. Stuff is stuff... it doesn't last. I'm not in this for the here and now. In case you missed it, there's a bigger picture.
I see your fruit, Bishop Price; don't ask me to travel the way you're going.