Attached is a letter describing an agreement made by Somerset Anglican Fellowship with the TEC Diocese. Some of you have already read about this in the newspaper or received an email; many of you have communicated with me your concerns that there might be many “secret deals” being made which will leave many congregations “on their own.” Here is some information about the agreement, and our current situation, that we thought it would be helpful for you to know.
1) Somerset Anglican Fellowship negotiated this settlement without the input or approval of the Diocese. In fact, we have reason to believe that the lawyer representing SAF advised them not to inform the Anglican diocese. We are very concerned that a congregation thought itself to be so in jeopardy as to necessitate secret legal action.
2) St. Stephen’s, Sewickley and Church of the Savior, Ambridge have consulted legal counsel with regard to individual settlements with the TEC Diocese. Both parishes informed the Anglican Diocese at the time and both parishes have decided not to participate in any settlement without the involvement of the Diocese.
3) To the best of our knowledge, there are no other parishes which are unilaterally attempting to make a settlement with the TEC diocese.
4) The Anglican Diocese remains committed to finding the best solution for each of its parishes in light of the recent legal decisions. We also continue to hope for and look for some kind of settlement that would benefit all of our congregations.
5) Please do not hesitate to email or call Canon Mary, Geoff Chapman (Chair of the Standing Committee) or Jonathan Millard (Standing Committee member) or me if you have further questions or concerns.
In light of these very serious developments, I feel compelled to issue a godly directive to all of the clergy of the diocese not to engage in, conduct, or conclude negotiations without first discussing such actions with me, or with Canon Mary, and with our chancellor.
The Most Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan