Category : TEC Conflicts: Quincy

[Diocese of Quincy] Bishop Morales responds to the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court Decision

16 May, AD 2016

To All the Faithful in the Diocese of Quincy,

The Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court has ruled in our favor in our ongoing defense against legal challenges brought against us by the Episcopal Church. In their unanimous decision of May 13th, the Appellate Court for the second time ruled that our Diocese had the ability not only to leave the Episcopal Church, but also to keep all of our assets.
……
While all of this is fantastic news and is a further answer to our prayers, it does not mean we are done with legal challenges. The Episcopal Church still has a lawsuit pending against us in Peoria County and another pending against us in Rock Island County. These lawsuits are essentially asking for the courts to award the assets of our individual congregations to the Episcopal Church. These cases have been “stayed” or put on hold pending the decision of the Appellate Court discussed above, but are now likely to become active again in the very near future. While we all hope and pray that the Episcopal Church will cease these attacks upon our Diocese, our Diocese and its attorneys will continue to vigorously defend our rights to proclaim the Gospel without fear and to worship as traditional Anglicans.

Upholding all of the faithful in the Diocese of Quincy in unceasing prayer and all love in Christ Jesus,..

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

Diocese of Quincy Press Release: Appellate Court Unanimously Rejects Episcopal Case

The Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court ruled in favor of the Anglican Diocese of Quincy in their ongoing defense against legal challenges brought against them by the Episcopal Church. In the unanimous decision of May 13th, the Appellate Court for the second time ruled that the Diocese had the ability not only to leave the Episcopal Church, but also to keep all of its assets.

While the Episcopal Church had claimed that prior Court rulings did not encompass “all” of the Diocese’s assets, the trial court of Adams County, Illinois ruled that it had in fact awarded all of the Diocesan assets to the Diocese free of any claim by the Episcopal Church.

The trial court noted that its original decision had been affirmed by the Fourth District Appellate Court and that the Illinois Supreme Court had declined the Episcopal Church’s Petition for Leave to File further appeal. Further, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s sanction against the Episcopal Church, whereby the trial court had ordered the Episcopal Church to pay attorney’s fees for the Diocese.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

A S Haley–TEC Loses (Again) in Quincy; San Joaquin Seeks Review

Now that the case will return to Adams County (assuming the Church litigators do not waste everyone’s time and money with a request for leave to appeal again to the Illinois Supreme Court), the stay against those actions will be lifted, and they can proceed. However, like the claim to the moneys in the bank, the claims in these suits will not be proceeding in a vacuum. Twice now the Illinois Court of Appeals has held that ECUSA had no enforceable trust interest in property held for parishes. The first of those decisions also dealt with the ineffectiveness of the Dennis Canon to create any such trust under Illinois law. It is likely, therefore, but not certain, that these last few isolated claims will fare the same fate as the others. (No one ever made anything by trying to predict what a particular court will decide to do.)

It is nonetheless deplorable that the new Presiding Bishop of ECUSA sees fit to allow his litigators to continue to waste the Church’s trust funds and pledge income on litigation for purely punitive purposes. One has to wonder, when it comes to going after realigning dioceses and parishes, just who is in charge of ECUSA after all these years. The irony is that a person who acts as his own attorney (or lets his attorney make all the decisions, which comes to the same thing) has, as those of us in the profession happily admit, “a fool for a client.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Katherine Jefferts Schori, Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, Theology

A S Haley–The Episcopal Church and the Freedom of Association: a Showdown Is Coming

By my count, 40 of the 91 cases listed resulted in legal victories at the trial or appellate level for ECUSA; just two parish cases (All Saints and the Good Shepherd San Angelo case in Texas) went the other way, but three of the five cases involving Dioceses resulted in rulings against ECUSA. A fourth diocese case (San Joaquin) is on appeal; the fifth one (Pittsburgh) gave a victory to ECUSA on the basis of a very strained reading of the effect of a stipulation between the parties.

It is a legitimate query to ask why the results of the parish cases are so lopsided in favor of ECUSA, while the results of the diocese cases go just the other way.
For the parishes, most of the decisions turned upon explicit language in their own bylaws that made them “perpetually” subject to their Diocese and ECUSA. No such language exists in any of the Dioceses’ governing documents, however. For the cases involving them, the explanation lies in the well-established freedom of association, which is a fundamental right enshrined in the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. It holds that just as no one can be prevented by the government from joining a group, so also the group may not go to court to prevent a member from leaving it. “Freedom of association therefore plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate,” as the Supreme Court put it in Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 623, 104 S. Ct. 3244, 3252, 82 L. Ed. 2d 462 (1984).

The liberals in ECUSA have a very difficult time trying to understand why their Church should be subject to such a doctrine. For them, the union between a Diocese and General Convention is an ecclesiastical one, and as such, they claim, civil courts should be precluded (by that same First Amendment!) from examining or questioning it in any way.

A moment’s reflection will expose the flaws in that argument (not that ecclesiastical liberals ever pay any attention to logic or reason). ECUSA is, ecclesiastically speaking, a denomination — but that says nothing about what it is in the eyes of the law. In order to sue or be sued in a civil court, for instance, ECUSA has to be a juridical person, not just an ecclesiastical one.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

A.S Haley–The Episcopal Church is sanctioned again in the Quincy Lawsuit

After analyzing the record to find that TEC had waived any right to claim that there were separate funds in the single account, the Court observed:

During the argument on these issues, TEC argued that it did not freeze the account, PNC did. To say this argument lacks merit would be charitable. While TEC, in a very literal sense, is correct on “who” froze the account, the “why” is the more important issue. PNC froze the account because it received a letter from counsel for TEC which threatened to hold PNC liable if funds were disbursed.

The court finds, based upon this record, that the continued threat made to PNC Bank to hold it accountable if funds were disbursed and the continued attempt to collaterally attack the clear order of this court dated October 9, 2013 even after this case had run its course through the appellate process constitutes bad faith, is not grounded in fact or existing law and has resulted in needless, ongoing and expensive litigation.

Accordingly, the court grants the request of the Plaintiffs for fees incurred from December 30, 2014 onward pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 137.

There is much more to savor in the Court’s order. It is gratifying to have a trial judge (not the one who rendered the original Quincy decision) see so clearly through TEC’s bullying tactics, and to deal with them accordingly.

Read it all and make sure to follow the link to the full order.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Quad City Times) Illinois Supreme Court rejects the Episcopal Church's appeal in Quincy Case

Local Anglican priests gave parishioners an extra helping of good news during Thanksgiving Day services.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition by the Episcopal Church to review a lower court ruling that decided contested money and property tied to a 2008 split rightfully belonged to the Quincy Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America, the Rev. Thomas Janikowski, public relations director, said Friday.

He shared the news with parishioners at Trinity Anglican Church in Rock Island, where he’s rector, during his Thanksgiving homily and said he saw several “moist eyes” in people grateful to learn the case finally may be over, he said…

The Supreme Court’s denial was a disappointing decision, according to Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee, of the Chicago Diocese, which the former Quincy Episcopal Diocese realigned itself with in 2013.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

AS Haley: ECUSA Denied Leave to Appeal in Quincy Case

Today the Illinois Supreme Court posted twenty-eight pages of its recent dispositions of requests made by losing parties for leave to appeal their decision to that Court. On page twelve, at the very top, appears this brief notation:

No. 118186 – The Diocese of Quincy et al., respondents, v. The Episcopal Church et al., petitioners. Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Fourth District. (4-13-0901)

Petition for leave to appeal denied.

What this means is that the highest court of a State has now ruled that there is no provision in the governing documents of the Episcopal Church (USA) that keeps a Diocese from withdrawing its membership in that organization. The Church in fact is an unincorporated association of dioceses fashioned under American common law, and not under the laws of any one given State. Under the First Amendment, members of such associations are free to leave the group at any time, with only reasonable restrictions placed on their ability to do so (they could be required to pay any back dues still owed, for example). The opinion delivered last April by the Illinois Fourth District Court of Appeal stands as written.

ECUSA’s options are now very limited. They could ask the Illinois Supreme Court to rehear their request — a move that has never been known to be successful among the Illinois attorneys to whom I have talked. And they have 90 days within which to file a petition for certiorari (review) with the United States Supreme Court — which thus far has turned down every other recent petition in the various church property cases.

Moreover, the Diocese of Chicago was never admitted to the case as the successor to the remnant Diocese of Quincy that merged into it a year ago September. So there is a procedural difficulty to ECUSA’s taking the case further: it no longer has a diocese as a co-party which it can misleadingly try to put forward as “the real Diocese of Quincy.” And if no diocese is a party, who is left to complain that the departure of the Anglican Diocese was null and void, because the “real one” is right here? Just ECUSA, which itself is not a diocese, but an association of dioceses — and it already has lost that argument in two Illinois courts.

Meanwhile, however, the decision will come as a very useful precedent for the courts in the other pending diocesan withdrawal cases — which present a unique question that the Illinois court is now the first to have definitively decided. Watch for the withdrawing dioceses to cite the case to the courts in Texas (Ft. Worth), California (San Joaquin) and South Carolina.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

(Anglican Ink) Richard Baker–The Diocese of Quincy: the mouse that roared.

The trial court in Quincy first handed a shock to TEC when it denied TEC’s summary judgment motion and ordering TEC to prove at trial that it was hierarchical….TEC was not prepared for this ruling coming out of the Adams County courthouse. Then, in a well-reasoned opinion after the trial, the trial court again disagreed with TEC, holding that: “There is no provision in TEC’s Constitution or Canons which require prior approval (by TEC) of a diocesan constitution or its canons. There is no express prohibition against withdrawal of a diocese.”

In a unanimous opinion, the Appellate Court also rejected TEC’s claims and held that TEC failed to prove that it was hierarchical. More importantly, it ruled that even if TEC were hierarchical, this was irrelevant because deference by the court to the determination of the hierarchy was not necessary since the property dispute could be decided using neutral principals of law. As stated by the Appellate Court:

This approach (neutral principals of law) may be applied in resolving property disputes, even within a hierarchical church organization, so long as the court need not decide a religious matter involving church doctrine, polity or practice. Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, Theology

A statement from the TEC Diocese of Chicago about the recent Illinois Appellate Court Decision

“We are disappointed by the decision of the Court and believe that the decision is erroneous,” said Richard Hoskins, chancellor emeritus of the Diocese of Chicago. “We believe that the opinion misunderstands the polity of the Episcopal Church and misapplies the First Amendment. The attorneys representing us in the lawsuit are studying the opinion and will advise the Diocese whether to petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

Quad City Anglicans celebrate Illinois appeals court decision

An Illinois appeals court has ruled in favor of an Anglican Church in North America diocese and against the Episcopal Church in a case that highlights theological differences between the two sides.

The ruling over the ownership of money and endowments as well as the property of parishes and missions was handed down Thursday in Springfield by the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court.

Locally, members of the Trinity Anglican Church in Rock Island celebrated the decision.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, Theology

Breaking: Appeal Court denies TEC Quincy Appeal

Key Excerpts follow below the “read more” link.

Read it all[pdf]. h/t Stand Firm

Note: An article with important background to today’s decision is here.

[color=Red]UPDATE:[/color] Don’t miss Allan Haley’s analysis of this decision at Anglican Curmudgeon

[47] However, the deference approach is unavailable where the determination of a church’s hierarchical structure is not easily discernible. See Maryland & Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God at Sharpsburg, Inc., 396 U.S. 367, 369-70 (1970) (deference approach is permissible only where the governing church body can be determined without extensive inquiry into religious policy). Here, the trial court declined to apply a deference approach, concluding it could not “constitutionally determine the highest judicatory authority or the locus of control regarding the property dispute to which it would be required to defer.” The court’s conclusion is not against the manifest weight of the evidence.

[48] A review of the evidence presented in this case, including testimony from Dr. Mullin, the Church’s own witness, does not clearly demonstrate the existence of a hierarchical relationship between the Diocese and the Church. Indeed, the Church’s authority is not readily ascertainable without an impermissible investigation into matters of polity. Moreover, the central matter underlying the parties’ dispute is: “who owns the disputed property.” Determining whether the Diocese could leave the Church or identifying the leaders of the continuing diocese is unnecessary for purposes of answering that question. Again, such determinations would necessarily involve an extensive inquiry into church polity. With regard to the issue of the disputed property, however, we agree with the trial court it can be resolved by applying neutral principles of law.
—————————-

[54] An examination of the evidence reveals nothing to demonstrate an express trust, an implied trust, or any other interest vested in the Church. As stated, neither the deed nor the Discretionary Agency Agreement provides for an express trust in favor of the Church. Further, our review of the Diocese’s constitution and canons does not suggest diocesan assets were ever impliedly held in trust for the Church. After Jones, the Church adopted a trust canon (Title I.7.4, referred to by the parties as the Dennis Canon). That canon provides parish property is held in trust for the Diocese and Church and restricts a parish’s ability to dispose of its property. However, it appears undisputed the Church’s canons do not contain similar language with respect to diocesan property being held in favor of the Church. In addition, Bonner testified the Dennis Canon does not apply to property owned by a diocese. Our review of the record reveals nothing to suggest the opposite conclusion. Accordingly, the trial court’s findings in this regard are not against the manifest weight of the evidence.

[55] In sum, the evidence presented demonstrates title to the funds and real property lies with the Diocese. Following our review of the record, we cannot say the trial court’s findings were arbitrary, unreasonable, or not otherwise based on the evidence. Nor can we say the opposite conclusion is clearly apparent in this case. As a result, the court did not err in finding in favor of the Diocese. We commend the trial court for its detailed order, which we found quite helpful in reviewing this matter.

III. CONCLUSION

[57] For the reasons stated, we affirm the trial court’s judgment and deny the Church’s motion to substitute party.

[58] Affirmed; motion denied.

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Featured (Sticky), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Polity & Canons

A.S. Haley–Arguing the Quincy Case in Appellate Court

You may download the entire argument and listen to it from a link at this page on the Court’s Website.

Mary Kostel began with the appellant’s argument, which urged that courts must always defer to a “hierarchical” church like ECUSA. She did not get far before Justice White interrupted her with a question: “Do we have to resolve that [ecclesiastical] question [of whether a diocese may leave the Church] before we can resolve who is entitled to this property?”

Ms. Kostel reiterated her view that courts may not resolve that question, because it is purely ecclesiastical in character. Justice White then asked her (echoing Judge Ortbal’s ruling) if it was not the case that there was no highest body in the Episcopal Church which had already ruled on whether a diocese may leave, so that there was no decision by the Church on that issue to which the civil courts would have to defer. Ms. Kostel claimed that to the contrary, there were two decisions before Quincy voted to leave in 2008 — decisions by “the highest body in ECUSA that had been assigned by the General Convention to make these decisions” — and she clarified that she meant by that the House of Bishops.

This point was typical of how Ms. Kostel’s argument picked on elements of the record with which civil judges could not be expected to be familiar. General Convention, of course, has never “assigned” to the House of Bishops the jurisdiction to decide whether or not a Diocese may leave the Church. Judge Ortbal’s minute and careful examination of the record had concluded that there was no judicatory body in ECUSA with any jurisdiction over that issue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, Theology

A.S. Haley–ECUSA and Diocese of Chicago Gang Up on Quincy Parishes

Yes, on the site of the Diocese of Chicago and those that reprint its press release, you will read a headline such as: “Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and Episcopal Church File Suit in Peoria”, but not at this blog. Here we call them as we see them — and this latest lawsuit is simply an outrageous attempt to bludgeon the already cash-starved Anglican Diocese of Quincy and its member parishes and missions into submission. Worse, it comes right after the Anglican Diocese prevailed at trial over ECUSA on many of the same issues raised in this new lawsuit.
Take a look at the complaint as filed. The lies in the plaintiffs’ press release are evident from the very caption at the start of the complaint. They claim to be suing “to clarify the legal status of the parishes and missions whose leaders left the Episcopal Church in 2008,” yet have they named those parishes? No, they have not: instead, in typical blunderbuss fashion, they are going after the individual rectors of those parishes, as well as Bishop Morales and the members of the Diocese’s standing committee and corporate board (whom they personally sued in the case they already lost).

Another lie in the press release (emphasis added): “Among the assets are the properties of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Macomb, Grace Episcopal Church in Galesburg, Trinity Episcopal Church in Rock Island and Christ Episcopal Church in Moline.” That last church, however, is not mentioned in the complaint; nor is its its rector (whom, again, they sued in the suit they lost, but in his capacity as a trustee and member of the Standing Committee).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy

(Official PR) Chicago Diocese and Episcopal Church File Suit in Peoria

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and The Episcopal Church today filed suit in a circuit court in Peoria asking that clergy and lay members of a faction that broke away from the church in 2008 be ordered to relinquish control of buildings and other assets that belong to the diocese and the church.

Among the assets are the properties of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Macomb, Grace Episcopal Church in Galesburg, Trinity Episcopal Church in Rock Island and Christ Episcopal Church in Moline. The congregations in Rock Island and Moline have formed All Saints Episcopal Church in Moline.

“In our society, we invest a great deal of energy in an impartial legal system designed to help parties settle matters about which they cannot agree,” said the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. “Although we are prepared to litigate this matter, ultimately we still hope that God will use even these legal proceedings to bring us to a place of reconciliation and mutual respect in Christ.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, Theology

Diocese of Quincy sued by TEC and the Diocese of Chicago

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy