Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ENS Deputies reject litigation resolution, approve ecumenical agreement and communications study

Deputies defeated a resolution addressing the disclosure of the costs of Episcopal Church property litigation.

The House of Bishops had asked deputies to concur with their recommendation to refer the resolution to the Standing Commission on Stewardship and Development. The resolution had called for revealing the dollar amount the church spent "on litigation against dioceses, parishes, groups of churches and individuals since General Convention 2006" as well as information about where the funds came from, the money budgeted for litigation in the next triennium and "an estimate of the amount of property value retained and expected to be retained" by the church "because of pending and completed litigation as of General Convention 2009."

"We all need to know about the litigation going on in our church," said the Rev. Ellen Neufeld (Albany). "I speak very strongly in favor of this resolution so that information can be shared."

Deputies debated various options, including referring it to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance or substituting previous wording to direct the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council to release the litigation information.

Thomas Fitzhugh III (Texas) said he was concerned that the resolution could put the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council "in a bad spot" because divulging information about ongoing litigation would reveal strategy to the other side. "Let's just kill it. This is nothing but an effort by people who try to steal our property" to find out how much the church has spent. "If they didn't try to walk off with it, we wouldn't have this motion."


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