A TRADITIONAL ANGLO-CATHOLIC PARISH

Non ministrari, sed ministrare

Vestry Meeting - September 5, 2002

 

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VESTRY MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

 

“A new day has dawned, I’m back.” - Father David L. Moyer to the Vestry 9/5/2002

announcing the end of his voluntary in-house retreat.

 

There was a regular meeting of the Vestry on Thursday, September 5th. The Accounting Warden reported that income levels have stayed in the normal range through the summer in spite of the problems the parish has been experiencing. We have drawn on endowment funds to pay for operating expenses as in previous years and hope to see pledge income brought back in line with budgeted amounts as pledge payments missed during the past several months are brought current.

 

The Vestry received a projected budget from Chris Rodriguez and reaffirmed our commitment to make up any shortfall not otherwise covered by private donations for the Rodriguez family while Chris is in seminary.   

 

Father Moyer then distributed copies of:

 

1.       The Sentence of Deposition received from Bishop Bennison.

2.       A press release from Father Moyer.

3.       A fax received from Bishop Howe of Florida.

4.       An article written by Bishop Marshall of Bethlehem for publication in The Living Church.

 

The expected deposition was received from Bishop Bennison about 1 PM today. Upon hearing of the receipt of the deposition, Bishop Duncan took action to welcome Father Moyer as a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He announced that Father Moyer will celebrate the Mass at 12:05 on Friday in the Cathedral in Pittsburgh with a press conference to follow. Father Dickinson also informed Bishop Duncan that his license to officiate in the Diocese of Pennsylvania had expired. Bishop Duncan then informed Father Dickinson that he remains a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and instructed him, as his bishop, to remain at Good Shepherd without a license.

 

The fax from Bishop Howe had the following statement: “We, the undersigned bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA, reject as invalid – spiritually, morally and canonically – the deposition of the Rev. David L. Moyer by the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Bishop of Pennsylvania. In doing so, we are joining the Most Rev. George L. Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and many other bishops around the world who have refused to acknowledge the validity of the deposition. By Bishop Bennison’s action, Fr. Moyer has been deprived of due process and any court of appeal. We believe no credible case has been made that Fr. Moyer has “abandoned the communion” of this Church. Further, we support the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, in his decision to receive Fr. Moyer as a priest in good standing, making him canonically resident in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. [As of 4:30 PM, 3 ½ hours after the deposition was received, there were 13 active bishops and 2 retired bishops who had already signed the statement.]

 

Father Moyer then said, “God has used us to light a fire in the Church.” This is the first time in the entire history of the Episcopal Church that any bishops have not recognized the deposition of a priest by another bishop. This is also the first time that Canon 10 has been used in this way and this is the first time in the history of the entire Anglican Communion that an Archbishop of Canterbury has made a statement of this kind.

 

Father Moyer reported that Bishop Bennison was apparently unable to get support for what he wanted to do from the Standing Committee of the Diocese during a meeting that lasted 4 ½ hours on Tuesday evening.

Father Moyer further stated that he was very thankful for the courage of all the bishops and priests who have shown their support for him and especially for Bishop Duncan and The Archbishop of Canterbury. In his press release, Father Moyer included that he has been authorized to say with confidence, “The Archbishop of Canterbury believes me to be in good standing with him and is prepared to offer me permission to officiate in the Diocese of Canterbury and a license in the Province of Canterbury.” 

 

John Lewis then reported that there has been an additional lawsuit filed against Bishop Bennison in Montgomery County Court. As a result of documents released during the discovery process in the lawsuit concerning the inhibition, the inadvertent release of the “secret plan” to come after the property and additional letters sent to the bishop from Father Moyer, the Court is now being asked to set aside the deposition. The Complaint claims that Bishop Bennison is guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, collusion, denial of due process and acting in bad faith. It is felt that this additional lawsuit will be a vehicle to both vindicate Father Moyer’s position and provide additional protection for the property.

 

The following Resolution was made and seconded:

 

RESOLVED, by the Wardens and Vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd, that the Reverend Dr. David L. Moyer, S.S.C., who was called to the Rectorship of this parish in 1989, remains the Rector of this parish. The purported inhibition and deposition of Father Moyer by Bishop Bennison is uncanonical, illegal and invalid as set forth in the lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Court on September 5, 2002.

 

WE WELCOME the actions taken by Bishop Duncan, The Archbishop of Canterbury and others on behalf of Father Moyer.

 

WE FURTHER STATE the following additional reasons for this resolution:

 

1.       Canon IV.10.1 calls for abandonment of communion by an open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Church. As no open renunciation was ever made, the Bishop’s determination, ratified by the Standing Committee, must have been that Fr. Moyer’s acts constituted only an implied renunciation, and is therefore not supported by the language or intent of the Canon.

2.       Canon.IV.2 requires the Bishop to consider a good-faith denial of intent to abandon communion. Fr. Moyer made such a denial on March 5, 2002, and the Bishop abused his discretion in not considering it.

3.       Canon IV.3.7 prohibits a Bishop from preferring a charge against a priest under any canon other than Canon IV.3 (which guarantees a trial for the accused). Bishop Bennison, through his Chancellor, has cynically preferred the charge under Canon IV.10 to the Standing Committee in violation of Canon.3.7 in order to deny Fr. Moyer his trial.

 

Following discussion, the Resolution was passed unanimously by the Vestry.

 

In his closing prayers, Father Moyer thanked God for the support and prayers of the Vestry and People of the Church of the Good Shepherd during the past six months. He also prayed for forgiveness and healing to take place as we now move forward into the next chapter in the life of the Church, both in Rosemont and throughout the entire Anglican Communion.

 

The Vestry thanked Father Moyer for his courage in being willing to stand in defense of the Gospel for us.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Curtis A. Cooke

Secretary of the Vestry