“A new day has dawned, I’m
back.” - Father David L. Moyer to the Vestry 9/5/2002
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
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:
The Sentence of Deposition received from Bishop Bennison.
A press release from Father Moyer.
A fax received from Bishop Howe of Florida.
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.]
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.
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
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.
following Resolution was made and seconded:
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.
WELCOME the actions taken by Bishop Duncan, The Archbishop of
Canterbury and others on behalf of Father Moyer.
FURTHER STATE the following additional reasons for this
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.
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.
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.
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.
Curtis A. Cooke
Secretary of the Vestry