George Conger reports that the number of lawsuits that include the Episcopal Church has risen to fifty-seven.
Conger writes that the recent publication last month of the Episcopal Church's national legal strategy that intended to “craft a lawsuit that is trim and focused on the critical claims involving ownership and possession of diocesan property” in Episcopal dioceses that voted to separate from the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone has caused the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy to seek protection from the Illinois state courts.
Meanwhile, Episcopalians in the pews appear to be getting somewhat restless.
From the gathering last Friday afternoon in the Diocese of Washington to the recent announcement that the celebration of the ministry of outgoing Diocese of Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee on May 30th at the National Cathedral is now cancelled, the laity in the pews are showing discontent. This has become most apparent in the current controversy over the process and election of a practicing Buddhist as an Episcopal bishop (more updates here) where bishops are finding themselves being confronted back home by the rank and file laity who want to know how this could have happened.
In addition, with General Convention coming up this summer in Anaheim, Episcopal leaders are calling for the overturning of B033 (which originally attempted to placate in the final hours of Columbus 2006 the requests of the Windsor Report), as well as vows from both the current Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies that the Anglican Covenant will not be seriously considered while they remain in office.
Here in Virginia, briefs continue to be filed in anticipation of a decision by the Virginia Supreme Court to take up the Circuit Court rulings by Judge Randy Bellows over the property of the Virginia churches that voted to separate from the Episcopal Church in 2006. The Episcopal Church is attempting to solicit support from other mainline denominations in their appeals, but it might be wise for those denominations to check with their own laity before moving forward in haste. A lot of water has gone under the bridge, as it were, since 2006, and with the economic downturn, denominational portfolios aren't what they once were.
In fact, the litigious war is wearing down many over the long haul - but then again, was that not why it was pursued in the first place?