The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed the decision by Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County that found the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church to be the rightful trustee of diocesan-held property and assets.
In an opinion issued dated February 2, 2011, Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer addressed and rejected each of the arguments that had been raised by the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.
"We are pleased with the court's findings and hope that this will be the final legal challenge concerning this issue," said Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese. Former diocesan leaders agreed in a court stipulation more than five years ago that diocesan assets would remain under the control of a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
The Commonwealth Court decision comes on the same day the Episcopal Diocese signed a first-of-its kind agreement with St. Philip's Church in Moon Township to amicably resolve issues concerning parish property. The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh looks forward to resolving property issues with members of other congregations who no longer consider themselves part of the Episcopal Church.
"We invite these congregations to join us in negotiating a settlement to our differences," said Bishop Price.
A PDF copy of the Commonwealth Court opinion is available by clicking here.