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The End of Litigation Road for DIO Quincy; DIO Chicago Takes Victory Lap - UPDATED

The End of Litigation Road for DIO Quincy; DIO Chicago Takes Victory Lap
Quincy suffered for years at the hands of the mighty TEC

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
February 8, 2020

The unfolding story first broke in late summer 2008.

"The little Diocese of Quincy in Illinois (with less than two dozen parishes and missions) has become the latest to vote to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church (USA)", canon lawyer Allan Haley wrote on Aug. 26, 2008 on his Anglican Curmudgeon blog. "The departing Diocese, currently without a Bishop, filed a pre-emptive declaratory action against ECUSA to quiet title to its assets, and ECUSA has challenged the suit's venue, saying it has to be brought in a different county of Illinois."

And with that action, the departing diocese was thrust into a decade's long court battle for its property, assets and records. This was the same legal battle that other realigning dioceses have faced, including the dioceses of Fort Worth, San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and South Carolina.

It appears that now 11 years later, the Diocese of Quincy -- now a part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) -- and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, and by virtue of extension The Episcopal Church, have reached a settlement. The details of which are "largely confidential."

"With thanksgiving, I am writing to tell you that we have reached a settlement with the Diocese of Quincy in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in our efforts to recover some of the property, assets and records that were part of the former Episcopal Diocese of Quincy," Bishop Jeffrey Lee (XII Chicago) wrote on Feb. 4 explaining the new deal. "The congregations of St. James, Griggsville; St. James, Lewistown; the Episcopal Church of St. George, Macomb; and All Saints, Rock Island will directly benefit from the settlement."

Further explaining, Bishop Lee wrote: "The terms of the settlement are largely confidential, as is often the case when legal proceedings are concluded by agreement. However, my staff and I have communicated with the vestry or bishop's committee at the congregations that are directly affected to share with them the settlement terms relevant to them and the specific ways in which its arrangements will foster their mission both now and in the future."

The Living Church reports: "It was 'a very good settlement for both sides,' Tad Brenner, Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, told TLC by telephone. 'Both sides walked away from this, not completely satisfied, but very happy that the hostilities had ended.' The financial terms of the settlement are confidential, but 'there is no exchange of real estate,' Brenner said."

VOL reached out by e-mail to retired Bishop Keith Ackerman (Quincy VIII) -- now bishop vicar of his former diocese; current Bishop Alberto Morales, OSB (IX Quincy); and Archbishop Foley Beach (II ACNA) for comment and have received no reply.

THE ANGLICAN CURMUDGEON

Haley, a brilliant attorney, in 2013 he travelled to Illinois to lend his legal expertise as co-council in the case of The Diocese of Quincy, et al. v. The Episcopal Church, et al., in the Adams County Circuit Court in Quincy.

He posted titillating happenings inside and outside the courtroom on his blog: ECUSA Denied Summary Judgment in Quincy: Court Finds a Triable Dispute Whether Church Is in Fact "Hierarchical" (Dec. 17, 2011); ECUSA: Hollow Gains, Pointless Losses (April 28, 2012); Stalinist Tactics Deployed to Silence ECUSA Bishops in Court (June 30, 2012); Trial in Quincy Commences (April 14, 2013); Remnant Quincy Group to Be Absorbed by Diocese of Chicago (June 8, 2013); Decision in Quincy: ECUSA Has no Rule against Dioceses Withdrawing (September 10, 2013); Trying the Quincy Case (I): ECUSA's Expert under Fire (September 13, 2019); Judgment in Quincy; Chicago Denied Substitution; $1.1 Million Released (October 11, 2013); Quincy Funds Frozen Again; Defense Fund Needs Help (October 29, 2013); ECUSA and Diocese of Chicago Gang Up on Quincy Parishes (November 7, 2013); Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Judgment for Anglican Diocese (July 25, 2014); ECUSA Denied Leave to Appeal in Quincy Case (November 26, 2014) ...

VIRTUEONLINE HEADLINES

Virtueonline headlines also reveal sordid details of Quincy's story: Diocese of Quincy Calls for APO at Special Synod (September 16, 2006); Quincy Bishop Ackerman Calls for a Novena of Prayer (January 23, 2007); Fort Worth, Quincy Dioceses break away is hype. Not true, says Bishop Ackerman (May 16, 2007); Quincy diocese will consider cutting ties with TEC at October Synod (September 11, 2007); Quincy Leaves TEC (November 9, 2007); TEC Quincy and Springfield Dioceses Demonstrate Unity But No Talk of Merger (September 2, 2008); Quincy Standing Committee Announces Bishop Ackerman's Retirement (October 30, 2008); Quincy Bishop Quits (November 2, 2008); Diocese of Quincy Votes to Leave TEC for Southern Cone (November 7, 2008); Quincy diocese begins to reorganize after split (December 3, 2008) Former Quincy Bishop "Deposed" by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori (October 18, 2009); Episcopal Presiding Bishop to Set Up Rival Diocese March 2, 2009); Potemkin Diocese of Quincy Inhibits and Deposes 34 Priests (September 22, 2009); Former Quincy Bishop "Deposed" by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori (October 18, 2009); and Retired Quincy Bishop Responds to Presiding Bishop's Forced Renunciation (December 19, 2009).

Also: ACNA Diocese of Quincy Elects Bishop (June 12, 2010); St. Andrew's Battles TEC's Legal and Canonical Maneuverings (September 1, 2010); Bishopsgate: Something is terribly wrong (July 2, 2012); Quincy property trial goes to court (May 5, 2013); Diocese of Quincy merger with Diocese of Chicago will bring 340 Parishioners (June 9, 2013); QUINCY: The Life and Death of a Diocese (June 15, 2013); Episcopal Diocese of Quincy fades into history (September 9, 2013); Diocese of Chicago files against Diocese of Quincy (November 8, 2013); Episcopal Presiding Bishop Says Some Dioceses Will Disappear (June 13, 2014); Strike 2: TEC loses for a second time in Illinois with a precedent-setting victory for Quincy (July 26, 2014); TEC Takes Big Hit in Legal Battles in SC, Ft Worth, Quincy (August 1, 2014); Episcopal Church smacked down by Illinois & South Carolina judges (February 25, 2015); ECUSA Loses (Again) in Quincy; San Joaquin Seeks Review (May 17, 2016); QUINCY: St. John's Anglican Parish one step closer to keeping properties, assets (May 16, 2016) ...

EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF QUINCY DEFUNCT

The Diocese of Quincy was one of eventually five Episcopal dioceses which realigned with other parts of the Anglican Communion as The Episcopal Church fell deeper and deeper into heresy.

Bishop John-David Schofield (IV San Joaquin) led the way in 2007 by shepherding the Diocese of San Joaquin out of The Episcopal Church. The next year the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth and Quincy left. South Carolina followed suit in 2012.

When Bishop Schofield took his diocese out of The Episcopal Church, there were 47 worshipping congregations serving 10,276 baptized members, of whom 3,965 showed up for church on Sunday.

Across the country, Bishop Robert Duncan (VII Pittsburgh) had 19,148 baptized members, of whom 7,193 showed up to worship on Sunday at one of the diocese's 66 churches.

In the Lone Star State, Bishop Jack Iker (III Fort Worth) was head over 17,457 baptized members who worshipped in 55 locations. The ASA in 2008 was 6,745.

Up North, Bishop Keith Ackerman's diocese was the smallest of the departing group. Episcopal Church records show that in 2008, the Diocese of Quincy had 21 congregations which served 1,823 baptized members, of which 935 went to church on Sunday.

In 2012, the Diocese of South Carolina with 29,236 baptized membership was the largest diocese to leave. As one of the original nine Episcopal dioceses, the Palmetto State diocese had 72 parishes and missions under the watchful eye of Bishop Mark Lawrence (XIV South Carolina). On any given Sunday, 12,371 of his flock would show up in church.

Now that time has passed and the remaining Episcopal dioceses of Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, Fort Worth, and South Carolina are a mere shadow of their former selves. The entire Diocese of Quincy has been erased from the map and is no more than a footnote in history.

In 2012, the Diocese of Quincy folded into the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and ceased to exist. Now the former Episcopal Diocese of Quincy is considered the Peoria Deanery within the Chicago diocese. The "deanery" brought into the diocese nine congregations with a baptized membership of 672 and an ASA of 333, with fewer than half of the membership showing up for church.

The 2018 figures for the remaining TEC dioceses show a major drop from their original figures before their dioceses split. The latest released Episcopal Church figures are as follows:
TEC Fort Worth: Baptized 3,804; ASA 378; Congregations 16.
TEC Pittsburgh: Baptized 8,604; ASA 2,267; Congregations 36.
TEC San Joaquin: Baptized 1,646; ASA 731; Congregations 19.
TEC South Carolina: Baptized 7,587; ASA 2,770; Congregations 31.
TEC San Joaquin: Baptized 1,646; ASA 731; Congregations 19.
TEC Quincy: Defunct.

TEC'S BISHOPSGATE

Just as the 77th Episcopal General Convention (July 5-12, 2012) was about to gear up in Indianapolis, The Episcopal Church unleashed a double headed hammer against its own bishops who were standing up for the beleaguered dioceses. TEC was using the revamped Title IV canons as its weapon of choice to silence their bishops.

On June 28, 2012, e-mails from Bishop F. Clayton Matthews, then The Episcopal Church Intake Officer for the Disciplinary Board for Bishops, informed nine sitting, retiring or retired Episcopal bishops that a Title IV disciplinary process was being initiated against them individually.

Bishop Edward Salmon (XIII South Carolina) who was then the Nashotah House dean; retired Bishop Peter Beckwith (X Springfield); and soon-to-retire bishop Bruce MacPherson (III Western Louisiana) were informed that they were in violation of Title IV Canon 6 Sec. 3 & 4 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church because they signed affidavits in support of the realigned Diocese of Quincy and in opposition to a motion for Summary Judgment made by representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy and The Episcopal Church. All three bishops are now deceased.

The Episcopal Church was actively trying to break the spirit of the diocese and financially hobble the departing diocese by stripping it of its operating funds, freezing much needed financial assets and by forcing them to engage in costly litigation and court action.

The three bishops were not the only bishops to run afoul of Title IV disciplinary action.

Bishops Daniel Martins (XI Springfield); Paul Lambert (Dallas-suffragan); William Love (IX Albany); James Stanton (VI Dallas); John Howe (III Central Florida); and Maurice Benitez (VI Texas) filed their support for Bishop Jack Iker (III Fort Worth) and his Diocese of Fort Worth's battle against The Episcopal Church. Bishop MacPherson got a double whammy. He signed both Amicus Curiae Briefs, being sympathetic to both the beleaguered dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth.

By March 2013, the nine bishops were brow-beaten into submission. They were forced to capitulate and agreed to sign an Accord where they "distanced" themselves from their actions. They also had to pay conciliation costs, which is like paying court costs.

The specifics of the Accord required the nine bishops to commend the "loyal" Episcopalians in the TEC Dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin - lay and clergy - "for their unflagging efforts to continue to witness God's mission as The Episcopal Church during recent difficult times as they reorganize their continuing dioceses in that same spirit ..."; the bishops also were compelled to applaud the efforts of the provisional bishops in each reconstituted diocese.

Additionally, the nine bishops had to express their personal "regret for any harm to the bishops, clergy and laity of the TEC Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy resulting from Respondents' acts," and promise not to "sin" again.

JEFFERTS- SCHORI COMMENDS THEN DEPOSED QUINCY BISHOP

Upon Bishop Ackerman's impending retirement as the VIII Bishop of Quincy, then Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued an October 2008 statement where she said: "I give thanks for the ministry of Bishop Ackerman, and pray that his retirement may permit him time to recover his health. The people of the Diocese of Quincy remain in my prayers and those of many, many other Episcopalians. We encourage all to remember that there is room in this Church for all who desire to be members thereof."

However, it did not take long for her to show her true colors and unleash a scorched earth, take no prisoners, attack on the small departing diocese and its bishop.

Less than a year later, the Presiding Bishop claimed that Bishop Ackerman, then retired as the VIII Bishop of Quincy, voluntarily renounced his Orders in The Episcopal Church when he requested he be transfered to the Southern Cone as a visiting bishop.

It was his intention to "assist in the Diocese of Bolivia and sit as a visitor in the Province of the Southern Cone's House of Bishops."

However, the Presiding Bishop took umbrage. She unceremoniously deposed him.

"I have accepted the renunciation of the Ordained Ministry of this Church, made in writing to me in July 2009 by the Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy, Resigned who is, therefore, removed from the Ordained Ministry of this Church and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations," the former Presiding Bishop said in a statement.

"As you know, there is no provision for transferring a bishop to another Province," the Presiding Bishop wrote to Bishop Ackerman. "I am therefore releasing you from the obligations of ordained ministry in this Church."

As a result. the "defrocked" Bishop Ackerman was cut off from The Episcopal Church's retirement health benefits, forcing him to seek employment in the secular world to secure medical insurance and care for he and his wife. Bishop Ackerman was ordained in 1974 and consecrated the VIII of Quincy in 1994. His 25 years of faithful service in The Episcopal Church was ignored.

Currently the retired bishop is serving as the vicar of St. Timothy's in Fort Worth, Texas. He is also the assisting bishop in Fort Worth under ACNA Bishop Ryan Reed (IV Fort Worth) and the bishop vicar in the Diocese of Quincy under ACNA Bishop Alberto Morales, OSB (IX Quincy).

Bishop Ackerman is not the only Quincy clergyman to feel the sharp blade of a Presiding Bishop's axe on their necks.

Just a month before the axing of Bishop Ackerman, the Presiding Bishop, through the hand and pen of Bishop John Buchanan (Quincy Provincial I) deposed 34 priests and deacons for their supposed "renunciation of the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church" and that those "clergy are now deprived of all the authority conveyed in ordination."

"We did leave The Episcopal Church," said Fr. John Spencer, President of the Quincy Standing Committee. "We did not renounce our ordination vows or abandon our ministries."

TEC DIOCESES STILL SEEKS STABILITY

The four remaining TEC rump dioceses are still seeking stability. All have gone through a series of part-time provisional bishops.

The remaining Diocese of Fort Worth has had the most retired provisional bishops including: Ted Gulich (VII Kentucky); Wallis Ohl (IV Northwest Texas); Rayford High (Texas-suffragan); and currently sitting Bishop Scott Mayer (V Northwest Texas).

The TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh has had one provisional bishop before electing a bishop ordinary. The provisional bishop was Kenneth Price (Southern Ohio-suffragan). Bishop Dorsey McConnell (VIII TEC Pittsburgh) has called for an election of a new bishop for November. He is to be retiring in 2021.

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg (III East Tennessee) was the first provisional bishop for The Episcopal Church IN South Carolina (TECinSC). He was replaced by Gladstone Adams (X Central New York). The TECinSC Standing Committee has called for the election of a bishop ordinary. This is to take place in November 2020.

There have been three provisional bishops for the TEC Diocese of San Joaquin. Jerry Lamb (VI Northern California) stepped in first, followed by Chester Talton (Los Angeles-suffragan). Finally, David Rice, an Anglican bishop translated from the Diocese of Waiapu located on the Northern Island of New Zealand was the final provisional bishop before he was elected as the bishop ordinary of the TEC diocese in central California.

The question is if Katharine Jefferts Schori would not allow Bishop Ackerman to be a visiting bishop in the Southern Cone, how can Bishop Rice become the Bishop Ordinary of the TEC Diocese of San Joaquin if "there is no provision for transferring a bishop to another Province?" Bishop Rice comes from the Anglican Province of Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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