Christian Today: Pressure on US Episcopal Church to Reveal Litigation Costs

From Christianity Today:

Over 5,000 people have signed a petition demanding The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA reveals how much money it has spent since 2004 on litigation against individuals and parishes.

The online petition, sponsored by the American Anglican Council (AAC), was signed by 3,583 Episcopalians and 1,747 Non-Episcopal Anglicans.

The Rev Canon David C Anderson, President and CEO of the AAC said, “This petition represents a cry from thousands of current and former members of the Episcopal Church.”

The petition is just one way concerned Christians are speaking out against TEC and its continued lawsuits against former parishes, priests and members.

Earlier this month, five retired Episcopal bishops sent a second letter to the Executive Council calling for financial transparency. The letter said, “This contentious issue is not something to be ignored in hopes that it will dissipate or be forgotten. Because you have not pulled the veil from this issue, conjecture as to where the money is coming from is almost limitless.”

The conjectures as to the source of the funds arise from several facts of recent Episcopal Church history.

According to Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington, Kentucky and the Episcopal News Service, the Church Pension Group has contributed $25,000 to the litigation fund against individuals and parishes.

A Washington Times report quoted TEC spokesperson Robert Williams as saying the Church’s 2007 budget included over a million dollars for legal fees.

In 1996, the treasurer of the national Episcopal Church, Ellen F Cooke, pleaded guilty to the embezzlement of US$2.2 million and was subsequently imprisoned.

“The Episcopal Church has spent millions of dollars suing Christians,” said Canon Anderson. “When people gave their hard-earned money to the Episcopal Church, they were giving it to God. Unfortunately, it appears like the Episcopal Church has other designs for that money.”

NOTE: To sign the petition, click here.