Priest Files Lawsuit to Keep Conservative Episcopalians from Taking Property

( [email protected] ) Oct 26, 2003 10:53 PM EST

PITTSBURGH - An Episcopal priest has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent conservative parishes from taking church property should they split from the national church, October 23.

The litem, filed by the Rev. Harold Lewis against the Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan Jr. and the Pittsburgh Diocese, asked that the Dioceses comply by the constitution and bylaws already set by the national church.

The Pittsburgh Diocese is one of many that threatened to split from the national Episcopal Church should the openly gay bishop elect steps into office, Nov. 2. The Texas diocese agreed to hold its checkbook to repudiate the national branch.

According to Lewis, the lawsuit “has nothing to do with Gene Robinson; this is not about homosexuality.

"This is about the Episcopal Church," he said. "The court, I think, will uphold our position because the people of the Episcopal Church in this diocese are entitled to the use and the enjoyment of the property."

Though Duncan was disappointed by the lawsuit, he said he was not surprised.

"I think the action on their part is definitely premature, since what we've done is try to protect all the churches' property," Duncan said.