December 12, 2008.
The property dispute between the Philadelphia parish of
St. James the Less and the Diocese of Pennsylvania was
resolved nearly three years ago by the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court. Parishioners had tried to leave The
Episcopal Church with the parish property. Not only did
they fail to prevail in the resulting litigation, but
the financial resources of the parish were exhausted and
the church closed.
PEP board member and attorney Kenneth Stiles has written
two articles about the St. James the Less case, one that
should be of great concern to parishes that have now
“realigned” with Bishop Robert Duncan. Their parishes
could share a fate similar to the Philadelphia church’s.
Stiles’ “The Saga of St. James the Less: A Cautionary
Tale” first appeared in PEPtalk, the PEP
newsletter. It has now been reprinted for distribution
at the special diocesan convention that begins today.
Stiles has also written another essay titled “St. James
the Less Revisited,” which explains the legal reasoning
of the St. James the Less opinion. The original
essay can be read
here, and the latest can be read