PA Court asked to remove priest from church property

The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has asked a civil court to remove the Rev. David Moyer as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, and to declare the diocese as owner of the parish’s property.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Since 2005, Moyer has served as a bishop in the Traditional Anglican Communion, part of a worldwide network of conservative Anglicans.

Yesterday he and his attorney, John Lewis, declined to comment on the filing, saying they were studying their options. Moyer and the three parish vestry members named as respondents have 30 days to reply.

“What does it mean to be Episcopalian if you don’t pay and don’t acknowledge the leadership?” Edward Rehill, the diocesan chancellor, said yesterday. “It means you’ve left the church.”

Rehill, chief legal officer for the diocese, said that it was the “expressed intention of the [diocesan] standing committee to reestablish an Episcopal church on that site,” and that it was “unlikely” the committee would agree to sell the site to the congregation.

The standing committee has been serving as the chief administrative body of the church since October 2007.

UPDATE, Mar 4: ENS has an excellent background story.

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