The arrogance and hubris that characterize ECUSA's legal strategy are nowhere on better view right now than in the courts of Texas, where there are two lawsuits pending in which it is involved -- one in Hood County, and one in Tarrant County. ECUSA has lost key battles in both of them, but is acting as though those losses never happened.
In the case in the District Court of Hood County, the dispute is over the proceeds from a trust established in 2002 by Cynthia Brants for the benefit of "St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, or its successor, of Fort Worth." In 2008, St. Andrew's was one of the parishes that voted with the majority of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to withdraw from its affiliation with ECUSA to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. After ECUSA's Presiding Bishop pronounced that she had accepted the "voluntary renunciation of his orders" by Bishop Jack L. Iker, she called an illegal "special convention" to install Bishop Gulick as his replacement. Thus installed -- in open defiance of all applicable canons and constitutional provisions of both ECUSA and the Diocese -- Bishop Gulick proceeded to inhibit all the clergy who, he asserted, had "abandoned the communion of this Church" to realign with the Southern Cone.
As an aside, the canon lawyer in me cannot refrain from pointing out two essential contradictions at the heart of these inhibitions. First, the canon involved (Canon IV.10) expressly provides that "abandonment" consists in "a formal admission into any religious body not in communion with this Church . . .", and as far as General Convention is concerned, it is still in communion with the Province of the Southern Cone (at least, it has never enacted a resolution saying that it is no longer in communion with that Province). Hence, point one: by realigning with the Southern Cone, the language of the Canon ought to have protected the priests from being charged with abandonment of communion.