Thursday, September 26, 2019


Sept. 26, 4:30 p.m.   I have just been officially informed that the mediation today has ended in an impasse. An impasse is a point at which the two sides become intransigent. That means a compromise settlement is impossible and negotiations are suspended.

After day long talks, the mediator, attorney Thomas Wills declared an impasse, that is negative conclusion of the negotiations. Presumably he will convey that to the circuit court judge, Edgar Dickson, who ordered the mediation. 

There is no expectation of another meeting or any future mediation. 

Under the confidentiality rule, we cannot know what was discussed today or what made the impasse. However, it seemed to me in the run-up to mediation that the biggest difference between the two sides was the disposition of the 29 parishes. EDSC insisted the SCSC decision of Aug. 2, 2017 meant the return of the 29 to the Episcopal Church. The ADSC lawyers never agreed with that and insisted that the SCSC decision was ambiguous and unenforceable. Judge Dickson did not implement the SCSC decision on the 29, even as he did implement the SCSC order on the 7 independent parishes. This left an opening for the ADSC lawyers to hold out hope their diocese could keep the 29 in question. At least, this is the way I saw it. The other major issue between the sides was the Betterments suit in which ADSC claimed huge payments for the 29 that might be returned to EDSC. Whatever the fatal disagreements were, they must have been profound to bring an impasse in just one session. The previous period of mediation (Oct. 2017-Jan. 2018) saw three meetings over 4 months and a formal report to the judge.

So, mediation has ended in  complete failure. I for one am disappointed that the legal war has to go on, for who knows how much longer. However, I am not really surprised at the collapse. This fits right into the history and character of the schism. I have thought all along it will take the courts to settle this war. So now, the matter goes back to Judge Dickson. We return to the waiting game.

As for the federal court, I am wondering if the Episcopal diocese will now move in court to recover the assets of the Episcopal diocese, that is, the diocese at the moment of the schism in 2012. Last week's ruling only gave the entity of the diocese to EDSC. It did not address the property of the old diocese.