Judge Michael F. Rehill named Chancellor of the Diocese of Pennsylvania

November 2, 2007

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

The members of the Standing Committee thank you for your prayers and on-going support during this difficult time in our life together. Your expressions of kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.We have for several months been discussing and assessing the role of the Chancellor of the Diocese and wish to inform you of our reasoning and decision making concerning this office.

At a special meeting held on November 11, 2007 at Church House, the Standing Committee named retired Judge Michael F. Rehill to the position of Chancellor of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. He succeeds Stephen P. Chawaga, Esq. Mr. Chawaga has served as Chancellor during the past year and we are grateful for his time and faithfulness. His gifts of mediation have been quite helpful in guiding us.

The inhibition of Bishop Bennison by the Presiding Bishop has placed the Standing Committee in the position of Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese. This not only expands our responsibilities, but also creates the need for a Chancellor well-grounded in Canonical Law and practices to advise us as we proceed through this critical time in the life of our Diocese.

One of the foremost experts on the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, Judge Rehill served for 18 years as the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor of the Diocese of Newark (where he now holds the honorary title of Chancellor Emeritus), and he served for six years as Chancellor of the Second Province. He is presently serving in his first term as President of the Second Province after serving seven years as Vice President. He is also presently serving as Church Attorney in the Diocese of Long Island.

A seven-time deputy to General Convention, Judge Rehill has served on both the Committee on the Constitution and the Committee on Canons of General Convention. He has represented Bishops and Priests in 27 dioceses in 8 of the 9 provinces of the Episcopal Church, and he is best known for his successful defense of Bishop Walter Righter in the "heresy" case in 1995-1996. For the past two years, Judge Rehill has served as Special Counsel to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Rehill served for 12 years as a New Jersey Municipal Court Judge before his retirement in 2006, and he maintains a law practice devoted in large part to matters pertaining church law throughout the United States. In addition to serving the Episcopal Church, Mr. Rehill also serves as Counsel to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States. He is married and the father of five children, and resides in Vernon, New Jersey.Judge Rehill can be contacted at mrehill@canonlawyer.org and at rehill@rehill-law-office.com, and at his office: (201) 666-8001.

We ask for your continued prayers and support as we seek to carry out our duties and responsibilities in leading our Diocese.

Faithfully,

The Standing Committee

11/02/2007Commentary
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