I have received several reports that the Diocese of South Dakota has cut off power to several of the disputed Pine Ridge Mission Chapels, and is asserting its claims on the property to prevent the utility companies from accepting payment from any other parties.
In addition, the Diocesan directory page has already removed the disputed churches. Tribal Courts on the Pine Ridge had issued an injunction, temporarily preventing the diocese from "disposing of" the churches as the Bishop had announced.
While I am working to get more detail, I am starting to get the impression that South Dakota will follow the model employed by the dictatorial Bishop of Minnesota, who is closing churches (or at least not providing clergy support) in many communities while bulking up his cathedral. I detailed some of this in analysis last October.
A look at the Diocese of South Dakota Staff Directory shows that positions have been created, even as diocesan Sunday attendance and membership decline and income is flatlined at about the year 2000 level.
South Dakota, which receives about 1/2 its operating budget via a grant from the Episcopal Church's General Convention, is also about to elect a bishop who will, for at least some period of time, serve alongside the current bishop. Questions remain as to how the two positions will be funded.
Another nagging question, given the efforts to shut down the Pine Ridge chapels, is how national church money for Reservation ministry is actually spent.