Skip to comments.Duck Soup [The CT 6]
Posted on 07/13/2005 6:10:46 PM PDT by sionnsar
Andrew Smith drops the hammer:
The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, Bishop of Connecticut inhibited one of the Connecticut Six priests today, the Rev. Mark H. Hansen, rector of St. Johns Church, Bristol. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Connecticut, Karin Hamilton, told The Living Church Fr. Hansen had been inhibited for six months and that a priest-in-charge, the Rev. Susan McCone, had been installed at St. Johns by Bishop Smith.
Leading an entourage from the diocesan office, Bishop Smith presented the notice to St. Johns this morning. TLC was unable to reach Fr. Hansen, and visitors to the parish website are being automatically redirected to the Diocese of Connecticut where Ms. Hamilton said a statement from Bishop Smith would be published shortly. Asked about the ecclesial status of the other members of the Connecticut Six, she said that Fr. Hansen was the only priest inhibited today.
The threat by Bishop Smith to inhibit and depose without trial active parochial clergy who had not threatened to leave the Church, under a canonical procedure used in the past to depose clergy who had been received by the Roman Catholic Church, elicited widespread protest. Six retired bishops castigated Bishop Smith on April 11 saying his actions amounted to an unconscionable ecclesiastical tyranny.
Seventeen active members of the House of Bishops asked Bishop Smith on April 14 to reconsider, noting the March 14 House of Bishops covenant request for all bishops to exercise restraint in light of the forthcoming Archbishop of Canterburys panel of reference. The threat of inhibition and deposition of the clergy, which arose only after the six had made known intent to appeal to the panel of reference, they wrote, was unjust.
"Leading an entourage," Smitty? Did you designate one person to hold the umbrella over your head and another to throw flower petals in your path? This McCone seems to be a definite leftist who will do whatever Smitty tells her. And if I were a St. John's parishioner, I wouldn't go anywhere near that church until Smitty's megalomania clears up. If I absolutely had to show up, I'd probably avoid the liturgy entirely, staying in the parish dining hall drinking coffee, because I'd be awfully tempted to make some sort of scene.
The Diocese tried this inept spin:
This morning, the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, inhibited the rector of St. Johns Episcopal Church in Bristol, the Rev. Mark H. Hansen, removing him from that office, and appointed the Rev. Susan J. McCone to serve as priest-in-charge of the parish, effective immediately.
In March, Fr. Hansen announced to his parish that he would be taking sabbatical for an unspecified period of time. Although Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Connecticut formally apply for sabbatical, Fr. Hansen neglected to notify Bishop Smith of his departure as rector of the parish. In recent months, the bishop has become increasingly concerned for St. Johns well-being as a full and healthy member parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
I am concerned for the life and ministry of St. Johns, said Bishop Smith. In the past few months Fr. Hansen has made decisions that left the parish without sustained clergy leadership.
Raise your hand if you believe that this alleged "sabbatical" of Hansen's is the reason for all this. Anybody? Thought not. This is how things went down when Smith and his
brownshirts entourage went to St. John's:
About 10:30, this morning, I got a telephone call at work that Bishop Smith was seizing St. Johns building. Could I please come over? Since I work close by, I was able to drive over in about fifteen minutes. I drove into the parking lot, and saw the Sr. Warden talking to Bishop Smith. I walked up to Bishop Smith and shook his hand. Im Bill Witt, I said. I think weve met. He remembered me. He should have. I sent him a letter removing myself from the diocesan ordination discernment process right after General Convention. The bishop went into the building. The Sr. Warden and I stood in the parking lot.
The bishop had planned his timing well. There was only an AA meeting and the church secretary in the building when Drew Smith showed up with Chancellor, computer hackers, and a priest-in-charge. The entourage made demands of the church secretary, admonishing her with canon law. She responded that she was just a secretary, not an Episcopalian, and didnt know anything about canon law. Several times during the day she was in tears. The hackers set to work on the computer, took down the churchs website, and brought in a locksmith to change the locks. A few more parishioners showed up, and we stood in the parking lot.
The parishs lawyer showed up, and asked for papers. The Diocesan Chancellor handed him papers from the Bishop and Standing Committee saying that Fr. Mark Hansen was inhibited for abandoning communion, and could not step foot on church grounds, exercise any form of liturgical ministry, or have contact with church members for six months. We stood in the parking lot.
The media showed up, and tried to get interviews. I told them I did not have anything to say. One of the older couples in the church talked to them, and, I think, were interviewed by every newspaper, and television station in the area. The warden, the lawyer, and the rest of us stood in the parking lot. Cell phones kept ringing; I drove off for coffee. One of the members of the parish who makes crafts to help raise money went into the building and asked if she could have her materials, which she donates. We took them out in boxes. The Sr. Warden fetched his alb, which is his own. Bishop Smith and his spokesperson seemed to be giving interviews to the press inside the churchs worship space. The two women who were there complained that they felt violated. The men did what men do. We toughed it out. But mostly we stood in the parking lotfor several hours.
And the other five rectors should expect the same treatment shortly:
This letter is written in response to the recently promulgated schedule of Episcopal visitations and your stated desire for you, or one of the Suffragan Bishops, to preside at Holy Communion and preach at Sunday Services during these visits. A visit by you, or one of the Suffragan Bishops, is welcome at any time, but officiating at worship services would be inconsistent with the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust that exists between us. You have charged our clergy and congregations with abandoning the communion of the church and you have threatened the clergy with inhibition and deposition. Additionally, you have stated as fact on numerous occasions that we have defied your authority and violated our vows of ordination. We continue to maintain that these charges are false, but you continue to state them publicly and without regard for ecclesiastical due process. Your public attacks on us and the parishes which we represent have created a hostile atmosphere in which the sanctity and dignity of a shared Eucharist are impossible. The Exhortation, the introduction to the confession of sin, and the Disciplinary Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer are all quite specific as to the spirit of love and charity which must be present for communal worship to take place - that those conditions do not exist between yourself and us is obvious to the most casual observer. Additionally your desire to share Holy Communion with those whom you have declared to have abandoned the communion of the church makes mockery of both the charge and the Sacrament. Departure from traditional Anglican teaching, as well as abandonment of scriptural authority and Biblical norms on your part constitute a violation of your own ordination vows and are significant factors which militate against your officiating or preaching at any worship service. In recognition of your authority as bishop of this diocese, you are welcome to visit our parishes at any time; however for the above stated reasons, and in recognition of the wide theological gulf that separates us, that welcome does not include either presiding at the Eucharist or preaching. We have appended copies of two letters from Bishop Griswold to Bishop Bennison which pertain to a similar situation; we are prepared to adhere to the directions of the Presiding Bishop and request that you do likewise.
I'm way past the point where this sort of thing angers me very much. To a contemptible fascist like Smith, "abandoning communion" means disagreeing with Smith a little too forcefully and publicly so Smith's action really shouldn't surprise or shock anyone. Were I Hansen or any of the other five, I'd take Smitty's letters of inhibition, frame them and hang them on my wall. You can't buy that sort of encouragement.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you(Matthew 5:11-12).
If only they'd had some tar and feathers handy...
I've written to my fellow vestry members about this, because I believe I heard someone say at a previous meeting that we're looking for some good priests in our diocese.
Maybe we can help this fellow find a new home where his views and adherence to the Bible are appreciated, and leave Smith, Griswold, and the rest of the hellhounds in their handbasket.
So MR. Smith (I refuse to call an apostate Bishop) is not only a POS he is a Lying POS!
ping. Food for thought for my Sunday sermon.
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