Skip to comments.Warfare [ECUSA]
Posted on 07/18/2005 1:55:56 PM PDT by sionnsar
Andy "My Way Or The Highway" Smith had a meeting to try to explain why he gutted St. John's Episcopal Church of Bristol, Connecticut:
While a meeting Sunday night between members of St. Johns Episcopal Church and the state Episcopal Diocese did not clarify any of the issues clouding the parishs future, some of those present believe encouraging further conversations is the first step toward a resolution.
"There were no clear answers," said Tammy Vogt of Bristol, a 12-year parishioner and a vestry member. "Im just very disheartened and saddened," she said. "I feel homeless."
Smith said the reason he inhibited Hansen but not the others is because Hansen took an unauthorized sabbatical.
HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW...um, sorry. Sorry for the interruption. I'm very sorry. Please continue.
Hansen, in turn, said his leave was necessitated by family circumstances.
During Hansens absence, Smith appointed the Rev. Susan J. McCone of Washington, Conn. to lead St. Johns -- something that does not sit well with Vogt.
"One thing I do know is this congregation as a whole will not accept Susan McCone because of her liberal views," Vogt said.
Although the vestry will meet tonight to further discuss the situation, Vogt said, she does not know if she herself will attend. Other parishioners, she added, may choose to go out of sheer curiosity.
"Unfortunately, [Sundays meeting] did not go as well as wed hoped," Vogt said. "It appears Bishop Smith is not going to rescind on anything. He is just continuing to abuse his power. ..We are his sheep, his flock. Why is he not guiding us with his staff? I just dont understand."
In the immediate future, Vogt said, she predicts most of the parishioners will go to Trinity Episcopal Church in Bristol, led by the Rev. Donald Helmandollar, who is one of the other priests that disagreed with Smiths 2003 decision. In the larger picture, however, she said she believes legal action may be in order.
"Were fighting this on several fronts," she said.
Someone who attended the meeting reports:
I was there. He never answered any questions directly. Except when the Vestry asked for keys and when we asked to have Father Knapp back instead of McCone. Thats when he said no. Nor did he meet anyone halfway. When someone asked if he regrets what he did or the way he did it, he just gave them the raised hand to silence them. Smith also said the Bible was not to be lived by and that we shouldnt take it literally.
William Witt adds:
Last night Bishop Smith was read the canon that in the absence of a rector a priest-in-charge can be put in place after consultation with the vestry. It was pointed out that he had not consulted the vestry, and was thus in violation of canon law.
His reply was that if the vestry wanted a priest of their choice, they had to work with the priest he had put in charge.
The bishop has also imposed a financial consultant to straighten out the parishs finances. No doubt, making sure Ms. McCone is paid will be a top priority.
The entire evening was like that. Every time an issue of substance was raised, the bishop would simply change the subject, and reiterate his position. All in the gentlest and politest manner, of course.
And here is what Obergruppenfuhrer Smith considers to be pastoral care:
Changing back the locks would be fairly futile. There is a security guard posted around the clock.
A security guard, 24-7. At an Episcopal church. If Smith or his diocesan flacks think his Gestapo tactics can be talked away, they are hallucinating:
We are deeply disappointed and shocked by the action you have taken in the last week in invading our parish home without announcement, and without permission, changing the locks on the doors so we are locked out of our own building, and inhibiting our rector. We cannot understand this action. It certainly does not seem to be the behavior of someone who wants to reconcile himself with this parish.
We believe that canon, civil, and criminal laws have been violated, and that we have cause for legal action against you.
We would prefer to have what is best for the future of this parish. What do we want? We want what we have always wanted.
We want to be members in good standing in the Anglican Communion. The constitution of the Episcopal Church says that it is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. We are faithful Episcopalians. We have not abandoned the communion of this church. Neither has our rector. Yet you as a bishop have taken actions that places in danger our ability to remain in the Anglican Communion.
We want to be able to worship with a rector who upholds historic Anglican and biblical faith, a rector of our choosing, not one that has been imposed on us, and who does not share our beliefs.
We want to be able to run the affairs of our parish as we have always done, and as all the parishes of this diocese do, without hostile diocesan interference.
What would it take to enable the survival of this parish?
First, we ask that the keys to our property be returned. As a vestry, we have under canon law the primary responsibility for the physical integrity of this worship space. As bishop, you are always welcome to visit this parish. We have never denied you permission to visit. But there are proper procedures for episcopal visits. Showing up without warning in the middle of the week and changing the locks is inappropriate and a betrayal of the trust between this parish and the bishop.
Second, despite Fr. Hansens sabbatical, our parish is not without pastoral leadership. Fr. Clayton Knapp has been providing such leadership on Sundays, and Fr. Thomas Beck has been providing pastoral care during the week. Fr. Knapp asked permission of you to continue in that position beyond the 60 days that is normally allowed for someone who is not canonically resident in the diocese, and you gave it to him. We would ask that you honor that agreement. We would ask that Fr. Knapp be allowed to continue as our priest during this time, as you promised. We do not recognize Susan McCone as our priest. We have not asked for her, and we ask that she would leave.
Third, we ask that we continue to be able to run the day to day affairs of our parish as do all other CT parishes, without outside interference by the diocese.
What will be the future of this parish if you continue with your present course of action?
If you really care about the future of this parish, we ask you to consider what the outcome will be if you do not honor our wishes in this regard.
First, as to the physical property. As you know, this is a large building. It is not paid for. There are many expenses. If we do not have control of our physical property, you will be driving the congregation out of this building. We may have to meet elsewhere or pursue legal means to get back access to our space. You are right that the present congregation is finding it difficult to meet our financial obligations. If this congregation is greatly diminished, we do not believe that those who are left will be able to maintain this building. You will end up with an empty building on your hands, as well as the mortgage, and all expenses related to its upkeep.
Second, we remember distinctly that when Bishop Curry last came to visit us, he promised that the diocese valued us and would never try to interfere with our intentions to practice biblical faith. My understanding is that when Fr. Hansen and the wardens met with you several months ago that you promised that you would never impose a rector on us against our will. Yet you are now trying to tell us that Susan McCone is our priest-in-charge. A simple web search shows that Susan McCones values are diametrically opposed to the values of this parish. She is the Executive Director of Affirming Catholicism, a group that has expressed its support for the ordination and blessing of practicing homosexuals, contrary to the official teaching of the Anglican Communion as affirmed at Lambeth 98 and the Windsor Report. As the Executive Director, she has given her signature to a document to the Windsor Commission in support of the election of V. Gene Robinson to the office of bishop in the Episcopal Church although the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Primates, the Windsor Report, and now the Anglican Consultative Council have said that this action showed lack of respect for the Anglican Communion, and threatened its unity.
Ms. McCone has expressed in a sermon on her former parishs website her willingness to break with the Anglican Communion over this issue. She has described the position of those who affirm historic Anglican faith as that of the religious right. Her theological values are clearly opposed to those of this parish. This parish will not accept her as a priest.
Finally, if our parish is not allowed to run its affairs without diocesan interference, then the vestry and congregation will be forced into a position of not being able to cooperate.
If you really care about the future of this parish, then you will not try to impose yourself on us in this way. This parish will not survive as a parish if we try to accept your plan for our future. What you have offered is a recipe for destruction, not survival.
Why have you imposed a canon on Fr. Mark Hansen that is intended for priests who are leaving the Episcopal Church for another denomination? Fr. Mark has not abandoned the Episcopal Church. The canons provide for church trials for priests who are accused of disobeying their bishop. If you believe Fr. Mark has violated his ordination vows, why have you not brought him to trial on the appropriate charges?
Why did you have someone break into Fr. Hansens office and go through his private papers? Is this not a violation of the vow of confidentiality that every priest takes? It is our understanding that a priest is supposed to be willing to go to jail rather than violate that confidentiality. We believe this act was illegal, since some of these documents were no doubt protected by civil laws concerning confidentiality.
Why have you removed Fr. Hansens name from the Church Sign in front of our building? Although he has been inhibited, he has not been deposed, and he is still our rector for six months.
Why did you not honor the agreement you made with Fr. Knapp to extend his time as our supply priest?
You have claimed that the vestry has left the parish without pastoral care. Ms. McCone lives in Washington, CT, and works another job during the week. Fr. Beck lives fifteen minutes away. Trinity Church, Bristol, is ten minutes away. Our Sr. Warden Rick Gonneville can be reached at any time. How can someone who is working another job and who lives at the other end of the state provide pastoral care when you claim that the arrangements we have made will not?
Why have you tried to impose on us a priest whose values are directly contrary to ours, and contrary to the official teaching of the Anglican Communion? Why should our members be willing to approach for pastoral care someone whose values we regard as responsible for destroying our parish, and placing in jeopardy the Episcopal Churchs place in the Anglican Communion?
Why did you enter our building with force? If you wanted to talk to our vestry, why did you not simply arrange a pastoral visit or visit a vestry meeting? Do you realize that canon law specifies that it is the vestry who have control of the physical space of the parish, not the diocese?
Why did you include as an accusation against Fr. Mark that the parish was not meeting its financial responsibilities to the diocese? It is not the rector who pays the bills. It is the vestry. Are you suggesting that the vestry is not meeting its canonical obligations to care for the building? We recently spent $8,000 to repair the restrooms. Are you suggesting that maintaining our only handicapped-accessible restrooms is less important than paying our diocesan assessment, that visitors to our parish should go without restroom facilities so that the diocese will receive the payment on its loan?
St. Johns as a parish is not intentionally withholding funds from the diocese. Why have you not taken over other parishes that have not paid their pledges? Do you think that the tactics you have chosen will make it more likely that St. Johns will have the income to meet its diocesan assessment? Is this really all about money and power?
Why have you consistently taken action against this parish and against the other CT 6 parishes within a week or two after the Lambeth Commission released its report, after the Primates called for the Panel of Reference, and, now, after the Anglican Consultative Council just met, each of which has criticized the Episcopal Church for its actions? Your timing here is puzzling, to say the least. Are you deliberately trying to show your contempt for the Anglican Communion?
Given repeated occasions when you have promised representatives of this parish one thing, and then done another, why should we trust you now?
William G. Witt, Ph.D.
Elected Spokesperson for the Vestry of St. Johns Episcopal Church
Here's the deal, Frank. Maybe
the Oracle of Delphi some canon tells you that you can't order the Hartford Himmler to do anything at all. But if you still want to maintain the illusion that ECUSA "honors differences," I'd get on the phone to Connecticut and strongly urge Smitty to back down. Or if that doesn't work, publicly declare your support for St. John's. Because if you don't do something and do it quickly, most of us over here on the conservative side will have irrefutable proof that ECUSA's word is worthless.
Was there a report anywheres about what happened at services this Sunday?
Sermon? That's not a sermon. 12 or 13 short paragraphs which could be read in under 3 minutes.
Another Episcopagan sermon that totally twists the scriptures. The wheat and the tares (weeds) parable refers to what will happen to the just and unjust on the Day of Judgment.
The priestess twists it essentially into saying that we cannot be judgmental:
"Patience, forbearance, compassion, mercy, kindness they are easy words but they are not easy things to be for any of us especially when we feel conflicted or challenged by beliefs which, in good faith, we hold strongly. While we are not meant to be passive in our time here on earth neither are we meant to wield Gods avenging sword or his winnowing fork. We dont know when the harvest will come but we do know that, in the meantime, God expects us to tend his field - his whole field, not just the part we like, not just the wheat, but the whole field full of weeds and wheat watering it, caring for all that lives in it with love and compassion... How is it the psalmist says, slow to anger and full of kindness and truth?
This is not what Scripture teaches as to false Christians who have come into the church. Scripture teaches that is the responsibility of Christians to "expel the evil man from among you," and not even to eat with such people. I Corinthians 5. This is the specific scriptural reason why the great majority of the world's Anglicans have broken communion with the ECUSA and will no longer "break bread" with them.
How do you know the difference? The Bible teaches that "by their fruits shall you know them." We certainly have seen the fruits of those in ECUSA who seek to rewrite the Gospel.
Another false shepherd leading the sheep astray. Unfortunately, the Bible teaches such false teachers will meet an especially nasty fate.
I Corinthians 5:
9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
Homosexual Agenda Ping.
All I can say is wow. Read it all - who needs fiction to have your hair stand on end?
Amazing how leftists promoting homosexuality and the rejection of any moral or spiritual absolutes are to the man Jack Booted Thugs.
When's the re-enactment of the Night of the Long Knives?
Freepmail me if you want on/off this pinglist.
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