Skip to comments.New vestry cuts ties with Connecticut Six
Posted on 10/19/2005 6:08:17 PM PDT by sionnsar
BRISTOL, CT (10/19/2005)--The newly elected vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church announced Tuesday that the parish is no longer affiliated with the so-called "Connecticut Six," a group of churches and clergy who have been in conflict with Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith over his support for the church's first openly gay bishop. The 2003 consecration of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire has divided the U.S. Episcopal Church and expanded the rift over gay issues among churches in the global Anglican Communion.
The new vestry at St. John's was elected at a special parish meeting held Sunday. On Monday the group, which is the lay leadership of the parish, unanimously voted to withdraw from the American Anglican Council and the Anglican Communion Network, according to a press release issued Tuesday. The two groups also have opposed consecration of Robinson.
The old vestry included church members loyal to the former rector, the Rev. Mark Hansen, who was removed in July by Smith. Hansen is one of the priests who have become known as the Connecticut Six. This group includes the Rev. Donald L. Helmandollar of Trinity Church in Bristol.
The pro-Hansen members had formed a group called "St. John's in Exile," according to the press release.
Consequently, the church had been left without any official lay leadership, said the Rev. Linda McCone, appointed in July by the bishop as priest in charge for the parish. McCone said Tuesday that the parishioners had waited to elect the new vestry until all legal requirements such as the notification period were met.
The breakaway group had sued the bishop, McCone and others, alleging among other things that Hansen's removal was unauthorized.
"I don't see how they can do that ..they aren't who they say they are," said Darlene Dopart, one of several parish members quoted in the press release. "I don't see how the court will let them get away with it. We are St. John's and we don't want to sue anyone," she said.
The new vestry said it was making its public statement "because the overwhelming sense of the congregation was that it was important for it to be clear that any other group of persons or individuals -- other than those elected by the people of St. John's at the Sunday meeting -- is not authorized to speak on behalf of the parish, enter into contracts in the name of the parish or otherwise suggest that they represent the interests or wishes of the more than 100 parishioners who have been regularly attending services at St. John's since July."
"The people of St. John's are the people who are in the pews every Sunday, not the people who are somewhere else," said vestry member Jim Doucette. "We are the ones who are rebuilding this church. It is hard work but it is happening."
Dave Desmarais, the newly elected senior warden of St. John's, said Monday the parish remains hopeful that, in time, some of those who have left will return once they see how St. John's is flourishing.
"We are tired of politics," said Art Paulette Jr., the junior warden. "When we come to church we want to hear preaching about the Gospel and we are doing that now for the first time in a long time."
In September, the six Episcopal churches that then comprised the Connecticut Six and five rectors -- Hansen was not included -- filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Smith and other diocese officials violated the civil and property rights of the churches' priests, members and officials.
Diocesan officials said Hansen was suspended for six months because he took an unauthorized sabbatical and St. John's had stopped making payments on a loan for its building. Hansen maintains that he notified Smith about his plans.
According to the new vestry, Hansen had effectively left late in 2004 when he took secular employment in New York City without notifying his bishop as required by the church's canons.
THEN . . . they're "tired of politics". In other words, we recount until we win, then we stop.
I'm sorry . . . these people are evil.
Yes, the new commissars are in town -- you will listen and obey to our "Gospel" of inclusivity whether you like it or not.
The Bishop is guilty of the crime of Breaking and Entering (a felony under Connecticut State Law) and this new Vestry is illegally elected. The priest could have been reprimanded by the Bishop for taking secular employment... but that did not happen. Most priests I know can't exist on the meager salaries they draw from parish work. Their wives are forced to work to provide benefits and groceries - they are lucky thay can afford a mortgage. Most parishes do not own a rectory.
Sure would like to have been a fly on the wall when McCone told them how things are going to happen. Bet it had a lot to do with money.
We should simply refer to the new management as "Vichy St. John's"! They are no more legitimate than the Vichy regime in France during Nazi occupation.
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