Skip to comments.[CT] Vestry of St. John's Bristol responds to Bishop Smith
Posted on 10/26/2005 5:48:48 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Right Reverend Andrew Smith
Diocese of Connecticut
1335 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
October 24, 2005
Dear Bishop Smith:
We, the rightful Vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church, Bristol, Connecticut, write to inform you that the Rev. Dr. Mark H. Hansen has resigned as Rector of St. John's Church on September 23, 2005. We will begin the process of searching for a new priest.
At the same time, we want to express our objections to the unlawful actions that continue to be exercised by those who claim to be acting with your permission or authority.
On September 26, the Rev. Susan McCone sent a registered letter to the Vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church, in which she requested the written resignations of all members of the Vestry on the unspecified grounds of "many actions" that had "violated [our] trust" as Vestry members and for failing "to attend the scheduled meetings of the Vestry as called by me and required by the By-Laws of St. John's."
We do not acknowledge this demand for resignation, first, because Susan McCone has no authority to request it. The canons of the Episcopal Church are quite clear about the conditions under which a Bishop may appoint a Priest-in-Charge: "After consultation with the Vestry, the Bishop may appoint a Priest to serve as Priest-in-Charge of any congregation in which there is no Rector." (Canon III.9.3.b).
You did not and have not consulted with the Vestry either before or after the events of July 13 about appointing a Priest-in-Charge, or on any other matter. Susan McCone has no authority over the Vestry or Parish of St. John's. Moreover, with your specific agreement, Fr. Clayton Knapp had been leading our worship on Sunday mornings, while other clergy had been providing pastoral care during the week. Your appointment of her was contrary to your specific agreement with Fr. Knapp.
Second, the Vestry of St. John's has continued to attend its scheduled Vestry meetings. Unfortunately, as Ms. McCone knows, we have not been able to attend meetings at the building on Stafford Avenue because we have been locked out of that building and denied keys.
This, again, is in violation of the canons, which state that it is the Vestry who are responsible for the physical property of the Parish: "Except as provided by the law of the State or of the Diocese, the Vestry shall be agents and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations of the Parish to its Clergy." (Canon I.14.2). Moreover, contrary to Susan McCone's claims in the letter of September 26, the By-Laws of St. John's Parish state: "Regular meetings of the Vestry shall be held at a time, selected by the members, to be announced." They are not called by a "Priest-in-Charge."
It has also come to our knowledge that on Sunday, October 16, a "special meeting" of the "parish of St. John's" was held in which new officers, Vestry, and delegates to Diocesan Convention were supposedly elected. The signature on the meeting announcement is that of Susan McCone as "Priest-in-Charge." Again, Susan McCone has no authority to call such a meeting.
The By-Laws of St. John's Parish state: "Notice of all Special meetings of the Parish shall be signed by the Clerk, or in the absence of the Clerk, a member of the Vestry . . ." The Clerk not only did not sign the notice but neither he nor any members of the Vestry were informed of or authorized this "special meeting." Accordingly, this meeting was invalid and we do not recognize its results. Until a legally held meeting of St. John's Parish decides otherwise, we are still the Vestry.
We are now asking in writing what we asked of you face-to-face on the evening of July 17.
First, we ask that the keys to our property be returned. As Vestry, we have under canon law the primary responsibility for the physical integrity of the Parish's worship space. By seizing our building, you have denied us the ability to perform our responsibilities and have forced us to worship elsewhere.
Second, we ask that you honor the agreement you made with Fr. Clayton Knapp that he continue to preside at worship and provide pastoral care for us until such time as we are able to find a priest whose convictions are in accord with biblical and Catholic orthodoxy, and who wishes with us to remain a faithful member of the Anglican Communion. Contrary to the canons, Susan McCone has been imposed on us as "Priest-in-Charge" without prior consultation and against our specific wishes. We ask that she would leave.
Third, we ask once again that we be able to run the day-to-day affairs of our Parish as do all other Connecticut Parishes, without hostile interference or manipulation by the Diocese. We fear that such manipulation may have already destroyed permanently any possibility for reconciliation between those who used to worship together in charity, and we are grieved that your actions of July 13 and following have been the major cause of a falling out in our Parish.
We are deeply saddened that we as laity have to write to you, a Bishop in the Church of God, to make such requests. We ask that you would remember your vows to "feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise without reproach the high priesthood" to which you have been called. We are that flock.
David W. Thompson, Jr. Warden
William G. Witt, Clerk
On Behalf of The Vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church Bristol, Connecticut (Unanimously Approved)
Who does smith (lowercase intentional) ecclesiastically-order to start his car for him in the morning? Who guards his door while he sleeps? Doesn't he realize he's "digging himself deeper" every day?
Now that Vestry and the good church members need to get some good lawyers to sue the hell out of that bishop and have the police arrest the lesbian pseudo priest for trespassing.
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