Skip to comments.St. John’s, Bristol, Vestry Replaced
Posted on 11/08/2005 8:16:28 PM PST by sionnsar
The newly elected vestry of St. Johns in Bristol, Conn., unanimously voted Oct. 17 to withdraw its membership in the American Anglican Council and the Anglican Communion Network. The vestry was elected at a parish meeting the day before because the church had been left without any effective leadership, according to the Rev. Linda McCone, the interim rector appointed in July by the Bishop of Connecticut, the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, after he inhibited the rector, the Rev. Mark Hansen.
Ms. McCone said the parish had waited until now to elect a new vestry in order to ensure that all the legal requirements for notification had been met.
Bishop Smith charged Fr. Hansen with abandonment of communion and inhibited him after learning that he had taken an unauthorized sabbatical and begun secular employment in New York City. A significant percentage of the congregation remained loyal to Fr. Hansen, however, and the original vestry charged Bishop Smith in a federal lawsuit with violating the civil and property rights of the parishioners by illegally removing Fr. Hansen and seizing control of parish assets. The original vestry also encouraged members loyal to Fr. Hansen to begin worship in exile at the other Episcopal Church in Bristol, Trinity Church.
Until our church building is restored in full to the people, vestry, and properly appointed pastoral leadership of St Johns Bristol, reads a statement on a website maintained by supporters of the group, we the parish family, will continue to worship with our brothers and sisters at Trinity Church, Bristol.
Fr. Hansen, his congregation as well as five other parishes and their clergy collectively refer to themselves as the Ct Six. Since the 2003 General Convention they have opposed Bishop Smith because of his support for efforts to normalize homosexuality within the Episcopal Church.
In a press release, the newly elected vestry said it wanted to make public its recent votes to disaffiliate from the two conservative organizations because the overwhelming sense of the remaining congregation was that it was important for it to be clear that any other group of persons or individualsother than those elected by the people of St. Johns at the Sunday meetingis 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 St. Johns.
Dave Desmarais, the newly elected senior warden at St. Johns, told the Associated Press that the parish remains hopeful that, in time, some of those who left will return once they see how St. Johns is flourishing.
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