The Episcopal Church has entered into a suit in support of the Diocese of Connecticut against the former rector and vestry members of Bishop Seabury Episcopal Church in Groton, Connecticut. The motion was granted by Connecticut’s New London Judicial District Court on June 24. The Diocese of Connecticut filed a similar suit April 30 in the same court.
Both complaints ask that the court prevent the defendants, who have left the Episcopal Church, from retaining church property. Additional plaintiffs are Bishop Seabury Church and its priest-in-charge, the Rev. Canon David Cannon.
Since becoming a parish in 1955, Bishop Seabury Church — which is named for the first Episcopal bishop and Groton native Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) — has been connected to the diocese in various ways, including through participation at annual conventions and receipt of gifts and loans.
Former rector the Rev. Ronald S. Gauss and some former members of the congregation, including vestry members, affiliated with the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in November 2007. According to the complaints, Gauss has refused to relinquish control of the church property, including keys to the buildings and parish records to Cannon.