Connecticut Parish opts for 'traditional beliefs'

Trinity Episcopal Church has declared itself a member of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.
The Rev. Donald Helmandollar, Trinity’s rector, confirmed Tuesday that as of Sunday the parish had joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a self-described mission of the Nigerian church, serving Episcopalians who hold traditional beliefs. It is based in Fairfax, Va.
The action means the parish is no longer a member of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. but is still Anglican, Helmandollar said.
“We have remained with the Anglican Communion. … The Episcopal Church has demonstrated, continues to demonstrate, that they are walking apart from the communion,” he said.
Helmandollar said the congregation voted to make the move because its members see the Episcopal Church abandoning “the orthodox tenets” of Christian belief.
The 2003 approval of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who is gay, has forced the issue for Trinity’s members and other conservatives, he said.
Helmandollar said he sent a letter Tuesday to Bishop Andrew D. Smith, head of the Diocese of Connecticut, informing him of the move. Smith said he had not yet received it and did not want to comment until he had.
The way Helmandollar sees it, Trinity, founded in 1752, is not leaving the Episcopal Church as much as the church has left its scriptural foundations.
“Most of the rest of the Anglican Communion of 77 million folks … the vast majority are staying the course” on sexuality and other beliefs, he said. “They’re not changing.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

18 comments on “Connecticut Parish opts for 'traditional beliefs'

  1. William Witt says:

    What the article fails to mention is that Trinity Church, Bristol, includes also those members of St. John’s, Bristol who left the building and began meeting with Trinity after Bishop Andrew Smith and entourage invaded the building, hacked the computer, changed the locks, imposed a priest-in-charge and removed the vestry.

    So should Bishop Smith decide to seize Trinity Church as he seized St. John’s, the diocese will have to pay for maintenance and upkeep on two buildings in Bristol in additions to the payments it continues to have to make for the newly built St. John’s and presumably have to pay the salaries of two vicars/priests-in-charge.

    In more news, the remaining congregation at St. John’s who accepted Bishop Smith’s takeover and its conditions so they could keep the building will be blessed by a visit from our own Presiding Bishop KJS on the evening of June 30.

    In the words of the vicar:

    It is both a privilege and an honour to have the Presiding Bishop at our church and I know that all of you will feel the same as the members of the Vestry and I do.

    Loyalty does indeed have its rewards.

  2. David+ says:

    So the continuing churches just keep becoming more and more of a tiny, insignificant minority. Thanks KJS for the insight.

  3. William Witt says:

    I somehow lost the link for the KJS visit to the rump congregation at St. John’s, Bristol. It is here: John's Journal_web.htm

  4. ruidh says:

    “We have remained with the Anglican Communion.”

    Since the Lambeth invitations went out last week, this statement is demonstrably false.

  5. William Witt says:

    Since the Lambeth invitations went out last week, this statement is demonstrably false.

    Did I miss something, Ruidh? Is Nigeria no longer part of the Anglican Communion?

  6. Connecticutian says:

    The kingdom we belong to is not of this world. 😉

  7. William Witt says:

    Last time I looked, Bristol was in Connecticut, not Nigeria.

    And in a Catholic Church, this is irrelevant. Augustine was in communion with Rome, not the Donatists, although the Donatists were the dominant church in North Africa, and had their own bishops. Nestorius was the patriarch of Constantinople. After the Council of Ephesus, if you were in Constantinople, you had better have been in communion with Cyril, not Nestorius.

    For your edification I suggest reading Werner Elert’s Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries.

    We can, of course, play these rhetorical games all we want. “We’re in the Anglican Communion, you’re not.” “No, we’re in the Anglican Communion. You’re not.”

    The fact is we’re playing a game of “Schrodinger’s cat” until the Sept 30 deadline passes and the Primates either do or do not act on TEC’s recalcitrance. Bishop Andrew Smith of CT recently made a public statement in which he made it clear that he will never retreat, and he will not abide by the Dar Es Salaam Communique. If the Primates are true to their word, after Sept 30 we will discover that the cat is dead, and the TEC cat in CT will be very dead indeed.

    In the meanwhile, Fr. Mark Hansen, former rector of St. John’s, deposed by Drew Smith, and now a priest in the diocese of Recife, expressed the point well recently when he said that currently more bishops and dioceses in the Anglican Communion recognize his orders than recognize Bishop Smith’s. Similarly, more bishops and dioceses in the Anglican Communion currently recognize themselves as being in communion with St. John’s/Trinity, Bristol, than recognize themselves as being in communion with Andrew Smith and the Episcopal Diocese of CT. After Sept. 30, I predict that the “currently” will no longer be necessary. However, if it will satisfy some need for rhetorical superiority, you may continue to use the remaining months of TEC’s probationary time to boast that TEC is in the Communion and CANA is not.

    After Sept 30, if the Primates do not act, the Anglican Communion will be the dead cat, and it won’t matter.

  8. Vintner says:

    I posted this on Stand Firm but I think it bears repeating due to the discussion. If the history that William Witt has provided repeats itself, and given that the charges against Smith have gone nowhere I believe that history will indeed repeat itself, Trinity, Bristol, will go the same way as St. John’s, Bristol. And I further believe that it will happen long before September 30. It’s foolish to think that what Smith and the diocese did once, they won’t do again. Furthermore, I’m not holding my breath on that September 30th date, especially given that the invitations to Lambeth have been sent out. But it’s Thursday and on Thursdays I’m a pessimist. Ask me the question again on Friday.

  9. William Witt says:


    I think the people at Trinity are well aware that Drew is likely to go for two. Everyone in his past behavior indicates that he will. He does not like to be crossed. I believe that one of the reasons they made the choice they made is that they do not hold out hope for Sept 30 either.

  10. William Witt says:

    Everyone in his past behavior indicates that he will.

    Whoops. That should be “Everything” not “Everyone.”

  11. Brian of Maryland says:


    But those of us in the ELCA, another “denomination” rapidly approaching apostacy, hold out great hope for what you folks are doing. Amid the global shift that’s occuring, you may well be providing a future open door for the rest of us.

    MD Brian

  12. ruidh says:

    Did I miss something, Ruidh? Is Nigeria no longer part of the Anglican Communion?

    You didn’t up and move yourselves to Africa. You joined CANA.

    CANA isn’t part of the Anglican Communion. Minns wasn’t invited to Lambeth. That should be a sign.

  13. William Witt says:

    CANA isn’t part of the Anglican Communion. Minns wasn’t invited to Lambeth. That should be a sign.

    The cat is either dead or alive. We will know for certain after September 30.

  14. Cennydd says:

    CANA is part of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the last I heard, and they’re a province of the Anglican Communion, Ruidh. Therefore, they are, by association (albeit not as a recognized separate Church) a part of the Communion. But I think that after September 30th, it really won’t make any difference, will it?

  15. Vintner says:

    Cennydd, CANA is part of the Anglican Church of Nigeria which is a part of the Anglican Communion. However, as you recognize in your “albeit”, CANA is not a part of the “recognized” Anglican Communion by association or otherwise, or at least not by the ABC in his invitations to Lambeth. The whole argument, does it not, hangs on the word “recognized.” Recognized by whom? You? Me? Your bishop? My bishop? The primates of the Global South? The primates overall? For those who believe that the primates recognize CANA due to their statement, they now have to answer the question as to why Minns was not invited. Thus, for the time being, I have to agree that CANA is still waiting in the wings, waiting for awhile, until what happens happens and the true Anglicans appear. My feeling is that CANA is not going to become anything more than what the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church is to the Lutheran Church. There will be Episcopalians and then there will be that branch of conservative Anglicans. I further believe, in our generation and in the generations to come, that no one in the United States is going to know, understand, or care what it is to be Anglican.

  16. Vintner says:

    Cennydd, I posted in #10 that on Thursdays, I’m a pessimist. Ask me again tomorrow. I’m always in a better frame of mind on Fridays.

  17. Brian of Maryland says:


    I think your analysis doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. CANA appears to have been purposely created in order to remain connected to the larger, global Anglican presence. The LC-MS is not a member of the LWF, the larger Lutheran global presence. From a global Lutheran perspective, the LC-MS is an interesting, if not downright isolated, American based Lutheran offshoot is as much related to US German settlement patterns as it is theological.

    If William et al are correct, after September CANA will still be connected to the vast bulk of the Anglican presence. The LC-MS will never be connected to the vast bulk of global Lutherans. I think you have it exactly backwards. Over time TEC will be a small, insignificant player in the US religious scene. Sort of like the LC-MS.

    MD Brian

  18. ruidh says:

    Everyone seems to be holding their breath for September 30th. Rowan Williams will be at the HoB meeting in September. The agenda will address the Dar es Salaam Communique and something will be done about it. Expect no dramatic announcements. I expect that a small number of TeC bishops won’t be able to go along and their invitations to Lambeth will be withdrawn. Most of TEC will attend.