Episcopal Diocese Could try to Evict Rebel Parish In Bristol Connecticut

When Fred Clark married his bride, Claudia, nearly 40 years ago, they stood before the deep blue and purple stained-glass windows that line the stone wall behind the altar at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bristol.

Together they baptized three babies, mourned the death of one of those children – 6-year-old Allison – and celebrated the marriage of another daughter at that same altar.

The church is far more than a place to worship for the Clarks, of course. It is like a second home.

But the Clarks – along with the vast majority of the congregation – have decided to risk their long association with Trinity by voting to split from the Episcopal Church over differences of opinion about Scripture that have manifested themselves in public squabbles over the ordination of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.

With Trinity’s decision, the split within the Connecticut Diocese begins to resemble the increasingly contentious struggles going on in other Episcopal dioceses around the United States. It is no longer simply a war of words over theology but a pitched battle over buildings, property and money.

The split has united conservative congregations in the U.S., like Trinity, with like-minded African churches that believe the Episcopal Church’s liberal position on homosexuality goes against the Anglican beliefs inherited from the Church of England.

Read it all.


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

9 comments on “Episcopal Diocese Could try to Evict Rebel Parish In Bristol Connecticut

  1. chips says:

    I think somebody at CANA, the Network, or the AAC needs to put out a press release that lists the churches that have left since 2003 (the Press release then needs to become part of all of the news flacks talking points). I think that 45 number is dated. The press release should also always state that the number includes some of the largestg congretations in Virginia, Texas, Colorada, Kansas etc. The Press release should also point out the scores of new churches which has been planted by AMiA. The Presiding Bishop is getting way too much mileage out of the 1/2 of 1 percent line.

  2. Bob from Boone says:

    This strikes me as being a balanced report; nice to read one once in a while. #2, you can get a more accurate report on the number of congregations that have joined CANA by going on their web site, though it is not as informative as the AMiA site is. AMiA presently lists about 100 congregations, including one in my town.

  3. Connecticutian says:

    Regarding media accuracy, I do wish the media would stop saying Smith was “cleared of the ecclesiastical charges”. He wasn’t “cleared” because the charges were never brought to trial. The committee’s report actually found that he probably violated at least one canon, but it apparently wasn’t a big enough deal to them. It also found that he is not in control of his staff: some charges were discounted not because they didn’t occur, but that *he* didn’t personally commit the offenses, his staff did.

  4. Pb says:

    #1 There is not such thing as a literal interpretation. You either take it literally or you interpret it. You start with what the author was trying to say. God works incarnationally starting with the Word of God – scripture first and then in Jesus.

  5. Jimmy DuPre says:

    TPaine; I assume you have heard Christians from many of the tiny congregations say that all others are going to hell? I very rarely hear Christians say that. It is interesting that we have such different experiences in what we hear from Christians of other congregations. Most of the time when I talk with Christians of other denominations we talk about the essential matters where there is unity.

  6. Jimmy DuPre says:

    TPaine; I just re-read your comment. I know many Baptists. I have never heard a Baptist say that full immersion was necessary for salvation; only to be a Baptist.

  7. William Witt says:

    The report is far from balanced. This statement certainly should have been challenged:

    “St. John’s, which has a new pastor, is now in ‘full communion’ with the diocese, Smith said,”

    Rather, after Smith’s invasion of St. John’s, some of the members chose to accept his conditions in order to keep the building. These are those Smith speaks of as being in ‘full communion’ with the diocese. In exchange, the diocese provides them with a vicar (not a rector) and is certainly making the payments on their building, which they can’t possibly afford on their own.

    The article does not mention that the current membership of Trinity includes also those members of St. John’s who refused to accept Smith’s takeover or to knuckle under to his demands.

    The article also fails to mention that Trinity was founded as Trinity Church Society as 1750 and predates the Episcopal Church. The property issue will not at all be clearcut.

    And, finally, it is not the case that the CT 6 lost their court case. Rather, the judge ruled that they had chosen the wrong venue, and should have gone to state court first.

    These may be trivial details to the outsider, but they seem to indicate a certain bias in the reporting.

  8. w.w. says:

    #9 TPaine,

    Sure, Church of Christ believers are on the same page on baptism as the Roman Catholic Church: baptism (with water) is necessary for salvation. They’re just more vocal about it than the Catholics. 😆

    I’ve traveled far and wide among churches of many varieties; I’ve not found baptism to be the bone of contention you’ve found. I =have= found wide agreement (outside the reappraiser community) on the literal meaning of, for example, John 3:16, and the need to take it seriously.


  9. robroy says:

    In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. ” That seems pretty clear to me.