On Friday Oct. 26, the highest governing body of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (“ECCT”) — its Annual Convention — changed the internal governance of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien putting the church directly under the authority of the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan. This action was taken as a result of the refusal of its elected lay leaders to participate in reconciliation efforts with its Rector, the Rev. Canon George Kovoor.
The action changed St. Paul’s status in ECCT from a “Parish” to a “Worshiping Community,” which puts it now under the exclusive supervision, direction, and control of Bishop Douglas. While the change in status does not affect the worship life or the property of St. Paul’s, the change ended the authority of the previous lay leaders of the church, the Vestry and Wardens, whose job it had been to oversee the property and business affairs of St. Paul’s.
St. Paul’s is one of more than 165 Episcopal Parishes and Worshiping Communities in ECCT, spread across the state. The life of all ECCT Parishes and Worshiping Communities, as well as church-related actions by the bishops, priests, deacons, and elected lay leaders, are governed by church laws known as “Canons.” The Canons require that “Every Parish . . . live within a system of support and accountability that links its life and ministry to that of the Bishops and with those of other Parishes in the Diocese.” The Canons also require that lay leaders of a Parish comply with a godly judgment of the Bishop, and authorize changing a Parish to a Worshiping Community if the leaders refuse.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) November 8, 2018