Category : TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

(Groton Patch) In Connecticut, a Meeting To Consider the Future of TEC's Bishop Seabury Church

The Bishop of the Connecticut Episcopal Diocese said Tuesday he would meet with area clergy next week to discuss the future of the Bishop Seabury Church in Groton.

The building has functioned as a church since it as built more than 30 years ago, and was the subject of a lengthy court battle.

The congregation of 750 members, called Bishop Seabury Anglican Church, split with the Episcopal Church in 2007, then wound up in court over whether it could continue to use the building.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

In Connecticut, Former Episcopal Parish Holds Last Service In Church

[Ron] Gauss’ parish parted ways with the Episcopal Church of the United States in 2007 after the church ordained an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire and then chose a woman as presiding bishop. The state Supreme Court in 2011 ruled that Bishop Seabury Church was to return everything ”” the 6.5-acre church site, the sanctuary and its contents ”” to the Episcopal diocese. The church appealed the decision to theU.S. Supreme Court, which in June declined to hear the case.

Gauss described the mixed feelings among the parishioners ”“ confusion, anger and sadness ”“ but he was planning to express a different and greater understanding on Sunday.

“I don’t have any animosity,” Gauss said. “I don’t have time to be angry. I have too many people to take care of.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

Diocese of Connecticut P.R. on U.S. Supreme Court declining review of the Bishop Seabury case

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

Connecticut's Bishop Seabury Church appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court

Because of the uncertainty, Bishop Seabury Church claims local churches cannot predict whether courts will recognize them as property owners, and that no local church can affiliate with a denomination without risking the loss of its property.
The church also claims in its petition that the uncertainty forces both churches and denominations to wage costly legal battles over property, and discourages local churches from expanding their buildings. The ruling, the church claims, also discourages local churches from acting in accordance with conscience on whether to remain affiliated with their current denominations.

“God is faithful, and we know the Lord will lead and guide us regardless of where we worship,” said Gauss in a statement. “But we also believe it’s time for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether the state courts have to enforce church canons or can decide these cases based on ordinary property and trust law. We believe the First Amendment is on our side.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

(AP) Connecticut. court says Anglican parish can't keep property

Bishop Ian T. Douglas of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut said Friday that he wants to meet with the parishioners to discuss their options, ranging from rejoining the Episcopal faith to leaving the property.

“It’s a sad circumstance when other Christians are forced to resolve their disputes in court, because that draws significant resources away from our work in the wider world in service of God’s mission,” Douglas said. “It’s been a long and bad process. There are no victors here.”

Parishioners released a statement saying they were going to talk with their lawyers about what to do next. They didn’t say whether they were considering appealing to a federal court.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

(AP) Connecticut Supreme Court Hears Episcopal Dispute

Lawyers for a Groton parish and the Episcopal Church have clashed before the state Supreme Court over whether the parish can keep its building and land after breaking ties with the national church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Hartford Courant: Praying for a Sale for Houses of Worship

A typical house is tough enough to sell in a recession-hampered housing market. But when a house is a house of worship, the job often becomes one that smacks of the Biblical trials of Job. The challenges just seem to multiply.

Take the case of Trinity Episcopal Church, an imposing, steepled stone structure boasting elaborate stained glass windows that was a longtime center of worship in Bristol. It fell victim to the split in the church and was put up for sale for $850,000.

“It needs some work,” says Jack Spaeth, the canon for stewardship and administration for the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut. “But the right buyer is out there, whether that is a faith community or a transformed use.”

Spaeth knows of which he speaks; a former real estate agent who manages property and finances for the diocese, he has handled several church sales in the past few years. “Many of these are Gothic structures that are expensive to maintain,” he says. “It’s not just your standard cinderblock.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

Karen Wescott Mystic chimes in on the situation with Bishop Seabury Parish in Connecticut

We haven’t formally disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church. We added the other affiliation in order to obtain godly episcopal care. The opposition wants the court to order our Anglican bishops to not set foot in our building without their permission. The judge refused.

Also, 35-40 (not 25) of us attended court. At the most recent hearing, Father David Cannon – so-called “priest in charge” – had nobody with him except attorneys, because there are no dissenters in the parish.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

In Connecticut Bishop Seabury parishioners take it day by day

Members of the Bishop Seabury church, including the man who led them away from the Episcopal Diocese in 2007, are taking it Sunday by Sunday.

About 25 parishioners from the Groton church attended a court hearing in Waterbury Thursday to learn whether they would be able to remain during an appeal of a judge’s ruling that the church and all of its property must be turned over to the diocese.

The group will be allowed to stay, at least for the near future.

“It’s better than nothing,” said the Rev. Ronald Gauss, who traveled by bus to the hearing along with about two dozen others.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut, TEC Departing Parishes

Central New York Episcopal Diocese sues former parish again

Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.

On Friday, both sides were back in court.

“We’ve kind of moved on as a congregation and this is almost looking backwards now. So we were dreading it but here it is,” said Father Matthew Kennedy, Good Shepherd’s head pastor.

This time, the feud centers around a will by former Good Shepherd member Robert Brannan. He died in 1986 and left behind money in a trust fund for his parish.

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Hartford Courant–Episcopal Schism: Both Sides' Leaders Unsure Of Next Step

Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew Smith, who has struggled with defections of individual churches within his diocese in recent years, said he cannot yet gauge the significance of this development in the ongoing struggle for the soul of the Episcopal Church.

“It’s immensely sad. It really is,” Smith said. “It’s also unprecedented. I think what would give any persons or churches pause [before leaving the Episcopal Church] is the reality that although they are calling this a new province, it is not in communion with the [Anglican Communion].”

That may be wishful thinking on Smith’s part.

The bishop has watched as several of his churches, which were part of a group called the “Connecticut Six,” left the diocese and affiliated with more conservative bishops. The diocese is still embroiled in a lawsuit with one of the churches ”” Bishop Seabury Church in Groton ”” over who owns the church property. The diocese recently defrocked Bishop Seabury’s priest, the Rev. Ronald Gauss.

Both Gauss and the Rev. Donald Helmandollar ”” whose Bristol congregation also left the Episcopal Church but chose to give up its property to avoid a legal battle ”” believe the creation of a new province will give other conservative churches the push they needed to leave.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Episcopal Schism In Groton Leads To Property Dispute

After a five-year spiritual and practical journey that has led them further and further away from the Episcopal Church, [the Rev. Ron] Gauss and his parish, Bishop Seabury Church, are now fully severed from the denomination they once proudly claimed as their own.

Gauss, who was suspended from the priesthood last May, was deposed ”” which means removed from the priesthood ”” by Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Andrew Smith on Nov. 20.

Smith said Gauss was suspended because he “abandoned the Episcopal Church” by aligning his church with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a mission of the conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.

“Yes, there’s sadness. I never figured it would get to this point,” Gauss said. “But it’s not the same church I was ordained to, either.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Diocese, Episcopal Church file complaint against Groton Connecticut parish

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.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

In Connecticut Trinity Episcopal still without a flock after lawsuit

Despite the fact that the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut recently won possession of the Trinity Episcopal Church property on Federal Hill, the pastor in charge will still be holding services at a host church.

The Rev. Stanley Kemmerer said he is not immediately initiating services at Trinity, but will instead continue to hold them at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

“As of now, we will be worshipping at Gloria Dei as we have been,” Kemmerer said.

He said only “a handful” of Trinity parishioners have been coming to the Episcopal services at Gloria Dei, which he holds every Sunday at 5 p.m.

“There just haven’t been many,” Kemmerer said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Church In Bristol Settles Dispute With Episcopal Diocese

In the end, former members of Trinity Church in Bristol decided it wasn’t worth the fight.

The parishioners have settled their legal dispute with the Episcopal Diocese by agreeing to relinquish their historic church home. In return, both the diocese and the national Episcopal Church will withdraw their lawsuit against Trinity’s priest and its leaders.

The diocese took legal action last year after the congregation defected from the Episcopal Church in a theological dispute and aligned itself with a more conservative Anglican group, but refused to leave the property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut