Clergy and Church Members in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut File Formal Charges Against Bishop Andrew Smith
Cynthia P. Brust
August 24, 2005
Nineteen Episcopal lay leaders and priests in Connecticut have officially charged Andrew Smith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, under provisions of canon [church] law. The notification of charges was sent Monday to Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA). Specifically, signatories charge Bishop Smith with undermining the structure of the Episcopal Church and denying canonical due process for the so-called “Connecticut Six” clergy. These charges accuse Bishop Smith of violating the Episcopal Church’s Constitution, national canons, diocesan canons, and the laws of the state of Connecticut. Laity and clergy from Christ Church, Watertown; Bishop Seabury, Groton; Trinity, Bristol; St. Paul’s, Darien; and Christ and the Epiphany, East Haven; and St. John’s, Bristol, filed the charges.
Under canon law, a “charge” is defined as a “formal and verified accusation against a member of the clergy that the member of the clergy has committed an offense.” Offenses are delineated in Canon 4.1.1 and include such actions as crimes, immorality, conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy, and violations of the Constitutions or Canons of General Convention and/or the Diocese where the clergy member functions. Charges can lead to an ecclesiastical trial much like a military court martial.
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