Connecticut Bishop's Church Takeover Prompts Warning from Conservative Diocese Leaders
By Jim Brown
August 2, 2005
(AgapePress) - The seizure of a dissenting orthodox congregation's property by an Episcopal Church (USA) bishop in Connecticut has prompted nine conservative Episcopal bishops to write him a second open letter, this time threatening to take him to ecclesiastical court.
The conservative bishops wrote the letter to Connecticut's Bishop Andrew Smith after he ignored their pleas in April to cease persecution of six orthodox clergy members he had indicted for "abandoning the communion" after they opposed his stances on homosexual marriage and ordination of practicing homosexual priests. Last month Smith and 12 assistants took over the offices of St. John's Episcopal Church in Bristol, changing the locks, confiscating the computers, and replacing Rector Mark Hansen with a homosexuality-affirming female priest.
One of the aforementioned conservative church leaders, Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh, says the takeover of St. John's is evidence that the ECUSA is succumbing to secular and cultural pressures and further separating itself from the worldwide Anglican Communion. "What we're dealing with here in this parish," Duncan says, "is a battle for the soul of the Episcopal Church."