CANA Disappointed in Connecticut Supreme Court Decision
September 30, 2011
The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (“CANA”) and the congregation of Bishop Seabury Memorial Church in Groton, Conn., are reviewing a decision released today by the Connecticut Supreme Court regarding the congregation’s right to retain ownership of its property. The Episcopal Church (“TEC”) and the diocese had appealed the case to the state’s Supreme Court earlier this year in order to seek to seize the congregation’s property.
“We are disappointed with today’s ruling. Legal counsel will continue to review it as the congregation considers its options,” said the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, the head bishop of CANA, which is the denominational body for Bishop Seabury Church. Bishop Minns served as the associate pastor of St. Paul’s in Darien, Conn., in the late 1970s to early 1980s.
“When leaders of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Connecticut divided the worldwide Anglican Communion by attempting to redefine Scripture and Christian ethics, and chose to oppress congregations and clergy remaining faithful to following Jesus Christ, the congregation at Bishop Seabury Church and other congregations could not in good conscience go down that path. TEC is going its own way, and we are saddened by TEC’s desire to weaken the church. But this does not give TEC the right to take our houses of worship with them. The legal proceedings have been an unfortunate distraction from all the good work our congregations are doing — caring for the poor and oppressed, and offering hope and healing to a broken world. We will continue to put our trust in God, not in secular courts or buildings,” Minns continued.
The Rt. Rev’d Julian Dobbs, CANA’s bishop for the Northeast, proclaimed, “Buildings and property are a tool that congregations use to share the good news of Jesus, but the core identity of a congregation is not in its material goods or real estate. The identity of the congregation is not even tied up in the particular name of the church. Rather, the identity of the congregation is made concrete by what they do Sunday through Saturday in Groton and in their neighborhoods: loving God and loving other people.”
Archdeacon Ron Gauss, the senior pastor of the congregation, added, “Jesus the Messiah was Lord and rector of this congregation before this decision was handed down, and Jesus is still our Lord and rector. Our congregation is as unified as ever in continuing to serve Jesus in all situations.” Story
Conn. court: breakaway parish can't keep property
Conn. Supreme Court rules parish that broke from Episcopal Church can’t keep property