Friday, July 29, 2005

Response to Open Letter of July 27, 2005, from Bishops ... : Bishop Andrew Smith :: Diocese of Connecticut (pdf)


Your public letter to us is filled with assumptions, conclusions, and emotional, highly charged language. In it you have passed judgment on a brother bishop and a diocese without even attempting to ascertain the facts.

Had you first inquired concerning Father Mark Hansen and the conditions at Saint John’s, Bristol, our communication would be far more productive. I regret that none of the bishops who signed the letter had the wisdom or courtesy to call before launching this broadside. If we are engaged in a “very public conflict,” it is the work of others, and of letters such as yours.
. . .
The Standing Committee found that the Rev. Mark Hansen had abandoned communion with his bishop by the demands of the May 2004 letter. Further, he ignored well-established disciplines required of priests by ECUSA Canon and the policies of this diocese. Also important, for a time which as yet we have been unable to determine, he has abandoned his ministry in Saint John’s to hold a secular position in another state while at the same time on sabbatical from Saint John’s.

The parish leaders of Saint John’s enabled and protected Father Hansen in these arrangements, and are uncooperative, evasive and not forthcoming when questioned by members of my staff. For more than a year the parish has ignored its payments to our revolving loan fund. Members and leaders who disagree with Father Hansen have felt intimidated, and many left the parish. There are significant outstanding bills, and the electric company had sent the parish a shut-off notice. We have not seized any funds of the parish, as you claim we have, and in the past week we have paid more that $20,000 in parish bills from diocesan resources – including $8,500 owed on Father Hansen’s pension.
Via titusonenine where you will find comments galore.

UPDATE: The perspective of a member of St. John's. (Again from titusonenine.)

1 comment:

Patrick Kimball said...

Whither the Church?

The Connecticut debacle now has the look of the self-destructing
event that becomes the "tipping point" for dissolution of ECUSA.
A likely scenario is that a new entity will be formed to seek
recognition as an authentic Anglican Province.

The old church, facing wholesale desertion and financial
collapse, seeks mediation with the new body. It doesn't work, so
the old church renames itself as something like the "Progressive
Episcopal Church" and spins off from the Anglican Communion.

Dioceses are reconstituted to separate allegiances and property.
Clergy and parishes make difficult choices by vote. The next
Lambeth Conference (2008) confirms the changes by offering
the new church provisional status.