Thinking Anglicans

Connecticut Six file formal charges against bishop

Update
The Living Church has published this news report: Formal Charges Lodged Against Connecticut Bishop which explains more about the process.

The Connecticut Six have now taken formal action under Episcopal canon law against their diocesan bishop, Andrew Smith, by filing charges against him in accordance with TITLE IV, CANON 3 (PDF file) of the Episcopal Church.

The full text of these charges can be found in a 1.2 Mb 22-page PDF file, available here.

A press release from the American Anglican Council is here.

The charges have been filed by a total of 19 persons, all of whom are it seems either clergy at, or communicants at, the six parishes who are already in dispute. Some of the names are hard to read from the PDF, but I expect a list will be published somewhere shortly.

The charges accuse the bishop of “undermining the structure of the Episcopal Church and denying canonical due process for the so-called ‘Connecticut Six’ clergy” and include “violating the Episcopal Church’s Constitution, national canons, diocesan canons, and the laws of the state of Connecticut”.

I will add further links here as other reports are published. But what happens next, it appears, is this:

Sec. 26. Any Charge against a Bishop shall be filed with the Presiding Bishop who shall promptly communicate the same to the Respondent. The Presiding Bishop shall forward the Charge to the Review Committee at such time as the Presiding Bishop shall determine or when requested in writing by the Complainant or Respondent after 90 days of receipt of the charge by the Presiding Bishop…

…Sec. 40. Within sixty days after receiving a Charge, the Review Committee shall convene to consider the Charge. If after such consideration the Review Committee determines that an Offense may have occurred if the facts alleged be true, the Review Committee shall prepare a written general statement of the Charge and the facts alleged to support the Charge and transmit the same to the Church Attorney.

The ECUSA website shows the Title IV Review Committee mandate and its current membership.

What is not at all clear is how this action will affect the earlier appeal made to the international Anglican Panel of Reference.

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Dave
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Dave

Very sad that it has come to legal proceedings before secular courts. But the extreme liberals in ECUSA seem to have assumed for a long time that they can do anything to churches and to clergy (and probably to Bishops too soon) with impunity. How many churches have now been told to leave their buildings, and clergy their ministries, because they won’t support blessings and practices that are against the teachings of Christ and the Apostles etc recorded in the New Testament, and against the traditions of the church ? Shame on ECUSA’s leadership! Whose church is this anyway ?

Simon Sarmiento
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Dave
Absolutely nothing in this news item mentions secular courts. This is specifically and exclusively about *church courts.

Amy
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Amy

I would say, “shame!” to those who’ve brought the presentment. Seems like they’re throwing a childish temper tantrum: I can’t have what I want, so I’m going to hurt you. Shame on all of us for letting sex be the only thing we seem to be discussing, when there are so many other things like poverty that urgently need our attention. It angers me that so many resources are being consumed in this debate that could be used elsewhere. Does all this arguing really fit into, “love your neighbor as yourself?”

Peter
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Peter

Wouldn’t it be great if the Review Committee came back and said: “Well, there’s no case against Bp. Smith. But we found plenty of reasons to proceed with deposing the so-called CT Six and several bishops in places like Pittsburgh and Fort Worth…”

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Simon, sorry I must have misread. In that case they are doing exactly what the Scriptures say they should to try to resolve disagreements in the Church. But I worry that no ECUSA internal process would support orthodox priests against a revisionist Bishop, even when he had clearly over-reached his Canonical authority. Maybe the argument will be that the Bishop IS the church ? Dear Peter, rejecting orthodox Christians from the ECUSAn hierarchy and priesthood would be the logical next step after having rejected orthodox Christian principles in faith and morality. I’m just amazed that the liberals are so… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Simon wrote “Dave Absolutely nothing in this news item mentions secular courts. This is specifically and exclusively about *church courts.” I knew I’d seen a reference to secular law somewhere. Here’s a quote from another report: “Both canon law and Connecticut law stipulate that the duly elected church boards, or vestries, are to serve as “agents and legal representatives” of Episcopal parishes. In addition, vestries are given the responsibility for the direction, management and control of parish property and business affairs. The charges assert that Bishop Smith’s actions clearly violate canon and civil law, as he has assumed ownership and… Read more »

Mark Beaton
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Mark Beaton

Looking at all these disputes that are breaking out across the Anglican world, I have a couple of questions for readers knowledgeable in canon law and things Anglican out there: 1. In Connecticut the bishop has claimed the bank accounts and changed the locks on the church buildings (as well as installing a new priest-in-charge). Surely this will lead to *civil claims over title and ownership? 2. In Recife the bishop suffragan has ‘deposed’ 32 clergy (who are said to minister to 90% of the diocese). What does this action mean? Are they dismissed from their jobs, without salary, and… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Dave said: “…rejecting orthodox Christians from the ECUSAn hierarchy and priesthood would be the logical next step after having rejected orthodox Christian principles in faith and morality…What a loving response to legitimate dissent” Sorry, Dave, but it would require a stretch of the imagination aided by mind-altering drugs to believe that the actions of the CT Six and their collaborators; the leadership of the AAC and Network; and the clergy in Racife is “legitimate dissent.” Try “theological terrorism.” Now that the church is finally showing some backbone and standing up to these people and saying “no” to them, someone like… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Dear Peter The legitimate dissent of the CT Six, the Recife bishop and clergy, and many others is from ECUSA’s and ECIB’s de-sinning of homosexuality and lack of faithfulness to the Faith in Christ, as once revealed. They have taken action because of the lack of faithfulness of ECUSA’s GC, and now because Bp Smith broke the laws (canonical and civil). As for tactics, I’m not sure that kicking orthodox churches out of buildings they just built (and paid for themselves), and trying to kick clergy and Bishops out of their jobs, is particularly glorious, loving, “inclusive” or “tolerant” —… Read more »

Christopher Calderhead
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Christopher Calderhead

Oh no, no, no. The CT 6 went far beyond dissent. A dissenter expresses an opinion which differs from the majority opinion. It may be expressed firmly, loudly, even obnoxiously. But dissent remains a kind of speech. The CT 6 went far beyond dissent and are actually practicing civil disobedience. They’ve announced that the bishop is an apostate and they don’t recognise his authority. But they also want him to suspend the canons and recognise their totally independent mini-diocese within his jurisdiction. That, of course, he cannot do. And they know it. Like any act of civil disobedience, it is… Read more »

Simeon
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Christopher wrote: “And, BTW, practicing inclusivity and tolerance does not mean you let people run roughshod over you, or manipulate you into getting anything they want. And in this case, it’s hard to be inclusive of people who will only play nice if they get to throw *other* people out of the room.”

Wonderfully said. This is the exact response I intend to give from now on when the more reactionary conservatives start singing that old, familiar song about how we “liberals” aren’t *really* inclusive, since we won’t tolerate their, well…intolerance.

Neil
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Neil

Me thinks we may be forgetting who has moved: the Bishop IS apostate! And he is the one who is manipulating and running roughshod, over the Bible, over church tradition and teaching, over congregations, over local church leaders – and, as this now (in)famous dispute shows, over law, church and civil.

To present it the other way around and use words such as terrorists or childish tantrums when it is the Bishop who is deposing and threatening is not just emotive it is complete double think. George Orwell would be impressed!

Merseymike
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Merseymike

No, Neil, the Bishop simply isn’t a conservative.

And when those same conservatives have the temerity to talk about ‘legitimate dissent’ when they don’t even class liberals as Christians – well, just goes to show that the Church will be a better place without them, when the split happens.

Rev. Kurt Huber
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Rev. Kurt Huber

As a priest in the Diocese of CT, I find the comments that Bishop Smith is apostate, baseless. If the Bishop were an apostate, why are the charges against him not for teachings against the Church but for canonical violations?

The CT Six ignore the canons, ignore the Bishop, want to create their own rules, and charge the bishop with canonical violations.

It is hypocrisy.

Joan R. Gundersen
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Joan R. Gundersen

If one takes a look at the Diocese of CT canons, one finds that the bishop has the right to make a pastoral intervention” into any parish that has in some form lost its way. This is exactly what Bishop Smith informed St. John’s parishoners that he had done in a letter he wrote to them. St. John’s Bristol was having severe money problems and had granted its priest an unauthorized sabbatical. The financial problems were enough to meet the canonical requirement for intervention. That canon (1.13) also then states that the parish shall be required to work with diocesan… Read more »

Curious
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Curious

Interesting comments from all, good debate. Question, if Smith acted w/in the canons, why doesn’t he go after the reamining 90+ parishes in his diocese for non payment? As for hypocrisy, what is the real meaning of DEPO? Is it meant to give “conservative” parishes a way to still stay w/in ECUSA by reporting thru a different conservative Bishop? If so, I believe this church of St. Johns applied for DEPO and Smith wanted to still pull the strings? If so, what’s an orthodox parish to do? After all, there is room for all here, correct? Any takers on these… Read more »

matt
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matt

It is the way the ‘reasserters’ have behaved in this case and others, the Chapman letter, Akinola’s ranting, the Riga rabble and so on that has convinced me, after years of doubting and wavering and trying to balance on the fence, that they are simply wrong. I cannot believe that all those people are behaving in the Spirit of God. So, to my mind, the truth is not with them: it must be with those that they are acting against. Reading what they say on forums like this, I also have come to believe they see such behaviours as justified… Read more »

Mark Beaton
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Mark Beaton

Matt, the great majority of Anglicans around the world live in Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and other parts of East Africa. At the most, there are about 3 million regular attenders of Anglican churches in Britain, Ireland, North America and Australasia (‘BINAA’ – my new useful acronym) *combined. The claim that ‘there are 26 million members of the Church of England’ is functionally empty. Everyone is agreed that Anglicanism is growing numerically in the ‘Global South’, Africa and South East Asia (especially Singapore but also in parts of E. Malaysia) and possibly in South America, and contracting in BINAA. It is… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

A friend suggests instead of ‘BINAA’ we should say ‘Britain, Ireland, North America, New Zealand, Australia’ – BINANZA! Well, better than ‘bannzai!’, I guess 🙂

Dave
Guest
Dave

Matt wrote “Reading what they say on forums like this, I also have come to believe they see such behaviours as justified and appear so entrenched that there seems no possibility of them changing or even moderating their position.” Dear Matt, what “moderation” would you propose ? It would be interesting too see what compromise you think might be possible to minimise the number of times New Westminster and CT are repeated round the world. However, “moderation” will need to respect the convictions of “conservatives”; and leave them secure to continue serving God as they believe is right. I noticed… Read more »

David Huff
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David Huff

Mark wrote, “the great majority of Anglicans around the world live in Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and other parts of East Africa…”

But to equate how correct a position is with the number of people who hold it (e.g. “Conservative” Anglicans/Episcopalians are correct because there’s lots OF them) is simply an appeal to motives in place of support – specifically an argumentum ad populum: http://datanation.com/fallacies/pop.htm

Or, as my Mom used to say, “Just because all the other kids are jumping off a cliff doesn’t mean YOU should!” 😉

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

David, I didn’t state which position was ‘correct’, let alone claim that numbers establish this. I was responding to matt’s question, ‘Are there ways of ensuring the ordinary anglican in pews around the world gets to know about all this stuff?’ with the observations that: 1. most ‘ordinary anglicans in pews around the world’ are Africans with no access to any of this information (and I suspect they have more pressing concerns of their own survival in any case); 2. notwithstanding that, I am quite sure the vast majority of them, were they polled, would be strongly against the consecration… Read more »

matt
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matt

I’m beginning to have lemming-like urges. It was because most anglicans are not ‘online’, that I suggested the value of alternative means of communicating the nature of these events to them. It is a painful but realistic reminder, mark, that most anglicans would be strongly against the consecration of Gene Robinson, or indeed the election of Nicholas Henderson. But that is not what I would like them to consider. I would like them to consider: if you do disagree with such things, how do you as christians proceed? In terms of how to proceed to further your own aims and… Read more »

Rev. Kurt Huber
Guest
Rev. Kurt Huber

Curious said: Question, if Smith acted w/in the canons, why doesn’t he go after the reamining 90+ parishes in his diocese for non payment? As for hypocrisy, what is the real meaning of DEPO? Is it meant to give “conservative” parishes a way to still stay w/in ECUSA by reporting thru a different conservative Bishop? If so, I believe this church of St. Johns applied for DEPO and Smith wanted to still pull the strings? If so, what’s an orthodox parish to do? After all, there is room for all here, correct? My reply: Only 6 of 177 parishes are… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Rev Huber The Canons and practices of ECUSA have been changed to include things which no conservative Christian can accept. These moves have effectively excluded them, and made it impossible for them to accept the authority of ECUSA or of the ECUSAn Bishops that support the changes. Wouldn’t it be more respectful and caring to acknowledge this and find a way for peaceful coexistence (probably separation into geographically overlapping provinces) rather than demanding that churches and clergy either submit to these changes or depart their building jobs etc ? Maybe ECUSA can lead the way in finding a “christian”… Read more »

Rev. Kurt Huber
Guest
Rev. Kurt Huber

There are many conservatives in the Diocese of CT who do live by the Const. & Canons of the Church. They disagree with the Bishop in certain areas but refuse to throw it all away to get a bishop who looks like they do. I am not sure which Canons you are talking about Dave. It takes a 2/3 majority (I believe) to make such changes. Are conseravtives in such a minority that they have no voice or vote? There will be some Churches that will leave. It is sad and I think it grieves the heart of God but… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Rev Huber I think that “An amicable split? We shall see in God’s time” is too passive a response to a serious situation. Imagine if it were a conservative Bishop in the UK or US who was cracking down on homosexuals who wouldn’t remain celibate. I bet you wouldn’t be saying “we shall see in God’s time” if liberal priests who opposed the Bishop were being defrocked, and clergy from conservative groups were being appointed to care for their parishes. There would be howls of liberal protest – and demands that the Province intervene to find a way to… Read more »

Rev. Kurt Huber
Guest
Rev. Kurt Huber

Like Pittsburgh where Bishop Duncan has tried to throw out liberal parishes?

Gays and lesbians have faced discrimination in the Church for a long time and still do.

I am all for an amicable split, but how much does one give? Who gets the say? Do we need a mediator?

Curious
Guest
Curious

R. Kurt, The mediators are known as attys. This is and will turn into a legal battle. Instead of spending money on outreach and fellowship, Christians are now forced to pay attys to retain properties and protect clergy. Attys are the ones making out here while parishes, dioceses, and bishops go broke on both sides. Where is the inclusivity and diversity in making a conservative group conform to liberal thinking? Too bad ECUSA can’t make room for all, I know some bishops that are trying. Obviously this Smith isn’t one of them. And BTW, it’s not just 6 parishes in… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

Some thoughts in general. 1. The Churches of that Diocese, elected Gene Robinson – perhaps, just perhaps, the people of that diocese, really do know what they want in a Bishop?!! 2. The new Primate of Britain, #2 in the Church hierarchy, is of the opinion that homosexuals should be allowed to be ordained as Bishops. 3. Shouldn’t all the members of the Anglican Communion be more concerned with what Jesus really asked us to do, which is to love each other as ourselves, to take care of the infirmed, the aged, the “wicked”, etc. – in short, to do… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

Dave said: >Dear Rev Huber >The Canons and practices of ECUSA have been >changed to include things which no conservative >Christian can accept. These moves have >effectively excluded them, and made it >impossible for them to accept the authority of >ECUSA or of the ECUSAn Bishops that support the >changes. How do you define “conservative Christian” in the context of this debate? What I read you saying is that a “conservative” is unchanging and I dare say that what you or we today define as a “conservative Christian” would be considered a liberal even 100 years ago and a highly… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Especially if they are leading good, moral and Christian lives?!!” Ah, but you see, by definition, homosexuals CAN’T lead good, moral, Christian lives. We are all out to prey on children and have sex with whatever moves slowly enough. See the frequent accusations here that what is being asked for is the blessing of sexual promiscuity, as if a committed lifelong monogamous gay relationship is promiscuous! And this from those who claim to have listened. The most we can hope to be is some sort of stunted malformed human being who God in His mercy deigns to love if only… Read more »