Update: The criminal trial of the Rev. Donald Armstrong will begin Feb. 22, a Fourth Judicial District court judge ruled Wednesday during the rector’s arraignment on charges of financial misconduct.
Armstrong pleaded not guilty to the 20 felony counts of theft charges brought against him in May for allegedly funneling about $392,000 from Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church while he was the rector.
Read it the brief report here.
A few weeks ago, St. George’s Anglican Church — a congregation that started as a breakaway group from the Episcopal church — asked its members for a one-time family donation of $1,500 each to defray about $750,000 in legal costs, as well as tens of thousands in fees that were assessed as part of a settlement.
On the other side, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado spent $2.9 million to defend against the Anglican parish’s lawsuit to take possession of downtown property, diocese financial records show. The legal expenses and a decline in the stock market resulted in a colossal loss in the diocese’s investment income, dropping from $4.9 million in January 2006 to $750,000 in August, records show. It will take years to recover the funds, said Chuck Thompson, assistant treasurer for the diocese.
Leaders at Grace and St. Stephen’s, meanwhile, say their church is financially sound and has increased its weekly attendance to about 300. On Sunday, the church announced the hiring of a new rector from Boca Raton, Fla.: Stephen E. Zimmerman, who will start Nov. 1.
Meanwhile, Armstrong will be arraigned today [Wednesday, Sept 23] at Fourth Judicial District Court on 20 felony counts of financial misconduct while rector of Grace and St. Stephen’s.