"... there are still more decisions to be rendered and hearings to be held; therefore at this juncture it is not appropriate for me to comment on specific legal issues ... It is my belief, based upon a thorough investigation of the contested facts, that this entire situation never should have been made the subject of a criminal investigation." - CANA bishop Martyn MinnsRegarding The Rev. Don Armstrong's pleas of no contest to felony and guilty to misdemeanor while protesting innocence (Alford plea), his bishop, Martyn Minns of CANA has issued this statement:9-26-10 +Minns: Pastoral Letter to St George's, Colorado Springs Below is the text of a pastoral letter from Bishop Martyn Minns to the congregation at St George's Anglican Church in Colorado Springs, delivered in person by CANA Suffragan Bishop Dave Bena on September 26:There appears to be little doubt that Minns will not apply the CANA canons which require the dismissal of a priest convicted of a felony.
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18th Sunday after Pentecost
September 26, 2010
Dear People of God at Saint George’s Anglican Church:
You have been in my prayers as the legal nightmare that you have all endured seems to be coming to a close. While a number of definitive actions have been taken, there are still more decisions to be rendered and hearings to be held; therefore at this juncture it is not appropriate for me to comment on specific legal issues. I am looking forward to my visit next month when I will meet with members of the leadership and legal teams to more fully understand the situation and its likely trajectory.
In the meantime, one thing I can and will say is that my love and respect for Don and Jessie and the leadership of St. George’s has not diminished but rather increased by the way in which you all have conducted yourselves. You have all been examples of God’s grace at work. I am delighted to count you as friends and it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
It is my belief, based upon a thorough investigation of the contested facts, that this entire situation never should have been made the subject of a criminal investigation. I am convinced that if ever there was a situation that underscored the wisdom of our Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount about settling matters out of court (Matthew 5:25– 26), this is it! Millions of dollars have been wasted; lives have been disrupted; reputations destroyed; and the Gospel of Christ obscured by the controversy — and we are still far from reaching a place where we can show the world the power of God’s transforming and reconciling love.
There is still a great deal of healing that must take place, but we serve a God who took a cruel cross and transformed it into a symbol of eternal life. Nothing is impossible with Him! Until then, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” This day and for evermore!
Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Minns
Missionary Bishop of CANA
Minns has turned a blind eye to other issues of personal misconduct by CANA clergy. The Rev. Randolph Bragg, like Minns formerly in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia was convicted of immorality, conduct unbecoming and violation of ordination vows. He transferred himself to CANA just before a presentment was handed down. He was convicted at trial level and affirmed at the court of review level. He still serves as a CANA priest.
The Colorado press puts the Armstrong story in a nutshell:In March 2007, after being accused of stealing from Grace, Armstrong persuaded Grace's vestry to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, leaving the American Episcopal Church. Armstrong said at the time that he wanted to leave the American diocese because it allows gays to serve as priests and bishops.
After that switch, parishioners who disagreed with Armstrong were locked out of their historic church on Tejon Street until March 2009, when a court ordered Armstrong to relinquish the Grace building and its property to his adversaries.
Later in 2009, special prosecutor Bill Thiebaut, the Pueblo district attorney, hit Armstrong with 20 felony allegations, charging that the reverend had stolen money from his congregation in years past, using much of it to fund his children's education.
Our coverage of Don Armstrong since the plea agreement.