A tale of three churches

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Remember the Connecticut Six? It’s now the Connecticut Five. One of the six is back in the fold. After some negotiation, another has agreed to a visit from the bishop. But tensions still run high. So reports Ed Stannard in The Bristol Press.

One town, two Episcopal churches

BRISTOL – The two Episcopal churches in this city are headed down different roads.

One, Trinity Church on Summer Street, is among five parishes in Connecticut at odds with Bishop Andrew E. Smith, especially since he voted in favor of V. Gene Robinson, a priest in an openly gay relationship, as bishop of New Hampshire.

The other, St. John’s Church on Stafford Avenue, less than 3 miles from Trinity, once was in that group but, since its rector left and was then deposed by Smith, is again on good terms with the bishop and an active member of the diocese.

Third church in the tale

Trinity’s stance in opposition to the bishop will be made all the more stark Saturday, when Deacon William Hesse is ordained a priest at Bishop Seabury Church in Groton by a conservative bishop from Pittsburgh.

Smith agreed to allow Scriven to ordain Hesse – the diocesan bishop’s permission is required according to church law – if Gauss would allow Smith to make an official visitation, celebrate Communion and preach, which he will do in June.

St. John’s is back in the fold

The last member of the Connecticut Six, the Rev. Mark Hansen of St. John’s, was deposed, but both Smith and a new lay leader of that church agreed that that had little to do with disputes over the Bible and sex.

Hansen had taken a secular job in New York and left on sabbatical with no apparent plans to return, said David Desmarais, senior warden. “Bishop Smith stepped in for many reasons, and I can tell you, from my point of view, the least of which was the theology,” he said.

Since then, St. John’s has hired the Rev. Audrey Murdock as a part-time vicar, and some of the 50 people who left have returned, Desmarais said. “We at St. John’s have been moving on quite nicely,” he said. “Our numbers are not what they were, but they’re respectable.”

Find Stannard’s complete article here.

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