Bishops Challenge Seizure of Connecticut Parish
27th July, A.D. 2005

A Second Open Letter to the Bishop and Standing Committee of Connecticut:

Dear Bishop Andrew and Brothers and Sisters of the Standing Committee, 

Seventeen bishops, thirteen of them diocesans, wrote you on the 14th of April.  We wrote you about the very public conflict between you, the Bishop and Standing Committee, and six Connecticut parishes.

In April we pled that you might turn back from this conflict.  We asked whether it was not Bishop Andrew's actions that had abandoned the (Anglican) Communion: participation in the New Hampshire consecration, ordination of same-sex partnered clergy, and refusal to allow appeal to the Panel of Reference.  We called on you as Bishop and Standing Committee to turn back from continued abuse and mis-application of the Canon on Abandonment of Communion [Title IV, Canon 10] in dealing with these six parishes and their clergy.

On July 13th Bishop Andrew led a team who invaded St. John’s, Bristol, confiscated their buildings and accounts, and—without vestry consultation—installed a priest-in-charge.  All of these things were done under the pretext of abandonment of communion, the Standing Committee having indicted the clergy of all six parishes on that charge on April 29th.

In our letter of fourteen weeks ago we asked whether there was not “some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops?”  In the actions of April 29th and July 13th the answer you have given is clearly “no.”

Therefore, the diocesans signing this letter have determined to intervene in the case of St. John’s, Bristol—and in the cases of the other five parishes should that become necessary—with the following measures:

shaping of a presentment against you for conduct unbecoming [Title IV, Can.1, Sec.1 (j)] a Bishop of this Church;
raising legal and financial support for the six parishes in such civil suits as may be brought by or against you;
providing episcopal care to St. John’s and the other parishes in such ways as to give them tangible evidence that we are in full communion together, in compliance with the Windsor Report.
Immediate licensing of the Rev. Dr. Mark Hansen for functions within any of our dioceses to the extent he might have opportunity to function among us.

You have used the unsupportable pretext of inhibition of a faithful priest to take over an orthodox parish.  The conflict we face here is about much more than Connecticut, as we advised you back in April.  As we asked fourteen weeks ago: “Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?”  We would prefer to find some way other than this deepening battle, but we refuse to allow this recent aggression to go unchecked or unchallenged.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. James M. Adams, Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Bishop of Albany
The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Ft. Worth
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon. Bishop of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas

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