The diocese made a grab for the church this week. Seabury church received letters informing them that bishop James Curry, acting as ECC (Bishop Andrew Smith is on sabbatical) had appointed a Priest-in-Charge who would take over the parish immediately…The bishop appointed the Rev. Canon David Cannon as priest-in-charge of the orthodox evangelical parish.The local response:
“We are not intimidated by the tactics of the diocese,” [Father Ron] Gauss told VOL. “The diocese did not follow their own canons. They did not consult the vestry as required by Canon Law because they believe the Vestry was 'fired' last October.” Not true, said Gauss.How un-intimidated are they, you ask? In January, the congregation renewed their serving priest’s Civil Contract and re-elected their “terminated” vestry. For all rights and purposes, they consider themselves a functioning, vibrant community of believers, united by faith in Jesus Christ and service to their fellow man.
Some of my dearest friends attend this church and, sad to say, they have been expecting this development for quite a while (hence the title, "And So It Begins"). Where will the conflict go from here? VirtueOnline has this quote from Father Ron:
“If we are pressed, and I hope we won’t, we will go to court to keep the property. WE WILL NOT leave the building. We built it…It is not an historical building. The historical building in Connecticut is now the Mosque --- the Islamic Center of New London. We will see the diocese in Court before we relinquish anything.Given that statement, I don’t expect resolution anytime soon. In the meantime, I pray for all involved and that God would be glorified regardless of whether this particular congregation is part of the ECUSA or CANA.
If you would like to read more about the conflict between Bishop Seabury and the ECUSA, check out these articles:
Priest Threatened With Ouster
Episcopal Diocese Appoints 'Priest-in-Charge' to Groton Church
It's All About the Property, As Usual
Episcopal Diocese Attacks Another CANA Congregation