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Saturday, August 18, 2007

More on Trinity Episcopal Church in Bristol

Thanks to the sharp-eyed anonymous reader who alerted us to the fact that the Episcopal Diocese lawsuit against Rev. Helmandollar and church vestry members was mentioned today in the Bristol Press. (Link unavailable.) Other folks are now picking it up as well:

Hartford Courant (an AP story which was also picked up by Channel 3 and some newspapers)

Channel 8

Channel 30

I'm sure we'll be hearing about this one for months to come. I'll be interested to see just how deeply the Connecticut courts want to enmesh themselves in matters of church governance. Oddly, there are actually sections of our State statutes (see Sect. 33-266) dealing with the polity of the Episcopal Church:

The manner of conducting the parish, the qualifications for membership of the parish and the manner of acquiring and terminating such membership, the number of the officers of the parish, their powers and duties and the manner of their appointment, the time of holding the annual meeting of the parish and the manner of notification thereof and the manner of calling special meetings of the parish shall be such as are provided and prescribed by the constitution, canons and regulations of said Protestant Episcopal Church in this state.

Here's my short list of questions:

  • Will the State follow this statute, and is it even constitutional for Connecticut to have legislated in this manner?
  • What if the Episcopal Church has severed itself from the Anglican Fellowship worldwide?
  • What if Bishop Smith has acted improperly in taking this step?
  • In other words, should a Connecticut Superior Court judge be deciding this or should the Episcopal or Anglican bishops?

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