Three years ago Connecticut’s pro same-sex “marriage” Episcopal bishop sent his henchmen to change the locks and confiscate the property of a pro-family church in Bristol, replacing their pastor with one loyal to him. According to Saturday’s Courant, he just tried the same thing in Groton…but this time it was the man he sent who found himself locked out:

Bishop Seabury is one of six Connecticut churches with either severed or strained ties to the diocese — a deterioration sparked by Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith’s support of the 2003 election of Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire.

Since that time, Bishop Seabury has drawn further and further from the Episcopal Church, voting last January to leave the diocese and join the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America (CANA), a self-described missionary effort in the U.S. sponsored by the Church of Nigeria.

But they’re not ready to give up the keys to the building — putting the congregation on a collision course with Episcopalian authority in Connecticut.

Pro same-sex “marriage” activists claim to be the agents of tolerance. But whatever that agenda touches–whether the National Day of Prayer or the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut–the result is to divide people further:

In January, Smith ordered the congregation to vacate the property by Jan. 20 and dismissed its church leaders.

The congregation responded on Jan. 20 by defying that order, refusing to leave and re-electing the leaders.

In an annual meeting that afternoon, members of the orthodox, evangelical congregation laid hands on Gauss and their re-elected leaders and prayed, affirming their commitment to the path they had chosen.

Pro same-sex “marriage” activists champion “diversity”…until you dare to disagree with them:

This is not the first time the Connecticut diocese has employed such tough tactics against one of its priests. In 2006, Smith defrocked Mark Hansen, the former pastor of St. John’s in Bristol, over similar issues. 

20 Responses to “State’s Episcopal Bishop Purging Pro-Family Churches”

  1. on 05 May 2008 at 3:33 pmAdam

    You make it sound like the Bishop is going around stealing property. With the exception of one case in Virginia, the courts of have found that the churches are property of the diocese. Since the Congregation is no longer a part of the Episcopal Church, it would be outlandish to allow them to continue to use church property.

  2. on 05 May 2008 at 7:03 pmStopp Planned Parenthood of Connecticut

    The Same thing has happened in the Christ Episcople Church on the Green in Watertown as a twelve step meeting is held there. Although their is no activity in the church the meeting has been told the CEC has gotten a new pastor.
    In comparison to the Catholic hospitals and the Emergency contraception pills and the Connecticut Conference of Catholic bishops caving in denying the abortificient nature of EC, this will be the downfall of the Catholic church just as the Episcople have had to close its doors for the same reason after accepting birth control in 1939. ie., the Episcople church behind the Immaculate Conception Church in Waterbury evetually bought by the ICC.

  3. on 06 May 2008 at 8:46 pmDavid

    So, a church leader and much of the congregation have a difference with the state and national leaders of his denomination, then leave the denomination and align themselves with a foreign authority, yet somehow it’s the intolerance of SSM supporters that is causing them to lose the building!? Give it up Peter you are stretching way to far in your crusade against us and your quest for victimhood. They made the choice to leave, the issue that caused it is meaningless. It’s a matter of denominational structure and if the church buildings belong to the denomination then there is no question, period. If it was the other way around and it was SSM supporters leaving I highly doubt that you would have posted what you did above.

    And how to you draw the National Day of Prayer into this? Do you have actual examples of people speaking against it specifically because they support SSM? Or is it just one more attack based on paranoia.

    Yet another post that proves you don’t represent a pro-family position, but are simply one more anti-gay voice with not enough ammunition based in reality.

  4. on 07 May 2008 at 10:16 amDave

    Shame on the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut for chasing after this local parish at Bishop Seabury Church in Groton. Tell me now, as we consider the ownership of the parish property – its bank accounts and buildings – who paid for all of this in the first place? It was the local parishioners and their forebears who did, not the ecclesial hierarchy of the ECUSA.

    David, let me tell you (from my own firsthand experience at another Episcopal parish) how this is perceived by long-time faithful Episcopalians. They feel as if their church has been “hijacked”. The upper echelons of church leadership, on a state and national level, have effectively turned their back on biblical traditions and teachings. The people did not choose to leave the church; instead a more accurate description would be that the church (as they knew it through its centuries of history) left them! Therefore they have every right to assert their local ownership of the parish and its property, and to realign themselves with a structure that provides biblical oversight and leadership in the tradition of the apostles.

    You know full well that the catalyst for this schism was the investiture of Gene Robinson with the office of Bishop within the ECUSA; that the church departed from biblical teaching by legitimizing homosexual relationships; and that the worldwide Anglican community sternly rebuked these rebellious and unbiblical actions. Of course this is related to homosexual activism and the push for SSM. You’d have to be kidding yourself to believe otherwise.

    Meanwhile we have the unrepentant and unashamed Bishop Gene Robinson gallivanting about, and gleefully speaking about his upcoming wedding with partner Mark Andrew by saying “I’ve always wanted to be a June bride.” Moreover, he’s planning to crash the party at this summer’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, even though he’s been informed in no uncertain terms that he’s not invited to participate.

    But it is an evil that far surpasses the actions of one man which currently ails the Episcopal Church. It is not uncommon today for Episcopalian leaders to deny Christ’s Divinity, to assert that the Bible is not true, to minimize Christianity’s claim that human sin is the chief reason why we need a Savior, or to suggest that Jesus was exaggerating when he claimed. Essentially the leadership is abandoning the faith, and faithful Christians are therefore justified in reclaiming their parishes in order to remain aligned with biblical truth.

    What are we to make of this so-called church (the ECUSA) when it installs a priest, Ann Holmes Redding, who claims she is both a Christian and Muslim? When it sanctions the celebration of a “Women’s Eucharist” based upon Wiccan and neo-pagan rituals? When it has Bishop John Sprong saying “There is no supernatural God directing the affairs of history”. When its House of Bishops finds itself unwilling to affirm that Holy Scripture is the foundation of authority in the church (Resolution B001 in 2003). And when its Presiding Bishop in the nation, Katherine Jefferts-Schori, disavows the words of Christ Himself in John 14: 6.

    As we watch these heresies unfold and multiply, I am reminded of this heavenly warning:

    Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins. (Revelation 18: 4)

    Truly faithful Christians cannot sit idly by while their church is perverted in this way.

  5. on 07 May 2008 at 2:05 pmJust Jennifer

    Unfortunately, this shows an complete lack of understanding of the ECUSA and its polity. The Bishop did not “purge” these churches, they voluntarily left the diocese, and they need to accept the consequences of doing so.

    Now, as I seem to recall, bearing false witness is pretty strongly prohibited in the Bible. Now, do you actually believe in the Bible, or do you just pick and choose the parts that suit you?

    Like it, or not, the church property belongs to the diocese, and when a church votes itself out of the diocese (as is their right) they forfeit their claim to said property.

    As a devout Christian who happens to be Anglican and Episcopalian, I do not always agree with everythng said and done by the Church. Nor do others I know. But I also do not agree with so-called conservative Christians lying about the facts and creating issues where none really exist.

    And it should be noted, priests are ordained by the local diocese. What is celebrated at the Eucharist is decided at the diocesan level. And Bishop Spong, who I strongly disagree with, was elected by his diocese. Ironcally, the Diocese of California, which is located in the San Francisco area, does not share those sorts of views. Then again, our previous Bishop was attacked by David Virtue for ordaining a man who had been convicte of murder, who repented of his past life, and who studied for the priesthood whie in prison. Amazing that a man who claims to stand on God’s Word would so harshly reject such a wonderful story of God’s redemptive love.

  6. on 07 May 2008 at 4:09 pmBob

    Who are you suggesting is putting forth “False witness?” Can you be more specific and give examples so others can follow along. It makes sense to me what Dave said that it is not the church or rather the flock of this church who left anyone (voluntarily or not) it seems rather as Dave rightly points out, the so called ‘shepherd’ has left his church, first by separating himself from God’s Moral law, then from the church law. So much for the meaning of a vow of obedience.

    I suppose also if someone could not agree with everything their church teaches, they could just as easily do the same with the inspired word of God, the Bible.

  7. on 07 May 2008 at 4:42 pmDave


    While it’s true that this congregation voluntarily chose to join CANA, thereby severing ties with the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut … the legal disposition of the property remains unclear at this point in time. Ultimately this is likely to be decided by a civil court, rather than by a court of public opinion. But I believe people should consider the entirety of facts and circumstances in this matter before presuming to know what justice requires in this case. To wit:

    – This congregation moved into a new building less than 10 years ago, which was paid entirely out of its own funds. As described by Rick Vanderslice, former senior warden of the church, “Not a penny from the diocese or the national church went into this building.”

    – The church property is titled in the name of the individual parish.

    – ECUSA is relying upon a principle called the “Denis Canon” to uphold its claim to the parish property. However according to the church’s canon law such a change (which ostensibly occurred in 1976, in conjunction with the upheaval caused by ordaining women to the priesthood) had to be passed by both houses (the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops) with identical language. Yet there is a dispute as to whether this actually passed both houses during the same general convention. Having to prove that this change really happened – with a proper vote by both houses on identical language – could prove interesting if such a property dispute ever went to trial on this basis.

    – The validity of the “Denis Canon” has not been litigated yet in Connecticut. What other states may have decided on this question does not determine the outcome here.

    – Essentially what the “Denis Canon” tries to do is create a trust, where the parish acts as trustee and the diocese or national church is the beneficiary of the trust, with respect to the property of each parish. However it is basic trust law that a beneficiary cannot declare the property of another to be held in trust for himself. So even if the “Denis Canon” proves to have been properly adopted by the 1976 general convention, it may still fail to withstand legal scrutiny on these grounds. The underlying principles of trust law would still have to apply, whether we are talking about church property or secular property.

    I think we should ask ourselves … If you were a neutral third-party observer, would you be able to accept the validity of the diocesan claims? Is their claim to ownership just and right? By what right are they justifiability entitled to lay claim to this property, when none of the funds originated from the diocese or the national church?

  8. on 07 May 2008 at 6:02 pmDavid

    “have effectively turned their back on biblical traditions and teachings.”

    In your opinion that is. There are others who believe that this church and others are beginning to more fully understand God’s Word. And if you can justify those who left aligning themselves with the corrupt, hostile and violent group of thugs in liturgal robes from Nigeria then you and they are much farther removed from biblical traditions and teachings. But that’s another matter. The issue boils down to the simple question – is it the policy of the Episcopal church that the diocese owns the property or does the local church. The issue that sets it off has no bearing on that question. Yes I am well aware what caused the differences and I personally think that those who have left, while they certainly have the right to, are totally in the wrong. That said, if they owned the building then it should be their’s. You’re right, I don’t understand how the Episcopal church works, actually I don’t understand any church that has a top down structure of authority and are “ruled over” by men who haven’t a clue what goes on at the local church and really don’t care except when one of their precious man-made traditions are crossed. I find the idea totally outside of any Biblical teaching, but that’s just my opinion and those who choose to submit to that are free to do so. But if you’re going to play with the big boys then you need to follow the big boys rules.

    If the church is changing in a direction that some or even many don’t agree with then the decision is to stay and try to fight it or to leave. It is totally childish to start whining about it if you have left. Since day one churches have had splits over doctrine and or traditions and people have moved on. When I was young the church we attended went through a difficult time because of the pastor and many families chose to leave. Did they stamp their feet and demand they get the building? No, they moved on and the majority found churches that they have been with since then, at least 30 years. And that’s what those who are leaving need to do – move on. And outsiders making insane accusations that that the evil liberals are purging those who disagree need to be quiet, if it’s not your church it’s not your business. If you are overwhelmed with the need to judge LGBT people and their supporters for something they aren’t doing then you need to take a look at your own spiritual health and see if you are truly living what Jesus taught, what he really taught, not tradition or custom.

  9. on 07 May 2008 at 7:36 pmDave

    In the interest of accuracy, it’s actually the “Dennis Canon” (named after Bishop Walter Dennis of New York). And the year it was ostensibly adopted by ECUSA was 1979.

  10. on 07 May 2008 at 9:04 pmDave

    Here’s an interesting article on the subject – Kathleen E. Reeder, “Whose Church Is It, Anyway? Property Disputes and Episcopal Church Splits”, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems (2006). See

    Incidentally, there was an earlier case related to the Dennis Canon within the State of Connecticut … Rector, Wardens & Vestrymen of Trinity-Saint Michael’s Parish Inc. v. Episcopal Church in Diocese of Connecticut, 620 A.2d 1280 (Conn. 1993)

    While in this case the court then upheld the notion that the Dennis Canon creates a trust for the benefit of the diocese, and ruled against the local parish, Ms. Reeder walks through a thoughtful analysis of some important factors missing from the court’s analysis in this and other notable cases. Some of these factors could ultimately prove useful in arguments on behalf of Bishop Seabury Church in its property dispute with the diocese.

  11. on 08 May 2008 at 7:35 amDave

    Even more thoughts to consider …

    Is the Dennis Canon merely an isolated element within canon law that creates an implied trust for the benefit of the diocese and ECUSA? Or is it instead part of a larger framework of canon law and promises made by this ecclesial hierarchy (including the ECUSA Constitution)? A possible argument could be that any implied agreement by a parish to consent to the creation of such a trust was a conditional consent – based upon the understood character of the church and its commitment to certain principles, beliefs, and worldwide affiliations. If the ECUSA has sufficiently changed the “rules of the game” in other respects, might not this potentially nullify the Dennis Canon? Did the ECUSA originally promise that it would always remain part of the Anglican Communion? Did they promise specifically to remain in communion with the See of Canterbury? Did they promise to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer? I have perused this red book with a cross on its cover, and within it (in the Articles of Religion) it says this:

    it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written

    A breach of implied contract, doesn’t it seem? How is it that the grip of the Dennis Canon upon local parish properties can remain inviolate, while the church abrogates its solemn duty in so many other respects? When they stopped teaching the Christian belief that “There is no other name by which men can be saved”, the ecclesial hierarchy lost its legitimacy – for that principle is at the heart of the historic Faith and Order. Consequently, they have no right to assert the Dennis Canon upon parishes that remain faithful to Christ and that want to remain in communion with the worldwide Anglican Church.

    Yet another possibility to consider is this:

    If an over-arching ecclesial body has the power to unilaterally impose an implied trust, and this is what the ECUSA did to the property rights of local parishes … why can’t another superior over-arching ecclesial body do the same thing? Why can’t the worldwide Anglican Communion simply create its own equivalent of the Dennis Canon, and thereby usurp the ECUSA control of these properties? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

  12. on 08 May 2008 at 8:06 amBob

    “There are others who believe that this church and others are beginning to more fully “understand” God’s Word.”

    ACTS 20:28 Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. I know that, after my departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

  13. on 08 May 2008 at 5:55 pmDavid

    Dave, despite my total disagreement with the opinions you present in these posts I appreciate your clear. and I must assume factual , description of the the Dennis Canon and it’s implications in this case. It is very imformative. Not that you did it for me 🙂 but thanks.

  14. on 08 May 2008 at 6:45 pmDavid

    Bob, you should be very careful quoting that verse, it’s a two edged sword and if I (or anyone else) chose to we could make an excellent case for applying that to the core of your beliefs andthe traditions you hold dear. I choose not to, I respect your freedom to follow God in the manner you believe to be correct. To the point that you attempt to invade my life with it of course, then you have thrown down the gauntlet.

  15. on 08 May 2008 at 8:07 pmBob

    As always, I was very careful quoting that verse. I invade no one’s life. The word of God, the two edged sword will do that.

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

  16. on 08 May 2008 at 8:15 pmTricia


    Your comments here (post # 2) and elsewhere often reek of a personal animosity towards Peter Wolfgang and FIC (ie your “Give it up Peter you are stretching way to [sic] far in your crusade against us and your quest for victimhood.”

    To the majority, it is you and the GLBT activists who are engaged in a “quest for victimhood.”

    News flash for you, David—you, and all the GLBT activists out there put together are not going to be able to *take out* Peter, FIC, and the millions of other traditional family values (and common sense types) people who see that SSM is wrong in every sense— practical as well as moral. So, you’re tilting at windmills in your “crusade” posting here, David.

    You might as well give up posting here, if you expect to have any influence for your side. That is, UNLESS you can express your opinions without continually hurling insults at Peter and all those who disagree with the notion of SSM.

  17. on 08 May 2008 at 10:15 pmDavid

    Tricia, you are again practicing creative reading and seeing what you want, not the reality of my words. The sentence you quote contains no animosity towards Peter as a person. I don’t know him personally so how can I have personal animosity towards him. And I have never hurled insults at anyone here Tricia and you should think twice before you make accusations of something that you completely guilty of. Without hesitation you write the most heinous of lies about LGBT people and attempt in vain to call them fact.

    I’m sorry that you see the stating of real events, real assaults, real families pulled apart as a quest for victimhood. It’s just another peek at the total absence respect for others and an amazing example of the lack of compassion in your cause. People don’t matter at all unless they fit what you call correct. It’s sickening really. Perhaps when enough blood – both figuratively and real, has been shed you might, just might have a twinge of regret. On second thought, no you probably won’t, that would require something that from every thing you say in your comments, I don’t think you have in you.

    I have no intention of “taking out” anyone and neither do any of the “activists”, well most of them anyway, there’s kooks in every crowd. Your traditions, what you call common sense is fine for you and every one else who thinks like you that’s not the issue. The issue is that you think that somehow you are entitled force that on others because you think we are wrong. Every bigot, every dictator, every mob leader in the history of mankind has thought like you and ultimately they have lost. Had they not humanity never would have progressed past the Dark Ages.

    It is totally hysterical and hypocritical when you dare to correct me on my attitude and way of communicating on here. But it would be a waste of time attempting to point out how totally offensive your words about our communities are. One needs a heart and a mind that is willing to look beyond what is common, what has been “normal” and to take an honest look at the human beings you are judging so harshly . Sadly that is what is missing most on this and most other “family” sites. Consequently I will have to agree with you, I might as well give up posting here. You can certainly pat yourselves on the back, convincing yourselves of the righteousness of your cause, congratulate yourselves on each “victory” without ever thinking of what you are really doing to those you fight against and you’re right again, my reminding you of that will never change a thing. Oh, and I musn’t forget your pseudo-science studies that of course confirm your stereotypical and mostly false beliefs about us. You can post them here and have no fear that I will contradict you. So Tricia, you can relax I won’t bother you with reality anymore, it’s time for me to take another break from the poison environment and toxic words that flow from here and countless other “family” sites. Be well

  18. on 09 May 2008 at 7:54 amBob

    I can see why David vents toward Peter. Peter and men like him, who are married, who have a wonderful, loving and dedicated wife who is a devoted mother to their beautiful children, represent to David and others like him, something they could ever want, need and desire to have in their own life. That something is a marriage. As such, David and others like him are under the false pretense thinking that if they had what men such as Peter have, (marriage) they in turn would also be happy. What makes it worse for David, is that Peter also represents an organization that stand for the defense of traditional marriage and that is seen as a stumbling block, opposed to what David and others like him want.

    Unfortunately, the delusion that proponents of same sex unions are under, does not take into account that what they want, (marriage) cannot ever be achieved without changing in their own life, what is necessary and what is the most integral component, the vital and essential recipe for what a true marriage is; and that is a man AND a woman. Marriage is the merging of a man to a woman, united, bonded, joined in a spiritual coupling of one another in matrimony. A marriage simply is this and nothing else. Anything else is just something else, but it most assuredly is not marriage.

    When truth is witnessed to, by a union of a man and woman in marriage, when it is lived together in spirit and in truth, where the man and woman completely give totally of themselves completely to the other, without regard of what they can get out of the union, when love is given for the sake of the beloved, than anyone witnessing that union, would naturally want what they have.

    When Love like that is found in such a marriage of a man and woman, it can only be seen in the light of truth. This bonding, this union, this oneness in marriage resembles the unity of the Holy Trinity in a mystical way. More amazingly, a husband and wife if so willed by God, may be blessed to even share the life giving union of their unique and complimentary sexuality to co-operate with God to conceive children and bring new life, new souls into the family, into society and into the world. This genuine union, sanctified by God is something that every man and woman, who is called to live a vocation of marriage, is drawn to. Witnessing the truth of genuine marriage draws them to desire it even more. This union, so pleasing to God, is even raised to the heights of a Sacramental union by Christ in His Church.

    And so, what you have now, are people promoting same sex unions, that want what married people have without the recipe for true marriage. They want the facsimile of marriage. Originally, men and women in a homosexual relationship desired to have legal same sex unions claiming that it was under the pretense of “wanting all the legal rights and privileges that married couples have”.

    Well they have had same se unions since 2005, but this did not satisfy them nor did it satisfy the heart’s true desire of people in such a union; so now they wrongly believe that if their union is defined as a ‘marriage’ that it will quell the desire and give them what they truly want, inner peace.

    What they will find, if ever they succeed in redefining marriage, is that they will not have inner peace, they will still be unhappy, they will not have a valid union. they will still though have the true desire, of an authentic marriage that is put in the heart of every man and woman who are called by God to the vocation of the married life. Their desire is real, but it is distorted and misdirected. What they crave is the genuine love and sacredness and bonding that can only be found in the marriage of a man to a woman. Anything else is just a counterfeit.

  19. on 09 May 2008 at 4:47 pmDavid

    Tricia, I just stopped in momentarily for to reasons – If I remember correctly you do have children so Happy Mother’s Day, I mean that seriously, raising children is not easy, though quite rewarding I’m sure. There should be more than one day set aside and I hope this one provides you relaxing and enjoyable family time.

    This off topic for this thread but I don’t want to wander around looking for the appropriate one I may find something I can’t help responding to 🙂 You have provided me links before to sites supporting your viewpoint on marriage and family and they were a refreshing change from the rhetoric found on so many. Anyway I wanted to direct you to this one article, not that it will change your mind on anything but just to show you that there are those of us who view marriage in a way much closer to the way you do than to those who see it as a challenge to tear down. The comments are interesting too, to see various viewpoints from members of the gay communities. I only can say that they are because I remember the names from other articles on the site, not that I assume they are gay if they post there. So here it is:


  20. on 11 May 2008 at 10:52 amBob

    [“there are those of us who view marriage in a way much closer to the way you do…”]

    Oh, that is so sweet, so poignant and so refreshing.

    We could spend hours and hours talking again about the reason why you want something that is inherently not possible when the essential components of marriage are missing. (The union of a man and a woman)

    Again Marriage IS marriage and a relationship of two men or two women living together in the facsimile of is well, something else, but it is most assuredly not marriage.

    What for centuries has been known and also for centuries has been fundamentally adhered to in teaching and belief by all orthodox faiths is the fact that homosexuality is a disordered action,distorted desire, is contrary to natural and moral law. As such, it is serious and grave matter that by it’s very nature, goes against the will of God. No matter how you try to sell it, no matter how you try to convince others that it is a valid lifestyle choice, it does not change that simple truth. No amount of imposed postulating, no amount of forced liberal acceptance under the names of tolerance, diversity and Luuuuv can change this fact.

    While that may seem cruel, mean spirited, or intolerant, in reality it is true charity. Love for anyones immortal soul never confirms anyone in a state of mortal sin, rather it calls them to task in Charity to confront their disordered desire so that they may amend and right it.

    The fact you feel bad about living a lifestyle contrary to what true marriage is, want it to be seen as “acceptable” by attempting to cover it up masquerading it as marriage, does not change what it actually is, a disordered lifestyle that is not what a true marriage is.

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