Posted by Kendall Harmon

After spending the past nine months debating questions of affiliation, members of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, a congregation in the northern suburbs of Colorado Springs, affirmed the recommendations of its pastor and leadership team, voting 82-6 to end their affiliation with the Anglican Mission in the Americas and to become part of PEAR USA (the North American Missionary District of Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda).

The July 22 vote followed a lively, hour-long discussion involving dozens of parishioners. The discussion reflected the parishioners’ backgrounds in the Episcopal Church (about half), evangelical, and Protestant churches. One member supported his arguments with references to apostolic succession and the restoration of Charles I to the English throne, while another plainly said, “I didn’t grow up Episcopalian, or Anglican, so I don’t have a background in church hierarchy.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral Care* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They sat in plastic chairs amid the sawdust and unfinished floorboards, chipped paint and bare plaster. All were in their Sunday best, about 200 people listening to the first prayer said in the new home of St. George’s Anglican Church.

“Drive from this place those demons that have possessed its inhabitants,” boomed the voice of the Rev. Don Armstrong. “Restore this place to its former sanctity and purpose.”

There was a bit of irony to Armstrong’s prayer, a double-meaning to both building and man.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

13 Comments
Posted August 8, 2011 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A judge Friday sentenced the Rev. Donald Armstrong to four years probation for his no-contest plea to one count of misdemeanor theft of funds from the Colorado Springs church where he once served as rector.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Gregory R. Werner also ordered Armstrong to pay restitution in the amount of $99,247 that was diverted to pay for his son's and daughter’s college education. The money came from a trust fund originally set up to pay for the education of seminary students.

Werner refused to order an apology, citing his practice of not wanting to get involved in how such a letter would be worded. He also agreed with [Armstrong lawyer Dennis] Hartley that jail time would serve no purpose.

“There is a huge divide between these two churches,” he added.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing ParishesTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted February 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Attorneys for the Rev. Donald Armstrong and the Pueblo District Attorney’s office were pleased Monday with the plea agreement in the criminal case involving the former rector of Grace and St. Stephen’s Church in Colorado Springs.

A Fourth Judicial District grand jury indicted Armstrong in May 2009 on 20 felony counts of embezzling $392,000 from Grace Church. Armstrong on Friday pled no contest to one felony count, according to El Paso County court files. Though Armstrong in his plea doesn’t admit guilt, the court views it in a legal sense as a guilty plea.

As part of the agreement, Armstrong admitted guilt to a new charge, misdemeanor theft, said Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut. A sentencing hearing on this charge will happen before the end of the year.

Armstrong’s sentence could include a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in the El Paso County Jail. Misdemeanor charges are brought for thefts between $500 and $1,000.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado was recently advised by Special Prosecutor, Stephen Jones that he had entered into a plea bargain with Donald Armstrong, a former priest of the diocese....

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Andrew's Church, 300 Whedbee St., once served hundreds of parishioners. Now it might serve a much smaller congregation.

The city has scheduled a neighborhood meeting at 6 p.m. June 24 at the church on the corner of East Olive and Whedbee streets to discuss a proposal from Boulder developer Robert King to convert the church into four semi-high-end apartments.

St. Andrew's disbanded in late 2008 when the congregation divided on theological differences, and a portion of the congregation left the church.

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado decided to sell, putting the 7,434-square-foot property on the market about 18 months ago for $520,000.

The church is now listed on the Sperry VanNess website at $465,000, and Realtor Jared Goodman said it is under contract for about 7 percent less.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market

6 Comments
Posted June 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. George’s rector, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, said Tuesday he’s optimistic that the church will pay off its debts within the next 60 days.

“We are developing a (long-range) plan to once again have the sort of ministry and outreach for which we have long been known,” said Armstrong, whose church lost the bid for the $17 million Tejon Street property and now meets in the Mountain Shadows area.

On the other side, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado spent $2.9 million to defend against the Anglican parish’s lawsuit to take possession of downtown property, diocese financial records show.

The legal expenses and a decline in the stock market resulted in a colossal loss in the diocese’s investment income, dropping from $4.9 million in January 2006 to $750,000 in August, records show. It will take years to recover the funds, said Chuck Thompson, assistant treasurer for the diocese.

“We had to sell stocks and bonds to pay the fees,” Thompson said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

7 Comments
Posted September 23, 2009 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Attending the all-day meeting in a neutral downtown location were four representatives of the Episcopal Church and 20 people on the other side, including representatives of the CANA parish, some of the members being sued by the diocese and the members' attorneys. Overseeing the settlement conference was Bill Neighbors, a mediator with the Judicial Arbiter Group in Denver for more than 20 years and a former state Supreme Court justice.

Judge Larry Schwartz recommended mediation to resolve the outstanding lawsuits in his March 24 order, but the quick resolution came as a welcome surprise, both sides say.

"We are pleased with the settlement," CANA parish spokesperson Kelly Oliver said in a statement, "especially since it relieved our staff and vestry members of the burden of the expense of defending against $5 million in unjustified claims brought against them."

Diocese chancellor Larry R. Hitt II said the settlement conference was successful because the CANA members being sued and the CANA parish seeking an appeal realized their cases were flimsy.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues


Posted June 4, 2009 at 4:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The conservative Colorado Springs pastor who broke away from the Episcopal Church to form a new Anglican congregation in May 2007 now is accused of stealing $291,000 from Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish.

The Rev. Don Armstrong was indicted on 20 counts of felony theft by an El Paso County grand jury Wednesday. He surrendered to authorities Thursday but was soon free on bond, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Armstrong's spokesman did not return calls Friday.

Police and a special prosecutor conducted a two-year investigation into allegations of Armstrong's financial wrongdoings at the church.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues


Posted May 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On March 26, 2007, the Episcopal congregation that met at 631 N. Tejon St. split when its vestry voted to leave the national body and align with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, or CANA. The CANA parish continued to worship in Grace Church, while the Episcopal group met at First Christian Church downtown.

A lawsuit was filed to decide ownership of the church property, leading to a 4 1/2 week trial, the longest church trial in Colorado history. Last month, a Fourth District Court judge ruled in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and the Episcopal Church, ordering the CANA parish to vacate the Tejon St. church, which it did by April 3.

Over the past several days, Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal parish moved back into Grace Church, while St. George's signed a 6-month lease to worship in a nondescript building in the Mountain Shadows area that formerly housed the Renaissance Academy, a private school.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing Parishes

0 Comments
Posted April 6, 2009 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Judge Schwartz actually gets what is wrong with the whole process of creating a trust on individual parish property through a top-down imposition of the Dennis Canon! (But don't get your hopes entirely up. As we shall later see, he comes to the Church's rescue----or rather, in a classic punting of responsibility to those judges higher up on the pay scale, he reads the Supreme Court as having done the rescuing for him.) Can you be proud of a Church that treats all of its contributors in such a cavalier manner? The Church (at the national level, at least) regards you not as someone whom it must inform, or treat with any courtesy or respect, but as just another source of funds for as long as you are ignorant enough to allow it to control local property matters without your knowledge. For it knows that, should you find out about its ultimate control, you might stop giving money to a church over which you really have no say. And why on earth would you ever give any money for its further expansion?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues


Posted March 25, 2009 at 7:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is much recent material on this: A press release from the TEC affiliated parish, a press release from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, the text of the court ruling itself, and a statement from the Anglican parish is there.

Also, an ENS article is here, a Colorado Springs Gazette article is there and a Denver Post article is here.

Further, a local TV station reported the story this way.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues


Posted March 25, 2009 at 5:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Back in 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York consecrated a gay bishop and allowed others to perform same-sex blessings.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, an Episcopal parish at the time, disagreed with this move and severed ties. Last year, the Diocese sued for Good Shepherd to leave the church building on Conklin Avenue, and in December, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in their favor.

On Friday, both sides were back in court.

"We've kind of moved on as a congregation and this is almost looking backwards now. So we were dreading it but here it is," said Father Matthew Kennedy, Good Shepherd's head pastor.

This time, the feud centers around a will by former Good Shepherd member Robert Brannan. He died in 1986 and left behind money in a trust fund for his parish.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Central New YorkTEC Conflicts: Central FloridaTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Conflicts: FloridaTEC Conflicts: Fort WorthTEC Conflicts: GeorgiaTEC Conflicts: Los AngelesTEC Conflicts: OhioTEC Conflicts: PittsburghTEC Conflicts: Rio GrandeTEC Conflicts: San DiegoTEC Conflicts: San JoaquinTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan CouncilsTEC House of Deputies

2 Comments
Posted March 22, 2009 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My purpose in this essay is to briefly sketch the policies and practices of diocese of Colorado since the advent of bishop O’Neill, culminating in this policy change that came into effect on January 10, 2009, with the ordination of an individual living in a non-chaste same-sex partnership.

In 2003, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado elected Robert O’Neill as its bishop. During his campaign, he was very clear about his commitments to the gay cause. In Massachusetts, besides spearheading the new diocesan camp, he led his parish into accepting his associate rector’s new lesbian “partnership.” Since there is no provision in the Episcopal Church for these things, her ceremony happened in another denomination.

A lot has happened between his election and now. O’Neill convened a task force in 2004 to examine the issues. “How will we choose to live together given our differences? What is our common ground? What are the limits? What is the highest degree of communion possible?” The end result was a recommendation from the Task Force for restraint, which has been followed till this new turn of events.

In Colorado, there already were partnered homosexuals and lesbians in orders. Also, provision had been made for some sort of thanksgiving in a liturgical context, but it wasn’t supposed to look like a wedding: no vows, no rings, no invitations, etc… According to O’Neill, great license had been taken with his predecessor’s pastoral permissiveness. The modest thanksgivings looked like weddings.

So, upon his election, O’Neill suspended the pastoral provisions for liturgical recognition of homosexual relationships. He also suspended the ordination process of at least one partnered lesbian. He did not let partnered clergy into the diocese, even though certain parishes wanted it. There were three basic reasons: 1) O’Neill hoped to find some way to keep the diocese together. 2) The Anglican Communion’s value to us was of utmost importance. 3) The Episcopal Church had not yet authorized same sex blessings through its General Convention, being the proper, ordered place, where such changes happened. We in Colorado were called, on the left and the right, to restraint for the sake of unity.

That was then, this is now. What changed?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

2 Comments
Posted January 19, 2009 at 1:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[I see] particular evidences arise every day that demonstrate not only a lack of mitigation, but further retrenchment of polarization and division.

For example, yesterday my bishop in Colorado (where I remain canonically resident), the Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, ordained to the transitional diaconate a publicly known partnered homosexual. As we know, such an ordination in itself is no longer news in parts of North America. Why should anyone care? What made this news in Colorado (and this is where I heard about it first, in the newspaper) was that Bp. O’Neill has, since becoming bishop in 2003, made a public commitment to refuse such ordinations. He did this, not on the basis of his personal views, but – frequently referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own distinction between personal and episcopal teaching roles – on the basis of his desire to abide by the Communion’s stated teaching and discipline for the sake of common life. He frequently emphasized his affirmation of the Windsor Report, both in its underlying theology and in upholding its specific recommendations. To be sure, he did not vow any time-frame for these commitments; but the purposes were clear enough.

Yet yesterday, he changed course. The issue here is not to lodge a complaint. Furthermore, we know there are no legally binding Communion policies that somehow limit his choices on this or any matter. Bishop O’Neill has made his decision, he has done so on the basis of convictions that were long-known, and he does so in concert with many of his American colleagues. Nonetheless, he does so in the known context of TEC’s and the Communion’s own difficult grappling with what has now turned into a horrendously destructive matter, and he does so deliberately. This is the issue worth pondering.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyEcclesiology

17 Comments
Posted January 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Saturday, Jan. 10, The Right Rev. Robert O’Neill ordained Mary Catherine Volland to the sacred order of priests, along with Heather Leigh Payton, Michael David Scott Demmon and Bret Bowie Hayes. All four ordinands will be serving congregations in Colorado.

Volland, a long-time resident of Colorado, was a candidate for ordination from the Diocese of Minnesota where she was ordained to the transitional diaconate this summer. She has been called to serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver, and was ordained here by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of the Bishop of Minnesota, the Right Rev. James Jelinek. (Hayes, a candidate for ordination from the Diocese of Connecticut, is serving as a curate at St. John’s Cathedral, and was also ordained here by Bishop O’Neill on behalf of the Bishop of Connecticut, the Right Rev. Andrew Smith.)

Volland is a partnered lesbian. The Episcopal Church does ordain partnered gay and lesbian persons. Several Colorado congregations have been and are served faithfully by gay and lesbian clergy. Although there is a clearly range of opinion among clergy and lay people of the diocese about the ministry of partnered gay and lesbian clergy, one of the gifts of Anglican Christianity is its tradition of holding widely divergent points of view in a context of orthodox Christian faith.

“The Diocese of Colorado is perhaps the most politically and theologically diverse diocese in The Episcopal Church,” says Bishop O’Neill. “Our faithful walking together as sisters and brothers in Christ is at once challenging and a great gift that we have to offer to a broken and divided world. I am grateful to all in this diocese who faithfully come to the table to offer their many gifts to God’s service, including the gay and lesbian Christians among us who so generously contribute to our common life and ministry.”

I tried in vain to find this on the Diocesan Wesbite, if anyone else can help with this please let me know--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process

13 Comments
Posted January 11, 2009 at 8:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican world is about to be plunged into a new crisis over sexuality as the American Diocese of Colorado ordained an openly gay and partnered priest yesterday.

Under terms agreed between member Churches of the Anglican Communion, there is a moratorium on ordaining further openly gay people, but Bishop Robert O'Neill (pictured) ordained Mary Catherine Volland, along with three others, to the priesthood at St. John's Cathedral on Saturday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process

28 Comments
Posted January 11, 2009 at 8:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mary Catherine Volland, a longtime resident of Colorado and a partnered lesbian, was ordained Saturday at St. John's Cathedral in Denver, as the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado ended its moratorium on ordaining gay priests.

Volland had been a candidate for ordination by the Diocese of Minnesota. She will serve as an assistant priest at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver.

Nationally, the issue of ordaining gay priests has caused division within the church.

Read it all.

Update: There is also a Rocky Mountain News story here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2009 at 8:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But in July of 2003, the Episcopal Church, including Colorado’s bishop, Jerry Winterrowd, knowingly and happily elected to consecrate as bishop an openly homosexual priest living in a same-sex relationship.

At this point, the Episcopal Church in America—which, frankly, had been crumbling—was broken.

It had been under stress for two reasons: the gradual crackup of the authority of Scripture (and hence the Lord of the Scriptures) and the role of bishops. In our tradition and polity, the Scriptures are the lifeblood of the church, and bishops are the foundation extending from the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Episcopal bishops exercise spiritual authority because of a godly life and their commitment to perpetuate, guard, and defend the Biblical faith.

The role of bishop—one who “guard[s] the faith,” obedient to the Lord in the Scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit—is foundational to Anglican identity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of RwandaCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2009 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Colorado Springs police detectives raided Grace Church & St. Stephen's on Wednesday morning to seize paper financial records and computers as part of a theft investigation launched more than a year ago.

More than 20 officers cordoned off the blocklong church complex at 601 N. Tejon St., evicting its controversial pastor, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, who wandered the sidewalk in clerical garb, a copy of the warrant in his right hand.

The raid focused on records tied to allegations from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado that Armstrong embezzled $400,000 from Grace Church & St. Stephen's Parish, the congregation he headed before he and his followers broke away in early 2007 to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Colorado Springs police Lt. David Whitlock said officers were searching for evidence of theft and fraud. Police also searched Armstrong's Colorado Springs home Wednesday.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado


Posted November 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, Bishop of Colorado, is seeking to remove from the ministry more than a dozen priests that his predecessor lawfully transferred to another Anglican province after they joined the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) more than seven years ago.

The initial list included at least one priest, the Rev. Robert John Bryan, who claims not to have received any communication on the matter. He expressed surprise at the news of his inhibition when contacted by The Living Church, and said he had not received any communication from anyone in the Diocese of Colorado since receiving a copy of his letter of transfer nearly eight years ago.

The Rev. Canon Colin Kelly, president of the Diocese of the Rio Grande’s standing committee, confirmed that Fr. Bryan has been a canonically resident priest in good standing of that diocese since 2002. According to several priests in the Rio Grande who spoke with The Living Church, he served with distinction and loyalty as priest-in-charge at St. Matthew’s, Las Lunas, M.M., for about five years. He decided to retire from the active ministry and moved back to Colorado to be nearer to family last year.

In 2000, 17 priests from the Diocese of Colorado, including Fr. Bryan, sought to leave The Episcopal Church after the formation of the AMiA that year. The Rt. Rev. Jerry Winterrowd, who was Bishop of Colorado from 1991-2004, signed and sent letters dimissory for all the priests to the “Ecclesiastical Authority of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia.”

Read the whole article.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

30 Comments
Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(From the Anglican parish of Grace and Saint Stephen's Church).

(Colorado Springs, Colorado) Judge Larry E. Schwartz of the El Paso County District Court issued a decision today that the property dispute between Grace Church and St. Stephen’s and the Episcopal Bishop and Diocese of Colorado cannot be resolved by summary judgment and must go to trial court. Yet, significantly and critical to Grace Church and St. Stephen’s legal argument for ownership of the property in question, Judge Swartz concluded that the parish is a valid, non-profit corporation recognized by the State of Colorado since 1973.

Judge Schwartz’s decision was in response to a hearing held on May 2, 2008 at the El Paso County Courthouse in which 18 members of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s requested that personal lawsuits brought against them by the Episcopal Bishop of Colorado be dismissed.

In May of 2007 Grace Church and St. Stephen’s voted to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in a congregational election. Of the 370 votes cast, an overwhelming 342, or 93%, voted for Grace Church and St. Stephen’s, one of the oldest Episcopal Churches in Colorado, to leave the Episcopal Church over its departure from traditional Christian beliefs and practice.

Since that time the Episcopal Bishop and Diocese of Colorado have sued the corporation of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s, 18 individual members and lay-leaders of the congregation, and an affiliated elementary school, St. Stephen’s Classical School, for the 17 million dollar historic landmark church building in downtown Colorado Springs.

In today’s decision Judge Schwartz wrote that “over six volumes of affidavits, correspondence and documents have been filed over the last year in support of various issues that will ultimately need to be addressed.” As a consequence, “Neither party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law under summary judgment analysis….Material facts … are clearly in dispute.”

In response to Judge Schwartz’s decision, Jon Wroblewski, senior warden of Grace Church as St. Stephen’s, said, “We are grateful for the careful and deliberate seriousness with which Judge Swartz has considered our case. Furthermore, we are pleased that the judge recognized the fact that the parish’s 1973 corporation has been doing business as a legal entity unchallenged by the Episcopal Church for 35 years, that our corporation is recognized by the Secretary of State, that this property case is very different from previous cases involving church property disputes, and that neutral principles of law prevail over and against sectarian arguments about ecclesiastical hierarchy. Sadly, I think that this case is proving to be an embarrassment to Christian witness in this community and beyond. The vicious actions of the Bishop and Diocese of Colorado to attack a congregation’s right of self-determination, to personally sue 18 upstanding members of a community in their capacity as volunteer non-profit directors, and to sue an elementary school are unconscionable. Surely there is a better way for Christian people to behave in the public eye. We hold out hope, however forlorn, that the Bishop will repent and come to some reasonable mediated settlement; but if not, justice must prevail.”


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

36 Comments
Posted May 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The parish is also growing. Seventy-six members have been added this year, sources say, and ministry programs are being founded.

Armstrong said the turmoil has made him a better spiritual counselor to others, and his parishioners support the decision to leave the national body.

"It was sad to have to leave the Episcopal Church, but theologically we had to make that move," said Shirley Waddill, 72, who has attended the North Tejon Street church for 18 years.

Phil Kilgore, 46, said even if Grace CANA loses the church property, the parish will continue. "Our clarity of purpose and sense of mission will translate to growth," he said.

Meanwhile, Grace Episcopal has a weekly attendance of 250 and membership of more than 500, sources say. The 2008 budget is $400,000.

The congregation is a mix of liberal, moderate and conservative Episcopalians. O'Donnell, who is conservative, finds that a blessing.

Read it all.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

1 Comments
Posted March 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those of you who know me well know that I have been struggling with this wrenching decision for the past six months since that HOB meeting. In November, Dr. Kendall Harmon visited with us at our last CLC conference. He told us that any hope of Communion discipline of TEC was dead, and he challenged us that we no longer have the luxury of not deciding about how we will practice our faith as orthodox Anglicans. We have only two choices before us; stay in a differentiated way that sets us apart from the liberal diocese, or leave. I have many friends and parish family members who feel called to stay and be the faithful remnant in TEC. I know they are making this decision faithfully and sacrificially, and I pray that God gives them strength to persevere. But I have reached a crossroad of conscience that takes me in a different direction. I can no longer be part of a church that presents a distorted hollow Christian witness to a culture crying out for salvation found only by laying down sin at the foot of the Cross. The passing of time will have to tell us which was the better path, but for now I trust the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that whatever decision we make, in faith, about leaving or staying will be used for good.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* TheologyEcclesiology

0 Comments
Posted March 8, 2008 at 8:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado moved Friday to sue individual parishioners who support the breakaway congregation at Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, according to documents filed in El Paso District Court.

The petition asks the court to add 18 people to the diocese's existing countersuit, which is seeking monetary damages as well as repossession of the church.

The targeted members include everyone on the parish's governing board as well as the church's main spokesman, Alan Crippen, and its rector of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong.

The diocese's action is part of a lawsuit already under way to determine the rightful owner of the historic, multimillion-dollar church property located in the central part of the city.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues


Posted November 13, 2007 at 8:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

46 Comments
Posted October 25, 2007 at 8:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

In fine print at the bottom of page 1 of the Diocese of Colorado proposed budget for 2008 is this interesting caveat:

This budget includes only normal legal expenses and no provision for extraordinary investigations and litigation. The Diocese expects that
there will be additional, significant amounts to be approved by the Standing Committee for such expenses in 2008.


Inquiring minds would just love to have a ball park figure. Oh well.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

11 Comments
Posted October 5, 2007 at 6:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sunday was the flock's first chance to hear more about the recent decision by the Episcopal bishops , including Colorado's Rob O'Neill, to hold off at least until 2009 on encouraging same-sex unions and openly gay bishops.

Schism looms anyway, a troubling prospect to churches like St. Philip's, where the Rev. Theron Walker got applause Sunday when worshipper Tom Cook called out from his pew, "Thank you, Father, for being faithful (to traditional Christianity)."

Later, Walker put his head in his hands and said, only half-kidding, "The stress is driving my wife (Denise) crazy."

First, why dwell on this story?

I think there's a historical poetry and power connected to the Episcopal Church, whose roots are steeped in the Church of England and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. The denomination began with the marriage issue - Henry VIII's marriages, to be exact - and five centuries later the marriage issue, in the form of same-sex unions, may shatter it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

2 Comments
Posted October 1, 2007 at 5:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The exodus from the Episcopal Church continued last week as leaders of another Colorado congregation prepared to split with the increasingly liberal denomination.

The Rev. Charles Reeder is scheduled to preach his last sermon today as rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter here. Then, "Father Chuck" and the church's leadership — including the 10-member vestry and youth ministers — plan to join the growing number of traditional Episcopalians fleeing the embattled denomination.

In this case, the trigger was money. Donations have dropped precipitously since 2003, when the church consecrated its first openly homosexual bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, and agreed to perform same-sex blessings.

John Bosio, Holy Comforter's senior warden, said the 49-year-old parish is now basically insolvent.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing Parishes

7 Comments
Posted September 16, 2007 at 6:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In many sweet ways - little notes on the refrigerator, photos of kids on the walls - Holy Comforter parish in Broomfield resembles a happy family.
But next Sunday, this 49-year-old family faces something like a divorce.

That's when the Rev. Chuck Reeder and an unspecified number of parishioners join the national conservative flight out of the Episcopal Church because of its departure from traditional teachings on marriage and Scriptural authority.

"Very soon, this is not going to be the congregation it has been," Reeder told Sunday's Bible study crowd over pastries and coffee. He confessed to typos in this week's study outline and added, "Go easy on me. This has been a tough week."

Unlike the bloody war of lawsuits elsewhere, this parish breakup is civil and polite - gentle, even. Nobody's trying to take the property. Reeder won't even discuss who's staying or going, lest it seem like a bitter "us" versus "them" issue.

But everything still hurts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

13 Comments
Posted September 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church of the Holy Comforter

Dear Friends,

This past Monday I was sorry to learn that your rector, The Reverend Chuck Reeder, has tendered his resignation effective October 1 and that simultaneously the members of your vestry have also resigned effective October 1. These actions follow soon after a meeting I had with your rector, wardens, and treasurer on August 8 during which I was informed that The Church of the Holy Comforter is currently facing significant financial challenges. These difficulties, I am told, stem from the fact that 42% of pledge income to the parish is currently being withheld by members of the parish who are unhappy with The Episcopal Church—members who, as it was explained to me, have no intention of contributing to ministry of The Church of the Holy Comforter so long as it remains a member of The Episcopal Church.

During that same meeting, I explained to your parish leadership that our Diocesan Canons have a provision by which my office will work with the leadership of any parish that is so “imperiled” to thoroughly assess the situation and to develop a viable plan for the future of the congregation. Over the past several weeks, my office, working with your Senior Warden, John Bosio, began taking steps to put that process in place. Subsequently your rector and vestry decided to resign. Even so, you should know that this process of assessing the life of the parish and developing a plan for recovery will continue to move forward under the direction of my office. For those of you that have concerns about the buildings and property, they belong as always to the Episcopal Church, and I am committed to seeing that the Episcopal Church continues to exercise its ministry in that location in the days and years to come. Moreover, your parish leadership has graciously expressed their intent to work with my office to that end without engaging in any disputes over the ownership of property. For their thoughtfulness and good will, I am indeed grateful.

You should know too, that although they have already tendered their resignations, your wardens and vestry have stated their desire and commitment to cooperate with my office to provide for a smooth transition as we identify the steps that will be necessary to provide The Church of the Holy Comforter with new pastoral leadership and guidance in the days ahead.

Over the next week, I will be in conversation with your rector and wardens to identify the specific steps and the timetable for the upcoming transition. Just as soon as that work has been done, you can expect to hear directly from me. To that end, I have scheduled a parish meeting for Thursday, September 6, at 7:30 p.m. at The Church of the Holy Comforter to update you on the situation and to outline the next steps that will be taken to reorganize and redevelop The Church of the Holy Comforter.

Although I am indeed saddened to know that some members of your congregation have expressed a desire to leave The Episcopal Church, I trust that they do so in good faith and out of a heartfelt desire to respond faithfully to the call of God in their lives. I want you to know that I continue to hold those individuals in my prayers and to ask God’s blessing on them in the same way I hold all of you in my prayers during these difficult days.

Just as The Church of the Holy Comforter has had a wonderful and vibrant history of ministry in the Broomfield area and in The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado in the past, I am confident that it will continue to do so in the days ahead. I am committed to working with you to that end, and, as always, I am confident in the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit working within us and among us to bear the fruit of God’s purpose in our lives. For now, God’s peace and blessing be with you. I will look forward to speaking with you soon.

Yours faithfully in Christ,

--(The Rt. Rev) Robert O’Neill is Bishop of Colorado




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

22 Comments
Posted September 7, 2007 at 4:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO – August 27, 2007– The Church of the Holy Comforter today announced the resignation of its leader, The Reverend Dr. Charles Reeder and his departure from The Episcopal Church effective October 1, 2007. Holy Comforter also announces that Vestry, the Children’s Minister, Youth Minister and Treasurer will resign and follow Father Reeder’s move within the greater worldwide Anglican Communion Network (ACN).

“We are saddened by the current state of The Episcopal Church in the US which we believe has strayed from the orthodox, scriptural beliefs of the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said Reeder. “Many church members have demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the Episcopal Church’s actions and words through the withholding of contributions. This has led us to examine the best possible future for Holy Comforter and our desire to remain part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.”

Near term, Reeder, Vestry, the core ministry team and members of Holy Comforter continue in a period of prayer and fasting as they look for guidance around the future of the congregation. Reeder has not yet determined his future place within the Anglican Communion.


About The Church of the Holy Comforter
Located in Broomfield, Colorado, Holy Comforter is a traditional, biblically-based community which provides spiritual leadership and outreach locally and globally. The church, founded in 1958, believes the Scripture is the foundation and authority for The Episcopal Church USA and the greater Anglican Communion of which it is a member. For more information, visit http://www.holycomforterchurch.net


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

24 Comments
Posted August 27, 2007 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Forget, for the moment, that Zachary Crippen’s church has been in the news because of a nasty, high-profile divorce from its mother denomination.

And let’s sidestep the fact that there’s a dispute over who owns the towering stone church building and its belongings, including the 80-year-old organ.

This story is about the young man who brought music back into the lives of the congregation of Grace CANA Church, a group that broke away in March from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado. The timing wasn’t the best. It was right before Easter, a highly attended service that begs for a church organist. But the organist and most of the choir did not join the breakaway.

Enter Crippen, a master of the keyboard with about eight years of piano lessons to his credit. That’s piano, not organ. He had never touched an organ, but he wasn’t deterred. He stepped into the vacuum and up to the organ — and it took him 10 minutes to figure out how to open it up.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

7 Comments
Posted August 25, 2007 at 12:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Armstrong's attorney, Dennis Hartley, said the Episcopal court no longer has jurisdiction over Armstrong now that he is a member of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a mission of the Nigerian diocese.

A spokesman for the breakaway Grace Church, Alan Crippen, said that he learned of the criminal complaint Friday, and he welcomed it.

"We view this as a positive development," Crippen said. "We are utterly confident of a fair process with the Colorado justice system, unlike the witch hunt conducted by the Episcopal Diocese."

Both Armstrong and Colorado Episcopal Bishop Robert O'Neill have 30 days to respond to the ecclesiastical court's preliminary ruling. The court will then issue a final judgment along with recommendations for a sentence.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

7 Comments
Posted August 12, 2007 at 2:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I want to plead with folks always to be more thoughtful before they rush to judgment. It may be natural to want to smear the motivation of those who oppose us, or whose ideology and beliefs are at odds with our own, but is this a worthy way of proceeding? Just because we believe people are deeply in error in one area, it is illogical to assume that they are going to be incapable of seeing facts clearly in other areas.

While I have experienced misrepresentation and have seen much misrepresentation in the church, I have never in 30+ years as a priest of the Episcopal Church seen anything on the scale that is being implied by respondents here. From all I know it appears that the Diocese of Colorado is seeking to get to the bottom of this apparent mishandling of money because it has grave fiduciary responsibilities.

What those making the accusations seem unwilling to accept is that the outcome of the court makes it increasingly likely that the priest actually did commit what he is accused of doing. Just because his theology is sound when compared to the belief systems of those adjudicating the business does not mean that he is not prone like all of the rest of us to give way to temptation and fall into sin.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

37 Comments
Posted August 11, 2007 at 7:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An ecclesiastical court on Wednesday convicted the Rev. Donald Armstrong of stealing nearly $400,000 from his Colorado Springs parish, though it cannot legally punish the breakaway pastor.

The court of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado will decide in about a month, however, whether to recommend that Bishop Robert O’Neill defrock Armstrong, a largely symbolic action that would end all ties between the church and him.

Armstrong left the diocese with a majority of the Grace Church & St. Stephen’s vestry board in March and now oversees the congregation of the Grace CANA Church that is affiliated with the more conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America. His spokesman, Alan Crippen, said the Episcopal Diocese does not have authority over Armstrong.

“Our relationship with the diocese has been one of adversity over the last couple of months, so this decision is no surprise,” Crippen said Wednesday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

67 Comments
Posted August 9, 2007 at 7:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Don Armstrong used his pulpit to "throw out a smokescreen to conceal his grave offenses and crimes," a lawyer for the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado told an ecclesiastical court today.

Parishioners past and present from Grace Church and St. Stephens in Colorado Springs, "deserve to know the evidence of his wrong doing," attorney Ty Gee told the independent panel which heard nearly three hours of testimony at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral.

Armstrong, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, ignored the hearing, saying it has no jurisdiction over him.

Read it all.




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

9 Comments
Posted July 31, 2007 at 6:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Episcopal Church court meets in Denver today to weigh the case against the Rev. Don Armstrong, who has been accused by the diocese of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his Colorado Springs parish.

The public is invited, but Armstrong will be among the missing when the five-member judicial body of clergy and laity convenes at 9 a.m. in Dagwell Hall of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral, 1350 Washington St.

"I think he's going mountain biking (today), which shows you what he thinks of it," said his spokesman, Alan Crippen.

Read it alll.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

7 Comments
Posted July 31, 2007 at 11:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Gothic Revival tower of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish stands as a monument to staid tradition - but this sanctuary has turned into a battleground.

Rebellious parishioners left the American Episcopal Church this spring, protesting its acceptance of gay unions and other departures from orthodoxy, to join a Nigerian Anglican diocese.

Now, the congregation is locked in a legal battle with the Colorado Diocese over ownership of the church, valued at $17 million.

The congregation also is trying to keep its conservative priest of 20 years, the Rev. Don Armstrong, in his pulpit, despite allegations of theft and fraud.

Tuesday, an Episcopal ecclesiastical court will weigh charges against Armstrong, who is accused by the diocese of stealing or misusing more than $500,000.

The battle for Grace Church is part of a global theological conflict within the worldwide 77-million-member Anglican Communion.

Liberal church members are pitted against conservative Anglicans in Africa, Asia and South America.

In Colorado, 14 congregations have moved to affiliate with African-led dioceses rather than the Episcopal Diocese in Denver.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

8 Comments
Posted July 30, 2007 at 8:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 80 years ago, leaders at Grace Church joined and, in writing, invoked "the name of God."

With a few pen strokes, Grace's rector, wardens and vestry — its board — signed away their grand, young church, placing it under the "spiritual jurisdiction and authority" of Bishop Irving P. Johnson, then the highest Episcopal authority in Colorado.

The leaders relinquished "all claim to any right of disposing" the building at 601 N. Tejon St. in Colorado Springs without Johnson's consent or that of his successors, according to the "instrument of donation," signed on Nov. 15, 1929.

The one-page form could be a Holy Grail for a diocese eager to return to the building now being used by hundreds of entrenched Episcopal secessionists and their embattled patriarch, the Rev. Don Armstrong.

Martin Nussbaum, an attorney for the diocese, says the form, which surfaced as part of the legal battle for the building, bodes well for hundreds of exiled Episcopal loyalists hoping to return to the gray building described when it opened in 1926 as perhaps the most beautiful church west of the Mississippi River.

Alan Crippen, a spokesman for the secessionists, downplayed the document's significance, saying only that it "looks ceremonial, but not legal."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado


Posted July 19, 2007 at 4:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Colorado Springs Gazette decided to find out how the recent Los Angeles court case could affect pending litigation in Colorado. Here's what the lawyers had to say.
------

Attorneys on both sides of the case disagree about how the California decision dovetails with their legal arguments.

L. Martin Nussbaum, attorney for the Colorado diocese and local parish, says the ruling reinforces a similar one — Diocese of Colorado v. Mote — upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court in 1986. In that case, a breakaway parish tried to keep church property, but the court ruled the property belonged to the diocese.

“It (the California decision) is a very scholarly explanation of the law that affirms the freedom of a national church to determine its own rules and governance, and in the case of the Episcopal church, prevents a portion of a local congregation to leave the church and take the property,” Nussbaum says.

But Grace CANA’s attorney, Greg Walta, says Colorado v. Mote isn’t as clear-cut when it comes to the local case. The 1986 ruling turned on the fact that the parish had been a mission church under control of the diocese for 20 years, and its organizing document ceded control over its property to the diocese, he says. In contrast, Walta contends that Grace’s articles of incorporation do not mention the diocese, it has title to the local church property and a long history of acting independently from the diocese and at times in defiance of the diocese.

“Our case is more like Dickey v. Snodgrass, a Colorado case that ruled for a local church,” Walta said. “So the outcome will depend on the facts in the case.”

In the California case, diocese officials were pleased by the decision.
“Now we can get about the business of healing and about the business of being a church,” said the Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the diocese.

But Eric Sohlgren, lead lawyer for the three parishes, said the decision ran counter to 30 years of legal precedent in California. The parishes will decide soon whether to appeal to the California Supreme Court.


The full article is here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Conflicts: Los Angeles* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

33 Comments
Posted July 2, 2007 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We know you have asked the Diocesan Task Force “to find some ways to maintain the essential unity of the body by identifying practical means by which different groups can hold and exercise their convictions with integrity without needing either to act out or to split off completely and to identify some way in which the two polarizing elements of the diocese can continue to work together.” While the goal of the Task Force is noble, we do not see any solution to the dilemma facing either group, short of a miracle. The dilemma is not based on issues of sexuality. Rather, the primary source of our differences is two interpretations of scripture and of the Gospel itself.

CLC stands committed to the primates’ Communiqué and to whatever Primate endorsed alternate national pastoral scheme may be developed—with or without the cooperation of the House of Bishops. Further, we are committed to work cooperatively with you through any practical matters if such a scheme is determined in a manner that reflects a Christian witness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Colorado

11 Comments
Posted June 28, 2007 at 10:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Conflicts: FloridaTEC Conflicts: VirginiaTEC Departing Parishes

1 Comments
Posted May 29, 2007 at 6:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A majority of voting members at Grace Church and St. Stephens Parish in Colorado Springs have declared their willingness to break away from the Episcopal Church to join a conservative Anglican network more in line with their beliefs, according to spokesman Alan Crippen.
The vote, tallied Saturday, showed 93 percent of 370 voting members approved of the plan to leave the Episcopal Church, Crippen said. It capped an ongoing period of uncertainty that began March 26 when parish rector, The Rev. Don Armstrong, and a majority of the church’s governing board, declared they were each individually leaving the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado.

Because the schismatic act was so unusual, the breakaway parish leaders said they would set up a vote to determine what parishioners wanted to do.

Armstrong has been under an ongoing investigation by the diocese of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in parish funds. He denies the charge and says is an act of revenge by the diocese and Bishop Rob O’Neill because of his conservative beliefs.

In a second ballot question, 78 percent of the voters declared they wanted the breakaway leadership of Grace Church to continue fighting to hold on to the church property at 601 N. Tejon St. The 135-year-old property, which occupies a city block, is now embroiled in a legal dispute with the Episcopal Church in El Paso County District Court.

Crippen said he believed the "no" votes on both ballot questions came from Grace Church members loyal to the diocese and to Bishop Rob O’Neill, even though the Episcopal loyalists had said all along that they would refuse to legitimize Armstrong’s cause by participating in the vote.

Crippen said the will of the voting majority was indisputable, "and showed clearly a very strong mandate to affirm the vestry decision of March 26 (to leave the Episcopal Church)."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing Parishes

26 Comments
Posted May 27, 2007 at 6:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The "vote" being taken this week by the secessionist group that now illegally occupies Grace and Saint Stephen’s Church in Colorado Springs has no legal validity or bearing on the current efforts by The Diocese of Colorado to regain rightful control of its property.

Because The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical church, parishes are not established by the vote of a congregation but only by actions taken by a diocesan convention and ecclesiastical authority. Conversely, no vote taken by a congregation or by its vestry can dissolve a parish or change its affiliation to another religious body. For that reason, neither the "vote" taken by the secessionist vestry on March 26 nor the "vote" currently being taken this secessionist group has any legal grounding or effect.

In fact, the secessionist group has not been clear or consistent about what the actions of May 20 and the coming days actually represent. On March 26, the secessionist vestry voted that "Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish will leave the Episcopal Church" effective immediately. In a press release that same day, they stated that members of the parish had no choice with regard to this action but would merely "be given the opportunity to affirm" their decision to affiliate with the Church of Nigeria.

The seizing of property rightfully belonging to the Episcopal Church is nothing more than a sadly misguided effort to restore to a position of public trust a priest who is currently under ecclesiastical indictment for the misappropriation of church funds. The diocese has been investigating allegations against the Rev. Donald Armstrong involving serious financial misconduct for more than a year, and in March, the Diocesan Review Committee issued a Presentment of charges – similar to an indictment – against Armstrong on the same day the former vestry of Grace and St. Stephen’s announced their decision to secede.

Last week, the Bishop and Diocese of Colorado filed an answer and counterclaim in response to the complaint filed in El Paso County by a secessionist congregation on Good Friday (April 6). The response asserts that the real property of Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church belongs to the loyalist Episcopal congregation, and that the secessionist congregation has "wrongfully taken steps to take possession of and exercise control over the Property." It cites the long history of the parish in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Colorado, and the established legal precedent that Grace Church and St. Stephen’s holds legal title of record to the property for the mission of, and in trust for the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and The Episcopal Church.

The parish of Grace and St. Stephen’s is one of 114 congregations in the Diocese of Colorado. Currently, at least 200 – 400 members of that congregation who wish to remain part of the Episcopal Church are worshiping at nearby First Christian Church until they can be restored to their property. The vestry of the Episcopal congregation has encouraged members not to take part in the invalid vote organized by the secessionist group. Prior to the move to secede from the Episcopal Church, Grace and St. Stephen’s had a reported average Sunday attendance of 800 people. St. John’s Cathedral in Denver reports a similar average Sunday attendance.



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing Parishes

30 Comments
Posted May 27, 2007 at 6:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Colorado Springs, Colorado) Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish voted to affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) in a congregational election that concluded today. Of the 370 votes cast, an overwhelming 342, or 93%, voted for the mother church of Anglicanism in Colorado Springs and one of the oldest Episcopal Churches in Colorado to leave the Episcopal Church over its departure from traditional Christian beliefs and practice.

Last March the vestry, or governing board of the Parish, had voted to join CANA in a provisional affiliation that was ratified by the congregation today. The Parish’s new affiliation with CANA, an American missionary diocese of the Church of Nigeria and the largest Anglican Church in the world, allows Grace Church and St. Stephen’s the freedom to continue its Gospel ministry unmolested by theological innovators and revisionists in the Episcopal Church.

Jon Wroblewski, senior warden of the parish’s vestry said, “The congregation’s decision to join CANA is the most important decision in Grace Church and St. Stephen’s 135 year history. We have decided to remain true to the faith of our ancestors and the founders of this parish even as the Episcopal Church departs from the faith and the Anglican Communion.”

Founded in 1872, Grace Church and St. Stephen’s was the first Anglican Church in Colorado Springs and helped to establish all the other Episcopal Churches in the city including: The Chapel of our Savior, St. Michael’s, and Holy Spirit (now defunct), St. Francis (now defunct), and St. Andrew’s in Manitou Springs. Grace Church and St. Stephen’s pre-dates the existence of the Diocese of Colorado (1887).

According to the parish’s rector, Fr. Donald Armstrong, “The plight of the Episcopal Church truly grieves me. What was once a great church of Gospel proclamation and social influence has now become an irrelevant and insignificant denomination characterized by theological drift and demographic decay. The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is dying and has lost 60% of its market share of Colorado’s population during the last 60 years. The decision for Grace Church and St. Stephen’s was a simple choice between death with the Episcopal Church or spiritual life and vitality with CANA.”

The significance of Pentecost Sunday is not lost on the leadership of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s and neither is the month of May, 2007. Armstrong said, “Tomorrow is the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian church -- the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit empowering his people to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Similarly, this month marks the 400th year since the founding of Anglicanism in America with the Jamestown settlers in Virginia. On these two anniversaries we are celebrating our heritage as Christians and Anglicans in a re-birth, renewal, realignment, and recommitment to Gospel proclamation in Colorado.”

The flag of the Episcopal Church will no longer be carried in worship services of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s. Instead, a new flag and banner will be carried – The Anglican Communion’s Compass Rose flag symbolizing the parish’s continuing constituent membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion and the CANA Banner as the standard for proclaiming the transforming Gospel to all peoples in North America and beyond.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsCANAEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ColoradoTEC Departing Parishes

33 Comments
Posted May 26, 2007 at 8:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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