Connecticut Pastor, Flock Face Ouster

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the Hartford Courant:

"We firmly believe that our church was built by and given to the Anglican communion there, known as the Trinity Church Society," Helmandollar said, adding that the church's construction in 1746 preceded the formation of the Episcopal Diocese. "Our own constitution says we will remain."

Smith broke the news about stripping Helmandollar of his clerical status during an afternoon press conference Friday with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in town for the ordination today of Connecticut's first female Episcopal bishop, the Rev. Laura J. Ahrens.

Smith said Helmandollar voluntarily renounced his orders with the Episcopal Church, but Helmandollar said that isn't what actually happened. After he wrote to Smith informing him of the church's decision to join the North American Anglican group, Helmandollar said, "he suggested that I renounce my orders, and I said I can't do that."

A few weeks later, he said, Smith wrote him a letter, dated June 20, that he had taken Helmandollar's letter to the standing committee.

"Since you have joined another church and have renounced your ministry in the Episcopal Church," Smith wrote, "I have laid the matter before the clerical members of the standing committee of the Diocese of Connecticut ... A majority of the clerical members of the standing committee meeting on June 13, 2007, have agreed that you have renounced your ministry."

Helmandollar was not surprised.

"I was expecting it," he said, "but the slant of me having renounced is not sitting well with me."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest NewsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: ConnecticutTEC Polity & Canons

11 Comments
Posted June 30, 2007 at 1:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Karen B. wrote:

Is it just me, or is even this “new news” beginning to sound very old. 

Except for a few of the details (like the joint Press conference with +Smith & +Schori—oh nice, bring in the big guns…) this sounds just like a case in VA (was it against Phil Ashey?) where the priest was said to have renounced his orders.  And yet he very explicitly in writing had declared just the opposite.

Sigh.

June 30, 1:15 pm | [comment link]
2. David Wilson wrote:

Since we are such a small number (45 of 7,600) and we are so unhappy and we will not affect the hegemony of the liberal majority one iota why can’t they let us go with their blessing?

June 30, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
3. Karen B. wrote:

One other thought.  I find it very bizarre that they would hold the press conference about this before Laura Ahrens’ ordination.  I’m sure Laura (whom I actually know slightly from Princeton, where she was a year ahead of me) probably doesn’t appreciate having the news of her ordination sullied with a brand NEW reminder of the ECUSA conflict.

Gee whiz.  It’s like +Katharine WANTS to be known for this hard fist, her “big guns.”  I mean even her own installation was preceded by several days of news stories about Beers’ threatening letter to +Quincy and +Fort Worth.  We all have been quick to assume it’s Beers who’s been in control, but what if it is Katharine who is exercising this power grab?  What if it’s why her election was obviously fast-tracked?  Just wondering…

June 30, 1:21 pm | [comment link]
4. robroy wrote:

I think it is time for civil disobedience and unrest.

June 30, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
5. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Rather like Brown shirts et alia co-opting the Wagnerian Ring cycle for their own nationalistic purposes, don’t you think?  EKCUSA/TEC uber alles!  (Never mind actual history.  I’m not sure even Seabury would approve this hierarchal usurpation and distortion.  We know EKUSA/TEC won’t.  Canons notwithstanding.  Revisionism is such a blessing to revisionists.  It’s a ‘justice’ thang.  We wouldn’t understand.)

June 30, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
6. John B. Chilton wrote:

“Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith said the Rev. Donald Lee Helmandollar “renounced his orders” and was deposed - the equivalent of being defrocked - on June 13 by the clerical members of the diocesan standing committee. Smith said he has since written to leaders at Trinity Episcopal Church informing them that the diocese intends to take over the property July 8. The diocese’s decision to claim the property was not unexpected: The same scenario is playing itself out…”
Actually Smith’s eviction strategy differs, for example, from Lee’s towards the 11. I’d like to see Lee adopt the strategy.

June 30, 2:15 pm | [comment link]
7. freihofercook wrote:

Why can’t the Bishop tell the truth about what Fr. Helmondollar did and intended?

June 30, 2:32 pm | [comment link]
8. Anonymous Layperson wrote:

To quote KJS:
“Forty-five congregations have had significant numbers of members vote to leave the Episcopal Church. That’s 45 out of 7,600.”
What we need is a definitive list of all the churches that have had “a significant” departure since the VGR fiasco.  I suspect it is much larger than only 45.  Los Angeles, San Diego, Texas, Florida, New York, Virginia, Chicago, Kansas, Connecticut, Colorado are dioceses that have had varying numbers of such departures.  At any rate I wonder what her new dismissive line will be after Sept 30?

June 30, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
9. Frances Scott wrote:

I always though being able to count objects was a prerequisite for kindergarten.  Of course, when 2 or 3 people decide to stay loyal to TEC they still count as a church and it is only the 200-3,000 who voted to leave that make up the “small minority”.  What matters if you lose the people so long as you keep the property?  This just gets more kooky every day.

June 30, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
10. Connecticutian wrote:

I’m picturing a little boy with his finger plugging the leak in the dike, saying, “only a few quarts have spilled so far, what’s the worry?” 

More seriously, my prayers are with Fr. Don and the Trinity gang.  The vestry is next in the line of fire.  However, the congregation is solid in this. 

I seriously thought Smith would not say anything until after Laura’s consecration and after Schori had left.

June 30, 6:02 pm | [comment link]
11. Ron+ wrote:

It seems to me that most have the ability to discern what is happening here and its not going to stop…Maybe Im being just a bit cranky but I have to ask…Where is FiFNA, the ACN, Common Cause, etc etc etc.
I saw an article on a local church website that said what is needed is a new province…Now and he goes on to say the leaders of FiF etc have had a plan that they just cant share with the laity ???
I would suggest that if you’re waiting for these folks to ride to your rescue…it will be a long wait. As I said I dont look for the above to send money in your defense or to help in possibly filing cross complaints, but just to say go for it and we will help you pick up the pieces after it;s over.
I apologize for being cranky.

June 30, 6:41 pm | [comment link]
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