Friday, July 29, 2005

Update on Connecticut

Nine bishops sent a letter to the Standing Committee and Bishop of Connecticut, in which they inform Bishop Smith of their intention to begin "shaping of a presentment against you for conduct unbecoming [Title IV, Can.1, Sec.1 (j)] a Bishop of this Church."

Bishop Smith responded to the letter, and sheds a little more light on the situation;

...The Standing Committee found that the Rev. Mark Hansen had abandoned communion with his bishop by the demands of the May 2004 letter. Further, he ignored well-established disciplines required by priests by ECUSA Canon and the policies of this diocese. Also important, for a time which as yet we have been unable to determine, he has abandoned his ministry in St. John's to hold a secular position in another state while at the same time on sabbatical from St. John's.

The parish leaders of St. John's enabled and protected Fr. Hansen in these arrangements, and are uncooperative, evasive and not forthcoming when questioned by members of my staff. For more than a year the parish has ignored its payments to our revolving loan fund. Members and leaders who disagree with Fr. Hansen have felt intimidated and many left the parish. There are significant outstanding bills and the electric company had sent the parish a shut-off notice. We have not seized any funds of the parish, as you claim we have, and in the past week we have paid more than $20,000 in parish bills from diocesan resources - including $8,500 owed on Fr. Hansen's pension...
The Bishop also wrote a letter to St. John's, Bristol, which fills in a few more blanks;

...No one who came that day or since seeking access to St. John's on parish matters has been denied access to the building...We had no keys to the building and the locks were changed late in the afternoon to ensure the security of the property. Keys to the new locks have been issued to parishioners who have assumed responsibility for certain work already begun as part of the effort to rebuild St. John's life, mission and ministry...
I doubt very seriously that the presentment will go forward. But I have little doubt that the inhibition and deposition of Mark Hansen will.

I still have the nagging feeling that there's more to this story that we aren't hearing.


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