Bishop of Connecticut to Visit Seabury Church

The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, Bishop of Connecticut, wrote a letter to the clergy of that Diocese to let them know they would be receiving an invitation to the ordination to the priesthood of the Rev. Bill Hesse, in Bishop Seabury Church, Groton, and that the ordination will be celebrated with his permission.

Bishop Seabury Church is one of six congregations in the Diocese of Connecticut that has been in a dispute with the Bishop and the diocese since the consecration of the present Bishop of New Hampshire. The dispute included a law suit and ecclesiastical charges initiated by the congregations against Smith, both of which were recently dismissed.

The letter, which was sent electronically to subscribers of the For Clergy newsletters, also shared developments in the relationship between the congregation and clergy of Bishop Seabury Church, and Bishop Smith.

Also planned is an Episcopal Visitation by Smith at Bishop Seabury Church on Trinity Sunday, June 3rd, a meeting with the Vestry and another meeting with the entire congregation prior to the May 12th ordination.

Here is the letter:

The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

April 20, 2007

To the Clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I am writing to you in advance of your receiving an invitation to the Ordination to the Priesthood of the Rev. Bill Hesse, in Bishop Seabury Church, Groton, on Saturday, May 12, by the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, who will be acting for the Bishop of Pittsburgh.

First, I want you to know that the ordination will be celebrated with my permission. As I have in two other recent Connecticut ordinations by a visiting bishop, I intend to participate and will share in the ordaining.

Also, on Trinity Sunday, June 3, I will make a canonical Episcopal Visitation in Bishop Seabury Church. I will preside and preach as Bishop of the Diocese at the regular services of the parish that morning.

To prepare for these events, members of the Vestry and I will meet on Tuesday evening, April 24. On Thursday evening of the next week, May 2, all members of Bishop Seabury Church have been invited to an open meeting with me. Our time together will include worship and discussion modeled on the two conversations I have had with the members of the Church of Christ and the Epiphany, East Haven.

I am very grateful to the Youth Group of Saint Peter’s Church, Hebron, and to the parish of Christ Church,Tashua, for changing commitments we had made, in order to make these arrangements possible.

As with every ordination in the Diocese, I encourage our clergy to be present, and to hold Bill Hesse in your prayers as he approaches May 12.

These plans have come together over these past weeks in an atmosphere of hope and respect. I am deeply heartened and grateful for the talks I have had with Father Gauss and Deacon Hesse as we have prepared for the four events. May the grace of Christ continue to flow abundantly. I ask you to hold our whole diocese in your prayers as we enter and explore a new day.

Yours in Christ,

The Right Reverend Andrew D. Smith

The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

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