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DARIEN, CT: Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Seizes St. Paul's Building and Assets

DARIEN, CT: Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Seizes St. Paul's Building and Assets
Locks changed, 200 parishioners barred from worship
Bishop sides with priest against parishioners who want him gone

By David W. Virtue, DD
October 30, 2018

The Bishop of Connecticut, Ian T. Douglas, stormed into St. Paul's, Darien, a nationally recognized flagship charismatic Episcopal parish, and without prior notice or request by the wardens and vestry, performed a religious service before a handful of people. He then proclaimed that he owned the historic parish church building and all its assets and changed the locks on all the church's buildings, barring the 200 parishioners.

A press release from the parish said the bishop's conduct is an apparent attempt to bring an immediate end to pending litigation in the Superior Court scheduled to proceed before Judge Alex V. Hernandez on November 19. The parish seeks to prevent the Rev. George I. Kovoor and the bishop from engaging in that very conduct.

Parish officials and church members say they are being prevented from rendering community outreach services to diverse, underserved populations in Stamford and Norwalk at a time of year when those services are needed most. They also say the action of the bishop stopped them from allowing use of their buildings to community groups. Access to parish records concerning important events in parishioners' lives are presently foreclosed, they say.

An Episcopal news report said the bishop officially terminated the relationship between St. Paul's parish because the church's elected lay leaders refused to participate in reconciliation efforts with its rector, the Rev. George Kovoor and the parishioners violated his "godly judgement" of last June that would have kept its rector in that position.

The civil complaint alleges that Kovoor made false representations as to his credentials which induced the parish to engage Kovoor to be its rector in October 2016 and, therefore, his contract as rector never came into existence and is void.

St. Paul's has directed its attorneys to seek emergency relief from the court for the duration of the present litigation and they are confident that Kovoor's representations will result in a final judgment in favor of the Parish.

Some 600 delegates of diocesan convention had previously passed a resolution placing St. Paul's under Douglas' direct and exclusive supervision and control by changing St. Paul's to a worshiping community. Douglas then appointed Kovoor to serve as St. Paul's priest-in-charge.

ADDITIONAL FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: The meeting that the bishop had with the “worshiping community” on Sunday had 18 people who were “invited” by Kovoor without prior notice or a warrant posted for two weeks as called for by the By-Laws. It was claimed by Kovoor that they were posted in advance but someone tore them down! Of the 18 people attending less than 8 were actual members of the congregation. The others were family members of Kovoor; the Bishop and staff member and invited warm bodies so their was an audience.


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