Six Episcopal priests from Connecticut have criticized Anglican leaders for refusing to hear their petition against a liberal U.S. bishop until all civil litigation between the parties is settled. The priests said their “congregations were shocked and gravely disappointed” to learn May 16 that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and a dispute-resolution panel refused to hear their appeals at this time. The conservative pastors, known as the “Connecticut Six,” say they have “extreme theological disputes” with their bishop, Andrew Smith. Those disputes have led to legal tussles over church property, personnel and money. The archbishop of Canterbury’s 13-member Panel of Reference was created more than ten months ago to settle conflicts within dioceses. The turmoil between the parties began when Smith supported the 2003 election of openly gay bishop V. Eugene Robinson in New Hampshire.