Briefly noted

June 13, 2006

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. In protest, the six pastors, who argue that the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality, sought oversight from another bishop and stopped sending financial support to their diocese.

Culminating a process to improve the school’s financial situation, the board of Central Baptist Theological Seminary voted May 12 to move to a suburban facility from its inner-city campus in Kansas City, Kansas. Lisa Wimberly Allen, the school’s dean and vice president for advancement, said that seminary officials hope to move in mid-summer. The new location is a church facility in Shawnee, Kansas, several miles southwest of the current campus. It will be the third site that the seminary, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, has occupied since its 1901 founding. Seminary president Molly Marshall, in announcing early this year the school’s intention to move, said the decision was largely financial: with a dozen buildings for only 130 students, the old campus is too large, and the buildings require $5 million in maintenance that has been deferred.