Major New England Parish Votes To Withhold: Bishop Calls for Special Meeting to "Revisit" Decision
At the annual meeting of Three Saint Church in Ansonia, CT, parishioners voted for the parish to withhold its assessments from the national church, placing them instead in an escrow account until
a) a full investigation into all charges has been completed;
b) a full report is issued to the "entire body of believers"; and
c) appropriate actions have been taken to adopt "Best Practices" for the future.
The motion carried without opposition.
In a note to all parishioners today, the parish stated: "For quite sometime there has been a controversy regarding the finances of the O.C.A. Lawyers and accountants have been hired to determine what improprieties has taken place and who was responsible for the financial crisis. A request was also included in the motion for the investigators' results to be fully disclosed to the entire body of believers. Following the receipt of such information, the assessments due would be forwarded to the O.C.A. Funds due to the Diocese of New England would not be affected."
The parish's action caused an immediate response from Bishop Nikon. In the same note to the parish cited above, parishioners were informed that:
"After the meeting, the following notice was received from His Grace, Bishop NIKON to be conveyed to the Parish Council and the faithful of Three Saints Church:
'Their action at today's Annual Meeting, Sunday, January 27, 2008 regarding the withholding of assessments to the National Church is contrary to our Diocesan authorities, and indicates mistrust of our Diocesan Council that already has the authority to withhold funds, for which your delegates voted in 2006. In recognition of the emotional depth of this issue, His Grace has called for the convening of a Parish Meeting on Sunday, February 24 at 11 am, at which he will be present. The singular item for this special meeting is to revisit the action taken today regarding withholding of OCA assessments to reconsider all the ramifications of this decision. His Grace will also preside at the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 9am, prior to the meeting."
The parish called on all to attend the special meeting as it "...is an opportunity to ask questions and express views regarding the OCA financial crisis."
- Mark Stokoe