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New Anglican parish in Livonia, Michigan

January 9th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

MICHIGAN: First Orthodox Parish leaves Liberal Diocese (virtueonline.org)

LIVONIA, MI (1/8/2006)–The priest and parishioners of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Michigan, got thrown out of their property, when the bishop, the Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., told the Rev. Allen Kannapell, 36, on Saturday, that he had to vacate his church before Sunday morning services.

This is the first orthodox parish in the Diocese to leave the Episcopal Church over biblical authority and moral relativism. The priest said he was looking for alternative episcopal oversight, but the bishop rejected the idea.

When asked what prompted him to leave the Episcopal Church, Fr. Kannapell said it was the prevailing issues of Biblical authority, the gospel of transformation not inclusion; repentance and new life rather than blessing the old life.

“Bishop Gibbs gave me a chance to renounce my orders. I refused. I told him I was made a priest, and still a priest, but I can’t be under your authority. He said if you don’t renounce your orders I will inhibit you immediately. I refused. He then signed a letter of inhibition.”

We asked if we could negotiate for the property, but the bishop said no, Kannapell told VirtueOnline.

“Basically I was inhibited for seeking adequate episcopal oversight. We had discussed Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) and the bishop had offered it, but we deemed it inadequate because the bishop retained spiritual leadership and authority over the parish. It was not personal, he had everything to do with his leadership.”

On Sunday morning the parishioners of St. Andrew’s met at a local Holiday Inn. Some 190 of the church’s 400 parishioners showed up. Average Sunday attendance is about 200, Fr. Kannapell told VirtueOnline.

Asked why he did not fight to keep the property, Fr. Kannapell said that under Michigan law, the Dennis Canon would have prevailed. He didn’t see how he could win. “We walked away rather than fight,” he said.

Fr. Kannapell said the majority of the church and vestry was unanimous in leaving. The priest had been at the church over three years. Fr. Kannapell has a wife and three small children they are home-schooling.

Their new website can be found at: www.standrewsministry.org.

One minor quibble with the story — the lead paragraph makes it sound as if the entire parish was barred from the property, when really only Rev. Kannapell is barred due to his inhibition by Bishop +Gibbs.

Not that that matters.

Please pray for us. We had an excellent beginning this morning — 190 people! I’m still in shock at that number. We even had a baptism today, which was a beautiful way to inagurate a new parish

Of course, there’s a lot of work yet to do. And if you happen to be anywhere near the Holiday Inn in Livonia next Sunday morning at 10:30, please come and worship with us!

UPDATE: Thanks to Mark Shea, Amy Welborn, and Chris Johnson for the links, and to Dale Price for spreading the word.

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