Trouble in St Mary of the Angels Parish (ACA)
April 11, 2012 26 Comments
According to Virtue Online the IRS has threatened to seize St Mary’s of the Angels Property in Hollywood because financial improprieties:
The priest of St. Mary of the Angels church in Hollywood, Fr. Christopher Kelley has been inhibited by Bishop Stephen D. Strawn of the Anglican Church of America (ACA) Diocese of the West on multiple charges of financial mismanagement and “conduct unbecoming a priest.”
A source has told VOL that Fr. Kelley would not comply with the inhibition “because God told me” and because he does not recognize Bishop Strawn as his bishop.
Kelley told VOL that Bishop Louis Falk is his bishop. Falk is the former Primate of the Anglican Church in America and is Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the Missouri Valley.
St Mary of the Angels has had no budget for the past 2-3 years and a several church checks have bounced leading to the charges of financial mismanagement. Allegedly, there are also unpaid taxes to the IRS.
The unpaid tax matter is now in the hands of the Civil Courts who will determine in the coming days the final outcome of the parish and Fr. Kelley’s position. (St. Mary of the Angels Los Angeles was one of the first continuing Anglican parishes of the 1970s).
Notice of Inhibition documents were delivered Tuesday to Fr. Kelley by the Canon to the Ordinary and signed by The Rt. Rev. Stephen D. Strawn, Bishop of the Missouri Valley, Episcopal Visitor to the Diocese of the West.
“WE, Stephen Duane Strawn, by Divine Permission Episcopal Visitor of the See of the West within the Anglican Church in American did on the 2nd Day of April, in the Year of Our Lord 2012, with the Counsel and Advice of the Standing Committee did INHIBIT the Rev. Fr. Christopher Kelley …”.
The document says that Fr. Kelley must vacate the premises within 48 hours after receiving the letter and may not contact members of St. Mary’s of the Angels ACA in Hollywood in person, by mail, or by electronic means.
“This order is in violation of California civil codes, as the LAPD officers who responded to my call, explained. It is also a clear violation of my First Amendment Rights,” Kelley told VOL.
The parish has also sought and applied to join the Ordinariate. but all parties say this has nothing to do with the present state of affairs that now exists in the parish with the rector. The Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of the West said that the Patrimony of the Primate was dissolved on January 1, 2012 with the establishment of the Ordinariate. Those parishes like St. Mary’s that did not vote to leave the ACA and the Traditional Anglican Communion have gone back under the authority of their geographical dioceses until they are received into the Ordinariate.
(Then Archbishop Louis Falk reported at the meeting of the ACA bishops in Tucson — over which he presided — that the bishops passed a resolution on the Patrimony stating that it would continue to exist until its function had been fulfilled, and all who wished to to make the transition to the Ordinariate had had opportunity to do so.)
Kelley branded as “false and lies” that he refused to allow anybody to see the letters from the IRS or the Treasurer and that he misappropriated funds, and refused to share auditing information. “What grounds do they have for charging me with ‘conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy’?” Kelley added he has been in the parish for five years.
A source said ACA leaders have received complaints from parishioners one of which was that Kelley would go around telling people that there are devils in the eyes of a painting worth $35,000 because the eyes were devils. Kelley described this as “total rubbish.” Fr. Kelley is a staunch Anglo-Catholic…
Rest here, and its messy.
The St Marys of the Angels website is here. It’s a smart site, and they seem like a well organised lot.
On the blog there, the Rector, Fr Christopher Kelley, writes in an Official Statement - which David Virtue doesn’t seem to (but should have) mention(ed):
We are very disappointed that a coup has been attempted by a small handful of dissidents who adamantly oppose St. Mary’s joining the Ordinariate. They apparently decided to try to thwart the will of the vast majority of parishioners, and they tried to physically take over the parish.
St. Mary’s is a free-standing legal corporation under California law. During the entire history of the Anglican Continuum, parishes have been free to come and go as they please, and many have changed jurisdictions, not just St. Mary’s.
Bishop Strawn’s “inhibition” of Fr. Kelley, and Canon Morello’s appointment of any officers is invalid, as they have no legal authority over St. Mary’s. The Patrimony of the Primate continues so long as there exist Anglicans who may formally contemplate transition to the Ordinariate. (It did not expire January 1, 2012.)
Some were used by people who have a larger agenda and are trying to exercise power and authority they do not possess. This whole brouhaha has been a distraction to the majority of parishioners and visitors who just want to attend church and worship the Lord, and not get involved in the power trips and self-serving political ambitions and machinations of a few. All parish funds were and are presently properly handled and accounted for at the parish banks.
They formed a front in matters not clearly understood by them, and without benefit of involvement in the long history of St. Mary’s finding the most appropriate larger ecclesiastical home in which to practice the Catholic faith.
We continue as before in the Lord’s service.
Prayerfully in Christ,
Chairman of the Board, President, & Rector
Fr. Christopher P. Kelley +
St. Mary of the Angels
So, it’s all about them wanting to join the Ordinariate then? Could it be? We’ll have to see.
One thing is for sure, they’ll be doing their own thing, regardless of what the ACA Bishops think, say, or do…