Contact: Karin Hamilton, Director for Communication & Media
860-233-4481 or home: 860-434-0087 or cell: 860-608-6969 email:
This morning, the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese
of Connecticut, inhibited the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in
Bristol, the Rev. Mark H. Hansen, removing him from that office, and
appointed the Rev. Susan J. McCone to serve as priest-in-charge of the
parish, effective immediately.
In March, Fr. Hansen announced to his parish that he would be taking
sabbatical for an unspecified period of time. Although Episcopal priests in
the Diocese of Connecticut formally apply for sabbatical, Fr. Hansen
neglected to notify Bishop Smith of his departure as rector of the parish.
In recent months, the bishop has become increasingly concerned for St.
John’s well-being as a full and healthy member parish of the Episcopal
Diocese of Connecticut.
“I am concerned for the life and ministry of St. John’s,” said Bishop
Smith. “In the past few months Fr. Hansen has made decisions that left the
parish without sustained clergy leadership.”
A letter formally inhibiting the Rev. Mark H. Hansen, St. John’s rector,
was delivered by Bishop Smith to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol.
The Bishop was accompanied by the diocesan Canon for Stewardship and
Administration, John ("Jack") W. Spaeth III, the Rev. Susan J. McCone, and
Mr. Ed Seibert, who will provide administrative assistance. Fr. Hansen was
not at the church or rectory; the bishop has not been notified of an
In April, the diocesan Standing Committee, a council of advice for the
bishop with specific responsibilities for clergy, recommended that Fr.
Hansen be inhibited for abandoning the communion of the
church. “Inhibition” means that the Fr. Hansen may not exercise the
privileges of ordained ministry in the Diocese for a period up to six
months. If before six months is over, the bishop is satisfied that he has
returned to the communion of the church, the inhibition will be lifted
(removed). If after six months the bishop does not believe Fr. Hansen has
returned to the communion of the church, the bishop may depose him,
permanently removing the privileges of ordained ministry in this and all
other dioceses of the Episcopal Church.
Bishop Smith has appointed the Rev. Susan J. McCone as priest-in-charge of
the parish, effective immediately. She now has the responsibility for the
worship, ministry, mission, and property, under the bishop’s direction. Ed
Seibert, an administrative and financial consultant, has been asked to
assist in parish administration and to review parish records. The bishop
will provide pastoral counselors who will be available to meet with and
listen to members of the parish who may wish to speak with them.
A letter is being sent today to the members of St. John’s, notifying them
of these events and inviting them to a special meeting with Bishop Smith on
Sunday evening, July 17. That meeting will be open only to members of St.
John’s Episcopal Church, Bristol, and closed to the media and non-members
of the parish.