Bishop Seabury Church in Groton, Conn., counts itself among the "Connecticut Six," some of the first Episcopal churches in the country to break with their diocese over fidelity to Scripture and the ordination of gay clergy. The church voted itself out of The Episcopal Church (TEC) after Connecticut Bishop Andrew Smith endorsed the 2003 consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly partnered homosexual. It joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a mission of the conservative Anglican Church of Nigeria.
Early this month the Episcopal diocese announced it had suspended Bishop Seabury's priest, Ronald Gauss, and on May 7 served Gauss and 12 former and current church leaders with a lawsuit. TEC claims that the property of the 780-member church belongs to the diocese and that by voting itself out of the diocese the church has vacated all property rights. The diocese also installed David Cannon as its "priest-in-charge" at Bishop Seabury. But when Cannon arrived to take over, he found Bishop Seabury's doors locked.