Following the annual congregational meeting on January 6, the rector, staff, lay leadership, and most of the members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Winchester, TN walked away from the historical building on First Avenue, N.W. in order to form Christ the King Anglican Church, a new Anglican congregation in Winchester.
At Sunday’s meeting, the Rev. William Midgett, Trinity’s rector since 2001, submitted his resignation and announced his disaffiliation from the Episcopal Church. Trinity’s other paid staff and the eight-member vestry followed suit.
“The present conflict in the Episcopal Church boils down to choosing between two gospels. These two gospels, one true and one false, are not allowed to co-exist within the body of Christ,” said the Rev. Midgett. Such is the conviction of the former rector and members that they will walk away from the property and financial assets of Trinity Church and begin anew.
Trinity’s congregation was founded in 1859. Several generations of Franklin County Christians have worshiped at the present location since 1876. “The decision to leave the Episcopal Church and the property has been extremely difficult, said the Rev. Midgett. “Many members of our congregation have been Episcopalians all of their lives. Some of our parishioners have worshiped at Trinity for over 50 years. Yet they have chosen to follow the traditional teachings of Christ. It has become impossible to remain true to both the gospel and to the Episcopal Church as it is presently constituted.”
Trinity Episcopal Church is located in the Diocese of Tennessee approximately 90 miles from Nashville. Trinity had an ASA of 118 in 2006. 90 former members of Trinity attended a worship service and light supper at the new home of Christ the King Anglican Church on Sunday evening. While the parish did not take a formal vote, it is expected that about 100 individuals will join the new Anglican congregation.
Christ the King Anglican Church will affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). CANA is a new, rapidly growing Anglican missionary effort in the U.S. sponsored by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). CANA is based in Fairfax, VA and is led by Bishop Martyn Minns, a former Episcopal priest. CANA numbers about 60 congregations and over 100 clergy in twenty states, with a total average Sunday attendance of approximately 8,600.
“We are grateful that the Anglican Church of Nigeria has reached out to traditional Anglican Christians in the U.S.”, said the Rev. Midgett. “Our association with the worldwide Anglican Communion is an integral part of our identity.”
Christ the King Anglican Church will worship and have offices at the former V.R. Williams Insurance office building in Winchester.
There are two previously existing CANA congregations in middle Tennessee: St. Patrick’s in Smyrna and the Anglican Fellowship of Middle Tennessee in Tullahoma.
Another Episcopal congregation in the Diocese of Tennessee also departed TEC on January 6. The Vicar and most of the members of Holy Cross, Murfreesboro, TN have formed Faith Anglican Fellowship, affiliated with the Anglican Church of Uganda.