CENTRAL FLORIDA: Diocese anticipates 'amicable separation' with Vero Beach parish

April 29, 2008

Diocese of Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe has written to members of Trinity Episcopal Church of Vero Beach, Florida, saying that "mediation has brought us to an agreement that can lead to an amicable separation" between the diocese and members of the parish.


At the January 25-26 diocesan convention, Howe said in his address that Trinity rector, the Rev. Canon Lorne Coyle, and a portion of the congregation were considering disaffiliation from the Episcopal Church.

In his April 23 letter to Trinity parishioners, Howe said that representatives of those who plan to leave as well as those who plan to stay met "all day" on April 22 with a professional mediator and agreed that those who wish to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church will do so as of July 1, 2008, organizing a new congregation elsewhere.

"The details of [the] mediation agreement must be ratified by both contingents: Trinity's present vestry on the one hand, and representatives to be elected by the continuing congregation at a meeting to be held in the Trinity Chapel on May 4 at 11 a.m.," Howe explained. "Upon such ratification by both contingents the details of [the] agreement will be made public."

According to the church's website, Trinity's first service was held October 24, 1926 at the Women's Club Building in Vero Beach. Today, Trinity is "a 1,200-member Church that underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2005 resulting in a larger church, new music facilities, new youth facilities, and an enlarged memorial garden and columbarium."

-- The Rev. Lisa B. Hamilton is Episcopal Life Media Correspondent for Provinces I and IV. She is based in Venice, Florida and Sandisfield, Massachusetts.

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