Eighty percent of eligible voting members of St. Timothy’s Church in Catonsville, Maryland, voted Feb. 10 to leave the Episcopal Church and 76 percent voted to join the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The vote followed several months of discernment. Eighty of the parish’s 100 members attended the meeting, and 55 were eligible to vote. Six eligible members abstained from voting.
The Rev. Scott Slater, canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and the Rev. Scott Hurd, vicar general for the Ordinariate in the United States, witnessed the voting.
“This has been a thoughtful, prayerful and respectful process,” Slater said. “While the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is saddened when any of its members leaves one of its parishes, we rejoice that several members of St. Timothy’s have found a new spiritual home and we wish God’s blessing on them.”
“This has been a long process of discernment, guided by the Holy Spirit,” said the Rev. Terry Sweeney, rector of St. Timothy’s. “I am grateful for the gift of faith nurtured within the Episcopal Church” and for the parish’s members becoming Roman Catholics “without losing the beauty of Anglican traditions.”
Sweeney will retire as an Episcopal priest on April 1, and the parish will identify its new location immediately after Easter.
Until then, two worship services will meet each Sunday at St. Timothy’s: one for Episcopalians at 9 a.m. and another for Ordinariate-bound members at 10:30.
“We welcome the members of St. Timothy who are making this faith journey,” Hurd said, “and thank the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland for being open to working with the community during this transition.”
Three other churches in the Baltimore and Washington region joined the Ordinariate in 2012. Mt. Calvary Church in Baltimore left the Diocese of Maryland and reached an amicable property settlement with the diocese. St. Luke’s Church in Bladensburg left the Diocese of Washington. St. Luke’s and the diocese agreed to a lease that includes a purchase option. Christ the King Anglican Church in Towson was not a congregation of the Episcopal Church and owned its property.