Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Episcopal Church vs. Armstrong

Ed Sealover, The Gazette's gov't reporter in Denver, has been covering this. He'll have a full story for the paper and our web site soon.

Here's a condensed version from the AP wire:

DENVER — An Episcopal church court issued a preliminary ruling that the leader of a breakaway church is guilty of financial misconduct, officials said today.

The Rev. Donald Armstrong of Colorado Springs faces internal allegations including theft and tax fraud. The ruling was made Aug. 2 and released today.

Both Armstrong and Colorado bishop Robert O’Neill have 30 days to respond to the preliminary ruling. The court will then issue a final judgment along with recommendations for a sentence.

Diocese spokeswoman Beckett Stokes declined comment.

Armstrong has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer, Dennis Hartley, has called the process a “witch hunt.”

Armstrong, the rector of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s parish in Colorado Springs and now a member of a conservative Anglican diocese, is accused of having the church pay him $392,409 between 1999 and 2006 without authorization of the church vestry.

Church lawyers allege the money was used for personal expenses for his wife and family and were covered up by “false and misleading” entries that Armstrong told the church’s bookkeeper to use.

Armstrong and his lawyer boycotted a church court hearing last week, saying that Armstrong is no longer under O’Neill’s authority.

There's lightweight sportswear and then there's THIS

It's so weird, I have to share:

From the AP: FREDERICK, Colo. — A Catholic priest faces an indecent exposure charge after police said he went jogging in the nude about an hour before sunrise.

The Rev. Robert Whipkey told officers he had been running naked at a high school track and didn’t think anyone would be around at that time of day, a police report said.

He told officers he sweats profusely if he wears clothing while jogging. “I know what I did was wrong,” he said in the report.

Whipkey did not return phone messages. His attorney, Doug Tisdale, told the Longmont Times-Call that Whipkey had no comment.

Whipkey, 53, was arrested June 22 in this small town about 20 miles north of Denver. An officer said he saw a naked man walking down the street at 4:35 a.m. The U.S. Naval Observatory Web site said sunrise that day in Frederick was 5:31 a.m.

The officer said when he shined his flashlight at the man, he covered himself with a piece of clothing he was carrying.

The Archdiocese of Denver said it takes the incident seriously but is awaiting the outcome of the case. Whipkey, who also officiates at parishes in the nearby towns of Mead and Erie, remains an active priest.

If convicted of indecent exposure, a misdemeanor, he would have to register as a sex offender, prosecutors said.