Darien's St. Paul's settles lawsuit, to move forward in new location

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien.

St. Paul’s Church in Darien has settled its previous lawsuits between parishioners and church leadership and will relocate from its Mansfield Avenue home.

The vestry and wardens of the Parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and the Directors of St. Paul’s-Darien Foundation, Inc., recently announced the end of all litigation with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and The Episcopal Church. All parties have withdrawn their respective pending civil actions in both the Connecticut Appellate Court and the Superior Court. The parties’ settlement agreement and release of claims was reached after a vigorous and sometimes thorny mediation conducted between Nov. 6 and Dec. 10, 2019, by Judge Terence A. Zemetis, according to a jointly released press release.

St. Paul’s will now continue as an autonomous non-denominational Christian church and will soon complete its reorganization.

The two independent St. Paul’s entities are now free to fully pursue their respective missions. St. Paul’s-Darien Foundation, Inc., a long-time benefactor of the Parish, will soon have a new name in recognition of its continuing role in support of a new St. Paul’s Church and the foundation’s well-established global outreach programs.

Both organizations are moving forward together under the continued direction of their members and leadership, as the new St. Paul’s Church which will no longer be located on its former Mansfield Avenue property. In addition, to the issues surrounding property ownership, the immediate need to effect extensive, costly structural repairs to the church building, which has fallen into great disrepair due to its disuse for over a year, are daunting. Moreover, the remediation of reported, unconfirmed, environmental hazards reportedly existing in the church building further support the decision to relocate the new church.

An attempt by former parish leaders to seize control of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was thrown out of court in July. On July 2, Connecticut Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit that sought to have the property of St. Paul’s relinquished to the control of estranged former wardens and vestry members. The court’s decision stated the accusers had failed to present facts sufficient to invoke the court to try and wrest control of the property.

The dismissal marks the second failed lawsuit brought forward by former church members since April.

Tensions at the church began late in 2017 after allegations that the church’s then-newly hired rector, George Kovoor, had obtained his position with falsified credentials.

“With the settlement now complete, a new independent St. Paul’s Church will emerge, free to focus on our historic mission to “Know Christ & Make Him Known.” We are eager to embrace a second Miracle in Darien and beyond. “A people named St. Paul’s” will continue as before - devoted to expanding God’s Kingdom by bringing souls into an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” according to church leaders.