The most contentious of the issues, of course, was the nomination of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest who had been living with another man for 14 years, to be the bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. For the 107 bishops in attendance, their vote on his confirmation would be the most scrutinized of their careers. And, based on Peter Lee's record, there seemed little doubt about where he would come down.Read more
I still remember the excitement that filled the Cathedral last May when
you were elected the Eleventh Bishop of New Jersey, and I believe that
it was indeed your sincere desire to be the Bishop of all Episcopalians
in this Diocese. However, your actions since General Convention, I
believe, make this vital objective impossible.
This was the largest gathering of a group called the Seacoast Mission
Fellowship (SMF), which is holding Bible studies in private homes and
providing community for Episcopalians who believe Scripture condemns
Robinson's active relationship with his male partner of 14 years.
Winterrowd, who is retiring Dec. 31, said he went into August's General
Convention of the Episcopal Church USA intending to vote against the
election of Gene Robinson as New Hampshire bishop.
His rationale: Robinson's election would fly in the face of the
church's desire to delay setting policy on blessing same-sex unions.
But Winterrowd said he became convinced that each diocese had the right
to elect its own bishop.
Citing the findings from a just-completed national survey of 2033
adults that showed only 4% of adults have a biblical worldview as the
basis of t heir decision-making, researcher George Barna described the
outcome. "If Jesus Christ came to this planet as a model of how we
ought to live, then our goal should be to act like Jesus. Sadly, few
people consistently demonstrate the love, obedience and priorities of
Between March 2002, when the news of the scandals broke, and February
2003, weekly church attendance among Catholics fell nine percentage
points to 35%, the lowest measurement since Gallup began asking the
question in 1955. By November 2003*, however, the figure had climbed 10
percentage points to 45%. Protestants' levels of church attendance,
meanwhile, remained fairly stable during this same period.
"Our people believe that they really have not become disaffected, but
rather they have adhered to the faith and tradition that's always been
there. They're continuing that and their feeling is that the church
they once knew and attended has left them," said Bishop John Hamers,
who is leading worshipers at the new church.
Over the past three years, while attention has focused on Israeli and
Palestinian casualties of the current war, at least one hundred
Christians who live in areas ruled by the Palestinian Authority have
been arrested and imprisoned for holding church services or conducting
public Christian practices without authorization.
Despite the closure, the priest at Holy Cross, the Rev. James Wagner,
vowed yesterday to celebrate mass on Christmas Day with parishioners.
"As far as the diocese is concerned we do not exist. We are a non-
entity," Mr. Wagner said yesterday. "But I will not abandon these
people. I will continue to pastor and pray for them in the midst of
He said the decision to close the church was a surprise because "it's
so close to Christmas."
His approval and consecration, and the ensuing threats of schism in the
U. S. church and the wider Anglican Communion, were collectively cited
as the top religion news story of 2003 -- a ranking shared with
criticism of the Anglican bishop of Vancouver, British Columbia, who
approved same-sex unions.
On the Mainline
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