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January 10, 2004

To The Dear People of Saint Alban’s,

The past six months have been a difficult time for all of us as we have had to face the crisis in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion regarding human sexuality. In reality this issue is only a symptom of a deeper problem regarding the authority of the Bible and the place of Church tradition in the modern Church. I want to commend you for faithfully practicing our Rule of Life during this season of practicing the Four P’s of Prayer, Patience, Participation, and Proclamation, and for keeping St. Alban’s an alive and vibrant church during this season of unrest.

I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer serve the Lord as an Episcopal priest. It boils down to integrity, that I cannot knowingly violate my conscience. I cannot accept or abide by this new teaching of unChristian morality. In the words of Bishop Alexander, I can no longer embrace the “common life of the Episcopal Church.” So I must resign. My last day will be February 1 with the Annual Meeting of the Church. This will allow the vestry and the staff to properly close out and report to the parish on 2003, thus making it easier for those who succeed me to have a good record and accounting of our ministry in this place.

On February 8, I will become the rector of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville, a new Anglican church under the jurisdiction of Bishop Frank Lyons, Bishop of Bolivia, and Archbishop Greg Venerables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone. "I will at that time be an Anglican priest in good standing and will no longer be an Episcopal priest. Some of you will feel called to join me in this new adventure and some of you will not. Regardless, please know that you have my utmost respect and love. We have enjoyed a wonderful 12 years in this place, and I will always treasure our ministry together.

My thinking over the past year has gone something like this. At the Annual Meeting last year, I asked you to be praying for me as I shared some of the following concerns with you: the admittance into the diocese by the bishop of a priest with his same-sex partner to be a rector; the inclusion of non-celibate homosexual persons in the diocesan process to become priests; and the general non-Biblical tone of decisions which were being made. I began at that time exploring other options including moving to a diocese with an orthodox bishop, and I eventually turned down a call to be the rector of a parish in Charleston.

In August with the approval by General Convention of a non-celibate homosexual man to be a bishop and the local option regarding liturgies for the blessing of same unions, the Church brought its internal and immoral crisis to each one of us. I have spoken loudly against these actions without any “serious” thought to the future. After meeting with Bishop Alexander on December 2, it was clear to me that I could not remain under his leadership. It is not personal; I like him very much. It is spiritual and theological.

He and the rest of ECUSA’s leadership are teaching a Christianity that which is foreign to Biblical Christianity, and I cannot accept, teach, and placate that which the Church has always held to be immoral.

Since that time I have been wrestling with three options: 1) play ball with the bishop, which I cannot do; 2) lead a rebellion against the bishop which would mean several years of fruitless and unsuccessful court fights over property and assets; and 3) walk away from the church and start over. I believe God is leading me to walk away – walk away from my heritage (my grandparents and mother were Episcopalians), my personal history (10 years of my childhood and 24 years of ministry in the Episcopal Church), my love of our worship space, and 12 years of hard work and sacrifice at St. Alban’s.

As painful as this is, in the long-run I have received sound counsel and I believe that it will be the least painful for the people of St. Alban’s. I cannot insist that you agree with my decision, but I hope you can understand it and will pray for me and my family during this transition as we are committed to pray for you. I still plan to be involved in life of this community: I live here, my children go to school here, and we conduct our business here, but I will no longer be the rector of St. Alban’s. You will remain in my prayers as you make this transition as well.

To God be all praise and glory from this generation to next, and may Jesus Christ be praised forever. Amen.

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