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EASTERN MICHIGAN: 25 Outraged Episcopalians Blast Bishop

25 OUTRAGED EPISCOPALIANS BLAST EASTERN MICHIGAN BISHOP

Special Report

By David W. Virtue

SAGINAW, 7/19/2004--Twenty-five members of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan have written a letter to Bishop Ed Leidel blasting him for allowing a non-celibate homosexual supply priest to function in the diocese.

The 25 are members of the American Anglican Council of Mid-Michigan.

In their letter to the bishop they expressed outrage that the bishop's action went against the teachings of Scripture and assurances he made that he would not act in this manner.

"Despite being offensive to those of us who believe that such a relationship is completely contrary to Holy Scripture, it is in complete contradiction to assurances you have made to a number of congregations in meetings since last year’s convention," they wrote.

"Many congregants, us included, recall that you justified your vote on Bishop Robinson’s consecration on the narrow issue that it was what the people of New Hampshire wanted. You further went on to say that as long as you were Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan you would not allow a similar situation here. While we disagreed with your vote and stand, we have been trying to trust your word."

"Your assurances that you would not allow a non-celibate homosexual priest to serve in the diocese were an important factor in many of us waiting, at least until the Lambeth Commission reports to decide whether to leave or stay."

"Now we learn, through the St. Jude’s of Fenton newsletter that an acknowledged homosexual in a long-term relationship was permitted to serve in the diocese."

"It’s not that we are so concerned about who serves St. Jude’s, although in the global situation we are, but that your word apparently carries such little weight and conviction. This is the kind of issue that will probably lead to a request for Episcopal oversight in some congregations. And not the inadequate oversight offered at the House of Bishops."

"Can you blame us for feeling betrayed? Can you blame us for seeking outside oversight? And can you blame us for seeking a permanent re-alignment?"

The 25 signers then ripped into the bishop accusing him of double standards over sex. "I don’t think we need to remind you that you have taken strong actions against a male priest involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Apparently sexual sins only apply to heterosexuals in this diocese."

The signers said the diocesan news outlets have not followed through on their promises to
hear both sides and to encourage dialogue. "We notice that the weekly newsletter is not afraid to mention the Via Media group as often as they want."

"We find the situation as presented in St. Jude’s newsletter schismatic and at odds with the pleas of the Lambeth Commission that “both” sides not take actions that inflame or cause more division. The action at St. Jude’s is another finger in the eye of orthodox
Christians in this diocese, especially at the same time that the diocese is demanding tithes and obedience from orthodox parishes."

"We know that we have a profound and likely terminal disagreement between you, the diocese and isolated orthodox Anglicans within ECDM/EM, but we should at least be able to deal honestly with each other," they asked.

The bishop did not respond.

In other diocesan news, three orthodox Flint River Convocation (Deanery) rectors have resigned from their parishes and three other orthodox rectors are weighing their futures in The Episcopal Church. The resignation of the three priests represent a third of the deanery priests.

The three rectors resigned, angry and disappointed by the church's consecration of V. Gene Robinson an openly homoerotic non-celibate bishop; the affirmation of same-sex blessings and other doctrinal innovations. One priest renounced his orders and has left the Episcopal Church.

The three priests are the Rev. Greg Tournoux, Christ Church, Owosso; the Rev. Dave Kulchar, Trinity Church, Flushing and the Rev. Scott Danforth, St. Dunstan’s, Davison, (East of Flint).

There departure will leave hundreds of parishioners rootless, without spiritual direction and nurture with a theologically and morally flawed liberal bishop who voted for Robinson's consecration and who favors same-sex blessings.

"It's a disaster," said one of the priests, "the bishop has no idea what he is doing. He just doesn't get it. This is a new diocese and he is its first bishop. He will probably be its last. There is no future here. No gospel is being proclaimed, and in time it will all die. The diocese was formed in the Nineties and it already has serious financial problems."

One church, St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, has been without a full-time priest since February. It has gone from nearly 200 members on the books to 60. Average attendance has dropped from more than 100 at two Sunday services to less than 30 at a single Sunday service.

NOTE: If you are not receiving this from VIRTUOSITY, the Anglican Communion's largest biblically orthodox Episcopal/Anglican Online News Service, then you may subscribe FREE by going to: www.virtuosityonline.org. Virtuosity's website has been accessed by more than two million readers in 45 countries on six continents. This story is copyrighted but may be forwarded electronically with reference to VIRTUOSITY and the author. No changes are permitted in the text.

END

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