Following the lead set by the Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ga., last week, which voted 6-4 to
suspend the $7,000 it contributes to the Diocese of Atlanta each month, other Episcopal churches around the nation are now withholding donations to church leaders in protest of the confirmation of openly gay reverend V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. In Catonsville, Md., the Reverend Steven Randall of St. Timothy's Church said his congregation would no longer send its monthly $5,000 pledge to the Diocese of Maryland, whose bishop, Robert Ihloff, voted to confirm Robinson. Bishop Stephen Jecko of Florida, who opposed Robinson's confirmation, has instructed his diocesan treasurer to hold funds from the national office in escrow until the diocese decides how the money should be used. The Florida diocese had planned to send about $200,000 to the national office this year in monthly installments, diocesan treasurer Becky Peeples said.
At least 52 congregations in 20 states, including 320 priests and 16 bishops, have endorsed an online protest petition. Part of the money parishes send to their dioceses is forwarded to the national church office.