Episcopal priests in Kentucky denounce Robinson
February 24 2004 1:00 AM ET
Five Episcopal priests are bringing a resolution to the annual convention of the diocese of Lexington, Ky., that criticizes the national denomination for ordaining its first openly gay bishop and permitting blessings of same-sex couples. The resolution, signed by priests from Ashland, Frankfort, Versailles, Maysville, and Fort Thomas, says the ordination of Lexington native V. Gene Robinson is "contrary to the historic Christian teaching" and "the overwhelming consensus" of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions.
The sponsors say they're trying to express dissatisfaction, not to destroy the 8,900-member diocese that spans central and eastern Kentucky. "Rather than split, we want to try to find amicable ways of working together," said the Reverend Mann S. Valentine VI of Calvary Episcopal Church in Ashland. "We want to see a resolution come to this that is loving and caring for all people concerned."
Bishop Stacy Sauls and Lexington diocesan deputies who voted for Robinson at the national convention are standing by their decision. "It's a moral question as well as civil rights," said the Reverend J. Joseph
Pennington of Trinity Episcopal Church in Covington. "We ought to be a pastoral church that welcomes all of God's sons and daughters."
The diocese's 108th convention takes place this week. At the neighboring diocese of Kentucky's annual convention in Owensboro, four of 38 churches plan to propose that the diocese disassociate itself from the vote and oppose same-sex marriage. Displeased parishes across the state are also redirecting their pledges from the diocese to other charities. Six of the Lexington diocese's 39 congregations are withholding a total of about $110,000 from the diocese, citing conscientious objections to the church hierarchy's decisions.