Kentucky Episcopalians approve unity resolution

BY admin

March 01 2005 1:00 AM ET

Episcopalians in the diocese of Kentucky have approved a resolution designed to preserve unity in the aftermath of the ordination of an openly gay bishop.

The diocese also approved eight delegates on Saturday for the next General Convention in 2006 as it wrapped up its two-day annual convention, held at St. Francis in the Fields Church in eastern Jefferson County.

The actions marked the diocese's latest responses to the 2003 ordination of Kentucky native V. Gene Robinson as the bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire. Robinson was approved by the national General Convention, but conservatives in the diocese of Kentucky said they felt they were not represented because the diocese's entire slate of delegates had voted in favor of Robinson's ordination.

At least two of the delegates chosen Saturday are priests who have said they would not have voted for Robinson.

The resolution, meanwhile, expressed the diocese's commitment to the unity of the global Anglican Communion--of which the Episcopal Church is a part--and its intention to "refrain from further actions that would endanger" that unity. Some have interpreted unity as meaning they would not conduct services blessing same-sex unions or allow like-minded bishops from outside to intervene in the
diocese.

The resolution also expressed "sincere regret for the consequences" of the Robinson ordination. It was adapted from recommendations of an international Anglican report on the controversy last year. The resolution was proposed by leaders of the diocese of Kentucky's two largest parishes, which have opposite views on homosexuality.

One cosponsor, the Reverend Lucinda Laird, pastor of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, voted for Robinson. "I was proud to do it, and I would do it again," Laird said. "But I am saying that I regret the genuine pain felt by many as a result of this."

The Reverend Robin Jennings, pastor of St. Francis in the Fields, said he opposed Robinson's ordination but lamented a "destructive" trend of Episcopalians leaving their parishes for congregations that more closely reflect their views on homosexuality.

The eight delegates elected for next year's national convention included the Reverend Mark Linder of Bowling Green and the Reverend Pat Connell of Owensboro, both of whom have said they would not have voted for Robinson.

Also elected were the Reverend Libby Wade of Paducah; the Reverend David Simmons of Murray; Lana Goodwin of Brandenburg; and Debbi Rodahaffer, Lillian Yeager, and Sam Dorr of Louisville. Though Dorr, director of operations for Christ Church Cathedral, said he approved of Robinson's ministry, not all delegates indicated how they would vote on such issues.

Leaders of conservative Anglican provinces worldwide have protested Robinson's ordination, and the breach widened last week when church leaders asked the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada to withdraw from a key Anglican council. The Canadian church has moved toward allowing same-sex unions.

The diocese of Kentucky covers the state's central and western regions, including Louisville, and has 10,298 members. The state's other diocese, based in Lexington, has 8,913 members. (AP)

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