Originally published on Advocate.com August 15 2003 11:00 PM ET
With the official flag of the Episcopal Church flying at half-staff at St. Albans Episcopal Church in McCook, Neb., parishioners there were told last week by their minister that they could leave the church to protest the recent confirmation of an openly gay bishop. The suggestion was one of four presented in a letter from the Reverend Samuel R. Williams and sent to St. Albans parishioners. Other suggestions included staying involved in the Episcopal Church, remaining members of the church but reducing financial support, or leaving the Episcopal Church to join a breakaway Anglican church. The letter came as a result of the Episcopal Church's election of the Reverend V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay clergyman, as bishop of New Hampshire. St. Albans is one of many churches across the country considering a break with the Episcopal Church USA because of the vote.
The flag on the west lawn at St. Albans--a McCook landmark since 1883--also was lowered to half-staff following that vote. "The church has erred grievously," Williams said.
In his letter Williams said the Bible speaks clearly against homosexuality. "I will remain at St. Albans, but I will not bless homosexual unions or support practicing homosexuals for ordination no matter what the national church or, for that matter, the diocese does," Williams wrote.