Originally published on Advocate.com November 22 2003 1:00 AM ET
A Cleveland Episcopal priest has resigned because of the church's election of an openly gay bishop. William Tumbleson, 63, a retired cleric who believes Scripture forbids homosexual activity, renounced his priestly orders last month after joining St. Theodosius Orthodox Cathedral in September. "I don't ever say I've left the Episcopal Church," he said. "I just say the Episcopal Church has left me."
The election and consecration of the openly gay V. Gene Robinson as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire has sparked national controversy within the church. The Reverend R. James Tasker, pastor of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village, Ohio, said that leaders in about 10 churches in the Ohio diocese are seriously opposed to Robinson's consecration.
Tumbleson said Robinson's election was "the last straw" for him. He said his decision to quit was painful after 24 years in the clergy. Ordained in 1979, Tumbleson came to northeast Ohio in 1988. He retired in 2001 but continued to fill in at local churches. Tumbleson hasn't decided whether he will pursue ordination in the Orthodox Church. "It's been doing the same thing for 2,000 years, and it's not going to change," he said. "It's not going to go along with the world. To me, that's refreshing."