The associate priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ga., has resigned following a board decision to withhold money it pays to the diocese of Atlanta in protest of the election of an openly gay Episcopal bishop. In a resignation letter to Trinity rector Tom Jones, the Reverend Ruth Cummings said that although she has enjoyed her working relationship with Jones, she now mistrusts him "regarding the conservative and schismatic direction in which you appear to be taking Trinity."
Cummings and Jones disagree about the theological, biblical, and political issues surrounding homosexuality, which has become a recent centerpiece issue at Trinity as well as the national church following the denomination's confirmation of the openly gay reverend V. Gene Robinson as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire. After Atlanta diocese bishop J. Neil Alexander and the diocesan deputies voted to ratify Robinson's election in August, the board of Trinity Episcopal Church voted 6-4 to temporarily withhold its $80,000 annual pledge to the diocese. It is the only one of the 94 parishes in the diocese to do so, according to the diocese.