O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Bishop Lee, who has no jurisdiction over clergy in another Anglican province, attempts to scare other clergy in his own diocese. “You’ll be next!’ He also apparently declares, by this action, that he is no longer in communion with the Anglican Church of Uganda and the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

August 2, 2007

Yesterday, in an official act observed by two presbyters of The Diocese of Virginia and with the advice and consent of the diocesan Standing Committee, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee took the required canonical action to remove from the priesthood clergy inhibited by him on January 22, 2007. Those clergy were inhibited following a determination by the diocesan Standing Committee January 18 that they had abandoned the Communion of The Episcopal Church. The possibility of such a determination was explained by the Bishop in a December 1, 2006 letter to the clergy and leadership of the now-former Episcopal congregations. By this action, the former Episcopal clergy are “released from the obligations of Priest or Deacon and … deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in Ordination.”

In addition to losing their capacity to officiate in Episcopal churches or in any manner as Episcopal priests, the former Episcopal clergy lose their capacity to contribute to pension plans begun during their time as Episcopal priests and any other benefits of service as Episcopal priests or employees of Episcopal churches or institutions. Pension benefits accrued to this point will remain payable.

Those removed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church are:

The Rev. Robin Adams
The Rev. George Beaven
The Rev. Mark Brown
The Rev. Marshall Brown
The Rev. Neal Brown
The Rev. Jeffrey Cerar
The Rev. Kathleen Christopher
The Rev. Richard Crocker
The Rev. Ramsey Gilchrist
The Rev. Jack Grubbs
The Rev. John Guernsey
The Rev. David Harper
The Rev. David N. Jones
The Rev. Marion D. Lucas III
The Rev. Herbert McMullan
The Rec. Clancy Nixon
The Rev. Robin Rauh
The Rev. Valerie Whitcomb
The Rev. Elijah White
The Rev. Frederick M. Wright
The Rev. John W. Yates II

Of the 21 clergy determined to have abandoned the Communion of The Episcopal Church and subsequently inhibited by Bishop Lee in January, only one has made a good faith retraction and has had his inhibition lifted. The Rev. Nicholas Lubelfeld “has declared his loyalty to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church” wrote Bishop Lee in the notice lifting Mr. Lubelfeld’s inhibition. Mr. Lubelfeld has accepted a call to serve as priest associate of Church of Our Redeemer in Aldie, Va., serving under the supervision of the Rev. John Sheehan, rector of that church.

In making his retraction, Mr. Lubelfeld sent a letter to Bishop Lee dated June 30 in which he states his “intention to remain a member of The Episcopal Church and of the clergy of The Diocese of Virginia.” In that letter he also states, “I did not and do not intend to renounce or be disloyal to the doctrine, discipline or worship of Christ as The Episcopal Church has received them.” He further states “I have not sought or received admission into any religious body not in communion with The Episcopal Church, or in any way severed my ties with The Episcopal Church.”