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Saturday, July 07, 2007

New York Times covers Bristol Episcopal controversy

“I’m ashamed to be an Episcopalian,” said Father Helmandollar, who has a certificate in Anglican studies from Yale Divinity School and two master’s degrees. He said he grew up the youngest of seven children in West Virginia coal country, and lived on the streets for two years after dropping out of ninth grade. A father of three, he spent 20 years in the Navy and 17 more as a military contractor before pursuing a career in the clergy.

He said he was dismayed that the church’s philosophy of inclusion did not seem to extend to conservative factions like his own, complaining, “It includes everybody except us.”

“In the last 50 years, as society has changed, the church has changed,” he added. “It has become more revisionist and more liberal.” While he could accept those changes on theological grounds, he said, the recent quarrel over sexuality “has turned out to be the tripwire.”

With the showdown looming, banners made by parishioners have been taken down from Trinity’s nave for safekeeping, and Father Helmandollar has packed up some books he kept in his office. Bank accounts and valuables, he said, have been left alone until an agreement or court order decides their fate.

Read it all here.

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