Virginia's largest Episcopal parish, in a letter to the church's 2,200 members, yesterday called on Virginia's the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Lee to "repent and return to the truth" over supporting the ordination of the openly homosexual bishop of New Hampshire.
Leaders of the Falls Church Episcopal said in their eight-page, single-spaced letter that "no compromise on this issue is possible," although they refrained from specificthreats. In the past, the parish's rector has threatened schism.
"A Christian leader does not approve of sin, or purport to declassify it," the letter said to Bishop Lee, who backed the 2003 consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. "Rather, he calls sinners to repentance and proclaims the Good News that sin can be forgiven and new life can be obtained in Christ."
The letter was sent to Bishop Lee on Oct. 4 but was not made public until yesterday. Calls to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia yesterday for comment were not returned. Bishop Lee, however, did meet with parish leaders soon after the letter was sent.
The letter is modeled after Matthew 18:15-17, which advises Christians that "if your brother sins against you," one is to first privately show him his fault, then repeat the message accompanied by "two or three witnesses."
If the exhortation still is ignored, Christians are to "tell it to the church," the pattern that church leaders followed yesterday. If still nothing happens, the offender is to be treated "as you would a pagan or a tax collector," the verses say.
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