Bishop of Virginia removes inhibited priests

Bishop Peter James Lee of the Diocese of Virginia has removed 21 clergy from the Episcopal priesthood. These clergy members had been inhibited in January after the diocesan Standing

Committee determined that they had abandoned the Communion of The Episcopal Church, according to a release from the diocese:

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.”

Of the clergy members originally inhibited, one chose to retract his association with anything but the Episcopal Church:

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.”

Read it all, including the complete list of those removed from ordained ministry, here.

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