A retired priest who started a breakaway congregation in Elizabethtown has been ordered by an Episcopal bishop not to do ministry or present himself as an Episcopal priest.
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Gulick said Episcopal and Anglican rules clearly state that only one bishop oversees a diocese and that other bishops cannot interfere.
"You don't get to choose who your bishop is," Gulick told The Courier-Journal of Louisville. "Your bishop is the chief pastor of the geographic area in which you reside."
Gulick issued his order Aug. 4 and notified Litchfield and officials in the Episcopal Church, but he did not announce it to the public.
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Under civil law, Gulick cannot stop Litchfield from leading the new congregation, but his action puts the Episcopal diocese on record as not being associated with it or with Litchfield's ministry.
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Gulick said he acted on the recommendation of a diocesan advisory committee, which concluded that Litchfield had "abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church."
He said he had tried to accommodate Litchfield by, for example, allowing a conservative bishop from Tennessee to conduct a confirmation service last year at Christ Church rather than going himself. Gulick said his action, known in church law as an "inhibition," is the mildest form of discipline available and that he can immediately rescind it if Litchfield agrees to return to the church.
Saturday, September 17, 2005