Conservative bishop disciplined over same-sex blessings stance quits liberal US Episcopal Church

Bishop William Love

A bishop in the US Episcopal Church who was disciplined for refusing to permit same-sex marriage blessings in his diocese has announced he is quitting the denomination for good. 

The Bishop of Albany, William Love, was last year brought before a disciplinary panel after instructing clergy in his diocese to refrain from blessing same-sex marriages.

His 2018 letter to clergy said that Christ was "calling the Church to have the courage to speak His Truth in love about homosexual behavior — even though it isn't politically correct."

"Sexual relations between two men or two women was never part of God's plan and is a distortion of His design in creation and as such is to be avoided," he wrote at the time. 

The disciplinary panel concluded hat he was guilty of violating Resolution B012, a measure passed by the Church in 2018 requiring all Episcopal dioceses to permit same-sex marriage blessings.

Following the trial, Love resigned as diocesan bishop and was prayerfully reflecting on his future in the denomination, but he has now announced he will be leaving it for good and joining the orthodox Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). 

In a letter to his diocese published on Virtue Online, Bishop Love said his decision to leave TEC had not been easy.

"Following my resignation as Bishop Diocesan on February 1st, I have spent much time in thought and prayer, seeking God's guidance in how I might best remain faithful to His Holy Word and serve Him and His Church in this next chapter of life," he said.

"In so doing, I have come to believe that the Lord is now releasing me from any further ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church." 

He continued: "As a cradle Episcopalian (with nearly 30 years of ordained ministry as a deacon, priest and bishop), that was not an easy decision, but given all that has transpired these past couple of years and the constraints placed upon me as a theologically conservative and orthodox bishop within TEC, I believe it is the right decision.

"I know not all of you will agree with this decision and some may be angered or hurt by it, and for that I am very sorry." 

ACNA was founded in 2009 by former members of the TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada over the denominations' liberal shift, but unlike these Churches, ACNA is not a member province of the Anglican Communion. 

Bishop Love's last official day in ordained ministry in the TEC is Good Friday. Details of his role in ACNA will be released at a later date.