Bishop Krumm Turned Away From Columbus Church

Episcopal News Service. September 9, 1977 [77288]

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bishop John M. Krumm of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio was turned away from St. Paul's Episcopal Church here three times on Sept. 4 as he attempted to lead worship services and speak at a meeting.

On Sept. 2 the bishop had inhibited the rector of St. Paul's, the Rev. G. Wayne Craig, after the standing committee of the diocese had found that the rector had abandoned the communion and renounced the Episcopal Church's doctrine and discipline.

Fr. Craig and his supporters savor withdrawing from the Diocese of Southern Ohio and the Episcopal Church because of the actions of the 1976 General Convention of the Church in approving the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopacy and in approving liturgical revisions.

Bishop Krumm said that the parish's lay board, the vestry, is divided 8-7 against withdrawing from the diocese, which, according to the Canons of the Church, requires diocesan permission.

An earlier vote on secession resulted in a tie. Judge Tommy L. Thompson of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court has authorized a second vote by the congregation during September, with the ballots to be opened in the presence of representatives of both sides in the dispute. The results will not be made public until various questions of civil law, such as legal ownership of church property, aw determined. There is also a dispute about the list of eligible voters as compiled by Fr. Craig.

Fr. Craig said he was "outraged" that the court would intervene, saying that this was a violation of the separation of church and state.

Bishop Krumm said he went to the parish on Sept. 4 as its spiritual leader since Fr. Craig had been inhibited as the rector. He said he was required by the Canons of the Church to inhibit a priest when the diocesan standing committee determined this should be done. If an inhibited (suspended) priest does not show a change of position, deposition from the ministry is automatic after six months.

"Whatever decisions Father Craig and other dissatisfied and unhappy members of St. Paul's Church may have to make in the future about their relationship to the national Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Southern Ohio," Bishop Krumm said, "it is clearly my duty to protect the rights of the loyal members of that congregation to continue to use their buildings and to make use of the assets of the congregation in ways that are consistent with the canons and traditions of the Episcopal Church."