Monday, May 4, 2009

Future of the Reverend Coyle remains uncertain

In his 14 years as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, in Newport, the Rev. Lorne Coyle hosted an impressive array of dignitaries, from Queen Elizabeth II to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Then, in 1992, he left Rhode Island to join a diocese he felt was more in tune with his conservative views on sexual morality.

Now, Father Coyle is facing an uncertain future after his public admission that he had a sexual affair with a woman not his wife over a period of many years –– starting when he was in Newport.

Until February, Father Coyle was the lead minister of Christ Church, in Vero Beach, Fla., a breakaway parish of 400 members that he and others opened in a shopping mall last July as an alternative to a 2.4-million-member denomination they felt had grown too liberal, particularly on such issues as the ordination of a gay bishop and biblical interpretation.

To further underscore their break, Father Coyle and two other priests in the new parish had transferred their allegiance from the U.S. Episcopal Church to the Anglican Church of Uganda, which had formed a special province as a way of reaching out to disaffected Episcopalians.

All appeared to be going well for the charismatic 58-year-old married priest until earlier this year, when a woman wrote to the Right Rev. John Howe, the Episcopal bishop of Central Florida, alleging that the two had had a long-running affair.

Rhode Island Bishop Geralyn Wolf, whom Howe notified as a courtesy, said Wednesday that she was not certain why the woman had decided to tell officials now. But for whatever reason, she said, an accusation of clergy infidelity is a “very serious situation and demands a clear and concise response.”

Much more here-

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