Conservative priest in Maryland court fight quits Episcopal Church

Posted: Friday, July 05, 2002

LANHAM, Md. (AP) -- A conservative priest who sparred with his bishop through a long court battle has quit the Episcopal Church for a breakaway group, claiming his former denomination has strayed too far theologically and can't be reformed.

The Rev. Samuel Edwards plans to start a southern Maryland mission church for the Anglican Province of Christ the King.

Christ Church, an Episcopal congregation in Accokeek, Md., fought the former acting bishop of Washington, Jane Holmes Dixon, over its decision to hire Edwards. The conflict exemplified deep divisions between conservatives and Episcopal leaders.

Edwards opposed the Episcopal Church's ordination of women and tolerant view of homosexual activity, and has written that the church is ''hell-bound.'' Dixon feared Edwards would split Christ Church from the diocese, and refused to allow his appointment as rector.

Edwards joins other conservatives who have left the Episcopal Church while claiming to still align with traditional beliefs of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- of which the Episcopal Church is a member.

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